Running a business can feel like far more than a full-time job. Not only do you have to provide your customers with appealing and useful products, but you also must purchase, market, and deliver them, all while providing excellent customer service, performing daily operations, and working to grow your business.
That’s why it is important to streamline every process you can. By utilizing a 3PL (Third-Party Logistics provider) to handle your fulfillment, you are adding a strategic logistics partner to your team. All you need to do is send your inventory to their warehouse for storage and then communicate customer orders to them to be fulfilled and shipped. You can focus on what you do best, while your 3PL handles your distribution and fulfillment.
Here are five ways outsourcing your fulfillment can help your business grow.
1. You can focus on your business.
Managing your fulfillment can take a lot of time and energy that you could be spending elsewhere—marketing products, increasing revenue, and growing your business. 3PLs are experts in fulfillment—it’s what they live and breathe every day. So by outsourcing your fulfillment, not only will you save time and energy, but you will also have peace of mind knowing that your products will arrive at their final destinations safely, accurately, and on-time. You can then spend your time focused on growing your company.
2. You will save on shipping and fines.
If you have an e-commerce side of your business, you know that shipping costs can be a huge expense. Because shipping rates are typically driven by volume, working with a 3PL gives you access to better rates on freight charges. Plus, most 3PL providers allow sellers to benefit from the collective volume of their entire warehouse—saving you even more money.
If you are regularly shipping items into big-box retailers, you know you have to meet their strict regulations or pay a compliance fine. You have to have the right amount of inventory sent on the right day at the right time. And if you don’t make it in time, there could be large fines to pay. A logistics provider works with big-box retailers all the time. They know the rules and they also have ways to help save you money on fines. Freight Consolidation Services allow less-than-truckload orders to be shipped together that are going to the same big-box retailer. Working with a 3PL can save you time, frustrations, and money when shipping products to big-box retailers.
3. You don’t have to perform manual inventory audits.
Because your inventory is located at an order fulfillment warehouse, you will no longer have to perform manual audits of your products yourself. Your 3PL takes care of this for you. They will also integrate their reports with your inventory management tools so you always know what your inventory quantities are. A good 3PL partner will provide you with visibility into your entire supply chain so you never have to worry about losing track of any products.
4. You can scale your business easily.
When your business grows, you need more space. When you outsource fulfillment, it’s far easier to expand or contract the additional space you need for your inventory. As the volume of inventory changes, you don’t have to worry about finding more room for storage or paying for storage space that you are not utilizing. With a 3PL, you pay for the storage you need, when you need it.
Outsourcing your fulfillment also enables you to take advantage of your 3PL’s technology. A good logistics provider is constantly finding new and innovative ways to increase productivity and efficiency. Customers expect their orders to arrive at their door in two days or less—and if you meet those expectations, your business is more likely to grow. But in order to meet these expectations, your warehouse needs to be operating at maximum efficiencies. 3PL’s investing in technology such as robotics and automation allow your products to get into the hands of your customers faster.
5. You don’t have to worry about customer service and returns.
Customer service issues and processing returns can take up a lot your time. A fulfillment center can provide support for your customers and process returns for you. By having a 3PL manage your return logistics, you can protect your relationship with your customers—and your brand—without dealing with all the headaches that come with it.
If you are looking to scale your business, better manage your inventory and labor force, or simply looking to free up some of your valuable time, a 3PL can be a great partner for your company. Lean on the expertise they provide in distribution and fulfillment, so you can focus on building a powerful brand.