Fulfillment 3PL: The Definitive Guide to Order Fulfillment with Third-Party Logistics Providers

As the e-commerce market continues to grow, businesses are finding it increasingly tough to manage order fulfillment in-house. This is where third-party logistics (3PL) firms come in. Fulfillment 3PL companies specialize in managing the full order fulfillment process, from accepting orders to distributing products, allowing businesses to focus on their core competencies.  

What is Fulfillment 3PL?

Fulfillment 3PL is a service given by third-party logistics businesses that specialize in managing the full order fulfillment process, including warehousing, order processing, picking, packaging, and shipping. A fulfillment 3PL provider is responsible for accepting orders, holding products, choosing and packing products, and distributing them to clients on behalf of the firm.

How Does Fulfillment 3PL Work?

The fulfillment 3PL process normally starts with the business shipping its products to the 3PL provider’s warehouse. The 3PL supplier then gets the products and stores them until they receive an order from the business’s customer. Once an order is received, the 3PL supplier picks the goods, packs it, and ships it to the consumer. The 3PL supplier is also responsible for tracking the cargo and delivering updates to the customer and the business.

Advantages of Fulfillment 3PL for Companies

There are various benefits of hiring a fulfillment 3PL supplier for firms, including:

Cost Savings

One of the most major benefits of hiring a fulfillment 3PL supplier is cost reduction. By outsourcing order fulfillment, firms can save on warehousing costs, labor costs, and shipping costs. Fulfillment 3PL providers have economies of scale, allowing them to offer lower pricing than enterprises could achieve on their own.


Another advantage of hiring a fulfillment 3PL service is scalability. When the firm grows, the 3PL provider can scale its services accordingly, ensuring that the business’s order fulfillment needs are met.


Fulfillment 3PL companies have competence in managing the full order fulfillment process. They have the skills and resources to handle complex logistics operations, including international shipment, customs clearance, and returns management.

Concentrate on Key Competencies

By outsourcing order fulfillment, businesses may focus on their key capabilities, such as product development, marketing, and customer service, without worrying about the logistics of order fulfillment. You can learn more about how 3PL providers handle order fulfillment in this link: https://www.launchfulfillment.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-third-party-logistics-3pls-and-how-they-handle-order-fulfillment/

Varieties of 3PL Providers

There are three categories of 3PL providers: 

Asset-based 3PL

Asset-based 3PL providers own and operate their own warehouses, transportation vehicles, and other assets required for logistics operations.

Management-based 3PL

Management -based 3PL providers do not own their assets but manage the logistical operations for their clients. They employ their expertise and knowledge to organize transportation, warehousing, and other logistics tasks.

Integrated 3PL

Integrated 3PL providers combine the services of asset-based and management-based 3PL providers, controlling their assets and using their knowledge to manage logistics operations.

Things to Consider While Selecting a 3PL Provider

While choosing a fulfillment 3PL service, organizations need to consider numerous variables, including:


The location of the 3PL provider’s warehouse is vital to enable timely delivery of products to clients. Companies should choose a 3PL provider with warehouses located in strategic areas to save delivery time and costs.


The 3PL supplier should have up-to-date technology to manage orders, inventory, and shipments. This contains a warehouse management system, order management system, and shipping software.

Customer Service

The 3PL provider should have exceptional customer service to provide help to both the business and its clients.

Experience and Expertise

Companies should choose a 3PL provider with experience and competence in their sector and with the types of items they offer.


The cost of utilizing a 3PL supplier is a major aspect in the decision-making process. Companies should evaluate the pricing of several 3PL providers to choose the one that delivers the most value for money.

Difficulties of Outsourcing Order Fulfillment

While outsourcing order fulfillment can bring considerable benefits to firms, there are also certain issues to consider, including:

Lack of Control

By outsourcing order fulfillment, businesses lose control over the entire process, which can be an issue for some organizations.

Communication Issues

Communication issues might occur between the business and the 3PL supplier, leading to delays and other complications.

Quality Control

Maintaining quality control can be tough when outsourcing order fulfillment. Companies should choose a 3PL provider with quality control mechanisms in place to ensure products are sent appropriately.


Fulfillment 3PL providers play a vital role in the e-commerce market, allowing firms to outsource order fulfillment and focus on their core skills. By choosing the proper 3PL provider, businesses may benefit from cost savings, scalability, expertise, and exceptional customer service. But, firms should also consider the disadvantages of outsourcing order fulfillment, including loss of control, communication issues, and quality control.


What is a fulfillment 3PL provider? 

Fulfillment 3PL provider is a third-party logistics company that specializes in managing the full order fulfillment process, including warehousing, order processing, picking, packaging, and shipping.

What are the benefits of employing a fulfillment 3PL provider? 

The benefits of choosing a fulfillment 3PL supplier include cost savings, scalability, knowledge, and the freedom to focus on core strengths.

What types of 3PL suppliers are there? 

There are three categories of 3PL providers: asset-based, management-based, and integrated.