Top 5 Best Third-party Logistics (3PL) Companies

Many businesses turn to third-party logistics (3PL) companies for their shipping, warehousing, and fulfillment needs, but it can be overwhelming to choose the right 3PL provider for your business with so many available options. Any of these five 3PL companies would be a great place to start: 

The Five Best 3PL Companies

  1. ShipHero: ShipHero is a comprehensive Warehouse Management System (WMS) designed to optimize eCommerce operations by simplifying picking, packing, and shipping processes. It boasts features like inventory management, order tracking, automation rules, and seamless integrations with major eCommerce platforms.
  2. For businesses operating in or expanding to the Canadian market, understanding the nuances of logistics in Canada is essential. Explore our insights on 3PL services in Canada to navigate the complexities of Canadian warehousing, shipping, and fulfillment strategies effectively.
  3. ShipBob: It offers top-notch fulfillment services aimed at helping direct-to-consumer eCommerce brands stay competitive by allowing them to focus on business growth and delivering exceptional customer experiences
  4. C. H. Robinson: C.H. Robinson stands out as a global logistics platform, offering comprehensive solutions across various industries.
  5. XPO Logistics: The company has a strong focus on utilizing proprietary technology to efficiently move goods through its network, emphasizing the de-risking of supply chains for companies.
  6. UPS: United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), founded in 1907, has grown from a small messenger company to a Fortune 500 global shipping and supply chain management powerhouse.

If you know what a 3PL is and why you might need it, then you have five places to start your search. If you don’t know much about 3PLs, keep reading.

What are Third-party Logistics?

Third-party logistics refers to the outsourcing of logistics activities to a specialized company. These companies handle tasks such as transportation, warehousing, inventory management, and order fulfillment on behalf of their clients. By partnering with a 3PL provider, businesses can streamline their supply chain processes and focus on their core competencies.

3PL companies offer a wide range of transportation services. They generally have a network of carriers and can negotiate favorable rates for shipping goods. By road, air, rail, or sea, these companies have the expertise to ensure that products reach their destination efficiently and on time. They also handle all the necessary documentation and customs clearance, taking the burden off the businesses.

Warehousing is another crucial aspect of logistics that 3PL companies excel in. They have strategically located warehouses equipped with the latest technology and infrastructure to store goods safely and efficiently. 

These warehouses are often equipped with advanced inventory management systems that allow businesses to track their inventory in real-time. This ensures that businesses always have visibility into their stock levels and can fulfill customer orders promptly.

Inventory management is a complex task that requires careful planning and execution. 3PL companies have dedicated teams that specialize in managing inventory. They use sophisticated software systems to track stock levels, monitor expiration dates, and optimize storage space. By outsourcing this function to a 3PL provider, businesses can minimize the risk of stockouts and reduce carrying costs.

Order fulfillment is the final step in the logistics process, and 3PL companies play a crucial role in ensuring orders get delivered accurately and on time. 3PL companies often have efficient order processing systems in place to handle everything from picking and packing to labeling and shipping. With their expertise, businesses can provide their customers with a seamless and reliable order fulfillment experience.

Overall, partnering with a 3PL provider offers numerous benefits for businesses. It lets the business tap into the expertise and resources of a specialized logistics company, optimize their supply chain, and improve customer satisfaction. By outsourcing logistics activities, businesses can focus on their core competencies and gain a competitive edge in the market.

If you’re new to the concept of third-party logistics and curious about the breadth of services they offer, our comprehensive overview on 3PL services breaks down everything from warehousing to order fulfillment, equipping you with the knowledge to make informed decisions.

Overview of 3PL Companies

3PL companies come in all shapes and sizes, offering a wide range of services to cater to different business needs. While some 3PL providers specialize in specific industries or regions, others offer comprehensive solutions that can be tailored to any business. 

The top 5 best 3PL companies on our list have proven track records, extensive networks, and a reputation for delivering exceptional results.

What Kinds of Businesses Use 3rd Party Logistics Companies?

eCommerce businesses, retailers, manufacturers, and distributors are among the industries that commonly use 3PL providers. Startups and small businesses often choose 3PL companies to handle their logistics needs so they themselves can focus on growth and core competencies. 

Larger corporations also benefit from outsourcing logistics tasks; they can streamline their operations and gain access to specialized expertise. 

