Every year, thousands of ecommerce companies consider outsourcing to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. Many of these companies are looking for ways they can optimize their logistics business to focus more on their core competencies and their customers. Making the choice to increase the use of a 3PL is something that most companies should at least take the time to consider. A good 3PL can customize their services, which can help expand market reach, optimize inventory management, and also scale up or down to fulfill customer demand. Here are five ways you can increase your customer base by working with an experienced 3PL provider rather than exclusively relying on in-house logistics systems.
Easily Set Up New Business Anywhere
When starting any new business or expanding your current business, it can be challenging to manage the supporting functions along with your core business, both financially and operationally. Good 3PL providers can manage your logistics requirements with expertise within many cities across the United States as well as internationally. As an example, if you want to target a new customer base in California, naturally you’ll want to start warehousing stock there in order to expand your customer reach within that state, and deliver faster while lowering your domestic transportation cost. Instead of spending huge capital upfront to set up an entirely new operational structure in California, working with a 3PL with fulfillment centers there means you can utilize a fully customized supply chain to meet your business’s needs.
Scale Up or Down With Flexible Supply Chain Expertise
Smart businesses know it is imperative to respond to market fluctuations and seasonality with increased and decreased demand. A 3PL will have the capacity to be flexible—they will have the resources to absorb the overhead costs of the sales peaks and valleys that are inevitable. When using a 3PL provider, you gain this flexibility and will have an easier time scaling parts of your supply chain. You’ll also be able to move stock between locations to manage fluctuations in customer demand and optimize your inventory management.
Tap Into Global Opportunities
The inability to access global resources is a major constraint for many businesses who wish to expand their international reach or import resources from different parts of the world. Leading 3PL providers have strong global networks and can access these resources at competitive costs. They provide international freight forwarding and warehousing services that allow you to economically import, export, and store goods from many countries around the world seamlessly.
Access to Technology
It is a common challenge for businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends in the logistics field. Without having the latest in IT systems, you run the risk of not optimizing your stock, which may cause inaccurate data and confusion within your inventory process. Innovative 3PL providers ideally provide the latest technologies such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Transportation Management Systems (TMW), and other advanced reporting systems which give you access to 24/7 real-time data about your stock in any location you have it stored. As a 3PL customer, you gain access to their technology with little or no additional charge.
Best Practice Supply Chain Management
There are many types of third-party logistics providers that offer supply chain solutions. However, to experience a best-practice service you need to consider partnering with a 3PL with decades of industry experience and one that uses innovative cost-effective solutions. It’s also imperative that the 3PL has freight forwarding, customs brokerage, IT solutions and other value-added services available to provide you with an integrated service every time.
For many businesses, partnering with a 3PL is more efficient than only using in-house resources. It’s important to consider all your options though.If it’s right for your business, outsourcing logistics to a 3PL, your business has the opportunity to gain more customers with seamless operations, keep your IT systems updated which helps your inventory stock reporting, and will also help expand into new domestic and international markets.
If you are interested in working with an experienced 3PL, send us a note to connect about how we can help your company grow. You can read DCL’s list of services to learn more, or check out the many companies we work with to ensure great logistics support.