The Distributor’s Depot: The Efficient Practice of Third-Party Logistics

Ordering anything online can be exciting for persons of all ages. It is just that feeling of excitement when receiving that high-definition camera or figure from a favourite video game that makes the order worth it. The first person one would probably thank is the company who oversaw its development. However, most do not see the 3rd party logistics warehouse effort as they are arguably an essential part of any delivery made.

In reality, they are much more than a simple storage house for anything one can order.

Third-Party Logistics?

The term third-party logistics, or 3PL for short, is used to describe fulfilment warehouses and fulfilment centres. Much like any service existing in the world today, many 3PL companies exist today. The standard functions of a 3PL company include warehousing, inventory management, shipping and receiving, FTL or LTL freight shipping and the picking and packing of deliveries. However, the best 3PL companies should offer kitting and customization of deliveries while open to the possibility of reverse logistics or returns. In short, customer support and service is an integral part of the business.

Nevertheless, different companies offer services specific to what they may offer in terms of fulfilment and warehousing. An example of this would be cold fulfilment which is also known as cold storage. Naturally, electronics or glassware do not belong in these warehouses. What gets stored in these warehouses are meats and other food products that require either refrigeration or freezing. In addition, some companies offer storage spaces and shipping services for hazardous materials, which is essential considering that these should not stay near consumables. Companies such as Red Stag Fulfilment offer all these services as they are willing to accept even the highest-valued items.

The Basics?

In simplest terms, third-party logistics companies accept items from other businesses or clients, storing them and distributing them to their destinations as fast as possible. One good example is cold storage logistics.

However, most 3PLs do not own a fleet of delivery trucks or vans. They commonly contract other carriers for freights and shipping, which is how businesses outsource packages to their customers.

It is no surprise that this business focuses on speed and efficiency, which is especially important to other corporations selling products. That is why many of these corporations contract the services of the 3PL business. While the companies focus more on their internal operations, the 3PL handles the extra volume, taking the stress away from the business without hiring additional staff. Especially when using a 3PL company for eCommerce fulfilment, enterprises get the benefit of industry and focus.

The Process?

Businesses make the products in their factories in their standard order, and the finished products are shipped to a 3PL warehouse. After they arrive, the products are placed into inventory, logged, and warehoused. When these products are released and placed in stock, orders are accepted from customers. From here, many things can happen.

The leading service is eCommerce platform integration, as many businesses rely on selling to survive. Especially when IT is one of the essential facets of a company, the online market is vital to its survival. A sign of a good fulfilment company is when they blend seamlessly with the distributor. With this, the company should support the sales channel, but another way to do this is to provide a stable API. Aside from this, a delivery viewer and live tracker are an excellent help for those curious about their deliveries.

Larger orders for the customers themselves or retailers should find themselves in FTL and LTL freights, which is an excellent way to save money. The process is similar, whether it is shipped directly to the location or shipped to one near the destination. In addition, 3PLs may arrange loads and process incoming shipments via freight.

A big deal of order is on deliveries, and no doubt people love to see their packages on the same day they ordered. However, reverse logistics are an option in case the items are defective. Nonetheless, they are made easy with the existence of the 3PL.

With a 3rd party logistic warehouse, your product inventory is stored offsite in a facility that is designed specifically for streamlined fulfillment. However, this is only a general definition of what these businesses do. Not only are burdens on other companies eased, but the best 3PLs make business, whether it be deliveries or returns, fast and efficient, leaving customers with a good impression of the business.

Paired with an excellent online database able to communicate between the users and track orders, this is a service that product-focused companies should not neglect.

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Denise Maxwell
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