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How to find the Perfect Fulfillment Partner

Vanessa Tran , Oct 26 2020

Introduction

Running an operation that involves multiple processes from manufacturing to consumer sales can feel like a never-ending challenge. A lot has to go right for your supply chain to run smoothly, effectively, and, most importantly, cost-productively. Even the most time-tested supply chains often face setbacks, and working with an extraordinary fulfillment partner can mitigate a lot of these problems that you will inevitably encounter. 

Selecting the perfect fulfillment partner is not as easy as it may seem, at first glance. However, Parcll is here to break down every component of an effective partnership that will keep your focus on satisfying your consumers and cropping issues. 

Ready to revolutionize your supply chain process? Contact Parcll today for a quote! 

What is a 3pl? 

If you are new to the product supply chain world, you may have heard the term “3pl” thrown around but unsure what it means. 3pl means third-party logistics, and it’s a service that concentrates on the operational details like warehousing, fulfillment, and delivery. Since they are third-party, they are outside your immediate concern, allowing you to focus on other aspects of running your business. 3pl warehouses and 3pl fulfillment go hand in hand, typically, but each service is different. 

Why should I contract with a 3pl warehouse for order fulfillment?

third party warehouse

If you’re a relatively small organization, you may oversee multiple parts of your business, such as the online ordering system or customer service pipeline yourself. However, as you expand, you will find that these branches of your business will demand more workforce, time, and resources that you may not have. 

If you contract with a 3pl warehouse, you will be introduced to a world of resources that allow you to leave many things to the contractor. This lets you refocus on other areas of your operations that demand your attention. 

Shipping delays, damage, and loss of goods are a challenge, no matter how practiced and savvy you are. When working with a 3pl fulfillment partner, you ensure that these risks are reduced, as a 3pl usually has the infrastructure to handle these incidents, internally. 

Related: 2020 Retail Logistics Trends

What to consider when choosing a 3pl fulfillment partner

manufacturing 3pl

So you have reached a point where choosing a 3pl facility is sounding good. Like any category contractor, not all manufacturing 3pl or ecommerce 3pl are created equal. When choosing a partner to fulfill your customers’ orders ranging from price, services, even their spatial proximity to your business and intended consumers, there are many other components to consider. 

We’ve looked into the most common factors that business owners consider when deciding to contract with a 3pl for their organization. 

Still have lingering questions about 3pl services? Contact us at Parcll with your query!

  • Price 

Affordable options are always preferred; you never want to stretch your budget for something like a third party logistics provider since there can often be hidden costs down the road. However, you also do not want to go with the cheapest option, since you may have the opposite problem of a drop in quality. 

Use some intuition and research each candidate thoroughly; offers that are too good to be true often are. You also want to make some predictions on when/where you believe your product supply chain improvements with each company will justify the cost of their services. 

  • Type of services available 

Not every fulfillment partner will have comparable services. The basics such as warehousing, fulfillment and shipping are almost universally included, but it doesn’t hurt to check. For this section, you really need to consider where your weak points are in your infrastructure that a 3pl can make a difference in. 

Do you need assistance with monitoring stock levels? Do you prefer to handle customer complaint resolutions in-house? Are you in need of better copy? These are non-standard solutions that vary depending on which fulfillment partner you choose, so be sure to look into each. 

  • Proximity 

Having a fulfillment center in close proximity and within the same geographic area as your customers is always preferred. This may get a little complicated if you ship worldwide, but luckily, many warehouse 3pls have locations and centers outside of the United States that will allow you to reach those demographics easily. 

  • Shipping 

Great fulfillment partners for your business will usually be able to get you shipping prices much better than those you can get yourself. This will reflect wonderfully on your brand as your customers will not be bogged down with the high cost of shipping that is known to prevent many sales from closing. 

  • Customer support

Some 3pl fulfillment partners will be especially responsive to customer complaints, and will be speedy in working with you to solve the issue. Be sure to ask detailed questions about their complaint resolution process, since inevitably, problems will happen, and you need to know when their team will be available to work with you on finding a solution. 

  • Security

Be sure to research your fulfillment partner’s security protocols for both their physical goods and electronic data. Brick and mortar operations usually have detailed security measures. However, when working with, say, a third party warehouse, you can never be sure how secure their organizations are as they work somewhat outside of your immediate oversight. 

Related: Targeted Demographics: Consumers Around the Globe

Closing thoughts

Finding the perfect fulfillment partner is long and taxing work, but your efforts will definitely pay off when you start seeing the benefits of working with a 3pl company for your needs. 

We are in the business of ensuring top quality, speed, and responsiveness for your brand. Contact Parcll  today and we’ll set you up with everything!

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