3PL Fulfillment Services

3pl fulfillment

 

What is 3PL Order Fulfillment?

3PL stands for “third party logistics,” and a 3PL order fulfillment provider is simply a company that is fully dedicated to expertise in fulfillment. The seemingly simple process of getting a product from point A to point B when it is ordered involves much more than most people realize, and engaging a 3PL service to handle those logistics is a great move on the part of an e-commerce business.

3PL Order Fulfillment Process

When the average customer places an order on an e-commerce website, they expect a package to appear at their front door with minimal passage of time. Here is a glimpse of the 3PL order fulfillment process that allows that to take place according to the customer’s expectations.

  • Predictive inventory management. The item ordered must be in stock at the fulfillment center before the order is placed for maximum efficiency. However, if there is too much stock at the facility because future orders were over-anticipated, storage space is wasted and there is not enough room for more popular items. Striking the right balance with inventory is a function of careful metrics and analytics.
  • Accurate picking, packing, and kitting activities. Not all orders are for a single item. Particularly in B2B e-commerce order fulfillment shipping, there can be a number of different individual items that need to be “kitted” into a single shipment.
  • Quality controlled addressing and shipping. Numerous accuracy checks, address verification, and barcode scan steps are necessary to ensure that the package is correctly addressed and sent on its way to the recipient.

Even after the shipment reaches the recipient, there may be additional factors to consider, including customer support and returns.

How 3PLs Handle Order Fulfillment

The types of order fulfillment handled by a 3PL partner are as varied as the organizations that do business with them. Some clients primarily conduct B2C orders, while others are exclusively B2B. Some orders are recurring, such as subscriptions, and some may include a number of different items that must be sourced from different manufacturers in time to assemble them into a complete package before shipping. Here are a few examples of 3PL order fulfillment that Spectra specializes in:

  • E-commerce order fulfillment shipping. Success in e-commerce means meeting the end user’s expectations for ease of ordering, fast, accurate shipping, and friendly customer service when needed after the sale. Spectra helps startup e-commerce businesses get their operations off the ground by giving them a ready-made, fully functional fulfillment department on day one.
  • Subscription box fulfillment. Whether customers subscribe to have a single item automatically replenished on a regular basis or they sign up to have a box of surprise items delivered every month, subscription box fulfillment succeeds or fails on the consistency and quality of the 3PL fulfillment provider.
  • Franchise fulfillment. Franchisors trust Spectra to set up easy-to-use online storefronts where their franchisees can order signage, promotional items, seasonal marketing materials, and other items. With a modern print facility in house, getting materials printed and delivered is very efficient with Spectra.
  • Other B2B services. Spectra’s expert fulfillment staff helps you deliver on expectations when shipping business to business and do so as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

Why Choose Spectra?

Order fulfillment is a highly complex endeavor for any organization, whether it’s an e-commerce company offering thousands of products to the public or a small business with a great idea. Those at both ends of the spectrum can benefit in very important ways by outsourcing these activities to 3PL order fulfillment companies like Spectra.

There are unfortunately many bumps in the road when learning how to do fulfillment effectively, and startups regularly discover that they either don’t keep enough stock on hand to meet demand or they overstock and begin wasting money. Simply keeping up with a growing mailing list and making sure addresses are accurate every time is nearly impossible without advanced software and equipment, and young businesses simply don’t have the resources to invest in that equipment.

Whether your organization is large or small, there are great cost savings in store when you partner with Spectra. Our system delivers all the advantages of an experienced, technology driven fulfillment center while you concentrate on improving your offerings and sales organization.

3PL Fulfillment Services That Support Your Business

Third party logistics, or 3PL fulfillment, is the system that more and more companies are relying on to deliver the results that modern customers expect when they place an order. Keeping the right amount of inventory on hand, processing incoming orders, accurately addressing and packing shipments, and handling returns are simply outside the expertise of most businesses, and they are activities that can’t be learned “on the fly.”

Customers of all kinds, including B2B clients, expect providers to provide a very high level of service, and there is no room for error–even for a business that has just opened up shop! The number of different options available and the intense level of competition among providers means that it is essential for a provider to be ready to fulfill orders accurately and consistently on day one. 3PL fulfillment is the answer to this seemingly impossible challenge.

