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Mitigating Risks in the Pharma Supply Chain With Third-Party Logistics

The pharmaceutical supply chain involves many complex steps for delivering medications and vaccines to patients. This dynamic process involves multiple stages, including manufacturing, distributing and keeping up with supply and demand. Strategic coordination and collaboration between manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and transportation partners is critical for maintaining a healthy supply chain.

For efficient pharmaceutical supply chain management, companies must be able to identify potential or actual risks to help offset disruptions and delays. Partnering with an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) provider enables pharmaceutical businesses with outsourced tools to combat these obstacles. A customized 3PL solution can promote future growth by improving customer service and satisfaction.

Common Risks in the Pharma Supply Chain

The pharmaceutical industry faces many supply chain-related disruptions that can significantly affect your company’s reputation, customer satisfaction and bottom line. Here are the most common challenges in the pharma supply chain.

1. Improper Stock Levels

Because many medicines and biologics cannot be stored for extended periods of time, it can be challenging for companies to maintain proper inventory levels. Understocking and overstocking can result from many issues throughout the supply chain, including inadequate information sharing, that negatively impact operations.

This can result in each supply chain partner underestimating or overestimating product demand. Combined with the perishability of drugs as well as medical urgency, companies may find it difficult to maintain resilience without end-to-end transparency from trusted logistics sources.

2. Temperature Control Failures

Many pharmaceutical products, including antibiotics, vaccines, insulins and other medicines, must be kept at a specific temperature throughout the entire supply chain process. Insulin, for example, must be refrigerated with ideal temperatures of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Otherwise, these drug products may be damaged or lose their effectiveness, sterility or physical form. Improper handling or extreme variations in temperature can render a shipment unsafe for use — sometimes referred to as cold chain losses.

3. Turnaround Times

In the pharma industry, turnaround time failures directly impact patients in need of medication, which can also result in penalties for partners who fall short. A supply chain compliance measure known as on-time-in-full (OTIF) delivery is a top priority for suppliers, and gauges their performance in delivering the right products on time.

However, poor coordination that leads to damaged, unusable or delayed stock makes it challenging for suppliers and carriers to meet fast demands. A fragmented supply chain with minimal visibility means each link becomes isolated and ill-equipped to actively respond to interruptions.

4. Maintaining Compliance

Compliance is a critical aspect of the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma manufacturers and shippers must adhere to strict regulations and guidelines, such as:

  • Transit temperature or humidity
  • Packaging
  • Recordkeeping
  • Labeling and handling protocols
  • Product safety
  • Public safety

Supply chain managers and directors must also comply with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which outlines measurements and standards for quality assurance and traceability. These rigorous requirements for products, procedures and documentation can increase medical supply chain challenges and risk of errors.

Additionally, pharma suppliers must keep up with changing regulations. Navigating compliance in this field can be extremely complex, particularly when handling other priorities like storing products and fulfilling orders.

Benefits of Using a 3PL for Pharma Supply Chain Risk Mitigation

Partnering with a trusted, experienced 3PL can help your pharmaceutical company mitigate risk and maintain regulatory compliance. You can rely on third-party logistics to solve your unique challenges with various customized services that offer the following advantages.

Cost Reduction

Third-party logistics companies like Crown LSP Group can drive cost savings. Because many supply chain links rely on manual processes, it can be challenging to move products quickly — which often leads to higher costs. Additionally, inefficiencies can cause delays, while strained budgets make it difficult for your business to invest in the necessary logistics equipment. A 3PL partner can help you optimize efficiency and reduce costs with sophisticated resources and an extensive network of logistics professionals.

3PL distribution and logistics solutions also enable cost savings by allowing you to outsource your warehouse operations, staff, technology infrastructure and transportation equipment. They may even be able to assist with negotiating lower rates with carriers and optimizing transportation routes to maximize your budget.

Improved Efficiency

A trusted 3PL solutions provider supports many aspects of your supply chain responsibilities, including improving efficiency and accuracy. Outsourced logistics companies regulate the transportation of your products and ensure smooth operations in the supply chain. With quick product shipping and seamless order fulfillment, you can improve operational efficiency and meet customer needs.

Comprehensive solutions contribute to business agility and flexibility, empowering your company to carry out tasks faster. Additionally, a 3PL partner can help you identify gaps and risks in your supply chain and help resolve those challenges before they impact your customers.

Increased Scalability

Meeting demand in the pharmaceutical industry can be particularly challenging, especially in the event of a global crisis where medications and vaccines are urgently needed. Outsourcing third-party logistics enables your pharma company to scale as needed in response to market demands and fluctuations.

This scalability can help you maintain proper inventory levels and remain flexible in an ever-changing environment. 3PL partners like Crown LSP Group also offer customized solutions based on your changing needs, so you can choose which services benefit you.

Maintaining Compliance With Regulations

Working with a 3PL partner means you gain access to expertise in all areas of logistics. Because the pharmaceutical market faces unique challenges, an experienced solutions provider like Crown LSP Group can support product safety and compliance.

Whether you require quick delivery with specialized shipping, storing medications in temperature-controlled settings or transloading, your 3PL partner can assist you in managing these complexities.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a 3PL Partner for the Pharma Industry

Outsourcing your logistics and warehousing operations to a 3PL connects you with many valuable services. Here are some qualities to look for to help you select the right 3PL provider for your pharmaceutical company:

  • Experience: An experienced, reliable provider with a trusted reputation — like Crown LSP Group — will better serve you and your customers. Their reputation and years of experience signify they can help you solve pharma supply chain challenges. They should also know the ins and outs of distribution and logistics, and have strong industry connections that benefit your business.
  • Technology capabilities: Many supply chains rely on automation to achieve efficiency and accuracy. An innovative 3PL partner has the sophisticated technology and systems to respond quickly to issues with integrated software and real-time production insights.
  • Compliance: It’s critical for your 3PL partner to handle regulatory compliance with the utmost care. An experienced partner can address unique and specialized pharma requirements, including extensive monitoring, tracking and cold storage. We proudly maintain compliance with many industry-specific organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Leverage Tailored 3PL Solutions From Crown LSP Group

As a company in the pharmaceutical industry, you know how challenging it is to maintain compliance while managing other business priorities. Outsourcing to a 3PL partner like Crown LSP Group allows you to access tailored supply chain management solutions. It’s our goal to help your company optimize efficiency and mitigate risks so you can focus on core operations.

