There are many factors that go into choosing the right fulfillment partner for your company. Outsourcing to a third party doesn’t make the fulfillment process any less complex, so the partner you pick must have the facilities, people, and dedication to pull it all together efficiently. In a way that consistently demonstrates your brand’s promise of quality. You had better choose wisely.
There are many companies that provide these services, and you can easily get lost in all their offers. Picking the right one can bring significant operational cost savings that will lead to your brand growth. Picking the wrong one can prove costly on many levels.
What is Third Party Logistics?
Third-party logistics (or 3PL) refers to outsourcing logistics and fulfillment services, including equipment purchasing and ordering, inventory management, shipping, warehousing, and delivery. 3PL fulfillment specialists serve as an extension to your business. They save companies time and money by providing critical services that eliminate the need for businesses to invest in warehouse space, information technology, and transportation fleets. Thus, 3PL enables you to focus on your core competencies.
What is Order Fulfillment?
Order fulfillment is the process of storing goods, packing orders, and shipping products to buyers. In a broad sense, order fulfillment is everything that happens from the time a customer places an order up to the moment they receive that order. Businesses can handle fulfillment in-house, outsource to fulfillment partners, drop ship, or any combination of these methods.
For many small businesses, handling order fulfillment on your own is too expensive and too time-consuming. A successful retail order fulfillment strategy is vital for ecommerce businesses to stay competitive and build customer loyalty.
5 Steps for Choosing the Right Fulfillment Partner:
Choose an Experienced and Reputable Company
Your reputation is on the line when it comes to order fulfillment. Your customers expect a certain level of professionalism and choosing an inexperienced fulfillment company could tarnish your brand reputation. Instead, you want to partner with an established, reputable company that has years of proven experience and staff that is trained and knowledgeable in all areas of the business, from their call center specialists and fulfillment operators to their technical staff. Ask for customer references and testimonials to see what their clients value. You should also visit their facility and meet the entire team.
Choose a Company That Can Meet Your Needs
Countless fulfillment companies are out there – and the majority of them will claim to be able to meet your every need and promise to ship your product to the right place at the right time. But there is nothing more important than insights; do the math to make sure you choose a company that is knowledgeable about your industry, or ideally, already have several clients operating in the same field as you. They need to understand you, your brand and your business model.
What equally important is that their capabilities must match the demands on all your sales channels – omni channels, e-Commerce, retail, etc. Some companies specialize in just one area of order fulfillment, like e-Commerce or solutions tailor-made for start-ups or SMEs. Make sure the stuff they bring to the table meets what your brand needs – and are present-ready and future-proof as well. Because it is ideal to get to work with someone that can develop and grow with you long-term.
Choose a Fulfillment Partner That Will Grow Your Business
A good fulfillment partner wants your business to grow and succeed as much as you do. They’re also willing and able to adapt and grow with you as your business grows. The services they offer, from their integration technologies to their reporting systems, should be customizable and scalable. Unplanned circumstances with your business can happen – it’s the nature of the industry. Make sure you choose someone that is flexible, scalable, and capable of working with you through any unexpected situations that may arise. Your fulfillment partner should be driven to provide process improvements. Make sure the 3PL selected is aligned with your plans and can accommodate your company roadmap for years to come.
Choose Someone That Offers a Wide Range of Shipping Solutions
Providing your customers with a great brand experience means getting your product where it needs to be – on time, every time, accurately, and cost-effectively. To do this, you need to rely on major shipping carriers. Transportation costs have skyrocketed in recent years, but PFC can help keep those costs in check. Our multi-modal transportation capabilities offer an end-to-end (3PL) third-party logistics management solution for your supply chain and get you the most cost-effective, true transit times for your parcels.
PFC guarantees immediate access to the capacity required to move your products at a moment’s notice. Our efficient operations not only meet your on-demand fulfillment logistics needs, but they also ensure reliable service at a fair price.
Advantages of 3PLs
There are numerous advantages to working with an experienced 3PL fulfillment partner. Below are four of the most significant aspects:
1. Grow Your Business
3PLs will facilitate all the important aspects of your backend logistics and fulfillment, so that you can focus on marketing and sales – the biggest drivers in the growth of any business.
2. Partner with Professionals
Investing in your own fulfillment operation is certainly an option, however, there is more to that then an investment in a warehouse, racking and boxes. You need a team of experts who have the experience in the industry, will share new solutions and knowledge, and can support your brand along its journey.
3. Limit Overhead
Leasing warehouse space, hiring an operations team, and maintaining facility assets is costly. Partnering with a 3PL can minimize costs so capital can be directed toward objectives that will generate growth.
4. International Expansion
As your brand grows outside of its domestic market, having a 3PL partner who is plugged into a large global network can prove to be a huge advantage. Once the time is right, you can launch new international locations or activate new solutions, like cross-border ecommerce.
The FLEX Logistics Team is Here to Help!
The potential for companies to capitalize on this burgeoning market is high. It is imperative that companies consider the trends that will continue to influence the industry and the technologies that will help address them. With the right technology and approach, brands and retailers can stay ahead of competition, win consumer loyalty, and drive ongoing business success for years to come.
Our team understands the importance of getting your products to the market. That is why we aim to understand your business and build lasting relationships with you and your team. Whether you are looking to add a new warehouse to your existing operations, growing and need to increase your distribution efforts, or starting a new company, FLEX has the solutions to meet your supply chain needs.
Contact us today to discuss your current and future warehousing and logistics needs. We will work together with you to understand your requirements and develop a solution that will set you up for future success.