With decades of experience in the storage and fulfillment space, Spectra acts as your company’s logistics department, giving your organization instant access to a wealth of inventory management, quality controls, and shipping systems that it would be impossible to build in-house. Our long history working with businesses like yours in 3PL fulfillment means that we are able to seamlessly integrate our expert services with your unique processes to present a unified, highly effective shipping experience to your B2B customers.

3PL Fulfillment & Warehousing

3PL fulfillment service begins with ordering and accurately managing your inventory. Spectra’s storage facility is spacious, versatile, and carefully managed by our expert team. As your stock comes in and is shipped out, our digital systems track every activity and generate metrics that help us predict trends and make the most efficient decisions about how much of your materials we should keep on hand at any given time, so that we can meet demand without shipping delays but also minimize the expense on your end of keeping items on the shelves.

3PL Shipping

When a customer places an order for your materials in 3PL fulfillment center, our pickers quickly and accurately pull the right items, pack them according to best practices and your specifications, and execute a number of checks throughout the process, including barcode scans, to catch any mistakes before the shipment leaves our facility on its way to your customer. Finally, we ship the finished package with all the tracking capabilities that today’s customers expect. This entire 3PL fulfillment story, invisible to the customer, is the power behind your ability to respond to a customer order with on-time, affordable delivery of the materials you’ve spent so much time and effort creating for them.

Returns, an often-neglected component of logistics, are a vital part of the 3PL fulfillment strategy. The way you handle a return request from a dissatisfied customer or one that made a mistake when ordering can make the difference between a restored relationship or a ruined one. Spectra’s 3PL fulfillment system provides your customers with the return experience that they expect. Meanwhile, you and your team can focus on moving your company to the next level rather than spending time processing individual requests and resolving minor issues.

Contact us to learn more about how the Spectra’s 3PL fulfillment services can empower your business.

FAQs

What does 3PL stand for?
3PL is the acronym for Third Party Logistics.
Are 3PL and fulfillment centers the same?
A 3PL is basically a fulfillment center. What qualifies a 3PL is the three stages of fulfillment: warehousing, inventory management and the shipping of orders.
What is the purpose of a 3PL fulfillment center?
The purpose of a 3PL fulfillment center is to get online orders shipped in a timely fashion while managing inventory for each product.
Why should I use a 3PL fulfillment center?
Outsourcing order fulfillment has many benefits, such as reduced operating costs, a broader reach to grow into new markets, and working with a fulfillment provider allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.
What are some of the services of a 3PL fulfillment center?
A fulfillment center (3PL) is a complex operation with continuous movement. Some of the fulfillment services include:
  • Receiving inventory
  • Generating pick lists and picking products
  • Kitting and assembling items
  • Packing boxes
  • Labeling shipments
  • Shipping orders
  • Managing returns
How does inventory management help my business?
Inventory management can often be an operational problem for many businesses, as well as costly, and it is imperative that inventory is accounted for. Outsourcing fulfillment tightens control over inventory management. Fulfillment centers make inventory management much easier and allows businesses more time to focus on their core competencies.
Can 3PL fulfillment Centers store food?
There are different types of registrations with the FDA to store food.If your products contain food items, make sure that your fulfillment provider is registered with the FDA. To protect your non-perishable food products, a secure, climate controlled and sprinklered warehouse is a must!
How do I keep up with my inventory?
Make sure you use a provider that offers you a storefront or dashboard where you can log into your inventory management system to access real-time data and reporting. This is critical for maintaining adequate inventory levels, so you don’t run out of product. You should be able to manage your inventory by using a computer, tablet or smartphone.
How do I get the best shipping times on my orders?
Look for a fulfillment provider that offers same day shipping to gain shorter shipping time.
How do I make sure my orders are packaged with the right products?
Accuracy is vital as mistakes in picking and packing orders can cost you customers. Make sure the 3PL Fulfillment Center has Quality Control measures in place.

Spectra’s Charleston Fulfillment Center

Get in touch with us today to find out more about how Spectra’s Fulfillment Services Center and Warehouse in Charleston can help.