Third-party logistics (3PL logistics) suppliers are external service providers to meet end-to-end logistics requirements of businesses, right from procurement and warehousing to shipment tracking and returns of goods. It is a booming industry in the supply chain management system. According to a report by Research and Markets, the 3PL logistics market is expected to grow by USD 10.74 billion during the forecast period 2021-2025 at a CAGR of almost 8%.
An increasing number of organizations are outsourcing their logistics to these suppliers to save costs and time, and scale their business growth. 3PL suppliers perform the following key roles:
3PL suppliers provide safe storage of goods as inventory until they need to be moved or delivered somewhere else. Warehousing also comprises assigning a Stock-Keeping Unit (SKU) to each good and tracking it in software for easy identification and retrieval. The suppliers also offer special warehousing facilities for products that are high-value, fragile, volatile or require handling and storage with care.
This also includes comprehensive cold chain management services and in-transit monitoring which specialise in the storage of highly perishable merchandise such as fruits, vegetables, poultry, dairy, beverages, frozen desserts, meat, seafood, vaccines and pharmaceuticals that are temperature-sensitive. Such products need cold chain management such as cold rooms, chillers and freezers, thermal and refrigerated packaging, and refrigerated vehicles to maintain their temperature, quality, and safety.
3PL logistics providers do the entire planning, controlling, and distribution of goods that move in and out of the warehouse. They manage inventory through unique identification numbers, serial numbers, batch numbers, price, etc. They keep a record of accurate time and date to track the movement of inventory at every stage. They also ensure that inventory is protected against theft, spoilage, or any other damage. Efficient inventory management runs the warehouse-like a well-oiled machine and ensures customer satisfaction.
Drive-in and drive-through racks are perfect for high-density storage. Constructed of steel in most instances, these warehouse racking systems offer enough room for a forklift to maneuver into its bay. Drive-in racks only have one entrance and exit, whereas drive-through racks allow access from both sides of the bay. Consequently, drive-in racks are well-suited to the last-in, first-out (LIFO) method, famous for nonperishable or low-turnover items. On the other hand, a drive-through system necessitates a first-in, first-out (FIFO) method.
3PL supply chain firms also integrate transportation into the spectrum of their services. They pick the goods from their source, transport them to the warehouse, and then again ship them to end customers or other destinations. They may use different modes of transportation such as land, air, or sea, depending on the nature of goods or requirements of the clients. Transportation service may also include packaging of goods in a cost-effective manner and determining the best delivery route.
Goods that are imported or exported from one country to another need custom clearance. Businesses need to submit the necessary documentation, get various permissions, and fulfil many formalities according to the laws of that country. This can be a tedious task for businesses. 3PL companies specialize in custom clearance services and value added services such as pre and post-shipment formalities, duty-paid deliveries, paperwork verification, the release of a shipment, etc.
When you choose a 3PL supplier, make sure that you get an all-compassing range of services. PISPL is one of the few 3PL companies which not only provides the services mentioned above but also goes beyond it. It offers value-added services like assembly and kitting, packaging, labelling, sorting, stuffing, tagging, bundling, and many more.
Real-time tracking of goods and services and the entire network is a necessity these days. Many customers look for this service when they reach out to a 3PL service provider. PISPL has a well-established software and information technology network that enables the customers to manage their entire network in real-time and access the vital information. With their web enabled solutions in information technology in supply chain, they are able to provide visibility and transparency to their customers. Some of the services in IT in supply chain management that PISPL offers are ERP WMS integration, automated and on demand MIS, and order punching mobile application for the sales team.
A 3PL service can shoulder your logistics needs while you focus on the core competencies of your business.