I fully understand and mostly agree that many multichannel companies want to control and provide internal fulfillment to their customers. However, I am increasingly impressed with the way companies are objectively evaluating how to use third party logistics (3PL) vendors to serve their fulfillment needs.
Here is a sampling of the results of 3rd party warehousing projects we have been involved with recently:
- A manufacturer and wholesaler of high fashion footwear is utilizing a 3PL for distributing 3.5 million pairs of shoes to 40+ various distribution centers around the US.
- A health and beauty aid catalog and eCommerce business that consolidated fulfillment operations into one mid-west location in order to cut costs but to still reach their customers within 2 to 3 days of ordering.
- A high-end specialty gift catalog and eCommerce business on the West Coast with an Average Order Value of $500 utilizing a 3rd party warehousing vendor to fulfill orders for their East Coast customers. We are also working with them to select a 3PL vendor in Europe to fulfill orders to their UK dealers in order to save money on shipping and get the product there quicker.
- The tourism board for a West Coast state has selected a 3PL to send collateral on travel, site seeing, camping, maps, etc. to visitors making inquiries via online and magazine ads.
As you can see, our clients have a wide variety of sizes, business models and product categories. Third party logicistics should be a consideration and be explored as to whether a 3rd party warehousing vendor can provide lower fulfillment and shipping costs, establish a distribution center network, and improve your customer service.