What is 3PL Fulfillment?
Order fulfillment is the process of obtaining items, processing them, and finally delivering them to the final consumers. The procedure commences with the customer making the purchase and concludes with him receiving it. However, if a customer wishes to return an item, order fulfillment will also handle the return process.
The success of order fulfillment strongly depends on your organization or a reliable third-party completing all relevant procedures involved in order fulfillment. For an e-commerce web business to succeed, it must deal with a number of processes involved in fulfilling the orders they receive, including receiving, processing, packing, selecting, and lastly delivering an online order to consumers. For such businesses to remain competitive in the marketplace and maintain customer loyalty, an effective retail order fulfillment strategy is critical for survival and growth.
Different third-party logistics (3PL) service providers specialize in various forms of order fulfillment and warehousing services. This article will go through the nitty-gritty details of the order fulfillment process and the different types of 3PL fulfillment methods that exist.
Your 3PL provider must have your inventory on hand before they can begin fulfilling orders. Receiving an order starts when the client purchases stock for themselves, broadly referring to the process of accepting and storing inbound merchandise at the fulfillment center. Each 3PL service provider has its own protocols for obtaining and maintaining inventories, which often include the merchant submitting paperwork on the specific storage requirements of their products. This helps to keep things organized and on track, which means your items may begin arriving sooner than you had expected!
The next step of the process is warehouse picking. When an order is submitted to the order fulfillment system of your 3PL service provider, it is allocated to the picking crew. A picker gets a packing slip listing the goods, volumes, and warehouse space of the requested items at the plant in order to collect them from their designated places.
After all products in a transaction have been selected, it's time to secure them before sending them off for shipping. While some third-party logistics providers charge for packaging materials, others provide them as included in their order fulfillment costs. Your 3PL service provider will most likely choose packaging materials that safeguard your items while also contributing to the lowest possible dimensional weight.
After packing the order, it's time to ship. Most 3PLs will procure shipping labels from the merchant's chosen carrier(s). While some fulfillment companies connect with preferred carriers, others assess shipping prices from a range of carriers and deal with the negotiation themselves. The latter enables us to provide the cheapest delivery options imaginable. An example would be some 3PL service providers picking up products directly from the manufacturing site instead of warehouses.
Types of Fulfillment
‘Third-party fulfillment’ is described as the process of contracting with an external partner to manage fulfillment operations. These operations may involve inventory management, the generation of optimum picking lists, the packaging and delivery of boxes and orders, as well as the administration of returns.
‘Merchant fulfillment’ refers to an e-commerce seller who manages the full order fulfillment process in-house, without the assistance of a third party. When initially starting out, many online firms prefer to fulfill orders in-house in order to save costs.
Dropshipping is a newer approach to order fulfillment and production. The manufacturer produces, stores, and ships inventory themselves through third-party retailers.
The Bottom Line
The above are only a handful of the options to consider while selecting a 3PL. Just as there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all fulfillment solution, there is no universal, all-purpose approach for third-party logistics providers either. You must make your decision while keeping your unique business requirements and individual needs in mind.
We hope this information assists you in making an educated choice about 3PL fulfillment options, and which one works for a company of your size.