As a trusted partner in supply chain operations, Crown LSP Group offers logistics, warehousing, transportation, order fulfillment and inventory management services. Request a quote or contact us today for more information about how we can serve you.

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Common Industries That Use 3PL Services

Partnering with an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) provider offers modern businesses many benefits, such as helping manage supply chain risks more effectively while enabling more efficiency. This strategy also helps support future growth by improving customer service and satisfaction.

Since this solution is useful for businesses across many industries, let’s explore what companies use 3PL, why and how.

E-Commerce and Retail

E-commerce skyrocketed during the pandemic, when shoppers didn’t have access to traditional marketplaces. In 2021, the industry generated over $5 billion in sales. The trend shows no signs of slowing as consumers continue to enjoy online shopping’s convenience. Economists predict the market will grow 56% by 2026 and generate over $8 billion in revenue.

This increase drives demand for e-commerce order fulfillment services and more efficient logistics. A 3PL partner can carry out tasks like last-mile delivery so that customer products arrive on time and in good condition, regardless of where they are. Plus, these providers can help with reverse logistics and returns processing to maintain great customer service.

Online retailers also rely heavily on their 3PL providers for inventory management solutions. The insights a 3PL firm provides into product stock let e-commerce pros know the status of the goods at a glance. As a result, companies get the data they need to place supply orders and schedule production to avoid stockouts, keeping their customers happier.

Third-party logistics companies help traditional retail stores support their operations, as well. Businesses providing 3PL solutions offer short-term storage and long-term warehousing services to meet seasonal demand changes. They also supply cost-effective solutions like cross-docking, simplifying goods distribution and increasing delivery speed.

Manufacturing and Distribution

Goods manufacturers and distributors face many pain points in the supply chain. Manual processes and in-house storage and shipping operations can be expensive, and inefficient transportation further increases operating costs. Effective raw material movement is vital to promoting continuous production and preventing downtime that may result in unsatisfied customers.

An experienced 3PL provider like Crown LSP Group is an ideal solution, serving as a strategic business partner that offers solutions such as:

  • Warehouse storage: We can accommodate your long- and short-term storage needs to help you gain the redundancy just-in-time manufacturing requires.
  • On-site warehousing services: Our team provides on-site operational support for your facilities, eliminating the high labor costs of staffing and managing it independently.
  • Transportation services: Crown LSP Group is an expert in freight brokerage and specialized shipping to help you cost-effectively ensure accurate and timely raw material deliveries.
  • Order fulfillment services: We streamline last-mile distribution with fast delivery that improves customer satisfaction and prevents you from having to hire and manage ground-level fleets countrywide.

We also offer end-to-end inventory management services that help you optimize your stock. Our technology includes automated solutions that end manual processes, boosting accuracy, visibility and time savings. Crown LSP Group has a demand forecasting system for better planning, as well.

Health Care and Pharmaceutical

The health care and pharmaceutical markets represent two of the most common types of companies that use third-party logistics to solve their unique challenges.

Health care and medical supply companies frequently serve worldwide markets where patient lives and clinical outcomes depend on timely deliveries. A delayed shipment can leave an organization without the necessary supplies to deliver care. Further, these products often need specialized shipping to protect them against potential damage during transport.

Experienced 3PL providers play a critical role in health care and medical logistics by helping solve these complex issues. Warehousing services keep products strategically located for faster order fulfillment, and transportation services like less-than-truckload shipping ensure quick delivery for smaller orders. Additional solutions, such as drayage shipping, keep intermodal journeys on schedule.

Pharmaceutical companies face similar challenges when storing and shipping essential medications and treatments. They frequently need controlled atmospheres to preserve product safety and integrity and cold chain solutions to maintain those conditions throughout shipping. Those who do business with the European Union must also follow the Good Distribution Practice (GDP) framework, which contains the minimum guidelines for the industry’s supply chain.

A knowledgeable and reliable 3PL firm can manage these complexities with services like temperature-controlled storage and transloading, supporting product safety and compliance.

Food and Beverage

Food and beverage companies have numerous regulations applying to their supply chain management. For example, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires product traceability to help contain food-borne illness outbreaks. These businesses also need ways to manage stock rotation to ensure that products arrive fresh and safe for consumption.

Inventory management services from a 3PL provider solve these issues and support compliance. The right partner will have the technology to track goods at every step, like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and bar code systems. With real-time visibility, 3PL companies can also support just-in-time deliveries of perishable goods to cut waste and meet specific customer needs.

Food producers and distributors must focus on preserving their goods’ flavors and maintaining availability for out-of-season items, as well. This requirement often necessitates a well-controlled storage and shipping environment.

Full-service food and beverage logistics providers have solutions for these challenges, too. Temperature-controlled warehousing and specialized cold-chain shipping expertise help companies supply their customers with fast product delivery at the peak of freshness and taste while conforming to food safety laws.

Automotive and Transportation

Automotive and transportation professionals are among those who use 3PL services to drive organizational value. Thanks to the nature of their business, these companies serve multiple customers, from individual consumers to dealer partnerships.

The supply and distribution challenges of these companies include storing and shipping large, expensive items, smaller replacement components, and care or repair kits. The latter results in a greater need for inventory control to minimize waste, maximize efficiency and meet customer expectations for fast delivery.

