In the rapidly evolving online retail landscape, 3PLs – or third-party logistics companies to give the acronym its full meaning – are of increasing importance, allowing companies to efficiently manage their supply chains.
In this instant era of ‘click and buy’ customer bases can live and die by the efficiency of logistics, and in this article, we take a closer look at just how critical 3PLs can be to the fortunes of organisations invested in the online marketplace.
The benefits of outsourcing
All online retailers can benefit from strong supply chain management, but how many are genuinely capable of doing the job themselves. It is the root cost which is often the issue – overheads can start to pile up when you factor in a workforce, storage locations and the technology which is necessary to make supply chains run like clockwork. By investing instead in 3PL, retailers can take a financial weight off their shoulders and leave operations in the hands of the experts.
Fast free shipping
Speedy shipping is seen as a non-optional requirement by many online customers – failure to meet this expectation can lead to customers looking elsewhere for a specific product. For this reason, 3PLs give retailers the competitive edge which they need to attract and keep customers, handling their orders from multiple sales channels and ensuring inventory is managed, moved and shipped as quickly and as accurately as possible.
If you attempt to undertake your supply chain management yourself, in its entirety, you might soon realise the enormity of the task. Areas such as fulfilment, contract packing, warehouse management, transportation of goods, reporting and forecasting all need your attention – and you should also remember that these things cost money. You could be required to invest in warehouses, staff, technology, and transportation; elements which a 3PL can cover on your behalf.
Boost the bottom line
What businesses are interested in is profit, and a 3PL can underpin a strategy to increase your margins by streamlining your supply chain process from top to bottom – and it all feeds in to a more fulfilling, sustainable customer experience; that is what makes 3PLs so crucial to retail in today’s internet era.