Choosing a 3PL service provider doesn’t have to be difficult but requires some research and careful consideration. You’ll need to be prudent and thorough with your investigation because they’ll have a tremendous impact on your business, costs, profit margins, and supply chain for years to come. There are many things for you to consider beyond basic inventory receiving, order packaging, and goods shipping.

So, before you decide on a 3PL e-commerce fulfillment partner, here are some things to keep in mind about your fulfillment service provider and how their services align with your business’s requirements:

What Technologies Do They Use?

Technology and innovation are big factors when you’re considering a 3PL service provider. You’ll need to choose someone who can provide proper and accurate monthly reports with a real-time tracking history of your inventory. Also, if you’re considering using their inventory management services, you’ll need to ask if they use the latest software and methods for storing inventory. What kind of ERP software do they use? How do they keep track of the inventory? Do they have a proper shelving system?

If they don’t meet any of these requirements, it can cause delays for your businesses as they won’t have real-time data showing up on their database systems, giving you an inaccurate outlook of the inventory available or dispatched. This can create issues when you’re negotiating pricing with your inventory supplier on ordering new supplies.

What Does Their Pricing Look Like?

Pricing is also one of the most important factors when choosing a 3PL service provider. When looking at their packages and services, don’t just compare prices from company to company. You’ll need to study their operation and how they work. Once you understand what their services will look like, analyze how much you’ll be able to save doing business with them in the long run. A successful 3PL fulfillment service provider can help you save money through their accurate inventory processing a dispatch, integrated technologies and databases, and quick and efficient decision-making capabilities.

What Is Their Services Portfolio?

If you’re looking for fulfillment services like inventory processing, shipping, and packaging, most 3PL companies can help you with that. What you need to consider are the other services the company is offering. Ask yourself if these services will help your company once you start expanding or if you would have to go elsewhere? Look for a company that offers omnichannel solutions because they serve as a one-stop-shop solution beyond the basic receiving, packaging, and shipping services.

A successful 3PL company should be able to offer you inventory control, reverse logistics, inventory management, branded and custom packaging services, warehouse storage, sourcing services, etc.

two workers holding two cardboard boxes in a warehouse

Where Is Their Location?

You’ll need to choose a service provider close to your business and somewhere near the important transportation routes like shipping ports and airports. When you choose a 3PL company near these locations, your documentation, receiving, and shipping processes are quickly accomplished.

How Much Experience Do They Have?

It’s best to consider someone who has some experience dealing with businesses similar to yours and has worked in different industries for a long time. The fulfillment service provider also has to meet your business’s needs, anticipate future needs, and provide solutions. The fulfillment service environment is constantly changing and evolving in terms of different channels and technologies. Many of the procedures in inventory management are being automated to improve efficiency and accuracy.

A successful fulfillment service will be able to adapt to new technologies and properly integrate them into its service portfolio.

Get Expert E-Commerce Fulfillment Service At E-Commerce Express

Now that you’re more aware of what you should ask when sourcing a 3PL order fulfillment service provider, check out the service portfolio at E-Commerce Express. They have experienced agents and a diversified network of manufacturers, suppliers, and global carriers who’ll make your products reach safely to your customers. They also provide custom product sourcing services if you ever need to source a supplier in China.

Get in touch with them to learn more about their e-commerce fulfillment services by visiting their website for more information on branded and custom packaging, dropshipping services for e-commerce businesses, warehousing receiving & inventory, third-party Amazon FBA services, and much more.

About The Author

Susan. D is a business consultant with two decades of experience handling logistics for different e-commerce and third-party agencies. She also writes for acclaimed websites and magazines to educate her readers about the latest trends in the e-commerce industry.