Freight shipping is defined as the process of transporting commodities, goods and cargo by land, sea or air. Freight shipping activities are essential for many businesses, but the logistics involved can be lengthy and complicated. A 3PL (third-party logistics provider) specializes in freight shipping and logistics, providing a convenient, hassle-free way of moving products worldwide. A 3PL will take on picking, packing, inventory management, order management and processing, reporting, shipping and distribution, as well as return logistics. Other common tasks that companies outsource to 3PL providers include: domestic transport, international transport, warehousing, customer brokerage, and freight forwarding. Is it time your business took advantage of this service? Let’s look at some of the reasons why outsourcing your freight shipping requirements may be a smart business decision.
Your Business is Growing
Growth is essential to the success of any business, and one way to enable business growth is to delegate specific elements to those qualified in that area. Just as you might hire a book-keeper or accountant to keep on top of the financial side, outsourcing your freight shipping requirements places that element of your business in the best possible hands, freeing up your time to focus on growing your business further and resulting in a more efficiently run and successful business overall.
You Want to Increase Profits
Using a 3PL is an extra business expense, but it could actually save your business money overall. Experienced 3PLs have a strong network of shipping contacts across the globe, and will use those relationships and their buying power to negotiate the best deals on all related services. This, together with increased business efficiency and the fact that you’re not having to spend time managing shipping arrangements in-house, should mean that using a 3PL provider improves your bottom line.
Improved Customer Service
Improved customer service is another positive step to boosting profits, as satisfied customers become repeat customers and advocates for your business. Shipping is a complicated process that can be affected by numerous variables such as the weather, strikes, delays in customs or issues with transportation. While a 3PL cannot completely control all the possible problems along the way, they will have the network contacts and shipping know-how to ensure that the effects are minimized and that you’re not suffering repeated service failures that will have a negative impact on your business.
Help with Organization
The processes and logistics involved in freight shipping can be complicated, with many separate elements to organize. Coordinating and managing these factors can be a real headache for businesses of all sizes, which is where a 3PL comes in. A 3PL can deal with all the logistics of shipping with ease, including warehousing, transportation, customs clearance and distribution, and coordinate each stage to achieve the most efficient freight shipping solution.
Importing and exporting is a controlled process with plenty of red tape involved. A good 3PL will be aware of all the regulations and responsibilities that are relevant to your shipment, and will ensure that it is fully compliant, has the correct documentation and that all the applicable charges, duties and taxes are paid, allowing you ultimate peace of mind.
Clearing customs can be a slow process, especially if a consignment does not have the correct documentation. Using a 3PL should ensure that your goods clear customs as quickly as possible. 3PLs offer customs brokerage and trade compliance services that help online merchants cut through trade barriers, and ensure on-time border crossing of shipments. This takes the burden of administrative work from your hands and allows you to focus on other important aspects of your business.
Additionally, international trade is governed by a myriad of changing regulations that shippers need to understand. Failure to understand and comply with these regulations often causes shipment delays. 41% shippers cite a significant change in export/import regulations/requirements as a disruption.
3PLs offer customs clearance services for different modes of transportation to enable shippers to comply with regulations, avoid expensive delays and penalties. 3PLs also provide tariff and trade consulting to help shippers identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and ensure correct duties and tariffs are paid for shipments.
Expert Shipping Advice
Choose your 3PL wisely, and your business can benefit from their years of experience in shipping and logistics. A reputable 3PL will advise you on all aspects of the freight shipping process, from which shipping method and type of container to use to what duties and taxes are likely to be due on your goods.
Freight Shipping Transparency
As the business world moves increasingly online, it follows that you’ll want your service providers to offer digital tools too. Good 3PLs will offer 24/7 access to your shipments, including tracking information, customs clearance documentation, invoices and automated shipping reports. All important documentation is accessible quickly and easily online, and the entire process, from getting a quote to paying an invoice, can be done digitally for increased ease and efficiency.
All Services Under One Roof
Streamlining your supply chain as much as possible can help to lower costs and maximize efficiency, so choosing a 3PL that can take care of the freight shipping process end-to-end makes good business sense. Some 3PLs offer a range of services at origin and destination, including port-centric logistics and distribution services, product sourcing and delivery to the end customer.
Reduced Environmental Impact
With growing concern over environmental issues, most businesses are keen to run in the greenest way possible, with some having specific targets to adhere to. A streamlined supply chain can also help to reduce your business’ impact on the environment, and a reputable 3PL can be trusted to help make your shipping processes as green as possible.
If you are considering outsourcing your freight shipping, finding the right 3PL to manage your logistics and order fulfillment is one of many critical decisions you will need to make to ensure the long term health of your business. The right 3PL partner will properly support your businesses’ growth and provide fulfillment solutions so you are ready to ship orders from you online store and improve the customer experience. They will become like a valued team member, help you navigate the complexities associated with logistics and supply chain, and ultimately, keep your customers happy by getting your products in their hands quickly and accurately.
If you’re looking for help with outsourcing your order fulfillment, 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.