Most businesses would rather spend their time concentrating on sales, marketing, and product development than thinking about how they will get their goods to the consumer in the first place. Third-party logistics (3PL) may be the solution for firms having difficulty with supply chain management. Supply chain management is sometimes the most expensive component of operating a firm, needing enormous quantities of labor, time, space, coordination, monitoring, and monetary investment to be successful. Let's take a deeper look at some of the reasons why 3PL company could be a good fit for you, as well as some of the reasons why it might not be.
WHAT EXACTLY IS 3PL?
Third-party logistics, sometimes known as 3PL, refers to the provision of outsourced logistical services. Pick and pack services, inventory management, and shipping orders are all examples of logistics services. Your third-party logistics provider (3PL) can handle logistical tasks that would be inefficient or expensive to do in-house. Taking use of third-party logistics services may result in significant cost reductions in certain situations.
How does 3PL work?
If you consider partnering with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) for the fulfillment, you certainly have questions. However, as the 3PL order fulfillment process may be relatively easy, third-party logistics doesn't have to be a mystery to businesses of all sizes.
The fulfillment process starts as soon as a customer places a purchase on your e-commerce site by clicking "order." A 3PL partner must have inventory in their warehouse before sending out an order to a client. This is referred to as receiving. This is the acceptance of goods into a warehouse or fulfillment center for storage and distribution. The items are recorded into a warehouse management system to be tracked down.
You must engage with a 3PL partner, which has a large amount of storage space in crucial locations for your company and your clients' convenience. The ability to expand with your company as your organization develops is essential for third-party logistics partners.
The choosing process begins as soon as your e-commerce consumer hits the "submit order" button on your website. You'll also get immediate access to information like shipments, inventory levels, and other relevant data, which can help you keep procedures running smoothly.
The selecting procedure begins as soon as your order is sent to your 3PL partner for fulfillment. A physical search for your item in the warehouse and preparation for the next stage in the fulfillment process are included in this phase.
As soon as all of the products in the order have been selected, it is time to begin packaging. In this manner, you will prepare your customer's merchandise for shipment. Tools of the profession include packing supplies such as boxes and bubble mailers and packing tape, poly bags, and bubble wrap.
It is possible that certain 3PLs would charge you for these packaging materials as an extra line item on your invoice. Others add the expenses of materials in their service fees. Picking and packaging are sometimes done at the same time. Pick and pack fulfillment services are what they are called when they are combined.
After your purchase has been packaged, it is time to be sent. Your third-party logistics (3PL) partner will produce shipping labels for you. Some partners ship your items using preferred carriers, while others network with a range of shippers to offer you the lowest possible pricing for your order.
The items will be picked up from the warehouse by the carrier of your choice. The services provided by your company determine the speed of delivery.
Returns from customers do occur. Reverse logistics is the term used to describe the process of returning things to the warehouse. Depending on the circumstances, a product that a client returns may be returned to inventory, reconditioned, recycled, or disposed of. Every e-commerce company should have a plan for reverse logistics to avoid costly mistakes.