The Benefits of using Third-Party Logistics

By John Rodgers

Every business is different, and as yours seeks to grow and expand you will meet unique challenges along the way – not least when it comes to packaging, distribution, storage and order processing and fulfilment. Outsourcing your supply chain management to a logistics service provider like Tricord can be a great way to:

 – Streamline your operations,
 – Save time and money,
 – Improve your customer experience, and
 – Help your business to grow.

Want to know how?

The list presented in this article is far from exhaustive, but let us detail just some of the advantages you can leverage through third-party fulfilment…

1) Supply Chain Optimisation

Optimisation is the process of examining every aspect of a company’s operations – the resources, technologies and processes involved – with the aim of maximising efficiency and reducing waste. Optimising supply chain operations in particular is one area that many businesses struggle with; it’s precisely here that the right logistics provider can make all the difference by working alongside clients to identify their unique challenges and by offering their own key capabilities as a solution.

In today’s interconnected business environment it’s tough for any one business to acquire and retain expertise in all the critical functions that can exist between them and their customer. An experienced fulfilment partner offers operational advantages like the ability to distribute stock, real-time order processing, a dedicated labour force applicable to printing and packaging needs, expertise in order fulfilment and legal compliance – the list goes on. By outsourcing these critical functions to a logistics provider, the full spectrum of your supply chain operations can enjoy the benefits of specialised expert attention, giving your business the chance to focus on core competencies instead of spreading its management capacity beyond what it can manage!

2) Time & Cost Reduction

Storage and distribution means costs. To begin with, it involves renting or buying appropriate facilities for storing goods; next comes investing in the right warehouse technology and IT systems capable of managing orders, not to mention the cost of hiring and training a regular workforce to keep the whole ship afloat. By outsourcing these functions to a product fulfilment warehouse, not only can you immediately reduce the overall amount spent (since the cost of your partners operations will be divided across their entire client portfolio), but you can also consolidate all of these different costs into one regular bill – much simpler to manage!

No less valuable than your money is your time. As mentioned above there can be a lot of things to juggle when it comes to maintaining efficiency and effectiveness the whole way down the supply chain, and for a small-to-medium sized business the demand can sometimes stretch internal capacities thin; a great advantage of 3PL ecommerce fulfilment is having an experienced and capable partner ready-to-hand when it comes to those functions best handled out-of-house – inventory management, distribution, returns, and so on – so that you can focus your time where it really counts.

3) Customer Experience

With shoppers increasingly taking their custom online in recent years, consumer interaction with brands is coming to rely more and more on quick and seamless delivery service. As we’ve covered elsewhere, convenience is the name of the game when it comes to building positive relationships with customers – as anyone who has ever had an order delayed can attest – and for many businesses, maintaining that customer convenience while handling all orders in-house isn’t always feasible! If you should experience a bottleneck of orders, or if perhaps a product is understocked in a critical location, it can be difficult to meet the expectations of shoppers; with 27% of shoppers saying that delivery options are a factor in choosing one brand over another, you want to make sure that the delivery process is as quick and simple as you can make it.

This is where order fulfilment services come in. A good fulfilment service will provide the capacity to distribute your stock closer to your customers, cutting down the waiting time when an order comes in; they will have the benefit of cutting-edge automated order management systems, allowing you to track orders, make informed decisions quickly, and optimise your inventory – paving the way to a smooth delivery for your customer and a positive experience shopping with your brand.

4) Looking to the future…

In the day-to-day running of a busy company it can often feel that there are too many spinning plates to keep track of to think long-term about the future of your brand – but there’s nothing more important you can do for the future than plan for it. At even a glancing consideration, most business owners want similar things for the future: every business wants to build great relations with the customers they have, every business wants to attract new custom and break into new markets, and every business wants to have flexibility, not only to adapt to industry changes, but actively lead them.

So what if there weren’t so many plates…?

It’s been said that a good manager knows how to delegate, and a good long-term brand strategy needn’t involve spreading your capacities thin. As we’ve seen, taking on the help of a logistics provider allows the stock management and despatch side of your business to leverage advantages in cutting time and risk, saving money, optimising your supply chain and maintaining the high quality that shoppers expect; and, that this can free you up to channel energy and resources into developing the strengths of your brand as it grows and changes. But more than just clearing the air and giving you space to breathe, the real material benefits offered by order fulfilment services can yield up measurable results right away – putting your brand on track for the future you want for it.

Final Thoughts

As we said at the beginning of the article, every business is different and faces different challenges. 3PL ecommerce fulfilment can help meet a variety of these challenges by:

– Helping to streamline the delivery process at each stage, from the moment an order is received to the point of delivery;
– Reducing and consolidating the costs of storage and distribution, as well as reducing delivery times;
– Providing the resources, skills and experience necessary to reliably deliver on consumer expectations, and
– Offering the support you need where you need it, so that you can scale your operations effectively as you steer your brand into the future.

…Ultimately, the advantage of taking on a partner like Tricord for ecommerce fulfilment is expertise that works with you, for you. If you’d like more detail on how you can benefit from outsourcing your order processing and despatch needs, reach out to us today and let’s get talking!