What is a 3PL?

A third-party logistics (3PL) provider is a link between a business and its transportation services. It is a service utilized for bulk shipping, storage, order fulfillment and returns management. 3PLs offer businesses streamlined solutions to achieve efficient supply chain management as well as reduce costs associated with inventory management and distribution. Working with a 3PL helps companies gain the expertise necessary for utilizing more advanced technologies that enable tracking and analytics of the supply chain performance and meet customer expectations. In addition, an experienced 3PL provider makes it easier for businesses to access resources from different areas locally or internationally to help them keep up with demand. Ultimately, by relying on the support of a 3PL company, businesses can save time and money while ensuring their products get into the hands of their customers quickly and correctly.

How does a 3pl work?

When utilizing a 3pl, the pick, pack and shipping process can be seamless and efficient for businesses. The 3rd Party Logistics provider will typically store inventory in one of its warehouses and manage the entire process from inventory storage to delivery. The 3PL can select products from stock and packing them up efficiently as orders are received. With their specialized staff, operations management system, IT support, they are able to ship products out to customers quickly while adding value to the business by affording them the space and resources needed for success.

Breakdown of the 3PL Process

Receiving: Having inventory on hand is essential for a 3PL to ship orders successfully. Receiving inventory at a 3PL warehouse involves the acceptance and storage of incoming inventory, and every 3PL has different processes and capacities in place to accomplish this task. To ensure timely execution of order fulfillment, it’s important that businesses select a 3PL with the right fit – one which is able to receive inventory efficiently, has multiple cost effective storage options and has enough capacity to store it at scale.
Warehousing: Fulfillment centers are necessary for storing your inventory safely and securely. Each SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is assigned its own dedicated storage location, whether that be on an adjustable shelf system, in a single or multi-level binning structure, or on a pallet racking system. This setup allows for accurate inventory checks and rapid organization of orders.
Picking: When a customer places an order, the 3PL fulfillment process begins and 3PLs offer various solutions. While some require manual uploading of orders to their system, which can involve tedious tasks such as creating spreadsheets with details and customers’ shipping information, others provide advanced technology with integrations allowing for a more automated shipping process. With these integrations, orders, shipments, inventory tracking and stock levels can be centralized in one location to streamline the fulfillment process efficiently. By utilizing this type of software integration, businesses can achieve greater control over the order fulfillment cycle.
Packing: Packing materials make all the difference when shipping products. High-quality, resilient materials protect items during their journey, and can affect customer satisfaction when they arrive in pristine condition. Finding the right packing material for your order is a process that should not be rushed: it depends on multiple factors such as your 3PL’s capabilities and preferences for preserving your brand identity. It is important to make sure you understand what the 3PL’s charges are for packing materials; some include the cost in their services while others require a separate line item.
Shipping: Choosing a 3PL to ship your orders is the next step in ensuring timely, cost-efficient delivery. Many 3PLs own or partner with certain carriers, utilizing those relationships to get competitive prices for different shipping speeds. Other 3PLs take both warehouse policies and customer selection into consideration, always looking for the most affordable option that meets the customers’ preferences. Ultimately, the selected carrier depends on the 3PL’s approach and relationships, as well as how the shipping options were set up in your order system.
Returns: Having your 3PL process returned orders not only saves you time but it will also ensure that the items are restocked or disposed of according to their policies and your preferences. This ensures a positive customer experience and makes returning orders easier for them and for you. With an efficient return process in place, you can focus on what really matters: growing your business and continuing to satisfy your customers.

Why Do I Need a 3PL?

A 3PL (third party logistics) provider like Badger Fulfillment Group can be a great asset to any business, large or small. Their services that can save you time and money, and they can help to improve your customer service levels.

Save Time & Money

A third-party Logistics (3PL) provider can save you money in a number of ways. By outsourcing multiple logistics functions like warehousing and transportation, businesses can reduce operational costs and capital investments, reallocating resources to where they are best used. With access to their 3PL’s expansive network of carriers and providers, businesses may receive discounts on services that would be difficult or expensive to secure individually. Additionally, a professional 3PL will have specialized technology and processes in place designed to efficiently handle the complex management of inventory and transport – allowing companies to spend less time on planning logistics operations such as order fulfillment or shipment tracking. More than just saving money spent on operations, utilizing a 3PL also brings savings through better productivity and faster delivery times resulting in happier customers with improved customer loyalty.

Industry Expertise

3PL industry expertise and strong relationships with carriers is essential for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge in logistics. 3PL’s provide the necessary expertise to reduce costs and increase efficiency, saving time and money. 3pl teams have an in-depth understanding of the entire supply chain network and access to the latest technologies allowing them to offer tailored solutions for any business needs. Moreover, 3pls maintain close relationships with carriers enabling them to efficiently organize complex transportation networks involving multiple partners, ensuring cost-effective shipments every time.

What to look for in a 3pl company?

When it comes to what to look for in a third-party logistics (3PL) company, you need more than just competitive shipping rates and 3pl ecommerce integrations. Support you can rely on and transparency in pricing is a must.

Why Choose Badger Fulfillment Group as Your 3PL?

Badger Fulfillment Group can provide you with unparalleled industry expertise, integrated ecommerce solutions and the ability to pick, pack and ship your goods quickly and reliably. Our staff is located within the warehouse giving you only 1 degree of separation between you and your goods allowing for unparalleled customer service support.


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