A third-party logistics (3PL) company may be the missing piece in your e-commerce fulfillment strategy. Customers are shopping online more than ever for convenience, selection, and safety during the pandemic, and we can expect many of these habits to become lasting.
If you’ve been managing order shipments in-house and aren’t sure if you’re ready to outsource fulfillment to a 3PL partner, start by asking the following questions:
- How many orders are you fulfilling a day?
- Is your current team having trouble keeping up with orders? Do you have enough people on staff handling fulfillment?
- How quickly are you fulfilling orders? Is your speed meeting customer demand?
- Do you have reliable transportation partners?
- How accurate is your inventory management? Have inefficiencies caused problems, like backorders or incorrect or incomplete shipments?
- Are you running out of warehousing space? Is the cost of space too high?
- Have you had many customer complaints about orders? What were the complaints about?
- Do you have sufficient staff to communicate with customers and resolve problems quickly?
If your answers to these questions reveal ongoing fulfillment challenges, it may be time to find a 3PL provider to help you improve efficiency, reduce expenses, and scale to meet customer demand. Here are three qualities to look for in a 3PL company:
- Strategic Expertise
You want to find a true partner who can help you identify and address pain points in your e-commerce fulfillment. Vet potential providers thoroughly. Which clients do they work with, and what services do they provide? How have they helped companies similar to yours solve problems and create better systems? How can they help your company make strategic improvements and fuel growth?
- Clear Communication
Your initial conversations with a 3PL provider will give you a good idea of how they will be to work with over time. Are they responsive and helpful in answering questions and concerns? Do they clearly outline what they will provide and the KPIs you will use to measure success? Do you know who your main contact will be and how often you will be in touch if you sign a contract?
Above all, you need a 3PL partner that can provide the specific services necessary to optimize your e-commerce fulfillment. Express precisely what you expect from a provider, in terms of technology, staffing, warehousing, inventory, shipping, returns, customer service, etc. What does a successful process look like, from the time you receive the order to the moment your customer opens their package? What do you need from a 3PL partner to ensure this goes smoothly every time?
Contact Exegistics to see how we can design a custom e-commerce 3PL solution for your company.