An agile 3PL partner like Crown LSP Group has the expertise and resources to help with automotive logistics, with services like:

  • Short- and long-term warehousing: We’re close to the eastern North Carolina ports and can scale with your changing business needs.
  • Vehicle shipping: With our freight brokerage services, we leverage our relationships with a deep network of transportation partners to find you competitive rates for large deliveries.
  • Asset-based transportation: We can use our contacts for asset-based transportation services that provide the peace of mind of owner-operated equipment.
  • Kitting and assembly services: Our team adds extra value to the process with kitting and assembly services that improve the consumer experience.
  • Other value-added services: Crown LSP Group is also an expert in inventory management and rapid order fulfillment.

Other Industries

Firms providing 3PL services customize their services to streamline storage and distribution operations for various other crucial economic sectors, including technology, energy, construction and fashion.

Construction and Engineering

A successful construction project requires numerous materials that often arrive from different suppliers at various locations. Seasoned 3PL providers can combine these deliveries to help ensure all materials come on-site together and are ready to use, which allows you to please clients with jobs that move forward on time.

Technology and Electronics

Modern technology is highly sensitive to damage during storage and transport. A 3PL provider understands what’s involved in protecting these delicate and often expensive goods. They take the extra steps to develop specialized storage and shipping strategies to safeguard the products.

Energy and Utilities

Oil, gas and other energy companies have multilayered, complex supply chains with many moving parts to coordinate. Partnering with a 3PL firm lets them outsource the variables to a knowledgeable business that provides access to the latest technology and support services, such as intermodal transportation expertise.

Fashion and Apparel

The fashion and apparel industry is a high-SKU, high-turnover environment. As a result, businesses in this field have frequently changing storage needs. A 3PL company offers flexible storage, fulfillment and inventory management based on individual needs, and these customized approaches allow businesses to use their resources more effectively.

Trust Crown LSP Group as Your 3PL Partner

Companies in many industries regularly turn to Crown LSP Group for tailored supply chain management solutions. From automotive and consumer packaged goods to life sciences and food, we help companies optimize efficiency and allow them to focus on their core operations.

Request a personalized quote, or contact a specialist online for more information.

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Why Logistics Management Is Key to Business Success

Managing logistics with Crown LSP Group promotes an organized flow of inventory operations from start to finish. It helps you efficiently fulfill the demands and expectations of both customers and people in your organization. In this post, you’ll learn about the importance of logistics management for businesses and the benefits it provides for your operations.

What Is Logistics Management?

Logistics management is the process of planning, organizing and executing an operation. It ensures the effective receiving, storage and transportation of inventory from its origin to its destination. That way, customers can receive their products at the right time and location.

For example, managing logistics in a warehouse might involve tasks like:

  • Material handling and storage.
  • Incoming and outgoing transportation management.
  • Fleet management.
  • Supply and demand planning.
  • Logistics network design.
  • Order fulfillment.
  • Inventory control.
  • Product packaging.

Logistics management entails everything from information flow to materials and production. It helps keep all product phases running smoothly and prevents operations from crumbling.

An experienced logistics management company like Crown LSP Group can work with you to optimize your inventory, cut costs and overhead, improve efficiency, and ultimately boost revenue and customer satisfaction.

The Importance of Logistics Management

Logistics may focus primarily on inventory, but it goes much further than that. Successful logistics management leads to numerous long-term benefits, including:

  • Increased efficiency.
  • Higher production rates.
  • Reduced operational costs.
  • Streamlined inventory control.
  • Better use of warehouse space.
  • Improved customer experience and satisfaction.

All of these factors contribute to successful business operations. Below, we’ll look at the advantages proper logistics management can offer your organization.

1. Efficient Supply Chain Management

Logistics management plays an essential role in supply chain management optimization. It helps facilitate the flow and storage of products. Additionally, it helps oversee the documents and reports regarding these movements. Logistics also help control the different transportation methods that move products from point A to point B.

An efficient supply chain reduces the need to maintain inventory. In turn, it decreases overhead costs associated with storage and security. These factors collectively help streamline your flow of goods and services. A more efficient supply chain and product management system can result in a more positive experience for the customer, increasing their overall satisfaction and retention.

2. Cost Reduction and Profitability

Part of logistics management is understanding major expenditures associated with inventory warehousing, distribution and transportation. Analyzing your costs can help you find opportunities to reduce unnecessary spending and use funds more resourcefully.

Effective logistics balance inventory levels, give you more control over inbound freight, help goods reach the correct transportation modes and organize the reverse flow of goods. All of these can reduce costs considerably.

Logistics management can decrease overhead costs by automating and optimizing different tasks, like storage, packaging and shipping. By managing inventory levels based on supply and demand, you can avoid purchasing excess or inadequate logistics supplies.

Here are some specific ways logistics management can help cut costs and increase profitability:

  • Optimized storage: Knowing the dimensions of forklifts allows you to organize storage by the aisle dimensions needed for forklift access. Using tall, narrow racks reduces the required square footage, helping you cut storage costs.
  • Inventory protection: In the United States alone, about $163 billion worth of inventory is tossed annually due to damage and oversupply. Proper inventory control and storage can help minimize damaged goods, misplacements, theft, overstock and understock.
  • Enhanced product transfer: Logistics planning ensures more efficient product movement and distribution, which helps decrease costs. For example, cross-docking is the process of unloading inbound delivery vehicles, then loading them directly onto outbound delivery vehicles. It reduces the need to store products in a warehouse, eliminates the need for large warehouse spaces and cuts down on packaging, saving time and money.
  • Vehicle performance: Logistics management can help your organization save money by planning and optimizing preventive vehicle maintenance. Routine maintenance helps prevent costly breakdowns, repairs and replacements.

3. Improved Customer Satisfaction

Logistics optimize internal and external communications, promoting transparency in your operations. As a result, customers have more insight into when their order will be delivered. They can also receive more efficient customer service and answers to their questions regarding delivery.

Additionally, an effective logistics strategy helps inventory reach the customer in quality condition, improving the buyer’s satisfaction with the product and company. Logistics management plays a pivotal role in timely deliveries, accurate order fulfillment and effective communication, all of which foster a positive customer experience and brand loyalty.

