Are you thinking about partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) company? If you are new to outsourcing fulfillment, what goes on in warehouses and fulfillment centers may seem daunting. But the fulfillment process doesn’t have to be such a mystery! Our team is taking a look at the journey of an order through 3PL fulfillment.
Your 3PL can’t ship orders if they don’t have your inventory! The receiving of your product is one of the top warehousing operations that must happen before your 3PL can start fulfilling orders for your online store. Receiving refers to the acceptance of incoming inventory, followed by its storage. Once your 3PL receives the products, they store your items in warehouses and fulfillment centers. Each SKU has a separate dedicated storage location, either on a racking shelf, in a bin, or on a pallet.
The fulfillment process begins once your customer places an order. As soon as an order is sent to your 3PL through their WMS, it is assigned to the picking team. Using the most efficient picking pattern, the picker receives a picking list of items, quantities, and storage locations at the facility to collect the order products from their respective areas. 3PLs understand that your goal is to minimize cost per order for fulfillment services. The picked items for each order are scanned and set aside for packaging.
After the picker has collected all the products for the order, it’s time to get them securely packed up and ready for shipping. Items are compiled and placed – along with dunnage and any other extra materials – into the appropriate box or bag. The printed shipping label is then affixed. Take place at this stage to ensure what was ordered is what was picked. Checks include order accuracy, packaging appropriateness, and labeling accuracy.
You may rely on your 3PL to manage parcel shipping on your behalf; if your volumes are modest, there could be a significant cost advantage to shipping under your 3PLs negotiated agreements with carriers. The 3PL will negotiate rates based on its aggregate volume across many different clients.
While these are the primary functions of online order fulfillment, just about every aspect of the process is customizable. Many 3PLs offer additional value-added services such as kitting and packaging.
Your 3PL Provider
Learn more about how partnering with Taylor can help your business scale and how their non-siloed operation system, which is comprised of top-of-the-line logistics services, can help your supply chain.