Is your e-commerce company growing or experiencing a spike in sales? These business changes create stress and demand logistics responsibilities like inventory management, shipping, returns, exchanges, and freight carrier coordination.

If you don’t want your customer experience to suffer, it might be time to ask yourself an important question. Should you handle your e-commerce product fulfillment yourself or partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) warehousing and distribution provider? While you consider this question, here are six key points to help you decide how to manage your e-commerce product fulfillment.

3PL vs. Self-Fulfillment

1. Hidden Costs

Self-fulfillment can be cheaper up to a point, but your minimal costs will start to add up over time. Self-fulfillment includes costs like warehouse equipment, staff labor, workers’ comp, and liability insurance, business licenses, shipping supplies, and office supplies. The dollar signs can become overwhelming fast.

When you work with a 3PL, they can take care of the overhead and financing thanks to their network of fulfillment centers and distribution warehouses. They can negotiate more affordable rates with significant carriers than your business can due to the larger parcel volumes they manage. Say goodbye to ridiculous shipping costs and the time required to handle it all when working with a 3PL.

2. Inventory Management

Are the demands of inventory management are straining your business? A 3PL logistics provider can help you manage your e-commerce inventory every step of the way. We understand you may want control over your items and where they go, but what happens when you have a surge in order volume? Do you know you have the inventory you need to cover the orders?

The right 3PL partner can manage your inventory precisely through their technology and training investments. Working with BR Williams, customers can view all the inventory stored in the warehouses at any time of the day or night for efficient inventory management. Give yourself one less thing to worry about and forget the days of juggling lost or untrackable inventories.

3. Warehousing

There’s much less to worry about when you leave fulfillment to a 3PL expert, particularly warehousing. A 3PL is set up with ample square footage, loading docks for receiving inventory, and optimized shelving to efficiently handle customers of all sizes.

With many fulfillment and distribution warehouses strategically located close to ports, interstate highways, and manufacturing facilities, a 3PL like BR Williams can reduce shipping distances and fit right into your supply chain. BR Williams offers custom warehousing and distribution storage solutions to meet your business needs best. 

4. Shipping

Where you store your products is essential concerning storage space and proximity. The closer you are to your customers, the shorter the shipping distance and shipping costs. That’s why finding the right 3PL can save you time and money. Plus, a 3PL can negotiate for bulk shipping rate thanks to the volumes they deal with, so you can compete with other online retailers.

Do you really want to spend your time on tasks like ordering shipping labels or packing shipping orders? Working with a 3PL provider can free you from managing the shipping process so you can spend time doing what you do best.

5. Scalability

If you plan to grow your operations in the next two years, outsourcing your e-commerce product fulfillment makes sense. Your self-fulfillment team can only send out so many packages per day. Things can get out of hand quickly when you experience spikes in sales volume. A good 3PL provider can scale with you as your business grows, so your sales aren’t limited by your team’s fulfillment capabilities.

6. Technology

Wouldn’t it be great if your technology streamlined your shipping and fulfillment? A modern 3PL has access to technology solutions to grow your business in ways you can’t always afford with self-fulfillment. Expect seamlessly integrated systems that connect to your existing online stores, as well as real-time inventory tracking, order tracking reports, automated alerts, and more. BR Williams operates one of the most advanced warehouse management systems, so we know where our customers’ products are at all times. Is your business ready for 99% inventory accuracy?

Of course, there are positives and negatives on both sides of the 3PL vs. self-fulfillment debate.

Partnering With a 3PL

If you’re still trying to figure out how to get your products to your customers faster, we invite you to contact us at BR Williams and request a free quote for our 3PL order fulfillment services. Find out where you can cut costs in your current e-commerce order fulfillment process, and we’ll help find a fulfillment solution that best fits your needs.

About BR Williams Trucking & Logistics

BR Williams, a family-owned Trucking, Warehousing, Fulfillment & Logistics Company has been serving customers since 1958. We specialize in removing the supply chain frustrations our customers have by developing custom-made solutions. We offer nationwide transportation services through our fleet and logistics division. Our multiple fulfillment and distribution warehouses in Alabama span over 1.7 million square feet. Our core values are HONESTY, INTEGRITY, SERVICE. We still serve our first customer that was established in 1958.

To discuss your supply chain needs, please contact us online or call (800) 523-7963

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