4. Risk Management and Mitigation

A supply chain disruption occurs when an external force hinders your organization’s ability to receive, assemble, store, ship or distribute products. These disruptions cost large companies about $184 million in lost revenue annually. Furthermore, nearly 60% of small and mid-sized business report losses of 15% or greater due to supply chain delays.

Some examples of supply chain disruptions include:

  • Demand drops and surges.
  • Labor shortages.
  • Storage and access restrictions.
  • Raw material shortages.

Crown LSP Group can help you analyze the market and plan for these potential disruptions. Developing a risk management and contingency plan helps you prevent and address these disruptions to your operations. Besides supply chain disruptions, you’ll want to plan for other risks and hazards, such as:

  • Slips, trips and falls.
  • Falling objects.
  • Fires.
  • Harmful substance exposure.
  • Equipment malfunctions.
  • Floods and water damage.
  • Product loss, theft, damage, understock or surpluses.

Proper logistical planning can help you identify and mitigate supply chain risks, responding effectively to disruptions. Additionally, it teaches warehouse staff the correct procedures for safe product and equipment handling, helping prevent unwanted incidents and injuries.

5. Competitive Advantage

With the increasing digital demand, customers expect more efficiency than ever before. Warehouses must provide fast, quality service to get ahead in the highly competitive market. Logistics management helps companies optimize inventory processes, reduce disruptions and ensure timely deliveries, all of which influence customer satisfaction.

Better customer service and product quality build a positive image for your brand, generating more business and giving you a competitive edge. Implementing technology and software to improve your logistics helps you keep up with industry trends and consumer demands, differentiating yourself from competitors.

Choose Crown LSP Group as Your Logistics Management Company

Logistics management is essential to business success and growth. If you’re looking for a comprehensive logistics services provider serving the east coast, turn to Crown LSP Group for assistance.

Our trusted distribution solutions company has been helping businesses streamline their operations since 1987. We can provide the resources and strategies you need for more cost-effective, efficient inventory processes. Committed to serving our customers and local community, we aim to ensure the best possible service for every job.

Our solutions include warehousing and storage, transportation and logistics, order fulfillment and more. No matter your unique requirements, we’re ready to meet your logistical needs so you can better serve your customers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed!

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Top Challenges of Managing Your Own Logistics and How a 3PL Can Help

The Top Challenges of Managing Your Own Logistics and How a 3PL Can Help

In-house logistics might sound appealing initially, but when you see all the complications associated with it, outsourced services often emerge as the more effective option. A third-party logistics (3PL) provider specializes in areas of distribution, fulfillment, warehousing and transportation, bringing industry-specific expertise and sophisticated systems to the table while helping you focus on growing your business.

Logistics is a complicated field, especially when you consider the necessary resources, evolving compliance requirements and scalability of your approach. Doing it yourself can be difficult, if not impossible, and 3PL providers often give better service at lower costs. They have skilled teams, sophisticated systems and plenty of expertise. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest challenges in transportation and logistics and how 3PL providers address them.

Challenge 1: Limited Expertise and Resources

Most businesses don’t have unlimited funds lying around to create a high-caliber team of logistics experts or buy the latest and greatest software systems and tools. Solving common logistics problems calls for many different resources and professionals who understand the various aspects of transportation, warehousing, compliance, etc. Hiring these professionals and buying resources yourself can be expensive and time-consuming. Consider the costs of hiring new employees, for example, and making room for large pieces of equipment.

A 3PL provider will usually offer their services through affordable, recurring costs without any capital investment on your part. Since logistics is all they do, you can expect a 3PL provider to have a team of highly skilled, well-trained professionals offering expertise in different areas for a fraction of the cost of in-house hiring. Working with a 3PL can significantly reduce the strain on your team and business resources.

Challenge 2: Increasing Complexity and Scale

The supply chain is always evolving, and your business will likely grow. Adapting to these changes is hard to do in-house. If your logistics operations need to scale up, you may need to hire more professionals or buy more equipment. If a new sales channel or technology appears, you may need to modify your approach. These tasks take time and money, and keeping pace with them can be incredibly challenging.

As an outsourced service provider, 3PL partners are ideal for scalability. They can generally accommodate high capacities, and all you need to do is talk over the changes with the provider. Whether your business grows or you want to tackle a spike in sales near the holidays, 3PL providers can adjust accordingly.

Since they offer a wide range of services, a 3PL partner can help you branch out into new areas or try new things without high capital investments. These flexible, scalable solutions can allow you to make business decisions more freely, even in the face of a complicated landscape.

Challenge 3: Operational Inefficiencies and Costs

With so much complexity, it may not be a surprise that in-house logistics are prone to inefficiencies. They often lack the proper technology and infrastructure to move products efficiently. Manual processes, for example, can be much slower than automated systems, and strained budgets can keep businesses from obtaining the necessary automation equipment. Inefficiencies like these can cause delays, bottlenecks and higher costs associated with slower operations. Managing the varying costs of logistics, such as chaotic fuel prices, can also be difficult.

3PL organizations are especially interested in working efficiently and reducing costs. After all, those metrics affect their success, too. They also have the support of expert logistics professionals and sophisticated resources. A 3PL provider continuously optimizes for efficiency and low costs. They may even be able to help you save money by accessing lower rates through their large network of partners. With these partners, you can expect products to move more efficiently for reduced costs.

Challenge 4: Compliance and Risk Management

Staying up to date with compliance and risk management requirements can be a monumental task. Regulatory requirements are always changing, and you must continuously conduct assessments and evaluations to mitigate risks in the supply chain and your business. As requirements change, you’ll need to respond accordingly. Compliance and risk mitigation become increasingly difficult and expensive as you scale and expand a business. For example, some countries prohibit shipping certain items, and you cannot risk violating these laws as you branch into new regions.

Violations can be expensive, both through fines and the additional work required to rectify the situation. They may also be detrimental to your reputation. Avoiding compliance issues is crucial and usually requires an expert. Risk management is similar and often calls for a skilled professional with a pulse on many different industries.

