Outsourcing fulfillment and logistic operations to a third-party logistics company or 3PL provider can mean significant benefits for ecommerce business owners.
If you’re looking to partner with a third-party logistics company, it is important to understand how 3PL providers can help your business and be informed of the types of 3PL providers so that you can make an informed decision.
In this blog post, we will walk you through the different types of 3PLs and how the differ, making it easier for you to choose the right 3PL provider for your needs.
First, What Is a Third-Party Logistics Company (3PL)?
A third-party logistics provider (3PL) is a company that provides logistics solutions and supply chain operations to customers. A 3PL company can handle inventory management, warehousing, transportation, picking and packing, and all aspects of fulfilment.
Below are the different types of third-party logistics providers available to help ecommerce businesses.
- Standard 3PL Providers
Standard 3PL providers offer only basic logistic solutions including storage and transportation. Typically, these 3PL providers serve ecommerce business owners who are on a budget.
If your ecommerce business is just getting off the ground, it is advisable to work with a standard 3PL provider. When your business expands and managing the supply chain becomes difficult, you can choose another 3PL company that offers more integrative services.
- 3PL Service Developers
3PL service developers provide the services offered by standard 3PL providers along with IT infrastructure and management, compliance management, product tracking and product security.
3PL service developers offer valuable additions to ensure the delivery of goods is safe and on time.
- 3PL Customer Adapters
3PL customer adapters refers to third-party logistic companies that take over the hiring company’s logistical operations and use the company’s existing infrastructure to perform the functions. In other words, 3PL customer adapters inherit the logistical operations from the hiring company rather than creating their own. The customer adapter comes in and takes over complete control of a business’s logistics needs.
Unlike standard 3PL providers and 3PL service providers, this type of 3PL providers handle almost the entire process of customer fulfillment. Among the services provided by 3PL customer adaptors include warehousing duties, order processing, order fulfillment, shipping, transportation, product tracking, cross-docking, customized functions, and much more.
3PL customer adaptors allow the hiring companies the freedom to remain hands-off if they so desire.
Although hiring 3PL customer adaptors comes with a higher cost, these 3PL providers take every aspect of an ecommerce business’s logistics needs, allowing you to focus on your core competencies.
- 3PL Customer Developers
3PL customer developers take over a company’s logistics needs, but they also adapt their own systems. Unlike a 3PL customer adapter which runs a company’s logistics department, a 3PL customer developer integrates itself with the hiring company. 3PL customer developers provide comprehensive oversight of a business’s supply chain operations.
If you’re looking for a reliable 3PL technology-based company to help you with all of your supply chain and logistical operations, contact Global Logistic Solutions to help you.