The third party logistics (3PL) industry is expanding as more organizations realize the benefits of outsourcing logistics to specialized companies. To attract more customers, 3PL organizations offer a wide range of services, ranging from transportation to customs clearance. A very important aspect is that certain warehousing and distribution solutions ensure critical operational improvements, resulting in faster return on investment and greater profitability.
As a shipper, it’s very important to understand your needs in order to best assess what type of 3PL solutions are appropriate to your current circumstances and future development plans. Most 3PL service providers have combined a variety of warehousing and transportation services that can be further customized according to customers’ needs. Here’s a practical guide to the warehousing and distribution operations 3PL companies are able to complete nowadays.
Warehousing and distribution involves moving large volumes of stock in and out of facilities on a daily basis. To help you manage this task, 3PL service providers propose a series of basic warehousing and distribution services, including picking, packing, labeling, organizing and shipping merchandise.
Most 3PL businesses provide general trucking services (TL and LTL), specialized services (refrigerated goods, hazardous materials, etc.), inter-model transportation (rail, ocean, air freight) and time-constrained services (same day, over night, JIT, etc.). Additionally, these companies can track and trace shipment by bill of landing, purchase order number, client reference number and SKUs, allowing you not only to better organize your warehousing and distribution activity, but also to ensure that freight always arrives at the destination as planned. Thanks to the advanced tracking systems 3PL service providers use, you can institute corrective actions when delays occur.
Numerous 3PL companies offer standard services along with industry-specific IT solutions that include all the necessary tools for activity monitoring, strategic planning, supply chain customization, process automation and efficient inventory management for the best business outcomes. Specifically, these systems can help you perform a series of tasks, such as freight consolidation and distribution, cross docking, shipping planning and optimization, traffic and route management, order processing and fulfillment, product return, and even payments and financial audits.
The most advanced warehousing and distributionsoftware solutions also provide customs management features, enabling companies to manage more difficult business areas, including customs brokerage and duty drawback. What’s even more noteworthy is the fact that certain IT products can be fine-tuned to synchronize complex supply chain processes, turning them into reliable bridges between 3PL organizations, logistics users and end consumers. Considering all these, logistics software is one of the best solutions you can opt for to increase efficiency.
Logistics Management and Consulting
Besides the aforementioned warehousing and distributionservices, 3PL companies offer consulting services regarding fleet operation, vendor selection, rate negotiation, distribution network design, and facility location analysis and selection. With a dependable 3PL advisor on your side, you can easily find the most efficient logistics solutions that will help you streamline your overall operation and boost profit margins.
The warehousing and distribution services provided by most 3PL companies give you exceptional flexibility in adjusting space, labor and transportation according to your needs. Being able to utilize certain resources only when needed allows you not only to operate between industry ups and downs without stress, but also to save a lot of money.
From offering efficient shipping fleets and climate-controlled, secure storage facilities to improving warehousing and distribution processes for the purpose of enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing return on investments, 3PL service providers deliver complete, end-to-end logistics solutions that can assist your organization in overcoming challenges and achieving its maximum potential in order to gain unparalleled competitive advantage.