Naturally, a 3PL provider pays attention to regulations and standards and has people on hand to tackle compliance problems and reduce risk. Outsourcing logistics shifts some responsibility onto the 3PL partner while leveraging their expertise in other areas to help you avoid risk and stay compliant. They can be especially helpful in tackling the volatility of the supply chain industry.

Challenge 5: Customer Service and Satisfaction

Logistics plays a major role in the customer experience. While in-house logistics can provide more control over the customer experience, they also create many opportunities for errors and inefficiency. Without an accurate, streamlined system, you will likely introduce delays and inconsistencies, leading to negative interactions with your company.

Sophisticated systems are also essential for providing visibility, which many customers now expect. They want to know when their order will arrive and be able to see its location in real time. Implementing such a system can be difficult, time-consuming and costly. For a 3PL provider, these programs are a central part of the job and solve major logistical challenges. 3PL partners understand them and have the IT support to keep them running smoothly.

3PL partners also run their services like a well-oiled machine, so you can expect fewer delays and errors that would affect your customers. This dependability can provide big dividends for your customer satisfaction ratings.

Additionally, 3PL providers can support your customer service goals with expert guidance. They can work with you to develop a plan that improves the customer experience through direct communication or optimization in areas like efficiency and accuracy. 3PL partners and their long-standing knowledge of the field can be significant assets for impressing your customers.

Overcome Your Biggest Logistical Challenges With Crown LSP Group

In-house logistics may work for some organizations, but those companies often have massive budgets and resources to spend. Taking the job on yourself can entail some significant logistics problems, like scaling the operation, minimizing costs, staying compliant and appealing to your customers. A 3PL provider takes the legwork out of logistics so you can focus more on what you do best. We leverage a skilled team dedicated exclusively to logistics and distribution solutions to help your business thrive and avoid these challenges.

At Crown LSP Group, we have decades of experience in the field and insights across many industries. We work as an extension of your business to reduce costs, improve quality and provide a stellar customer experience every time. Whether you need to scale, accommodate unique products or customize your approach, our knowledgeable professionals can help. Learn more about our approach online, or request a quote today to get started!

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How to Choose the Right 3PL Provider for Your Business

Third-party logistics (3PL) providers can be an incredible resource for businesses, handling the complex nature of distribution with sophisticated and efficient systems. Where a small organization might struggle to respond to shipping demands or adapt to market volatility, a skilled 3PL provider can easily accommodate these factors, allowing the business to focus on other things like stimulating growth or reducing costs.

But not all providers are created equal. How do you know which is reliable and best fits your organization’s unique needs? Before you pick a 3PL provider, take some time to dive into the following tasks and understand your needs on a deeper level. These steps on how to choose a 3PL provider should help you find a capable partner for years to come.

1. Assess Your Business Needs

Start by finding your must-haves and collecting the information a good 3PL provider will need before offering its services. Map out the scope and scale of your operations and the level of service you need from this new partner. Will you need them to provide value-added services like kitting, fulfillment or pallet displays? Do you have products with unique demands, like hazardous materials or fragile items, that they can accommodate? Make sure your provider can meet these demands and has experience with them.

Consider what you want your customer experience to look like and how your 3PL provider can help you get there. You may want to personalize the customer experience with unique freebies or packing slips, or maybe you just want to ensure reliable, mistake-free deliveries. 3PL partners function as an extension of your brand, so make sure the company can meet the standards your customers expect.

Another aspect to consider is your organization’s plans for growth. If you intend to scale your business, your 3PL provider should be able to scale with you. Understand your requirements for capacity, speed, throughput and other relevant metrics that will help you grow and maintain quality.

2. Evaluate 3PL Providers

Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start assessing specific providers. Gather up a list of potential partners and do some digging. Look into their position on aspects like:

  • Reputation: Learn about the provider from different sources, including customers, carriers, vendors and even employees. A good reputation signifies a good track record. It can also point toward a provider with strong industry connections. For instance, they may be able to solve problems more easily or negotiate better rates.
  • Experience: A provider that’s been around for a while understands the details of distribution and logistics. They can provide reliable insight, and you can rest easy knowing they’ve been there before. Experience can also point to a provider that knows how to handle the ups and downs of an ever-evolving industry.
  • Locations: You may want a 3PL provider with specific locations to better serve your customers. Consider where the company places its warehouses and whether they sit close to ports and highways.
  • Technology and infrastructure: Today’s supply chain relies on sophisticated technology and systems. Ask your 3PL provider what kind of software they use and how they achieve efficiency and quality in their processes. Look for a partner that integrates with your chosen e-commerce platform and has a good support team in place.
  • Pricing and contracts: Of course, your 3PL provider should fit within your budget. Analyze potential contracts and consider whether the prices they’re offering you are competitive without being suspiciously low.
  • Safety, security and compliance: Warehouse work environments can be a hot spot for safety issues, so dig into your potential partner’s approach to safety, including their track record with regulatory compliance. Look for their information and product security credentials to ensure they can protect your assets. Some certifications to look for include those from the Payment Card Industry (PCI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and any industry-specific organizations.

Empower Your Supply Chain with the Ideal 3PL Provider


Unleash the full potential of your supply chain by partnering with the ideal 3PL provider.

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3. Consider Industry Specialization

A partner with experience in your industry can address unique and specialized requirements. For example, pharmaceuticals may require extensive monitoring, tracking and cold storage, while food and beverage products need exceptional speed to reach customers before going bad. Talk to your potential partner about their prior work in your industry, and ask for specific examples of how they can meet your unique demands. Pay special attention to their handling of regulations and compliance.

4. Learn How They Communicate and Collaborate

Communication and collaboration are crucial in any partnership. As you read reviews and talk to the 3PL provider, look into their approach to communication and what tools they use for it. What is your 3PL partner’s method of responding to issues? Do they keep you in the loop through integrated software and real-time product insights?

Good communication often points toward better service since the company can quickly identify and resolve problems. They may even offer more support by providing insights into your products and costs. A strong 3PL partnership should help reduce the stress associated with logistics while giving you more freedom to grow your business.

