Owners of startups have enough to juggle with the day-to-day functioning of their businesses to have to also spend their evenings trying to figure out the intricacies of modern logistics.
Luckily, there are plenty of competent 3rd party logistics companies that can help you with your business’s order fulfillment through a number of different service offerings.
A Sampler of 3PL Order Fulfillment Services
The best part about working with a 3PL is being able to create the exact order fulfillment process that your business needs to be its best. Although you have the options to take over any part of the process that you want to keep in-house, these are some of the most important services that startups should consider outsourcing:
- Shopping cart integration. You have more than enough on your plate with marketing your business and ensuring that your catalog is complete without having to try to figure out complicated shopping cart software, too. Your 3PL can configure your shopping cart for you and integrate it with their software so that orders land in the warehouse, ready for fulfillment, as soon as the buyer checks out.
- Order management. Finishing an online order is just the beginning of a complicated order management process at your 3PL. They start by verifying that the credit card used is valid, using tightly designed Payment Card Industry Compliance (PCI Compliance) guidelines. From there, the order is sent to the warehouse for pick, pack and shipping.
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). If your business works as a wholesaler to retail companies, it’s important that your 3PL use an EDI system. All major retailers, as well as many smaller retailers, have gone to electronic document systems that reduce paperwork and increase shipping accuracy to distribution centers.
- Continuity Orders. Subscription orders are on the rise — this is great news for businesses that offer items that customers need monthly or quarterly. Managing continuity orders is more complicated than dealing with one time orders, since they’re expected to simply show up on the customer’s doorstep at the same time each month. Accurate inventories, detailed shipping information and well-programmed systems ensure that your customers never run out of their continuity orders.
- Live reporting on the health of your business. Reports are the lifeblood of your logistics arm, from reports on orders taken, inventory remaining or products shipped, it pays to know what’s going on with your customers. Not only can you view your business’s health at a glance, 24 hours a day, you can integrate a customer web portal to allow customers to monitor their own orders as they process.
Startups are businesses standing on the blade of a knife. It’s the little things that can bring you huge success or crushing defeats, so it’s important to partner with a 3rd party logistics company who can help set you up for a long and promising future.