Do You Need a 3PL?
Why To Use a 3PL for Small Package Shipping
Here's a not-so-breaking news flash: you're a small business relying heavily on small package shipping that's constantly riding the topsy-turvy carnival ride that is efficiency and profitability. And there's no tuft of cotton candy anywhere in sight. Sound familiar? We don't have to go through the litany of challenges you face. We know them, and you certainly do. Small package shipping can sometimes be difficult water to tread without expertise to guide you. With that in mind, have you considered partnering with a company that provides third-party logistics to small businesses like yours? It might be time.
Choosing 3PL services for small package shipping
In short, third-party logistics providers (commonly called a "3PL") help companies streamline and improve their shipping processes, allowing them to save time and money. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, here is a breaking news flash: not all companies that provide 3PL services are equal.
Partnering with a company like Worldwide Express ensures you receive best-in-class UPS® small package shipping solutions at discounted prices along with personal guidance and support from logistics experts. Here, we outline specifically what you should look for and why.
Industry expertise in package shipping
It's easy to know where the goal line is located. The challenge is getting there. Companies needing to up their package shipping game should look for and expect the following expertise:
- A complete understanding of small package shipping — For small businesses owners, finding the right partner means looking for those with a proven history in serving companies just like theirs. A top third-party logistics provider understands the ebbs and flows of parcel shipping. This includes budget constraints, customer demographics, increased consumer demand, shipping trends and different product types. Last-mile challenges? They can help you with this as well and alleviate related surcharges, fees and other logistical challenges.
- A one-stop shop for shipping logistics — You have a business to run — and you're good at it. There's no need to become a shipping logistics expert. A 3PL provides this and gives you a one-stop shipping experience. This includes expertise in technology, account management, customer service and all key areas that make package shipping much less complicated.
- Expert guidance on supply chain and logistics trends — A logistics services provider can supply you with industry insights and a deep understanding of the challenges your company is currently facing. Supply chain disruption? Driver shortage? Something that's going to happen tomorrow? 3PLs give you on-going advice on both the expected and unexpected.
Scaling and evolving your small package shipping
Small businesses with tight budgets facing increased consumer demand know scalability is a slippery slope as they grow their operations. So, what can a third-party logistics provider do to help prevent your business operations from spinning like an out-of-control hula hoop?
- Tips on scaling between parcel shipping and LTL — You will find there are times that small package shipping does not make sense for you. In fact, there are certain situations when incorporating less-than-truckload (LTL) with your small package shipping can save time and money. For example, one way to streamline your shipping is by consolidating multiple packages bound for a single address using LTL. A 3PL can help.
- Advice on fulfillment centers — A 3PL services provider can present multiple options and help you build a relationship with fulfillment centers. In many cases, fulfillment centers can ship orders to customers or retailers and manage your entire fulfillment operation.
- Multi-branch expertise — If you're shipping from multiple locations, a logistics expert can help you get the best prices for all locations, plus provide you with reporting and billing options that give you a comprehensive view of your spend across all of them.
Relationships in the small package shipping industry
Ideally, a third-party logistics provider will leverage their relationships and reputation within the industry to save you money and provide best-in-class services. Think of them as a package shipping concierge. In particular, they should have:
- Reputable parcel carrier relationships — Leading 3PL services providers should have a solid relationship with one of the top parcel carriers in the business. For example, Worldwide Express is the largest non-retail authorized reseller of UPS small package shipping services in the nation. That means you are working with a 3PL in alliance with the shipper that has the best on-time delivery percentage in the industry. Read about our UPS® small package shipping solutions.
- Ability to negotiate shipping prices and get product shipped — The best 3PL service providers in the business are those with glowing reputations with carriers. Those that do are more likely to get shipments on the truck when capacity is tight. They also have a near-endless list of vetted carriers and can negotiate rates and services for all your shipping needs.
3PL shipping technology
Technology should be a vehicle to create efficiencies and uncomplicate your shipping operations. In particular, 3PLs can and should provide the following two solutions:
- TMS technology — A transportation management system (TMS) should be the bread and butter of any well-oiled small package shipping operation. With SpeedShip® from Worldwide Express, you can create batch shipments, choose shipping insurance, pay shipping invoices and even access reports for better visibility and insights into your shipping activity. That way you can make smart adjustments to your supply chain. Concerned about making a TMS change? SpeedShip is easy-to-use and you can quickly transfer your address book from your current shipping platform, without paying a fee or installing any software.
- Connections to e-commerce solutions — The best logistics providers can pair you with top-tier e-commerce systems that make managing and shipping your online orders effortless. Worldwide Express takes care of this for you and provides e-commerce technology options such as integrations with most pre-existing ERP systems and shopping cart solutions.
Which 3PL is right for your small package shipping?
Partnering with a 3PL may seem like a huge undertaking. It shouldn't be. At Worldwide Express, our mission is to provide small to mid-size companies with the scale and savings afforded to larger enterprise businesses. Talk to us today to learn more about how we can help your business with its small package shipping needs.