5. Review Performance Metrics

Key performance indicators (KPIs) provide valuable insights into a provider’s performance over time and in specific areas. Figure out which KPIs are most important to your needs, and obtain them from your potential partner. Understand how they measure and report on these KPIs, and evaluate their performance history to learn more about their track record.

While every KPI indicates something different, watch for signs of stability and overall quality. Stability shows that the 3PL provider has adapted to changing industry demands. Aspects like accuracy, on-time deliveries and customer satisfaction naturally suggest a higher-quality operation that can support your goals.

6. Finalize the Partnership

Once you’ve found the right 3PL partner, you can finalize the partnership. You must negotiate your contracts and agreements and conduct due diligence for legal compliance and insurance coverage. These administrative tasks are essential, but you’ll also need to focus on establishing a good working relationship with the provider. Get to know your point of contact, and build a communication plan so you understand what to expect moving forward.

Establishing expectations upfront can save a lot of headaches down the road and set you up for a more successful partnership.

Find the Right 3PL Provider to Help You Grow

Regardless of your goals or industry, the right 3PL provider will significantly impact your organization. This partner can be the difference between on-time deliveries and costly shipment delays. They might help you reach more markets, gain more customers or reduce your expenses considerably. Take the time to make this decision properly and understand the characteristics of your operation, the provider and the partnership. By prioritizing your evaluation, you can decide on a partner that aligns best with your business plans.

If you need 3PL services in the eastern United States, Crown LSP Group offers family-owned support from North Carolina. Our convenient locations sit near several East Coast ports, major roadways and large cities, and we have experience in many different industries. We also have the flexibility and customization to accommodate unique requirements while keeping costs low. Request a quote today to learn more about our 3PL services and see how Crown LSP Group can help!

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The Benefits of Outsourced Logistics for Your Business

Supply chains have become more complex with globalization, higher customer demands and increased customization for end customers. At the same time, labor shortages have affected many industries, which can impact how effectively you can manage your supply chain.

Outsourcing logistic services to a trusted partner like Crown LSP Group can make a difference. As an experienced distribution solutions company, we can handle logistics, storing products, fulfilling orders and taking care of warehouse management tasks. Our suite of services is scalable and flexible, so we can grow with you and accommodate seasonal changes, night shipping and your specific needs.

Elevate Your Business with Outsourced Logistics Solutions


Experience the transformative power of outsourced logistics solutions and propel your business to new heights.

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The Benefits of Outsourced Logistics for Your Business

Outsourcing logistics to a highly responsible solutions provider like Crown LSP Group comes with many benefits that can be important for your business:

  • Cost savings: One of the big benefits of outsourcing warehouse operations and logistic services is that you can save by not having to pay for warehouse space and staff, technology infrastructure, transportation equipment and other substantial costs. Since third-party logistics (3PL) distribution and logistics solutions companies can take care of these expenses at scale, their costs are less expensive than having to take care of all the staffing and equipment you need for logistics yourself. Providers like Crown LSP Group can save you even more by negotiating great rates with carriers, consolidating shipments, optimizing transportation routes and taking other steps to make your budget go further.
  • Access to expertise: Crown LSP Group has been helping businesses with their logistics needs since 1987. We understand all areas of logistics, including the solutions available today, best practices, current technology and industry standards. With us, you don’t have to learn about logistics because we bring you the solutions you need, using our decades of experience.
  • Scalability: Outsourcing third-party logistics makes it easier to change your services in response to market conditions and seasonal fluctuations. Crown LSP Group, for example, offers custom solutions based on your requirements, so you don’t end up paying for services you don’t need.
  • Improved focus on core business operations: Crown LSP Group can take care of logistics, so you can focus on new products and services, customer service and growing your organization. Outsourcing logistics frees up your time and energy so you can improve your productivity and efficiency.
  • Improved customer service: Outsourcing logistics means your customers enjoy getting their products on time, in good condition and with accurate order contents. This means happier customers! When you work with Crown LSP Group, we care about your customers as much as you do. We’re committed to making sure orders are packed correctly and get to their destination on time because we understand this can help build your brand and ensure you land more repeat business.

When to Consider Logistics Outsourcing

With so many benefits of outsourcing warehouse operations and logistic services, you may want to start outsourcing third-party logistics right away. It’s not always the right solution for every company, however. At Crown LSP Group, our decades of experience have found that turning to a solutions provider makes the most sense in a few situations:

  • Rapid growth or expansion: When your organization grows fast, trying to handle logistics in-house may become overwhelming. You could even make mistakes or end up spending too much time on logistics instead of managing your growth. When you work with a trusted provider like Crown LSP Group, our resources and expertise let us meet your needs, even if they’re changing fast.
  • Limited internal resources: If your organization doesn’t have the transportation equipment, warehouse space, technology infrastructure or staff to meet demand, outsourcing logistics services can be more cost-effective than recruiting and buying everything you require.
  • Need for specialized expertise: If you need expertise in supply chain management, customs brokerage, customized packaging, night shipping, cross-docking, kitting and assembly, e-commerce fulfillment and the other, more complex parts of logistics, working with experts at a service provider like Crown LSP Group makes sense. We provide you with solutions, without you needing to learn every detail of these services yourself.
  • Desire for cost savings: If you want to optimize costs in logistics operations, outsourcing can help. The team at Crown LSP Group, for example, creates custom solutions so you only pay for what you need. We can also optimize routes and your services to save you even more.

