This is Part Two in a two-part series. Read Part One here.
In part one of this two-part series, we discussed the many ways that 3PLs can save businesses money — but they’re a lot more than budget stretchers.
3PLs can give small businesses access to the same kind of tools that large corporations use each and every day to reach customers faster and service them better.
3PLs Let You Do More
Not only do 3PLs free you up to do that work that keeps your business running, but they also can give you access to tools and relationships you’d not otherwise be able to afford or negotiate on your own. For example, partnering with a 3PL can mean better warehouse inventory tools and more comprehensive mailing list data.
Here are some other things 3PLs do to help their clients grow:
Expanding small business reach. When you’re located on a coast or far from a port that delivers directly to your target market, it can be difficult to get products distributed in a timely manner. By utilizing multiple sites or a single properly positioned facility for your warehousing and distribution, you’ll find that your 3PL has suddenly given you a reach that only opening a costly, distant facility could have achieved.
Making arrangements for all your shipments. No matter if your shipments are going across town or across the planet, your 3PL is an expert in logistics services. That means they can provide whatever documentation is necessary to ensure your shipments reach their destination safely, including shipping manifests and special shipping instructions for delicate packages. The special relationships that 3PLs have with their distribution partners means that no matter where your package needs to go, it’ll get there on time, every time.
Handling reverse logistics. Most people laser focus on the ability of 3PLs to handle outgoing packages, but fewer consider that they also deal with the difficult job of reverse logistics. When your orders end up in the hands of customers who are unhappy because the product doesn’t fit, is the wrong color or has sustained damage on its journey, your 3PL can increase the brand loyalty of that customer by making the returns process as simple as possible.
The bottom line on 3PLs. 3PLs can be your perfect business partner if your business does a lot of shipping and order management. They’ve got the right relationships, facilities, employees, training and equipment to maximize your logistics dollars in ways you’ve never considered. So before you rush out to rent a warehouse, consider leveraging your budget by teaming with a 3PL.