3PL Warehouses and What They Do
Some large, traditional enterprises have the resources to create their own warehouse, set up warehouse processes, and hire their own workers. Retaining control of their own warehouse makes the most sense to them.
But many other businesses—particularly when they’re smaller and growing quickly—use a 3PL warehouse solution instead. Ecommerce businesses, for example, can outsource their warehouse needs to a third party, which lets the business focus on building their customer base, improving their products, and growing the company.
What Is a 3PL?
Let’s hammer out a few terms that will explain this better:
- Logistics: The process of storing and transporting raw materials and/or products, either referring to the final delivery to a customer or movement along the entire supply chain.
- 3PL: A third-party logistics (3PL) provider is a firm that stores and transports products on behalf of another company—or many companies—using efficient processes.
A 3PL can store your products in a well-organized warehouse, process orders from your customers, deliver those orders, and even process returns. And your employees don’t have to touch the product during the entire process.
A 3PL lets you outsource the product storage and delivery tasks that you don’t want your employees working on currently.
What is a 3PL warehouse? It is a business (or part of a business) that stores products for other companies, keeping each set of products in a different warehouse area.
Can products from different clients get mixed up? Not at all. A good 3PL warehouse uses the latest digital organization systems to track every item. Client products are tracked by a barcode or radio-frequency tag and stored on different bins, pallets, or shelves.
Your 3PL firm may offer other related services too. They could box individual products, creating packages that will be delivered to the customer. Or they might crate products that are being moved to a retail location.
A 3PL warehouse is not an on-demand warehousing service that simply stores your products in extra warehouse space. A 3PL’s goal is to help you handle all the aspects of logistics that you want to outsource.
Warehouse Packing and Shipping
What happens when your customer places an order for your product? It depends on the specific 3PL warehouse with which you are working. Ideally, your 3PL will receive the order directly from your eCommerce website. This creates no extra work for you.
When the 3PL warehouse sees the order, workers will be sent to the location of your products and will pick out the ones needed in the correct quantities. They will then pack them for shipping, using the materials that you have previously specified.
Finally, they will create shipping labels for the package. The 3PL might choose between different mail carriers, picking the best one. Or they might always use a preferred carrier.
Grow Your Business With Elite OPS
If you want more time and energy to focus on building your business, contact Elite OPS. With 25 years in this business, we use efficient technological solutions to track and deliver your products. Get a custom quote for your business needs, and grow your business quickly with Elite OPS.