3PL Warehousing

3PL Basics

3PL is often referred to as “warehousing” but there are important distinctions between a basic warehouse that stores your inventory and a full-service 3PL that provides inventory storage as one of its services. A full-service 3PL will manage your products from the time they are shipped from your supplier until they are shipped to your customer.

The common services provided by a full service 3PL are:

  • Product Receipt – Receiving products manufactured and shipped from your suppliers
  • Inventory Storage – Storing your inventory to fulfill both consumer and retailer orders
  • Kitting – Packing multiple products into a single sellable “kit” offered to your customers
  • Pick & Pack – Picking and packing the items needed to fulfill your consumer and retail orders
  • Shipping – Shipping your completed orders using various carriers (E.g., UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL)
  • Returns – Accepting returns, processing them and returning them to inventory as applicable

If your business requires some or all of these services, then a full-service 3PL partnership is probably worth exploring. If you’re already using a 3PL and they don’t offer the services you need, or you’re otherwise disappointed in their performance, it’s probably worth understanding some common 3PL frustrations and how to smartly make a change.

What Role Does Warehousing Play in the Supply Chain?

The supply chain is complex and involves several different steps to provide goods to buyers.

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What Size of 3PL Is Right for You?

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What Are 3PL Order Fulfillment Services?

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