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Benefits of a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Provider

What Are 3PLs & How Can They Benefit Your Business?

Managing warehousing, order fulfillment, and logistics operations for your business can be challenging and leave you with less time to focus on expanding your customer base. One crucial element of any business is the ability to adapt and remain agile in ever-changing market conditions to meet consumer demand.

Outsourcing these important tasks to a third-party company will give you more time to spend on activities that are crucial to your business growth, such as streamlining your operations and building your reputation. Supply chain management is a necessity for your organization. Using third-party logistics can make these specific responsibilities less complicated, empowering you to innovate and take your business to the next level.

Let’s review some third-party logistics examples and how to choose a 3PL provider that fits your unique business needs.

What Is Third-Party Logistics (3PL)?

Third-party logistics (3PL) is the process of hiring a third-party business to outsource e-commerce logistics tasks to manage one or more facets of procurement and fulfillment activities. Some of these tasks include:

  • Warehousing
  • Storing
  • Distribution
  • Inventory management
  • Transportation services
  • Shipping and receiving

A 3PL company provides all the services you need to outsource your logistics operations and streamline your processes to expand your business and deliver your products to your customers faster. It’s common for 3PL warehouses to manage and ship inventory of multiple businesses at once in addition to their own inventory.

All 3PL companies specialize in different types of fulfillment for various materials, goods, and products. Some 3PLs offer different warehousing services for temperature-controlled goods and long-term needs. Many businesses will use a 3PL company to help them identify gaps in their supply chains. A 3PL company can also resolve challenges with comprehensive solutions and efficiently carry out tasks that make businesses more agile.

Working with an outsourced logistics provider is a partnership that allows you to spend more time growing your business and accessing the most effective methods for delivering orders to your customers.

What Is the Role of 3PLs in the Supply Chain?

3PL companies take on a critical, multi-purpose role in the supply, which is helping their customers grow their business and achieve sustainability while maximizing their benefits. Supply chain management covers many elements, as we briefly mentioned before, that primarily fall under logistics operations.

These operations include:

  • Logistics planning
  • Material procurement
  • Product sourcing
  • Maintaining inventory

Let’s give you an example of the role 3PL plays in the supply chain. Suppose a shipping company wants to expand its reach internationally but doesn’t know how to start the process. They decide to work with experienced professionals and hire a 3PL company to help them ship their goods. The 3PL partner will find the best carrier and shipping rates and manage the paperwork for the shipping company.

When the products are ready to be shipped, the 3PL partner will pick up the overseas order, book the carrier and deliver the goods. They also manage every other aspect of the shipping process, such as dealing with customs and ensuring your customers receive their orders.

Some 3PL companies also cover warehousing and fulfillment needs for businesses that require faster deliveries. Those providing these services will use innovative technology and software to find the most efficient delivery routes to maximize cost and time, helping businesses meet their supply chain goals.

Advantages of Working With a 3PL

Outsourcing fulfillment services to a 3PL provides endless benefits. Though every 3PL company varies slightly in its capabilities and advantages, they will help you maximize profitability by offering solutions for managing your inventory, packaging, shipping, and warehousing activities.

1. Cost and Time Savings

3PLs eliminate the need for renting a warehouse and paying for logistics and technology needed for fulfillment. Outsourcing these tasks also frees up more time on your end to focus on strategic initiatives.

cost and time savings of working with a 3pl

2. Industry Experience and Expertise

Relying on logistics and shipping professionals with more technical resources can give you access to the latest industry knowledge, trends, and complexities.

3. Flexibility and Ability to Scale

If you’re only selling your products in a limited region, working with a 3PL partner can help you expand your reach and access an expansive network of fulfillment centers to ship out orders from different shipping zones, allowing you to reach more customers.

4. Allows for Your Business to Grow

If your business does suddenly expand or has an increase in consumer demand, a 3PL partner can help you grow your business and handle operations to meet your goals.

5. Provides a Better Customer Experience

With access to the most advanced technology, tracking, operational transparency, and fulfillment solutions, a 3PL partner can ensure you deliver superior customer service every time.

