What the 3PL is Order Fulfillment?!
To many individuals the terms 3PL and order fulfillment have little to no meaning, or relevance. What the heck is a 3PL? Why should you even care? The reason you should know AND care, is because 3PL’s and order fulfillment has changed the way we do business around the world.
According to the Council of Supply Chain Management, 3rd party logistics is the, “Outsourcing of all or much of a company’s logistics operations to a specialized company.” 3PLs commonly handle services such as integration, receiving, warehousing, inventory management, picking, packing, and shipping. Some firms even go the extra mile by providing value-added services such as product labeling, kit assembly, data analytics, and inventory information available in real-time. Order fulfillment focuses on the activities of receiving clients’ products, offering flexible warehousing, managing their inventory, processing orders, and handling both inbound and outbound shipping. Order fulfillment is actually a service many 3rd party logistics companies provide.
Now that you know what 3PLs and order fulfillment companies do, the bigger picture of how they have changed the business environment should be coming into view. 3rd party logistics allow businesses to focus on their core competencies such as production, marketing, sales, and customer relations. Small businesses can benefit tremendously from partnering with the right 3PL. Some of the benefits include access to drastically discounted shipping rates, flexible warehousing, availability of labor that changes to meet demand, and the industry expertise and insights of their logistics provider.
3rd party logistics have changed, and continue to alter the way business is conducted around the world. By allowing smaller companies to benefit from economies of scale and industry expertise, more businesses are able to join the global marketplace. Added services such as analytics, same-day-shipping, and real-time data, have given any business the ability to compete in the market with the same resources as industry giants.