A Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider is a third party business that undertakes your logistics services. These include anything to do with managing the movement of goods and services from one place to another. A 3pl provider can offer transportation, warehouse management, fulfillment services and more. They may specialize in one particular area or offer them altogether.
Why do you need a 3pl partner?
Before we even talk about how to pick the right 3pl provider, it is important to know why you need one:
- Core competency : 3PL providers are experts in their field. They understand the process of moving goods and the complications that come with it. Their competencies can align with yours to ensure business runs smoothly.
- Resource Allocation: If you get a 3PL partner, you can save resources like time, money and even warehouse space. Allocate them wisely on different projects and where required.
- Customer satisfaction: Due to a lack of proper technology and tools, you may delay the delivery of orders. On the other hand, a 3pl partner promises on-time fulfillment and your customers’ satisfaction.
How to pick the right one?
Now that you want to employ a 3PL partner, how do you pick one? With so many logistics companies out there, evaluate your options based on certain factors:
- Existing Network: A 3pl provider may offer services on a global scale or a more local one. Depending on your level of operations, make sure that the partner you choose has the existing network to reach your customers in time.
- IT infrastructure: The partner you consider must provide you with real-time data of your goods, shipment documentation, order visibility as a part of their services. In order to do so, they need to have relevant and up-to-date IT infrastructure at hand.
- Integration Capabilities : Your technology should be compatible with theirs and integrate seamlessly. Doing so will give you visibility into your supply chain, ability to track your items as they move along and share data between parties smoothly.
- Scalability : When your business grows, so does its needs. The right provider should be up for the challenge without any problems. In fact, they should help you scale your business and operate globally.
In conclusion, a business of any nature – eCommerce to a Fortune 500 company- can benefit from 3PL services. Selecting a partner that suits your needs can be a long process, but well worth it. When your customers are satisfied, you reap the benefits. Make sure that their values align with your goals to get the best possible results.