Types of Logistics Outsourcing

Logistics outsourcing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your specific needs, you may choose different types of logistics outsourcing:

  • Transportation management: When you outsource transportation management, your 3PL can handle different types of transportation (by water, road, rail or air). They can also track shipments, optimize routes and work with carriers. This helps you effectively move products while saving time and money for your organization.
  • Warehouse and distribution management: When you outsource warehouse and distribution management, a partner like Crown LSP Group will take care of order fulfillment, labeling, inventory management, packaging and shipping. This can mean more streamlined distribution processes, more accurate inventory management and happier customers.
  • Freight forwarding: Outsourcing freight forwarding means someone outside your company will take care of international shipping. They will take care of customs clearance, overseas carriers, tracking and documentation. International shipping can be complex since every nation has its own regulations. Outsourcing this part of your business gives you access to global markets, but it also helps you handle compliance issues and some of the complexities of shipping across borders.
  • Customs brokerage: This involves outsourcing all the steps of getting shipments to clear customs. It can include management of taxes and duties, compliance matters and documentation. Since customs rules are complicated and always changing, outsourcing this part of your business can make sense. The team at Crown LSP Group stays up to date about all current customs requirements, so you don’t have to.
  • Supply chain management: You can outsourceend-to-end management of the entire supply chain, from procurement to distribution. This means a service provider will handle production scheduling, demand planning, supplier negotiations, transportation and inventory management. Outsourcing all these tasks can save your business time and money. It can optimize the process and even give you enhanced visibility of every part of the supply chain.

The Bottom Line on Logistics Outsourcing

Logistics outsourcing can save your business time and money, allowing you to focus on core operations and keep your customers happier. You can outsource many logistics functions, including transportation management, warehouse and distribution management, freight forwarding, customs brokerage and supply chain management.

If your business is considering logistics outsourcing, the right partner is crucial to ensure you get the right solutions and the support you need, every step of the way. Many organizations turn to Crown LSP Group when they need a reliable distribution solutions company offering customized solutions.

Our decades of experience, commitment to your business success and our range of solutions for every industry make us stand out. Contact Crown LSP Group today to find out how we can help your business thrive or to get a quote for the services you need.

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B2B Fulfillment: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Modern business relies on fulfillment activities to deliver goods and services to customers, whether in business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions or as a business-to-business (B2B) organization.

What Is B2B Fulfillment?

B2B fulfillment services concentrate on satisfying orders between one business and another instead of a business to an individual. This process can take many forms and often involves high-volume or bulk orders.

How Does B2B Fulfillment Work?

For example, a B2B-focused organization may deliver large quantities of goods to a wholesale company. In turn, the receiving company stores, sells and ships the products to retailers who make the final sale to consumers. Another common application is a corporate office with many branches that buys necessary operational supplies in bulk to take advantage of quantity discounts. The company can then allocate these resources to their satellite offices from their stockpile as needed.

Consistent delivery of goods and services is frequently essential to a business’s core purpose or operations. B2B fulfillment practices must be reliable, swift and efficient to prevent costly delays and support an effective supply chain.

The Difference Between B2B and B2C Fulfillment

While both B2B shipping and B2C fulfillment focus on order delivery, their characteristics can vary widely.

Shipping Differences

B2C e-commerce fulfillment generally involves higher numbers of smaller and lighter-weight packages. Parcel delivery services can easily transport and deliver these smaller packages affordably, leading many companies to offer B2C perks like free shipping.

In contrast, B2B orders are less frequent since they’re larger. Because of the volumes involved and the fulfillment speed necessary, shipping costs are generally higher.

B2B orders also often use freight carriers and work with third-party logistics providers like Crown LSP Group. These partners help broker freight on either a full truckload basis or through negotiated rates for less-than-truckload deliveries.

Receiving Protocols

B2B order fulfillment can be complex since customer demands may vary. Larger companies may require electronic documentation or value-added services like drayage and barcoding for better inventory management.

Similarly, a recipient may restrict deliveries by specifying certain days or times of the day for receiving. Narrow delivery windows can add to the shipping costs, and delays can result in penalties or denied deliveries.

Conversely, B2C orders generally carry no limitations. Parcel companies can deliver at any time of day or day of the week, usually with no documentation necessary.

When to Choose a B2B Fulfillment Provider

B2B fulfillment services are ideal for companies that have commercial customers or want to attract them. These specialized services can help you ship swiftly, efficiently and cost-effectively to meet your customers’ needs. Plus, effective B2B order fulfillment can create repeat long-term customers, reducing your cost-per-acquisition numbers.

How to Choose the Right B2B Fulfillment Provider

Consider several factors when identifying the best B2B partner for your company.


The B2B fulfillment process may follow similar steps for each company, but you need more than a cookie-cutter approach. A knowledgeable and experienced 3PL fulfillment provider works with you as a consultant to understand your unique business challenges and designs a solution to answer them head-on.


Whether you have hundreds of B2B customers or you’re seeing your first sales, you need an agile partner. Carefully assess the 3PL company to ensure they’ll be able to handle increased order processing demands and support continued growth.


Your 3PL B2B fulfillment provider should offer an extensive range of capabilities for your success.

For example, many businesses choose to integrate warehousing services to maximize space. Companies also use their 3PL partner’s transportation network to achieve cost savings or meet specified delivery requirements. These benefits can be especially valuable for specialized needs, such as temperature-controlled storage and transportation.

Consider whether your prospective 3PL partner can handle extras like labeling and barcoding, which may be essential for inventory management. Offering advantages such as goods palletization and robust quality programs can ensure your products’ integrity on arrival. Other value-added services — like order picking and packingtransloading and cross-docking — can also help you take your business to the next level.


Your ideal 3PL fulfillment partner should demonstrate a shared focus on your success through exceptional customer service. You should see your B2B fulfillment provider responding to issues and rapidly engaging to resolve them.

Plus, an experienced B2B fulfillment services company can help you proactively identify opportunities. As a result, your business gains additional efficiencies and cost savings while improving customer satisfaction.

Choose Crown LSP Group for Your B2B Fulfillment Needs

Crown LSP Group is a full-service distribution solutions provider in eastern North Carolina with extensive B2B fulfillment experience. Our team believes your organization has unique needs and deserves a one-of-a-kind fulfillment answer. That’s why we create custom strategies for our customers. When you work with us, you also benefit from scalability, flexibility and a commitment to partnership. Find out how we can help with a tailored solution for all your fulfillment needs, from warehousing to transportation.

Request a quote online, or connect with a team member for more information.

