Is your business growing too quickly? While your business growing fast might seem like a good thing, you could be left with burnt-out employees, frustrated supply chain partners, and disgruntled customers.
To avoid these problems, you need a solution that works. 3PL inventory management can help you meet your growth expectations.
Third-party warehouses entail a lot of different services. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is 3PL Inventory Management?
Inventory can sit in a warehouse and keep your company’s cash tied up. Businesses need to fulfill product demand without overstocking warehouses.
3PL inventory management helps you identify what products you need to order and when. They can monitor the inventory you order from when they are purchased to when they are sold to customers.
3PL software can also help with digital inventory management systems so that you can keep an eye on inventory levels as well.
How Do 3PL Inventory Management Solutions Work?
A 3PL inventory management system involves integrated software solutions designed to manage operations, including:
- Inventory control
- Order fulfillment
The software is data functional by providing your business with the analytics tools you need to optimize operations and improve your customer service.
Let’s dive deeper into the key functions of inventory management systems:
A 3PL software solution will include data on stock levels, goods tracking, and reordering capabilities. These features ensure that your products are efficiently distributed.
Because your stock levels remain in a good place, you won’t be overstocking which will save you money.
A manual order fulfillment process is almost unheard of these days. If you can afford 3PL warehouse management and software, say goodbye to manual operations.
A 3PL system automates the order fulfillment process from beginning to end. It includes functionalities like automated packing and barcode scanning as well.
For businesses, the most important step in warehouse management might be reporting. A 3PL system provides real-time insights into your inventory performance so that you can identify and address issues.
Customer service levels, delivery time, and product availability are just some of the things you can track.
If you already use accounting, ERP, or e-commerce software solutions, a 3PL warehouse management system can integrate into them. This eliminates the need for manual entry and makes it easy to continue using other software programs.
With an integrated system, you’ll improve how accurate your data is across the board.
3PL Inventory Management Best Practices
Managing inventory should not be a lackadaisical process. If you choose 3PL inventory management services, it’s important to follow best practices for operational efficiency. Best practices include:
- Automated replenishment
- Accurate forecasting
- Effective warehouse layout
- Real-time inventory tracking
Automated replenishment can help with optimal inventory levels to minimize the risk of excess inventory and stockouts. Accurate forecasting also helps with inventory levels by reducing holding costs and improving order fulfillment.
Don’t underestimate the effects of an efficient warehouse layout either. A great layout improves overall warehouse operations by reducing handling time and picking efficiency.
Real-time inventory tracking uses barcode scanning to ensure optimal inventory turnover by preventing stockouts and overstock situations.
Benefits of a 3PL Warehouse
Business management is a time-consuming process so don’t add the stress of inventory management to your to-do list as well. 3PLs can take on the responsibilities of cycle counts, inventory reporting, labeling, and more.
In addition to these services, there are major benefits you can experience when you work with a 3PL warehouse:
Speed and Accuracy
Consumers demand speed and accuracy from the businesses they buy from. Hiring a 3PL warehouse that specializes in these processes can help a growing business that doesn’t have the infrastructure needed to take on these operations.
This type of warehouse will use 3PL software and technology to manage inventory, automate routine tasks, and provide your business with visibility into the process. All of these things drive value and efficiency.
Another reason to hire third-party warehouses is for regulatory navigation. If your business products are controlled by various rules and regulations, your warehousing needs to accommodate them.
For example, some products that have regulations regarding storage are:
- Cold storage
- Wine and spirits
Without the right accommodations, the inventory and your business will be in jeopardy.
A 3PL will offer an array of expertise because of their years of industry experience. They can combine several warehousing services under one roof.
A great 3PL service will be able to:
- Negotiate lower shipping rates
- Manage materials
- Increase picking and packing efficiency
Although these are things you might think you can do on your own, it is more cost-effective to hire 3PL services. You save even more money if you outsource your 3PL warehousing to China.
B2B and B2C Management
A 3PL system should be able to manage B2B and B2C products through multi-channel distribution.
With a system like this in place, you won’t face duplicates of inventory that could throw your supply and counting cycle off track.
Not only will this save your business money, but you can lower your warehouse footprint. The days of needing to account for inventory surprises will be over.
A great 3PL warehouse recognizes that all businesses are different and require custom solutions to succeed. When you choose a 3PL service, make sure they provide all of the services you need.
Your agreement could combine cross docking, dryage, transportation, warehousing, etc.
An integrated and customizable approach enables your warehouse to pull any strings necessary to efficiently move your products to the right location.
