Discover the Different 3PL Activities for e-Commerce and How They Can Benefit Your Business

Managing order fulfilment is a crucial aspect of your e-Commerce store’s daily operations. As your business expands, you might discover that handling customer orders internally becomes increasingly challenging.

This is where a third-party logistics provider, or 3PL provider, steps in to help. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the essential information about 3PL service in Dubai and the UAE for e-Commerce.

Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Explained 

Third-party logistics, often abbreviated as 3PL, pertains to the delegation of logistics functions to an external entity, encompassing tasks such as inventory management, warehousing, and order fulfilment. If you have an e-Commerce business, taking advantage of 3PL services in Dubai can help enhance your operational efficiency through automated retail order processing.

The Differences Between 3PL and 4PL 

Logistics come in various classifications, such as 1PL, 2PL, 3PL, 4PL, and 5PL. However, 3PL and 4PL are the most popular ones. But what is 4PL? 

It introduces an extra layer of separation between e-Commerce merchants and the 3PLs responsible for shipping their goods. When a business engages with a 4PL, the 4PL assumes the responsibility of overseeing and coordinating 3PL services on behalf of the client. This arrangement is occasionally referred to as “double brokering.”

An Overview of the 3PL Process

If you’re thinking about partnering with a 3PL provider or are new to the concept of outsourcing your logistics operations, the inner workings of a 3PL fulfilment centre might seem like a mystery. 

Here’s what happens. When you opt for outsourcing your fulfilment, your products are shipped directly from the manufacturing facility to the third-party logistics warehouse. Upon the arrival of your inventory, the fulfilment company can offer a variety of value-added services beyond fundamental fulfilment. 

To help you get a clear picture of what happens in a 3PL warehouse, we’re highlighting below the key aspects of the 3PL process for e-Commerce.

e-Commerce Platform Integration 

For the majority of e-Commerce businesses, thriving necessitates engaging in multichannel selling. To facilitate this, it’s crucial for your fulfilment warehouse to possess robust IT capabilities. Fulfilment warehouses typically employ Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) that seamlessly integrate with various e-Commerce platforms. 

Your chosen provider should be capable of accommodating all your sales channels or have the capability to craft customised API for direct integration with your online shopping cart. Furthermore, you should have the convenience of monitoring and tracking your order status in real-time through an online dashboard.

Inventory Management 

Working with a third-party logistics company means you no longer have to do inventory management on your own. Your dedicated account representative can leverage their extensive experience working with numerous e-Commerce companies to assist you in effectively overseeing your inventory. Feel free to seek guidance regarding optimal restocking thresholds, refining your supply chain, and determining ideal seasonal inventory levels.

Picking, Packing, and Shipping 

The heart of order fulfilment lies in the processes of order selection, packaging, and dispatch. Once your customer initiates an order via one of your sales channels, it is promptly directed to the fulfilment warehouse. At this stage, the picking team locates the required items from the shelves for the order. 

Subsequently, a packer meticulously chooses the ideal-sized box ensuring it neither exceeds nor falls short of the requirements, and then proceeds to package the order. The packer also affixes the shipping label to the package. Finally, the logistics provider takes charge of ensuring that the order is promptly collected by the appropriate carrier as soon as it is ready for dispatch.

Same-day Delivery 

Certain third-party logistics providers extend the option of express shipping within the same day, ensuring that customer orders are selected, packed, and dispatched on the very day they are placed. Same-day shipping not only expedites the delivery of your orders to customers but also contributes to heightened customer satisfaction.

For instance, TFI processes orders on our facility for same-day shipping if they are pushed to our system before 12 noon. 

Reverse Logistics

Also known as returns management, reverse logistics, is a vital component of fulfilment procedures. Products that are subject to sizing, such as clothing and footwear, tend to experience significantly higher return rates compared to the industry average. Fortunately, many e-Commerce fulfilment centres, including TFI, are well-equipped to accept and process returns. They provide expert support for this crucial aspect of your supply chain operations.

The reverse logistics process encompasses the evaluation of returned items to determine whether they are damaged or fit for reinstatement into inventory. An efficient reverse logistics system can significantly reduce the turnaround time for making undamaged products available for purchase once more.

Your return rate is influenced by various factors, including the nature of the products you offer. However, the core competencies of your chosen 3PL partner can wield a substantial influence on your return rates. Service providers with minimal fulfilment errors play a pivotal role in helping e-Commerce enterprises maintain low return rates.

Third-party logistics offers several benefits for e-Commerce businesses. 3PL providers leverage economies of scale, technology, and expertise to lower your logistics costs, including transportation, warehousing, and labour expenses. Moreover, they can quickly adapt to fluctuations in demand, seasonal peaks, or market expansion, allowing your business to scale operations up or down as needed. Hence, they enable you to focus on the core competencies of your business, such as product development, marketing, and customer service. 

Partner with TFI for Your 3PL Needs for e-Commerce

With an established track record and capabilities in third-party logistics, TFI prides itself as one of the leading providers of 3PL service in Dubai and the entire UAE. We offer customised, short- and long-term solutions to address your unique order fulfilment challenges. These include warehousing & distribution, global freight forwarding, customs brokerage, trucking, inventory management, and value-added services

Take your e-Commerce business to where you want it to be by outsourcing your 3PL to a company you can depend on. Partner with TFI today