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What is Less Than Truckload (LTL) Freight Shipping?

Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping allows you to combine smaller shipments with other businesses sending goods to the same area. By filling a truck together, companies pay only for the space they need.

Third-party logistics providers like Crown LSP Group can help you find a cost-effective solution ideal for small-load shippers.

How Does LTL Shipping Work?

Many businesses — especially small ones — need transportation for goods that don’t occupy an entire truckload. Ensuring on-time delivery often means paying for full loads while shipping products that only take up part of the truck’s available space. LTL shipping changes that by consolidating cargo from different companies for a full-capacity truck.

The concept is similar to a group discount, where you team up with other businesses sending goods to a common destination. You each pay for the portion of the truck you use while getting your product where it needs to go.

When you choose LTL cargo, the carrier must work to find compatible partners to share the load. This additional step reflects in their charges. That means you’ll generally pay a higher rate by volume for LTL shipping than if you were filling the entire truck. In other words, if each pallet costs a certain amount to ship in a full load, you’ll pay more per pallet to transport with LTL freight.

Benefits of LTL Shipping

LTL shipments offer numerous benefits for those transporting smaller loads.


LTL shipping allows you to transport goods more affordably when you need only partial trailer capacity. Since you pay only for the space you use, you avoid excess costs associated with unused space. The result is shipping that costs a fraction of standard, full-load costs.


Most LTL cargo is securely palletized before loading. That process offers your products extra protection against potential damage, especially when compared to individual handling units.


LTL shipping offers increased visibility into your shipments. You can track them in multiple ways, including:

  • By the purchase order number.
  • Through the bill of lading identification.
  • With the progressive (PRO) number.
  • By the pickup date.

This enhanced transparency allows for easy documentation of the chain of custody, so your audit trails maintain accuracy.


LTL freight is ideal for maximizing efficiency. You can transport goods to customers as soon as possible rather than waiting for area demand to increase to total truckload capacity. Plus, you access regional and national carrier systems. As a result, you make the most of your company’s time and resources.


LTL shipping is the ideal solution for today’s emphasis on sustainability and greener business practices. Sending fewer trucks with complete loads translates to fewer separate shipments, lower emissions, and reduced carbon impact for your company.


LTL shipments arose in response to the need for more flexible shipping options and helped support a shift to “just-in-time” inventory management for many companies. This transportation agility proves critical when supply chain challenges arise and consumer buying patterns change.

Plus, you can access other special handling options to meet your business’s needs when you ship LTL. Today’s choices include conveniences like:

  • Inside deliveries and pickups.
  • Refrigerated trailers.
  • Liftgates.
  • Required appointments.
  • Residential deliveries.

What Determines LTL Shipping Rates?

Many considerations affect the ultimate total of LTL freight.

National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC)

The NMFC is the industry’s framework for determining a product’s transportability. Under this system, your cargo receives a grade from 18 separate classes, from low-end class 50 to high-end class 500. The standards include categorization of properties like:

  • Dimensions — often referred to as cargo stowability
  • Freight density
  • Declared value
  • Liability

Generally, higher class numbers carry higher freight charges.

Origin and Destination Locations

Two primary factors influencing shipment costs are where your cargo comes from and where it’s going. The further your shipment must travel, the higher the price you’ll pay because the transport costs the carrier more in equipment use and driver labor.

Shipping lanes also impact the total fees. Typically, busy routes are more affordable than less-used ones. As a result, it’s often more cost-effective to transport goods to an active, urban area than to a remote, rural one.

Special Handling

Cargo that requires special handling is generally more costly to ship. Options that can contribute to your LTL freight costs include:

  • Expedited shipping or guaranteed delivery dates.
  • Refrigeration.
  • Hazardous materials.
  • Fragile products requiring extra protection.

Cargo Weight

LTL shipments often tip the scales between 150 pounds and 10,000 pounds, though some carriers accommodate greater weights. Heavier shipments can produce higher costs, but carriers commonly use a hundredweight or centum weight (CWT) pricing approach. This model means that the heavier your shipment is, the lower your rate per 100 pounds of freight.

Carrier-Negotiated Rates

LTL experts like Crown LSP Group offer freight brokerage services based on negotiated rates with a network of LTL carriers. This approach ensures you get the best possible LTL rates with the carrier most able to meet your unique business demands.

Fuel Surcharges

With a dynamic pricing market, many carriers pass on a fuel surcharge to their customers. Often, these fees appear as a percentage added to the negotiated or base rate. These charges change based on the travel distance and help offset fluctuating and variable fuel costs.

When to Opt for LTL Shipping

LTL shipping is ideal for many types of businesses, industries, and applications. These include:

  • Shipment weights under 10,000 pounds: When you exceed the size and weight limits for parcel carriers but tip the scales at 10,000 pounds or less, LTL shipping can provide an effective solution.
  • Budget-conscious transportation: Small businesses must maximize their resources to keep profitability levels high, and LTL freight helps you make the most of shipping spending.
  • E-commerce fulfillment: Online retail has been steadily on the rise over the past several years, and LTL helps e-tailers meet consumer expectations for shipping costs and expedient deliveries.
  • Shipments concentrated in certain areas: If you commonly ship goods to one area of the country or along well-traveled shipping lanes, LTL is efficient and affordable.
  • Less than 10 to 12 pallets of goods: LTL is a perfect choice for smaller businesses shipping up to 12 pallets of goods.
  • Non-time-sensitive deliveries: While expedited or guaranteed deliveries are possible, LTL cargo often makes more dock stops along the way and is best for flexible delivery windows.

Contact Crown LSP Group for LTL Shipping

Crown LSP Group is a complete distribution solutions company based in eastern North Carolina. Since 1987, we’ve been a trusted logistics and transportation excellence source. Our team will help you secure the best LTL rates and classify your products according to NMFC guidelines.

Contact us online to request a free LTL quote, or call an expert at 252-985-1070 for assistance.

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

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.

contact Crown LSP Group for 3pl services

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How Does Pick and Pack Fulfillment Work?

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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