5 Vital Roles of 3PL Logistics in the Supply Chain


It is critical to invest wisely in your ecommerce business to make it a continued success. There is always one constant factor to consider – the consumer. One of the major aspects of a business is the process of getting your finished product across to the end-consumer.

All businesses must navigate getting their products through the supply chain from the producer, to the supplier, through assembly or post-production, storage, picking, packing, and finally the all important customer’s doorstep. If customer satisfaction or growing your brand is your ultimate goal, the parts of your supply chain that need the most attention are fulfillment and last mile delivery. Here are some basic concepts that will help you understand how to outsource for these crucial parts of your product supply chain. 

Supply Chain and Logistics

The supply chain can almost be considered as the most important factor of your business because it creates the link between your business that you have built and the products, goods or services that are the face of your company. You have to invest wisely in your supply chain partners, they will be the ones acting on your brand’s behalf to facilitate the transfer of goods along the supply chain.

Logistics is a portion of supply chain management that completes the movement of products, services, information, and finances, from raw material to its final consumer.One of the most critical partners is a third-party logistics provider, also called a 3PL or fulfillment provider.

“What DCL excels at is flexibility. There are plenty of situations where a 3PL is in the exception management business. You want to do the same thing every time, but exceptions to the rule happen often, because that’s the world of physical products. Many people don’t understand the different processes that are put in place to help with the different levels of scale. There are things that come up, it’s not all a black and white situation. I think a big part of the partnership is being able to tackle things together.”  

Starday Foods Chaz Flexman, CEO and Founder

What is a 3PL Logistics Provider?

A 3PL (third-party logistics) is an outsourced logistics and transportation company. As a business owner, a 3PL company shouldn’t just be your middleman but also an actual reliable partner. The right third-party logistics provider will save you cost in the long run and increase your overall operational efficiency, leaving you with more resources to grow your brand and iterate on your product offering.

Some of the core features of a 3PL include:

  • Storage and warehousing processes
  • Distribution of numerous raw materials and finished products
  • Unification between domestic and international freight
  • Support with cross-border shipping and customs clearance
  • Proper haul management to customers
  • Order fulfillment processing
  • Handling both inbound and outbound cargo

Some benefits derived from working with a 3PL provider include expedited shipping of goods to their destination, increased accuracy when it comes to inventory management, while not necessarily requiring a large initial capital outlay. They also provide refined cargo tracking, and accurate delivery of shipments without having to deal with the hassle of managing the process yourself.

Below are some of the important roles played by a 3PL logistics provider in the successful management of every business’s supply chain.

Industry Insight:

If you’re on the hunt for a great 3PL use this comprehensive list of questions to vet your fulfillment provider. It covers everything from facilities and operations, to technology, to customer service, and much more.

5 Vital Roles of 3PL in Supply Chain

1. Concentrating on Core Competencies

Partnering with a 3PL will enable you to zero in on your company’s key accomplishments rather than being bothered with tasks which need to be dealt with, but aren’t really core competencies of your company. This way, your business will benefit from 3PL logistics expertise and not have to worry about making use of internal resources like staff, transportation, order fulfillment, and warehouse space.

2. Access to Highly Skilled Experts in the Industry

If you are looking to expand your business internationally, then a 3PL logistics company will literally hold your hand and guide you towards making the best decision. This is because they have high level expertise in how the international market works, if your product will be greeted with open arms, or even the various pricing systems.

A 3PL provider has the knowledge and experience to advise you on where and where not to pursue expansion. They are knowledgeable in matters such as international compliance and economic regulations, freight information, transport documentation, import, and export.

A 3PL will assess all the phases in your supply chain, make you avoid costly mistakes, identify recurring problems, enhance and make them better. They basically make your entry into the international market smooth and stress free.