This is the question many shippers ask, and the answer is anywhere! A 3PL facilitates movement from origin to storage to final distribution to returns so you can focus on your business and not the business of logistics.
Let us start at the beginning. Where are your goods manufactured? If they are offshore, then your process starts at the port of entry and you will need transportation from the port to your facility or for storage prior to distribution. If your goods are manufactured domestically, then will your goods be ready for shipment at time of manufacture or do you need pick, pack, and storage services? Often, all the services outside of manufacturing can and should be outsourced for efficiency and cost savings.
Moving on through the supply chain, the goods are now ready for distribution. Most goods will have a short storage period prior to final shipping and space is a valuable commodity in a manufacturing plant. A 3PL can provide the flexibility for warehouse space needed whether it is just cross docking or preparation for seasonal upswing.
Finally, the goods are ready to be shipped! Third Party-Logistics
Companies can customize solutions for your supply chain whether it’s kitting or specific packaging. Also, you will have a wide carrier selection to ensure you are utilizing the most effective method. A 3PL’s total volume will ensure competitive rates for full truckload, Less than Truckload (LTL) or small package shipments.
In addition, recommendations can be made for mode optimization and pooled distribution leveraging the volumes of other customers. This provides the shipper options they cannot negotiate on their own.
All these steps can be managed by your 3PL and you can engage them for
1 or all. Regardless of where a 3PL enters the supply chain, they will add value, efficiency and cost savings. Lastly, a 3PL reduces your risk allowing you the flexibility to manage your supply chain without the additional capital needed for brick/mortar. You can produce higher rates of return by investing in your core business!