Imagine you’re cooking yourself breakfast right before work. You woke up an hour earlier than usual. It takes what feels like forever to make the meal. Just as you finish eating, your roommate walks in and asks if she can have some, too. You only had enough ingredients for yourself, and besides, you’ll be late to work if you do it all over again. Plus, you no longer have the time or resources to accommodate for extra orders, and your list of things to do (and disgruntled people around you) is rising.
You think to yourself that everything would have been so much easier and faster if you both had just gone to the diner down the street.
This is the same sort of problem that small-to-medium sized businesses face when dealing with inventory management logistics. If you are handling your own logistics, you may run into complicated problems along the way that will only snowball as you continue to scale.
A great way to avoid these issues is by outsourcing to a third party logistics company, or a 3PL. 3PL’s take over and manage your supply chain system so that you don’t have to, giving you time to focus on other aspects of your business to help it grow. 3PL companies provide a variety of services such as any of the following:
- Managing your inventory
- Picking and packing
- Shipping goods
- Inventory reporting
- Inventory forecasting
So, how can you tell whether a 3PL company is right for you? If you’re a small business (as in, selling inventory out of your basement small), you can manage your warehouse pretty easily yourself. But if you’re looking to scale, sell internationally, or are shipping out inventory faster than you can blink, a 3PL might be for you. Here are some advantages to outsourcing to a 3PL:
It Helps Satisfy Customer Demand
Thanks to companies like Amazon and eBay, consumers want fast and cheap (like, so cheap it’s free) shipping and they want it now. If you’re handling picking, packing and shipping by yourself, the process might be slow and cumbersome. This could lead to disgruntled customers. In contrast, 3PL’s have centralized distribution centers, which means your inventory can get where it needs to go faster and cheaper than if you did it yourself. Customer satisfaction is the highest priority of any business. Letting a 3PL handle customer demand ensures they will be satisfied with minimal effort on your part.
It’s Cost Effective
3PL’s manage your inventory with their own technology and warehousing methods. With a 3PL company there is never a need to invest in more technology, waste money on warehouses, or lose money to easily-avoidable errors. Plus, outsourcing logistics to a 3PL will get the job done more efficiently, so now you have time to concentrate on other aspects of your business that need your attention.
3PL’s Have Better Resources
Good 3PL’s employ experts in the field and follow industry best practices, all while keeping up to date with the latest warehouse management system technology. They can even handle international orders, including complications related to customs, duties and more that might arise between borders.
They Keep You From Missing A Potential Sale
Nothing is worse than shopping online only to find out the item is out of stock during the purchase process. 3PL providers can help you with forecasting, which predicts future inventory sales and accommodates for unexpected fluctuations. By doing so, your 3PL provider ensures you will not miss a sale due to low or unexpectedly missing inventory.
3PL’s Streamline Your Logistics Process
3PL’s streamline your operations logistics to optimize results with little to no effort on your part. They account for complications that you may not notice, like low inventory or shipment errors. Many 3PL’s even have up-to-date monitoring systems, so you know where your inventory is at all times. This make your business more flexible and efficient.
A 3PL is nothing without a great warehouse management system. Check out a demo of how the Logiwa Warehouse Management System can benefit your business, today.