Third-party logistics providers, more commonly known as “3PLs,” are true do-it-all firms that manage organizations’ distribution and logistics processes. Essentially, they take over important logistics tasks, streamline distribution channels, and make sure clients’ products get where they need to go.
Leading third-party logistics providers offer a wide variety of services, including the following:
FTL and LTL Freight Shipping
Full truckload (FTL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) are common ground freight shipping modes.
As the name implies, FTL involves filling an entire trailer with your freight. This solution is great when your products require a dedicated truck. However, if you need to ship smaller quantities of goods, LTL shipping is the way to go. When hauling these loads, carriers will combine shipments from multiple businesses to fill their trailers.
A 3PL services provider can help you determine which mode is the right fit for your shipping needs. They’ll also arrange LTL or FTL pickup and monitor your shipment from reception to delivery.
Maintaining inventory visibility across the entire supply chain is essential if you want to prevent stockouts and facilitate efficient delivery processes. That said, inventory management is a complex undertaking that can be tough to manage on your own.
Fortunately, 3PL services include inventory management. Your 3PL partner will track your inventory, assist with reordering processes, and help you maintain liquidity by using predictive analytics to prevent over-ordering.
Shipping and Receiving
Shipping outbound orders and receiving incoming deliveries is one of the most costly aspects of logistics due to the sheer number of carriers, warehouses, and delivery options involved.
A 3PL will help you maximize cost savings by developing a cohesive shipping strategy. They’ll identify the partners, shipping methods, and delivery speeds that best align with the needs of your business.
3PL services also include reverse logistics, which involves sending products from customers back to manufacturers. Reverse logistics services are used to support recycling, facilitate returns processing, or help customers exchange faulty products for functional ones.
Mastering reverse logistics is a critical component of customer service. If something goes wrong with one of your products and you go above and beyond to make things right, you can salvage customer relationships and encourage loyalty toward your brand.
Expedited/air service is a type of logistics service that offers fast and efficient transportation of goods by air. This service is designed for customers who require urgent delivery of their products within a tight timeframe.
With expedited/air service, the logistics company prioritizes the shipment and ensures that it is transported quickly and efficiently to its destination. The use of air transportation allows for faster delivery times compared to ground transportation, making it ideal for time-sensitive shipments.
Additionally, expedited/air service often includes real-time tracking and monitoring of the shipment, providing customers with peace of mind knowing the location of their products at all times.
Simplify Logistics with 3PL Services
By partnering with a third-party logistics provider, you can tap into these 3PL services and take the hassle out of supply chain management. Leading 3PL firms tailor the scope of their services to meet the unique needs of your business, meaning you can obtain precisely the support you need to pursue organizational growth.
If you’ve been looking for a one-stop shop for all your shipping and logistics challenges, finding a reliable 3PL services provider is the way to go.