6. Innovation in the Supply Chain

Outsourcing fulfillment means taking advantage of the competitive innovations a 3PL partner can offer for streamlining operations, such as additional offerings and services to improve supply chains and delivery methods. A 3PL partner like Crown LSP Group offers value-added services, including cross-docking and transloading to speed up delivery times and provide more flexibility.

7. Mitigates Risk

Your 3PL fulfillment partner will manage potential risks and maintain quality assurance for safety and damage. With someone to take responsibility for the detailed processes in your supply chain, you will feel a significant weight lifted off your company’s shoulders.

Considerations When Choosing a 3PL 

When choosing a 3PL company, keep in mind that you want to work with a partner who prioritizes operational efficiency, business relationships, safety, and the latest technology. Here are some things to consider before you choose a 3PL partner.

1. Reliability

Your 3PL partner should be able to handle disruptions, unexpected technical problems, and scheduling issues. It’s important to learn if they have a history of financial and relationship stability during an economic disturbance.

2. Customer Service

Confirm if the 3PL partner can match your communication needs. Do they have the ability to maintain professionalism and adequate responsiveness with accurate information? Can they identify issues and resolve them?

3. Safety Procedures

Your 3PL partner should have strict safety policies and procedures in place to protect assets, financial information, and personnel that they regularly update with the latest compliance regulations. They should also practice warehouse safety, particularly when dealing with heavy or hazardous goods.

4. Customization

Find out if the 3PL company provides customized solutions to integrate with your supply chain to help maintain long-term operations, quality of service, and efficiency.

5. Location

Verifying your 3PL company’s location will give you insight into their major shipping hubs and highways that can help you expand your customer base.

6. Technology and Automation

A strong 3PL company will have the latest updated logistics software and IT capabilities to help you make quick, informed decisions and enhance efficiency for your customers.

7. Experience and Reputation

A company’s reputation will tell you many things about how they run its operations. A 3PL company should prioritize its employees, vendors, and carriers to build a respectable and trustworthy reputation. Analyze the 3PL company’s relationships and see if they maintain a strong industry standing.

Choose Crown LSP as Your 3PL Provider

Trusting your business operations with an experienced 3PL partner enables you to focus on management processes with confidence knowing your facility’s operations are in expert hands. When you choose Crown LSP Group as your 3PL services provider, you get flexible, scalable solutions to meet your supply chain challenges and trusted personnel to manage your day-to-day operations.

As a distribution solutions company, we know every customer has unique needs. We will adjust and customize our operations to bring you cost savings and operational efficiency, giving you more time to focus on what you do best. We are ready to help you create a customized warehousing and transportation solution and get you moving forward.

For more information about our 3PL services, get in touch with us or request a quote today.

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What Is Pick and Pack Fulfillment?

What Is Pick and Pack Fulfillment?

Fulfilling orders placed by your customers involves multiple processes associated with both receiving and shipping customer orders. Picking and packing is one of the earliest and most essential processes in order fulfillment. If you own a small business or an e-commerce company, you may be wondering how outsourcing the warehouse pick and pack process can benefit your operations.

Logistics companies can promise speed and efficiency because of the pick and pack process. But before you outsource this crucial process, you should understand pick and pack fulfillment, learn some picking and packing best practices and know the benefits of e-commerce pick and pack fulfillment.

Continue reading to learn more about pick and pack fulfillment with Crown LSP Group.

What Is Pick and Pack Fulfillment?

The pick and pack process is a part of the supply chain — the process that moves goods from the supplier or retailer to the customer. Picking and packing in a warehouse is the process that takes place after orders are placed at a store online. The fulfillment center finds products from shipments and re-packages them for distribution.

  • Picking: Warehouse picking means using a picking list for identifying and retrieving the right quantities of every product from the facility.
  • Packing: Packing means placing items in the correct box and choosing the appropriate documentation and packing materials. The package is then ready for labeling and shipping.

