An Introduction to 3PL - What Do Third-Party Logistics Companies Really Do?

What is Third Party Logistics (3PL)?It’s amazing what most consumers take for granted these days. Shoppers expect to find shelves stocked with merchandise from competing brand names each time they walk into a local store. They expect timely delivery of their goods when they shop online, and they expect to find those shipped goods in excellent condition upon arrival. In some cases, they even expect their products to be delivered to the store free of charge when it would cost more for home delivery.

What many of those shoppers don’t fully understand is how much work is involved in getting those products onto store shelves and those packages from the manufacturer, then to a warehouse, and eventually to their doorsteps or their local store. You may understand what goes on behind the scenes a bit more because you have a product to sell and an interest in getting your products to those local stores or the doorsteps of your customers. One way of doing that efficiently and within your budget is to work with a third-party logistics company, otherwise known as a 3PL. These companies aren’t all the same, but they do have one thing in common: they’re goal is to help you manage the logistical side of your business successfully.

3PL Companies Today

Any business interested in shipping, storing, or moving goods can benefit from working with a third-party logistics company. The problem is sorting through thousands of companies that fall under this umbrella to find one reputable and well-equipped company that will cater to your specific needs. Some companies provide a full spectrum of services and can help their clients with all of their logistic needs while others focus on select services within the logistics field. Some will work with businesses of all sizes while others favor large corporations. Still others focus on companies within select industries or those shipping specific types of products. For instance, some logistics companies will only work with companies shipping frozen foods while others specialize in live goods.

Some of the services that a 3PL may offer include:

  • Warehousing
  • Fulfillment services
  • Returns management
  • Transportation management
  • Logistics software
  • Freight rate negotiations
  • Freight bill auditing and payment collections
  • Inventory control
  • Customs brokerage and clearance
  • Freight forwarding

Current trends show that more than 78 percent of companies in Northern American and more than 94 percent of companies in Western Europe now use 3PL services. This is because most businesses want to leave their logistical operations in the hands of knowledgeable experts while they focus on aspects of their business in which they are the experts. If you have goods that you need to store and transport across the country or internationally, you are likely to benefit from connecting with at least one 3PL company as well.

Finding Your Way in the 3PL Market

The number of 3PLs in business today is good and bad for companies with logistical needs. It’s great because there are many reputable companies offering competitive prices and fighting for your business. It’s just not so great when you’re trying to isolate the best companies that can meet your needs. That’s where our network comes into play.

We help you secure quotes from reputable 3PL companies that provide services in line with your company’s current needs. We do this free of charge, and we act quickly because we know that you have deadlines to meet and customers to please. The 3PLs that we work with also understand that you demand advanced knowledge, proven processes, and dependability because you take your business just as seriously as they take their own. That understanding and dedication to excellence and customer satisfaction is why they pass our rigorous testing process and are included within our carefully selected network of third-party logistics companies.

If you want to find the best 3PLs for your needs quickly and get on with the business of filling store shelves, mailboxes, and doorsteps with your products, contact us for fast access to 3PL quotes.