What Is 3PL?
Third-Party Logistics, or 3PL, involves outsourcing your logistics operations to an external provider. This may encompass a range of services from warehousing and distribution to transportation and freight management. Utilising a 3PL provider allows you to focus on your core business operations while they handle logistics-related tasks, usually with greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
The Key Components of Third-Party Logistics
Selecting a 3PL involves a comprehensive understanding of several critical components. These components define the potential capabilities of a 3PL partner, influencing their ability to meet your specific business requirements and strategic goals. The key components of 3PL are summarised in the table below:
Safe storage of goods is a crucial aspect of logistics. A 3PL partner should offer efficient warehousing facilities, accommodating a variety of storage needs.
3PLs should provide robust inventory management solutions, ensuring accurate tracking of stock levels and timely fulfilment of orders.
The ability to distribute products efficiently and quickly to various locations is a key consideration for a 3PL provider.
3PLs manage the transportation of goods, potentially across multiple modes (road, air, sea, rail). Their networks and relationships can often provide cost and service advantages.
Some 3PLs offer freight forwarding, handling all aspects of shipping goods, including handling documentation, customs requirements, and ensuring safe delivery.
These could include packaging, labelling, kitting or even light assembly operations. Value-added services provide additional flexibility to better serve the end-customer needs.
The Pros and Cons of Using 3PLs
Outsourcing logistics functions can unlock a range of benefits in a business but it does come at a cost and so it is important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages when taking such an important decision.
Access to specialist expertise and software that may not exist within the organisation
Can be more expensive than running in-house, depending on internal capability as paying 3PL profit margin
Free up capital within the business (i.e. property, systems etc.) to allocate to core focus of the business
A lack of control and flexibility to make changes within the operation
Capability to expand into the 3PL network as the business grows rather than invest own property
A lack of long-term investment due to short-term contracts can stifle productivity
Pooling of resources in shared user environments can reduces the costs of operation
Duplication of resource in some cases to manage the 3PLs operations and finances
The question of whether to outsource or retain logistics functions in-house depends on the individual business circumstances. The key considerations are the appetite for control of customer interactions, the logistics capability within the operation, the size of an operation, the scale of growth, the complexity of processes and the appetite for investment.
BoxLogic's Selection Process
Our 3PL selection process is systematic and comprehensive, engineered to help you find a perfect match for your business:
We conduct a strategic study to assess the impact of outsourcing, considering a range of financial, performance and operational considerations to ensure that it’s the right step for your business.
The Benefits of Working with BoxLogic
Choosing BoxLogic as your 3PL consultant brings numerous benefits:
Trust BoxLogic for your 3PL consultancy needs to ensure you find a reliable partner, optimise your network and fulfilment capabilities, and confidently secure your company’s logistics future.
Speak to a 3PL Expert Today
Call us on +44 (0)118 309 4030
to speak to a BoxLogic consultant about your 3PL project requirements