Pick and pack fulfillment is popular among internet or e-commerce businesses with customers across the nation or even around the world.

Types of Pick and Pack Strategies

As your company grows, you may need to adopt other strategies for picking and packing your orders. A warehouse that offers pick and pack services should use best practices and strategies that reduce errors and returns and save you money. These strategies include piece picking, zone picking, batch picking and wave picking.

Piece Picking

This picking and packing method is pretty straightforward — warehouse workers pick each item for an order by hand as they are received. The worker will take the order’s packing slip and move around the warehouse to pick the order’s items off the shelves. After the worker finds every item for the order, they will take the items to the packing station. There, the order will be packed for shipping.

For small businesses that receive just a few orders each day, piece picking may be the easiest strategy to use for picking and packing.

Zone Picking

For the zone picking method, areas of the warehouse are divided into zones. Workers assigned to these zones pick items from the assigned areas. If the order calls for items from multiple zones, workers pass items from one zone to another. Once an order moves through every zone where the items on the packing slip are, the order will go to the packing station.

This method is best for larger fulfillment centers. Since complex coordination is required for this method, you’ll need warehouse management software.

Batch Picking

The batch picking method refers to picking orders in batches rather than individually. This strategy is most efficient if you have a large number of orders. Every batch is comprised of items located within the same zone of the warehouse. Warehouses utilize the batch picking method so pickers have the most efficient path possible through the facility. This saves time that would otherwise be spent walking back and forth, so orders will be packed and shipped faster.

Batch picking can be an effective picking and packing strategy for businesses of all sizes. All of the orders can be picked at one time every day, so this method will be more efficient than the piece picking method, which involves picking the items for each order as you receive them.

Wave Picking

Wave picking combines the zone picking and batch picking methods. For this strategy, employees stay in a designated area but pick orders in batches in those zones rather than picking items for a single order at a time. The batch is then passed to the next area in the warehouse for picking.

Benefits of Pick and Pack Fulfillment

Should your business implement pick and pack fulfillment into your operations? To help you make your decision, consider the benefits of pick and pack fulfillment:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Pick and pack fulfillment can handle any order, so you can avoid minimum order charges. Additionally, items don’t need to be gathered from various storage facilities. This practice reduces time and costs associated with labor, streamlining the process and making it more cost-effective.
  • Quicker turnaround: Another benefit of pick and pack fulfillment is the increased packing and shipping speed. Orders will arrive to customers sooner with pick and pack methods that utilize organized and well-managed handling strategies. Warehouse employees will be trained to work efficiently and will know what goods to search for to fulfill orders and how to pack these items properly to prevent damage.
  • Organization: Any successful pick and pack system relies on an organized warehouse. Groups of items will be clearly labeled to make workers’ jobs easier and every worker will know where to find the items they need, avoiding wasted time.
  • Customer satisfaction: When performed correctly, pick and pack fulfillment ensures orders are filled properly and reach customers on time and without damage. When you work with a pick and pack company, you won’t have to worry about the wrong items being sent to your customers. Properly trained workers and an organized warehouse will ensure orders are accurate and your customers are satisfied with their experience.
  • Efficiency: A proper process for picking and packing streamlines order fulfillment by removing the middleman needed when items are collected from various storage facilities before being sent to another location for packing and labeling. This makes the entire process more efficient.

Pick and pack fulfillment can help your business manage order fulfillment and increase profitability. To enjoy these benefits, you should work with a company that provides pick and pack services.

Choose Crown LSP for Pick and Pack Service

At Crown LSP Group, we provide distribution and supply chain solutions, regardless of whether we’re warehousing raw materials or finished goods. In the current environment, many companies realize they need more safety stock beyond what they were previously keeping on hand, which is where our services come in. Additionally, our transportation department can provide shuttle service from the customer’s facility to Crown LSP Group and vice versa.

We are a proud, family-owned third-party logistics provider that is happy to offer flexible and scalable solutions to our customers. If you are interested in outsourcing picking and packing services, request a quote from Crown LSP Group today.

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