The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect 3PL Provider in Melbourne
May 17, 2023
What is 3PL?
With the explosion of online sales during Covid times and the emergence of more e-commerce stores, online retail business owners often wonder how to find the best 3PL provider to support their business in Melbourne and Australia-wide.
Third-party logistics (3PL) is exactly what it sounds like: an outsourced company that moves products through the supply chain and ultimately into the hands of your customers. Finding the perfect 3PL provider in Melbourne can be the magic ingredient to running a smooth, organised and successful online store.
The level of sophistication of 3PL companies in Melbourne and nationwide has risen to a point where every aspect of e-commerce logistics can be managed and executed on your behalf to allow you to focus on running day-to-day facets of the operation.
What Services Can a 3PL Provide in Melbourne?
The receiving aspect of 3PL involves your goods arriving at and being signed off by the 3PL centre. For some e-commerce businesses, receiving may involve light inspection work to ensure the goods are as promised and undamaged. In many cases, the stock is received by a 3PL directly from the manufacturer and business owners will receive an alert and relevant information as required.
Warehousing in Melbourne
The warehouse services involve safely storing your products in a warehouse in Melbourne before they get distributed to your customers. Depending on your quantities and item types, how your items are stored could include pallets or bins. For many e-commerce businesses, stock storage is the first and foremost reason a third-party logistics company may be considered.
A 3PL in Melbourne will be in charge of tracking and organising your inventory for optimal stocktake control. Usually, an SKU code (Stock keeping unit) will be allocated to every item for easy management. This is a key ingredient in ensuring that you always have an adequate supply for customers and avoid delays in customers receiving orders.
Picking & Packing
When an order comes in, your 3PL Melbourne must find the correct item/s and pack them according to specifications. In some cases, like Amazon, this process involves automation and robotic technology.
Labelling & Shipping
A 3PL will offer labelling and shipping of your customer orders, often for local, national and international post. This aspect of the logistics can be extremely costly, whether you do this in-house or use a 3PL in Melbourne. Doing the math and working out the best costing framework with your 3PL for this service is worthwhile.
Dealing with customer returns can burden busy business owners, and this service is often taken care of by 3PL companies. The process for reverse logistics includes receiving damaged, incorrect, change-of-heart products back into the business inventory and managing what happens with the item.
Benefits of using a 3PL
The cost of using a 3PL company can, at first, seem expensive. However, for many businesses, the value of outsourcing many logistics components by using a 3PL can lead to profitable scaling for the business and allow owners to focus on all-important marketing and sales.
- Minimise stress
- Scale your business
- Streamline your operation
- Work at your highest and best use
How to Choose the Best 3PL for Your Business in Melbourne?
Whether you are a new e-commerce business or have hundreds of customer orders daily, consider the following when selecting your ideal 3PL partner in Melbourne.
Ask your Melbourne 3PL company the following questions:
Value Added Services – Does the 3PL company you’re considering offer all the services you need? Do they offer additional services, such as quality control checks at the receipt, that may help you now or in the future?
Capacity – Does the 3PL company have multiple warehouses if your capacity grows? Are the goods you sell suited to the warehouse conditions?
Timeliness – What efficiency guarantees can the 3PL company you are considering offer you? Do they increase their staff numbers to keep up during peak periods such as Christmas or Black Friday?
Location – Where are the warehouses located? Are they close enough for you to attend if you need to inspect stock?
Systems – How advanced are their IT inventory systems? Do they integrate with your e-commerce system? This will be important if you plan to scale your business.
Cost – Many 3PL companies in Melbourne and Australia may compete for your stock fulfilment contract. Be sure to run the numbers and ensure you are comfortable with the deal you’re getting. Also, ask how costs may reduce with your predicted growth, as some negotiation will likely be available.
Brand packaging – Can you supply your satchels or cartons to the 3PL to maintain your marketing edge?
International shipping – Does the 3PL deliver overseas? This will be important if your e-commerce business targets global markets or may do so eventually.
Should you use a 3PL?
Control is the primary concern business owners have and an issue that may arise when outsourcing to a 3PL. When you involve a 3PL, you delegate control over a significant business process to a third party. The best thing you can do if you are concerned about using a 3PL is to find a reliable company with an excellent reputation in Melbourne.
The Perfect 3PL in Melbourne
There is no harm in exploring the option and consulting with an expert in 3PL to provide you with a no-obligation quote. eStore Logistics is an award-winning Fulfillment Service Provider in Australia with warehouses in Melbourne and Sydney. Their state-of-the-art technology, coupled with a customer-focused approach to logistics for retailers of all sizes, makes eStore Logistics a perfect choice for your Melbourne business. The sooner you take the next step in delegating the logistics of your e-commerce store, the sooner you can execute your exciting growth plans. Call 1300 735 133 for more information.