Your customers come to your small business because you offer them something they can’t or won’t do for themselves. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should be expected to do everything yourself. Plus, if you do a good job, your business may not remain ‘small’ for long! As your business grows you’ll most likely need to rely on your network of partners to fulfill all your promises to your customers. Just as you need help from your vendors to source all the raw materials you use, there are other aspects of your enterprise that could benefit from an outside resource.
For instance, today’s logistics requirements are the most demanding ever seen in the world of commerce. Consumers expect their orders to be filled quickly and accurately, with next-day delivery becoming the expectation instead of the ideal. The complexity and sophistication that is required of your supply chain to meet these demands are more than likely well outside of your capabilities.
Because you may not have the resources of your much-larger competitors, you’ll need to turn to a provider that can deliver them and enable you to keep up with the marketplace. This is why finding a third-party logistics (3PL) provider can be a lifesaver.
Read on to learn more about why finding 3PL companies for small businesses can give you an edge.
WHAT SMALL BUSINESS 3PL CAN DO FOR YOU
There’s no shame in asking for help, especially when you’re still trying to make a name for yourself. Choosing to outsource one or more elements of your logistics can give you the breathing room needed to concentrate on more-important aspects of it.
Here’s a brief list of areas where a 3PL provider can step in to provide much-needed assistance:
- Distribution and warehousing: From raw materials to components to finished products, 3PL providers can store, move, and track all manner of goods for you.
- Fulfillment: A 3PL company can pick items, pack them, create shipping labels, and keep tabs on shipments after they leave the warehouse.
- Transportation: Because they are handling larger volumes than you would independently, 3PLs often have great shipping rates with carriers like FedEx and UPS. Leveraging a 3PLs transportation rate can save you a lot of money on shipping.
- Warehouse management: This involves tracking the flow of products through warehousing facilities as well as determining the most efficient placement for them, reporting, and analysis.
- Customer support: In many cases, a 3PL can take over this functionality for a small company to see that someone is available to answer calls from customers and process orders.
- Reverse logistics: When items need to be returned due to shipping damages or errors, a 3PL company can handle this for you.
HOW 3PL BENEFITS YOU
It goes without saying that outsourcing any aspect of your business can be extremely beneficial. When it comes to your logistics operations, however, the benefits can be even greater than they first appear. Here are some of the many ways in which putting your trust in an external provider can help your small company become more successful:
- Expertise: You started your enterprise because you had a passion for what you do and knew it better than anyone else in the marketplace. However, even though you may know your products or services inside and out, that doesn’t mean you know logistics as completely. On the other hand, the best 3PL for small business does. When partnering with one of these companies, you’ll be plugged into a wealth of experience and expertise right away, meaning you won’t have to worry about getting up to speed.
- Flexibility: Demand can spike or crater unexpectedly, leaving you in the lurch. Even if you have a dedicated logistics operation, you may not have the capability or capacity to stay on top of everything. With outsourcing, however, you can take advantage of your 3PL provider’s resources to scale up or down depending on the circumstances. Because you’re not subsidizing the entire cost of these operations, your risk is much smaller and you don’t have to worry about making the arrangements yourself.
- Technology: Inventory management software, tracking devices, and other technological advancements can streamline your supply chain and make it far more efficient and effective. However, these may be too cost-prohibitive to add to your operation. Choosing a 3PL partner gives you access to all the advantages tech provides without carrying the burden on your shoulders.
- Customer satisfaction: It can’t be stressed enough: The stronger your logistics are, the happier your customers should be. In today’s world, consumers are less likely to stick with a company that has good products but subpar deliveries. In that case, why not let experts handle this area of your business?
LET WSI BECOME YOUR 3PL PARTNER
Because we’re one of the nation’s leaders in 3PL, WSI should be your first and only choice when you need a partner in this regard. Our fully integrated solutions can be tailored to meet your needs. To learn more about what we can do for you, get in touch today.