In the past decade or so, the 3PL industry (Third-party Logistics) has grown exponentially due to increases in online shopping and the evolution of e-commerce platforms. Once known as the outsourced fulfillment industry, the term “3PL” and “outsourced fulfillment” are now interchangeable.
But what is 3PL exactly? Before online shopping and e-commerce vendors gained ground as the way people prefer to shop, fulfillment services were considered an expense only huge businesses could afford. However, when e-commerce vendors started growing so fast that in-house picking, packing, and shipping became too much for them to handle, many online companies found that third-party logistics companies could save them money, while not reducing their focus on their core expansion mission. The first decision growing businesses needed to make was:
- Leasing or purchasing storage space and hiring additional staff to perform the fulfillment end of their business or,
- Outsourcing their order fulfillment to a third-party logistics company.
3rd party logistics help companies save on overheads
When e-commerce companies took a look at their options, they found that partnering with a 3PL company automated and streamlined their fulfillment processes. While packing and shipping are at the core of 3PL service functions, efficient, on-time order deliveries are the major customer retention factor for businesses today. Most growing businesses found that 3PL providers were set up for more efficient delivery, much better than their own in-house fulfillment operations. These businesses also found that fulfillment companies offered packing supplies and shipping logistics at reduced rates and faster delivery times than they could get on their own.
All 3PL companies weren’t created equally
Like Fulfillment by Amazon, when you partner with some 3PL providers for order fulfillment, you are required to adhere strictly to their system, risking extra fees and charges for quota requirements and such. Some 3PL providers, such as FBA are misleading, as their mission is to sell your products, so they charge a significant fee for packaging and charge extra fees for quota discrepancies. Additionally, leviathans, such as Amazon are difficult to get in contact with and don’t understand your business on a personal level. Your 3PL provider should work as a partner, tailoring your fulfillment processes to your company’s needs, your mission and your goals. Phase V custom fits your packaging processes to your needs and we also offer packaging services for your FBA inventory.
Breaking down 3PL services
Partnering with the right 3PL service provider, such as Phase V Fulfillment Company, businesses benefit in every aspect of their fulfillment operations including ordering and inventory management. Consider the below.
- Warehousing – When your inventory arrives at a 3PL service provider’s facility, it should be onboarded and inspected for quantity and quality. At Phase V, your inventory is assigned universal SKUs and a dedicated space in our secure, temperature-controlled, and ambient lit facility, near major trucking and shipping routes.
- Order management – A reputable 3PL service provider will provide the technology needed to integrate with online sellers’ shopping carts. Phase V’s warehouse management system funnels your various multi-channel outlets into one coordinated system. Our warehouse management system ensures that your orders are processed fast and accurately, with all the tracking information about your orders at your fingertips, 24/7.
- Technology – Your 3PL service partner should provide state-of-the-art data-driven, scalable fulfillment software. Phase V’s technology tracks your inventory in real-time and allows you to perform administrative tasks, such as setting up low inventory alerts, to avoid shoppers going elsewhere when they encounter “backordered” or “out of stock” messages through our user-friendly dashboard. Phase V technology provides you the ability to view the status of orders, plus create and edit orders, as well as generate various reports based on your sales data analysis.
- Picking and Packing – Whenever possible, your 3PL provider should try to shorten times for pick and pack functions. Automating some of your supply chain operations, your logistics team should work to save you money and shave time off your last-mile delivery rates. Phase V 3PL packing pros work with your specs, to pack your orders, as if they came from you, with promotional inserts, branded packing supplies, invoices, bills of lading, and other information you want to include with your orders. Phase V can also scale labor up or down, depending on your sales cycles. Efficient use of time and supplies help save you money and labor overheads, during slow cycles but extra hands during busy cycles help save money and generate more orders with consistent on-time deliveries.
- Shipping – A crucial element for any online business, your logistics team should be experts at shipping regulations, shipping fees and in using carriers that expedite your orders for fast, reliable on-time deliveries. Your shipping team should have extensive experience with freight regulations and other shipping requirements and be adept at managing multiple shipping options for your orders.
- Customer Care – One element that online businesses may not realize is an important part of your business is live customer service. 3PL service providers should include exemplary customer service, especially since your 3PL’s customer service reps may be the only point of live contact for your clientele. Because people shop online at any time of day, from anywhere in the world, prompt, live customer support that impresses and assures your customers their concerns will be addressed and their order issues solved goes a long way in customers forming brand loyalty, with return orders and word-of-mouth brand referrals.
- Transportation – In order to further streamline your fulfillment operations, 3PL providers, such as Phase V are providing freight shipping to cut down on time and the potential for mistakes when dealing with outside transport companies in order to meet delivery times.
Phase V Fulfillment Company is Your Go-To 3PL Service Provider
3PL service provider, Phase V Fulfillment partners with you to learn about your company, your vision, and help you grow your business by customizing your fulfillment plan to meet your specific needs. Our one-of-a-kind, one-stop shopping for 3PL services works to streamline and automate your fulfillment operations and inventory management with transparent online inventory monitoring, from onboarding your inventory, until your orders are delivered to your customers, on-time, every time. Located in Fort Myers, Florida, Phase V’s facilities securely store your inventory before your orders are professionally packed and shipped to your customers. With customer service reps standing by to address your customers’ order concerns quickly, Phase V 3PL helps generate new business with consistent deliveries and exemplary customer service.
Give your growing online business the chance it deserves, partner with Phase V!