3PL (or third-party logistics) partners help large corporations and small businesses alike save on essential functions like procurement, fulfillment, tracking, warehousing, inventory, and more. Read on to learn how to use them to reduce costs and improve your bottom line.
Today, the logistics industry is more complicated than it has ever been. The global and national supply chains are still in chaos, and businesses must continue to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Surging fuel prices haven’t helped, significantly increasing the shipping costs nearly across the board.
To combat these challenges, many businesses are turning to 3PL partners to help them lower their costs and take some of the strain off their team.
What is a 3PL partner?
At its most basic, a 3PL partner is an organization where you can outsource your logistical needs. It is also often referred to as a fulfillment center or fulfillment warehouse. 3PL organizations have the expertise, warehouse space, inventory management, and transportation equipment that many ecom businesses can’t provide. They can help with initial shipping, inventory storage, and, more critically in today’s market, handle returns.
There are different kinds of 3PL partners available if eCommerce businesses have specific needs. For example, certain 3PL partners are equipped to handle hazardous materials, like potentially volatile batteries or chemicals. Others are outfitted for cold storage, allowing them to handle the shipment of foods that require refrigeration to be shipped safely.
Why partner with a 3PL?
There are several reasons why partnering with 3PLs makes sense for any business, especially smaller ones with fewer logistical resources at their disposal.
More time to focus on growing your business
Dealing with the many complexities of a supply chain takes a significant amount of time, even for a logistical expert. Most small business owners don’t have the experience of an industry professional, making the task even more daunting. By outsourcing shipping, business leaders can spend more time focusing on the things they know, things that will grow their business. For many small business owners, the stress relief alone is worth forming a 3PL partnership
Business owners can designate a 3PL as their destination for their returns. Rather than return items to the company, customers send them to their 3PL partners. Depending on what the business prefers, a few things can happen from here. In many cases the 3PL will store the goods for resale, assuming they are in good condition.
Most 3PLs will store inventory, which many businesses do not have the capacity to do themselves. It can be expensive to purchase or rent out warehousing facilities that must be maintained and staffed. It is usually a much more affordable option to pay a 3PL partner to handle storage, especially considering they are much better equipped to do so.
WIN Warehouse as a 3PL
WIN Warehouse can perform some of the same functions as a traditional 3PL but at virtually no cost to you. In fact, donating to WIN can actually improve your bottom line.
Specifically, we here at WIN specialize in handling the reverse logistics aspects of the supply chain — customer returns and returns to vendors.
We make your returns available to our nonprofit members as a donation from you. Our members pay a small handling fee for the items, usually 50-90% less than the retail cost, and you get to write off the cost of the return. It helps create more good in the world and makes a big impact on the taxable income of our donors.
For donors like you, this gives the dual benefit of never having to deal with processing returns while also building a steady stream of tax deductions throughout the year.
We will store your items for free. We do not charge our donors to hold their items while we wait for them to be distributed to our nonprofit partners. This is just one more way in which we aim to be as beneficial as possible to those who choose to use WIN to donate their excess inventory and returns.
We’re capable of managing the entire returns process. We can take care of processing, handling, storage, and redistribution so you don’t have to. This can save you significant amounts of time, allowing you to focus on improving other areas of your business.
Returns are more common today than ever before. Donating them not only empowers nonprofits to do more good with the resources they have, they also accumulate into significant tax write-offs. While the exact benefit changes are dependent on factors like sale price, size, and seasonality, in many cases it is much more beneficial to donate inventory than to try and resell or liquidate it.
Want to partner with WIN for your business?
Contact us today and one of our team members will get back to you as soon as possible.