E-Commerce Supply Chain Management: Optimizing Order Fulfillment With A 3PL

The order fulfillment is defined by the ultimate method which enables a sales order to the customer’s specifications. In today’s competitive market, the order fulfillment gives much more power to the customer as their demands change dynamically and expectations rise exponentially. Therefore it’s one of the relatively new key concepts which contribute to company’s profits by enhancing the brand’s reputation and customer loyalty. As the core dynamic of the business is the sales, the order fulfillment makes sure that it happens and thus completes the cycle.

3PL is the modern cavalry

With the rise of e-commerce, it’s only natural that the number of online shoppers worldwide rises along with it. According to the data provided by Oberlo, as of 2021, there are 2.14 billion digital buyers in the world.. That makes 27.6 percent of the 7.74 billion people in the world. In other words, more than one out of every four people uses internet for shopping. “Yet, this number could be much higher,” says The CEO of Makhina, Mehmet Ali Çalışkan and adds, “Some people cannot overcome their hesitations. The poor quality online experience leads to second thoughts. Most of these drawbacks result from logistics issues.” The e-commerce sites are not truly ready for logistics and this is where the 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) rushes to help.

Create value by 3PL

3PL is the sustainable filling and packaging Solutions offered by professional logistics companies. 3PL plays an important role as the in-house operations carried out by especially small ecommerce businesses are proved not to be efficient and productive enough to help the business survive in the market. While the ecommerce business can partner with a 3PL, they can allocate their resources into more meaningful value creating fields such as customer journey, and marketing. 3PLs go beyond just fulfilling orders, but not all 3PLs are the same. Depending on the 3PL and your needs, you may be offered from a wide variety of options including storing, distributed inventory, fulfillment analytics, , returns management and etc. These terms can sound very vague to you but if you’re planning to work with a 3PL, this article will provide your with enough insight to help you make your decision and plan your business strategy.

To begin with, you should and must consider your 3PL as your ecommerce warehouse. 3PL gets into the game right after a customer clicks the submit button. The rest is the ecommerce fulfillment process and mainly handled by your 3PL. 

Storage checking

Right after or even before the “submit” button, 3PL double checks the inventory and the storage or the warehouse. Many ecommerce websites are suffering from this feature. Even though the customer completes the paying process, he or she is put on hold for hours or even days due to lack of the item in the inventory. No need to mention that how annoying this is. 3PL ensures that your inventory is available (or not). 3PLs can run on fulfillment centers with a dedicated storage location, which enables fulfilling the orders quicker and more efficient.

Automation

Automation should be the very unique feature of the 3PL that you are planning to work with. It is actually the system which creates a link between the order and the fulfillment provider. Otherwise, it would be handled manually which might result in some delays or even mistakes.

Handle with care

Shipping process works only if the packaging is done faithfully. This is an area usually requiring a professional team. Without such a team, the packaging process is tiring and prone to failures. Make sure your 3PL works with such an experienced team. They know how to pack an order using variety of materials such as bubble mailers, white poly bags or different sizes of boxes. A safe packaging is a crucial step to avoid reverse logistics which is the cancellation of the order.

Shipping

The final step is the shipping of an order. 3PL works with shipping labels which may require an investment if you don’t already own one. These labels are keys to the carriers. 3PL uses the same language as the courier companies. It also gives you the most affordable pricing and delivery speed.

It’s not a secret that your ecommerce sales volume will increase by the number of successfully completed orders. This means more goods and more goods will require advanced logistics. Unless you really want to invest in logistics or have know-how, you should seriously consider sharing the burden with a dedicated 3PL.

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