Startups and small businesses often face unique challenges in logistics and supply chain management. Dive deeper into how a 3PL can be a game-changer for small businesses by visiting our detailed guide on 3PL services for small businesses, offering insights to streamline your operations and focus on growth.

Core Competencies of 3PL Providers

The top 5 best 3PL companies mentioned above excel in certain core competencies that set them apart from their competitors. These core competencies include:

  1. Extensive network and transportation capabilities
  2. Advanced technology and tracking systems
  3. Efficient warehousing and inventory management
  4. Excellent customer service and communication
  5. Customizable solutions tailored to specific business needs

Fulfillment Centers & Warehousing Locations

When choosing a 3PL provider, it is crucial to consider their fulfillment center locations and warehousing capabilities. The top 5 best 3PLs above have strategically located warehouses across the country, allowing for faster and more cost-effective shipping. These companies have invested in state-of-the-art warehousing facilities that prioritize efficiency, security, and scalability.

Sales Channels & eCommerce Platforms Supported by 3PLs

eCommerce businesses rely heavily on effective supply chain management to ensure timely order fulfillment. The top 5 best 3PL companies integrate seamlessly with popular eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Amazon. 

They also support multiple sales channels, including marketplaces like eBay and social media platforms. By leveraging the capabilities of these 3PL providers, eCommerce businesses can enhance their customer experience and boost sales.

Customer Satisfaction with 3PL Companies

When selecting a 3PL provider, consider their track record of customer satisfaction. The top 5 best 3PL companies have a proven history of delivering a high level of service and exceeding customer expectations. They have earned positive reviews and testimonials from their clients, showcasing their commitment to excellence.

How to Get Started with a 3PL Service

If you decide to partner with a 3PL provider, the onboarding process is generally straightforward. It typically involves:

  1. Evaluating your logistics needs and goals
  2. Researching and shortlisting potential 3PL companies
  3. Contacting the selected companies and discussing your requirements
  4. Requesting and reviewing proposals
  5. Selecting the best-fitting 3PL provider for your business
  6. Signing the necessary agreements and contracts
  7. Collaborating with the 3PL company to set up systems and processes

By following these steps, you can start leveraging the benefits of 3PL services and optimizing your supply chain management.

Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a 3PL Provider

While selecting a 3PL provider, avoid these common mistakes that can lead to poor service or unsatisfactory results:

  • Not thoroughly researching the reputation and track record of the 3PL company
  • Choosing a provider solely based on cost, without considering the quality of service
  • Overlooking the compatibility of the provider’s technology with your existing systems
  • Not clearly communicating your business requirements and expectations
  • Entering into long-term contracts without a trial or pilot period

By being aware of these common mistakes, you can make an informed decision and select a reliable and suitable 3PL provider.

Understanding the Pricing Structure of 3PLs

The cost of 3PL services can vary depending on the volume of shipments, storage requirements, and the complexity of logistics operations. 

3PL providers typically use a pricing structure that includes fixed costs like warehousing fees, and variable costs based on the services used. Carefully review the pricing details provided by potential 3PL providers so you know it aligns with your budget.

A banner for the footer of a blog that asks that for more information, you can contact us at ShipHero

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, partnering with a reputable 3PL company can significantly optimize your supply chain and enhance your overall business operations. 

The top 5 best 3PL companies stand out due to their extensive networks, advanced technology, superior customer service, and customizable solutions. When choosing a 3PL provider, consider factors such as industry expertise, technology capabilities, and customer satisfaction. 

By avoiding common mistakes and understanding the pricing structure, you can make an informed decision and select the right 3PL provider for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does 3PL stand for?

3PL stands for Third-Party Logistics. It refers to the outsourcing of logistics and distribution by companies to third-party firms that specialize in warehousing, transportation, and fulfillment services. 

These third-party providers manage all or a significant portion of a company’s logistics functions, allowing businesses to focus on other areas without the need for extensive logistics infrastructure or expertise.

Is it necessary to use a 3PL company?

While it is not mandatory, utilizing a 3PL company can provide numerous benefits, particularly for businesses that require efficient supply chain management.

How do I choose the right 3PL provider for my business?

Consider factors such as reputation, industry expertise, technology capabilities, and customer satisfaction when selecting a 3PL provider. Additionally, ensure their services align with your specific business needs.

Connect with Our Team Today.

  • 99% + Shipping Accuracy.
  • 30% Faster Shipping.
  • 3X Increase in Picking Efficiency.

Get Started

Related Posts