In 2000, 46% of Fortune 500 companies had used third-party logistics (3pl) services, like 3pl warehousing, to some extent. By 2017, that number had doubled as 90% of Fortune 500s claimed to have used third-party logistics companies.
While actual numbers aren’t available yet, despite some economic slowdown, there has been an increase in demand for logistics services, especially for 3pl warehouses, since the COVID-19 quarantine began.
Whether or not your company has ever used a 3pl company, the uncertainty of doing business during COVID-19 means you should at least be ready to make the decision.
How to Choose a 3PL Warehousing Service
Here are just a few of the criteria you can use to help you select the best 3pl warehousing company for your business.
- Do You Just Need Warehousing Space? – OK, so you need space to store products. But what warehousing services do you need beyond that? What would be nice to have? In addition to receiving, storing and shipping your goods, a third-party warehousing service can produce cost savings, increase service levels, improve customer satisfaction, offer inventory management and warehouse management systems, and do your pick and pack order fulfillment. And that’s just for starters.
- Local, National, International, or all 3? – Your cost-effectiveness and customer service levels increase when your goods are stored closer to their markets. If you are a local supplier, then a standalone, local warehouse might do. If you operate nationally or internationally, or you would like to, you need 3pl warehousing to suit.
- Look for Scalability – The only certainty about doing business during COVID-19 is the uncertainty of doing business during COVID-19. The demand you have for goods today might drop tomorrow. Or it might double, or triple. You need to shed the overhead of extra space as soon as you can, or add much-needed space at a moment’s notice, to optimize your bottom line and meet your customers’ expectations.
To learn more about warehousing during the Coronavirus outbreak, check out our post “Managing Warehouse Overflow Due to COVID-19”.