Unlike traditional transportation companies that only specialized in transferring goods from one point to another, modern-day third-party logistics companies or ‘3PLs’ carry out a wide range of tasks.
These companies distribute products, offer warehousing services, and fulfill order requirements by directly delivering goods to the customers. They offer both B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Customer) services.
What makes these companies shine is their efficiency in managing logistics. Nowadays, becoming an online vendor has become very easy. Any individual can start his or her own retail business using the internet.
Countless eCommerce platforms are designed to enable individuals to become sellers. Without the services of 3PLs, these platforms and individual businesses would all cease to exist.
Even a giant like Amazon used the services of 3PL companies when the company was first launched. Even though they can have a logistical department of their own, not many online businesses can handle warehousing, order fulfillment, logistics, and product distribution without professional help. That’s why, by 2025, the global 3PL market is set to reach a valuation of $1.3 trillion. The increase in online orders will drive this incredible rise.
What is a ‘Top’ 3PL Company?
Numerous metrics can be assessed to determine whether or not a 3PL company qualifies as ‘top.’ The top 3rd party logistics companies in the market offer a wide range of services that facilitate manufacturing and product delivery. Some of these services include –
Streamlining Product Manufacturing
In the past, logistics companies only got involved with business operations after the products were manufactured.
Modern-day 3PLs can procure resources for businesses. Once these resources have been used to manufacture the products at a manufacturing facility, the 3PL company will also transport the ready-made wholesale goods to customers.
These services benefit small businesses that wish to have their products manufactured in a hassle-free and affordable manner. A top 3PL company will add flexibility to manufacturing processes. Their experience in dealing with raw materials, commodities, and different manufacturing processes can be used by smaller businesses to gain a solid foothold in the market. A 3PL company can help small businesses by –
- Sourcing raw materials and sending them to the business’s production and manufacturing facilities
- Help businesses adopt a cost-efficient manufacturing schedule.
- Make sure all order requirements are met as per user demands. For instance, some finished products may need extra customization. For that, they need to be transported to a different manufacturing facility.
A top 3PL company will take care of all of these specific requirements.
Be it transporting goods from one domestic facility to another or transporting orders to overseas suppliers – a top 3PL company can meet all transportation requirements.
The distribution chains of these 3PL companies are massive. Not only can these goods-transportation experts find suitable carriers, but they can also help businesses with paperwork. Overall, all schedules are met cost-effectively. A top 3PL company can handle –
- Domestic freight
- Import or export requirements
- Ship goods to offshore locations at the best freight rates
Unlike smaller logistics companies, top 3PL companies carry out these processes regularly. They can recommend carriers who work for minimal pay and set up teams to facilitate the entire delivery process.
eCommerce businesses not only require their logistics partners to transport goods from the manufacturing facility to the supplying facility, but they also need these experts to fulfill customer orders directly.
Order fulfillment services have put 3PL companies in a strong position in the eCommerce industry.Startups and small online retail businesses cannot afford warehousing, packing, order processing, etc. Hence, a partnership with 3PL providers helps them reduce business expenses.
The money these small businesses and online vendors save can be used for staffing, business expansion, and other important tasks directly linked to the business. Meanwhile, 3PL companies quickly fulfill orders and improve that businesses’ brand value by providing –
- Warehousing the goods.
- Taking care of the inventory details and offering high-value storage for sensitive products.
- Product packaging.
- Directly processing orders made by customers.
- Ensuring the products are safe for shipping by offering product-specific packing processes.
- Freight-shipping for B2B orders
- Parcel-shipping for B2C sale orders.
- Handling order returns, restocking the returned items.
- Forecasting stock levels using advanced software so that their clients can manage their inventories in a better way.
Lastly, top 3PL companies offer cross-docking, which is the transportation of items that don’t need to be stored.
All shipped products are directly unloaded from inbound trucks and loaded to outbound vehicles. Of course, the 3PL companies’ experts screen and arrange the products to maintain order accuracy.
Small-scale eCommerce businesses that specialize in fulfilling speedy orders can benefit a lot from cross-docking services as there are no storage costs, minimal handling costs, and minimal distribution costs.
In the eight years between 2010 and 2018, 3PL companies across the world generated $932 billion in revenue. These companies have also helped businesses save billions on unnecessary expenses.