How to Choose a 3PL Provider

How to Choose a 3PL Provider

What Is 3PL? Why Is It Important?

3PL process

Third-party logistics (3PL) is the process of outsourcing logistics services. This includes anything that involves the management of one or more elements of a business’s procurement and fulfillment activities, including storing and shipping items around the world.

In the world of e-commerce, third-party logistics providers (or simply 3PLs), are absolutely essential. 3PLs will handle all of your fulfillment for you including storing, picking, packing and shipping your products. They can also do a lot more things for you.

In this article, we’ll give a complete run down on what to decide when choosing a 3PL.

The Advantage of 3PL Fulfillment Solutions

Scalability

A huge advantage of using a 3PL is that it can help you scale up and down to meet the needs of your business, which means you don’t have to spend extra money on storage space, equipment, and labor. You can leverage the flexibility, scalability, and vast resources of a 3PL based on your current business needs.

Save Your Money and Time

One of the biggest benefits of using a 3PL is that it doesn’t require you to invest in your own fulfillment center, warehouse space, technology, transportation, and employees, all of which can be very expensive. Third-party logistics providers help you save this money while you don’t have to worry about fulfillment logistics.

Afford You to Concentrate on Your Business

When you don’t have to worry about all the different parts of your supply chain, you’ll have more time to run your business. When you outsource your logistics, you’ll have more time to learn from industry experience and expertise, and it won’t be a drain on your valuable internal resources.

7 Steps to Find the Right 3PL Partner

Exquisite Expertise

While most e-commerce store owners believe that if a company is in business it will have experienced people on board. But that’s not always the case. Many times, emerging 3PL providers do not have expertise in e-commerce logistics and procurement.

What you should do is verify the information of the company’s manager to ensure that your products are in safe hands. We have a professional team, if you need more information, contact us HonestFulphiment.

Customer Service

Any good 3PL partner should prioritize customer service, responsiveness, and communication. Excellence in service and quality management extends to both the manufacturer and your brand. They deal directly with your customers, they have the ability to represent your brand aggressively, and they meet the level of communication and professionalism you require. They help you calculate savings, track products, and determine delivery times with ease. Reducing the stress on your logistics frees you up to focus on growing your business.

Suitable Pricing

Typically, a 3PL provider will provide a single quote for all of the services it provides so you can determine if you are getting the best price for the services provided.

A 3PL provider will typically handle picking, packaging, and shipping. When you ask multiple suppliers for a price breakdown, you can better find the right supplier for your needs.

  • Receiving

The first step in the 3PL process is receiving the inventory at a warehouse after being made. As soon as the stock has been received by one of our warehouses, it gets ready to go into storage.

3pl process

During the next phase of the 3PL process, your stock is placed in one of our 3PL warehouses for storage. Each stock-keeping unit (SKU) has its own dedicated location in one of our warehouses. Our scalable solution means there’s more than enough room to scale with you.

  • Picking

When a customer places an order, the fulfillment part of 3PL begins. If your CMS is through Shopify or WooCommerce, our app ensures that orders are automatically passed through to the warehouse to be picked, ensuring a seamless, automatic process.

For non-mainstream platforms, orders can be uploaded by CSV/Excel spreadsheet.

As soon as the items have been picked up by warehouse staff, it’s time for them to be packed! Honest FulPhilment allows for custom packaging, branding, and inserts for your products.

The warehouse packages the products and prepares them for shipping.

  • Shipping

The next step in the 3PL process is to ship your order to your customer, whether this is by land, air, or sea.

We offer our shipping services direct to your customer and to businesses. Our tracking software integrates with your e-Commerce platform to keep up to date with orders and their fulfillment.

Look for Scalability

When you choose a 3PL, growth and scalability are important considerations. Will the 3PL provider you choose today to be able to provide the same level of service to maximize profits within a year? This question is often overlooked by most e-Commerce providers. Ideally, you need to find a logistics provider that can scale with your growth curve. You also don’t want to have to switch to a new 3PL provider because your company is growing faster than expected and they don’t have the space or capacity to handle your business.

Stability Is Crucial

The stability of your supply chain is important to your company’s profitability. Companies invest a lot of time and resources in selecting a 3PL. Make sure the 3PL you choose has a proven track record and is financially stable in the event of a recession. If possible, obtain a list of current customers and potential contacts that you can consult during the selection process. One clue is to determine how many long-term customers the 3PL has. A logistics company with a roster of long-term customers has many benefits, while a 3PL with a high turnover rate of customers and employees is a bad phenomenon.

Make Sure Your 3PL Has Tough Technology Solutions

Technology is the foundation of logistics. The 3PL you choose should offer enterprise-level technology to streamline the order-to-delivery process that is critical to fulfilling orders.

Whether you have an off-the-shelf shopping cart system or a custom ERP inventory management system, it’s important that the 3PL you work with can integrate into your existing processes. 3PLs should provide a technology solution that makes the process easier based on what your company specializes in – whether it’s a primary warehouse management system for tracking shipments or a solution that makes warehouse operations and inventory management more efficient.

Find a 3PL Partner that Engages in Ceaseless Improvement

Logistics is a rapidly changing industry, with innovations emerging all the time.

3PL providers committed to excellent customer service and quality management are continually improving their technology, processes, and problem-solving to provide their customers with the best possible results.

Are You Ready to Transition to a 3PL?

Ready to start exploring the ways a 3PL can help you? Contact us @HonestFulphilment today to learn more and see if we can partner with you to help you grow your business.