Is 3PL Inventory Management Right for Your Business?
3PL inventory management is a great option for growing businesses that want to prevent overstocking and low inventory levels.
Choosing a reputable and experienced 3PL warehouse in China is essential to the success of third-party involvement.
Our British-owned and managed company, Shield Works, offers a wide range of services, including 3PL inventory management in China. With 16 years of China-based manufacturing experience, we’re equipped to help businesses like yours.
Contact the pros at Shield Works today to get started.
When it comes to choosing an order fulfillment company, it’s important to know what to look for. Selecting the wrong order fulfillment company can have a negative impact on your business, so it’s important to do your research and make an informed decision. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the five key things to consider when selecting an order fulfillment company to ensure that your needs are met and you’re receiving the best possible service. By considering these factors, you can be sure to choose an order fulfillment company that will best suit your business’s needs.
Experience and Reputation
When looking for an order fulfillment company, experience, and reputation should be at the top of your list. You want a company that has been in the industry for several years and has a proven track record of delivering quality order fulfillment services.
One important aspect to consider is whether the company has experience with your specific product or industry. For example, if you sell clothing, you may want to find a fulfillment company that specializes in apparel fulfillment.
When considering reputation, be sure to look at customer reviews and ratings. You can also ask for references or case studies from the fulfillment company. A good order fulfillment company should be transparent and willing to provide this information.
The location of your order fulfillment provider can impact shipping times, costs, and even customs fees. If you’re selling internationally, it’s important to find an order fulfillment provider that bases in a coastal city with major shipping ports, such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Ningbo. It allows for efficient transportation of goods, minimizing transit times and facilitating international shipping. Well-connected transportation networks in the vicinity of the fulfillment center enable the smooth distribution of orders to customers.
In addition, location is an important factor for some product niches like electronics. Choosing a fulfillment company located close to your suppliers and manufacturers can offer logistical advantages and avoid damage due to time transportation. It reduces transportation costs and transit times for receiving inventory from your suppliers. This proximity enables faster replenishment of stock, ensuring a steady supply of products for order fulfillment.
Warehousing And Storage Options
Another important factor to consider when selecting an order fulfillment company is the warehousing and storage options they provide. You need a company that can accommodate the unique needs of your products and business. If you’re looking for an order fulfillment company in China, you want to ensure they have the proper storage facilities and can handle all of your warehousing needs.
When it comes to storage, order fulfillment services should be able to provide secure and climate-controlled facilities for your products. Additionally, the storage area should be spacious enough to accommodate your products, even during peak seasons. You want a company that has a reliable inventory tracking system that allows you to monitor the movement of your products and make adjustments when needed.
Another essential factor is the accessibility of the warehouse, especially if you have a large number of orders. The warehouse should be in an ideal location with a transportation infrastructure that makes it easy to move products from the warehouse to shipping carriers.
Pricing And Cost Transparency
When considering which order fulfillment company to work with, pricing and cost transparency are important factors to keep in mind. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what you’re paying for and how much it will cost.
When researching order fulfillment services, be sure to ask for detailed pricing information and a breakdown of any fees or charges. Some companies may have hidden costs or unexpected fees, so it’s important to have a transparent pricing structure.
Be sure to also consider the value of the services you’re receiving. While cost is an important consideration, it’s also important to choose a company that offers quality services and support. Look for companies with a strong reputation for reliability, customer service, and timely delivery.
Technology And Integration Capabilities
When evaluating a potential fulfillment partner, ask about their technology stack and integration capabilities. In today’s fast-paced business environment, you need a fulfillment partner that can keep up with your growing needs and changing demands.
If you are considering order fulfillment in China, for instance, it’s essential to find a company that has state-of-the-art technology and robust integration capabilities. This will ensure that your orders are processed quickly and accurately and that you have real-time visibility into your inventory levels, shipping status, and more.
A good order fulfillment partner will also be able to integrate with your existing systems, such as your e-commerce platform, shipping carriers, and other third-party software. This will streamline your operations and eliminate manual data entry, reducing the risk of errors and delays.
Work With a Trusted Order Fulfillment Partner in China
Choosing a reputable and experienced order fulfillment company is essential for the success of your business. It can help improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. There are plenty of best practices you can follow to improve your processes, but at the end of the day, you need to do what’s right for your business. If you’re looking for a company that has all your security needs covered, look no further than Shield Works.
We are a British-owned and managed company that offers a wide range of services, including warehousing and fulfillment in China. We’re the trusted partner you need to take your business to the next level. Contact us today and let us know how we can help your business.