What Happens in the 3PL Warehouse?
Ensuring customer satisfaction is a top priority for any company, whether it is a large eCommerce business or a small one that’s just starting. And customer satisfaction entails delivering their favorite products fast and efficiently. That is why ensuring the products get to the clients efficiently is ideal for any business operation as it is a cost-effective alternative.
As the business expands, it becomes challenging to manage the supply chain by yourself. Any mistake in logistics can negatively impact the customer experience, thus stunting your business. You end up eating into your profits instead of investing more into your business. To alleviate these issues, most businesses opt to outsource their logistic operations to a 3PL company.
This article mainly focuses on the 3PL warehouse and other third-party logistics operations. Read on to get enlightened about 3PL warehousing.
What is 3PL?
3PLs stands for third-party logistics. A third-party logistics company involves outsourcing the supply chain processes and logistics to deliver the products of a company to its client. 3PLs offer logistics solutions including, receiving the product from a company, storing, packing for shipment, and shipping services. Other 3PL units provide additional logistic services called value-added services. Examples of these services include managing inventory, kitting, and delayed packaging, among others.
Core services that 3PL warehouse provides
If you are green to the whole 3PL warehouse operations, managing the supply chain might seem like a challenging and expensive process. It is not easy to relinquish fulfillment control to a third-party company. However, with a 3PL company, you can let them handle all operational details while it frees you up to focus on other aspects of your business.
Below are the processes that occur once goods reach a 3PL warehouse.
This is the first step to getting inventory to the 3PL to start the fulfillment process.
The 3PL warehouse receives the inventory and stores your products before sending them to the client. It will then organize the incoming shipments with the company that often utilizes freight forwarders or a distribution center. Since it is part of warehouse management, the 3PL should integrate software that alleviates this process.
This is the next step in the 3PL warehouse, which occurs once a customer orders. 3PL fulfillment operation begins during this step. Upon submitting an order, it is sent to the fulfillment center or warehouse for storing, product identifying, and picking from the storage place.
Upon picking an order, the products listed are organized and ready to be packaged in the 3PL warehouse. Then the 3PL contacts the company during the initial setup process to come up with the best packaging method. This ensures the items are secure and presentable. A 3PL needs to use advanced technological systems and operational processes to ensure order accuracy and scale shipment at the time of the order. What’s more, a company should have clear rules on various packing solutions to enable fast and accurate order fulfillment.
This is the most complicated and often expensive part of the fulfillment operation. It is because there are many shippers, a variety of shipping options for every carrier, cutoff times, and distribution locations. An experienced third party can design a shipping strategy that provides significant savings on the overall shipping costs. What’s more, the shipment happens fast to ensure client satisfaction.
Returns are part of the order operation and are an essential aspect that plays a part in customer experience. A client can place an order erroneously or is not satisfied with the product. In this case, returns are inevitable. A 3PL warehouse should include a streamlined strategy to receive these items document their receipts. It will also establish company rules with the seller to devise the best way to handle the returned orders.