Advantages of Working with a 3PL Fulfillment Service Provider
Author: Craig Dixon, Editor: Elizabeth Korda
Most new businesses go through multiple steps to get started with the right foundation—develop a product, create a business plan, choose a business name, and design a marketing strategy to name a few. Once you have started your business, you must put in time to foster your product development, choose the right platforms to showcase your product, and work with manufacturers to ensure that quality drives the consumer experience.
What is a 3PL Fulfillment Service Provider?
A third-party logistics company (3PL for short) is an outsourced business that handles a company’s supply chain and logistics operations. In addition to fulfillment services such as warehousing, picking, packing, and shipping, a 3PL provides software solutions that can integrate directly in tracking the lifecycle of an order.
By optimizing the available services, 3PLs can best meet your specific needs to scale your business. A 3PL can provide a single service or deliver a suite of services that extend across multiple aspects of your supply chain. Additionally, leading 3PLs can create value in ways that enhance your operational, financial, and end-to-end customer experience.
What is order fulfillment software from a 3PL?
Order fulfillment is a complex, multistage process that starts when the customer places an order. From there, the items within the order are picked and packed, then processed for shipping and handling. Though this process may seem simple, there is a lot of data involved, and the slightest mishap at any point during the process could affect the seller financially and lessen the customer buying experience. This is where 3PL order fulfillment software comes into play.
3PL order fulfillment software is a cloud-based system that enables automated supply chain management, inventory management, transportation and warehouse management, shipping, as well as providing a seller with the ability to track orders and sales. Fulfillment software can integrate with other software systems—like a seller’s online storefront—to facilitate a streamlined flow of information.
Top four advantages of working with a 3PL Fulfillment Service Provider
1. Save Time and Resources
Instead of taking the time to manually fulfill online or business-to-business (B2B) orders, a 3PL fulfillment service provider can eliminate any physical involvement by automating the process. A 3PL’s technology can integrate with your online store alerting the warehouse staff as soon as an order is placed.
Once the order is received, each automated step is documented so you can view the status of the order as it moves through the process. A search feature provides the ability to track individual or series of orders based on specified criteria to assist in organizing your needs. From reordering inventory when product levels are low to handling returns, this automation is efficient in saving you time and resources for you and your business. The overall result cultivates a positive experience for both you and your customer.
2. Optimize fulfillment costs
One of the greatest opportunities to save money is on shipping costs. Outside of the discounted shipping rates a 3PL negotiates with carriers, you can also reduce shipping costs by reducing the distance your orders travel.
One option is diversifying your inventory across multiple warehouses to limit the distance between your product and your customers. 3PL order fulfillment software uses past data to provide insights into how and where you should strategically distribute your inventory. This continuous data collection and reporting becomes more relevant as you accumulate order history.
3. Reduce errors and increase transparency
Data entry errors can happen from time to time. When you manually send orders, you risk typos or inaccuracy. These errors—which can lead to returns, exchanges, replacements, and expedited shipping—are expensive, time-consuming, and can be a burden on you and your customers.
3PL order fulfillment software automates the shipping process by having systems talk directly to one another, eliminating any duplication of work and the possibility of human error. Additionally, connected systems provide an extra level of transparency into a 3PL’s performance. Since the fulfillment steps of picking, packing, and shipping are tied directly into the software, you can view the 3PL’s level of accuracy with handling your orders.
4. Improve service and meet customer expectations
By utilizing a 3PL order fulfillment company, you gain a complete view of the order—from the moment it’s placed online to the moment it is delivered to your customer’s doorstep. This helps ensure greater precision, transparency, and consistency in service.
A 3PL also helps you provide Prime-like service that is expected by your customers. Without 3PL order fulfillment technology, same-day or two-day delivery is difficult to achieve. To offer the quick turnaround that your customers want, you need to optimize where you store and ship out inventory.
ShipSage uses an insightful order fulfillment software that includes inventory management, customer communication, and integrations with all the major ecommerce platforms (Amazon, Walmart, Shopify, BigCommerce, etc.) to create a seamless order fulfillment process.
To keep up, you must embrace and leverage an integrated solution. A 3PL can save you time, money, and headaches, while improving the customer experience. This type of solution brings your orders, inventory, warehouses, and customers together in one place.
Combining our user-friendly software for fulfilment services and a network of strategically located warehouses, ShipSage offers an end-to-end solution. It’s quick and easy to get started, just contact an experienced ShipSage representative to assist you on your journey today.