How do 3PL Logistics Lead to Order Fulfillment Process Improvement in 2024?

How do 3PL Logistics Lead to Order Fulfillment Process Improvement in 2024?

Each year, new developments in technology and the e-commerce marketplace transform 3PL logistics. As we look back at the record-breaking e-commerce numbers from 2023, all the major players in online retail are wondering how 3PL logistics can give them a competitive advantage with order fulfillment process improvement in 2024.

In the competitive online retail space, third-party (3PL) logistics providers have always helped e-commerce businesses enhance the order fulfillment process by consistently adapting to the most cutting-edge techniques in a constantly evolving industry.

As your online order fulfillment partner in 2024, companies like Launch Fulfillment are delivering seamless efficiency and precision, all thanks to the innovative capabilities of 3PL logistics. The question is: how do these logistics maestros turn the complex web of e-commerce fulfillment into a streamlined story of success and triumph?

fulfillment process improvement in 2024 for order fulfillment

How do 3PL Logistics Lead to Order Fulfillment Process Improvement in 2024?

Each year, new developments in technology and the e-commerce marketplace transform 3PL logistics. As we look back at the record-breaking e-commerce numbers from 2023, all the major players in online retail are wondering how 3PL logistics can give them a competitive advantage with order fulfillment process improvement in 2024.

In the competitive online retail space, third-party (3PL) logistics providers have always helped e-commerce businesses enhance the order fulfillment process by consistently adapting to the most cutting-edge techniques in a constantly evolving industry.

As your online order fulfillment partner in 2024, companies like Launch Fulfillment are delivering seamless efficiency and precision, all thanks to the innovative capabilities of 3PL logistics. The question is: how do these logistics maestros turn the complex web of e-commerce fulfillment into a streamlined story of success and triumph?

In this article, we’re unpacking the complexities of 3PL logistics and their unmistakable impact on the order fulfillment process in 2024.

We’ll give you a behind-the-scenes scope of how they continually reset the bar to a higher standard with each passing year. In 2024, this standard should prove to be higher than ever before.

Join us as we merge third-party order fulfillment with cutting-edge technology and innovative strategies, creating a highly efficient e-commerce ecosystem that’s ready to meet the growing demands of tomorrow’s market.

order fulfillment process improvement

The Story of E-Commerce Order Fulfillment

Looking back over the past decade, it’s incredible to see how fast the e-commerce order fulfillment industry has shifted to a more dynamic and fluid process than ever before.

What began as a straight-forward process of simply shipping products has now morphed into a convoluted operation that needs more than just speed to keep up with the stiff competition in online retail sales and production.

Instead, brand new services like FBA prep have popped up as a result of complex e-commerce logistics.

Now, consumer expectations for faster deliveries are at an all-time high, compelling companies to reevaluate and improve their order fulfillment strategies to keep up with the increasing demand. In 2024 and beyond, this urgency will be particularly amplified with automation and A.I. pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible in e-commerce order fulfillment.


Need a quick and easy-to-digest breakdown of order management? Check this out front Netsuite!

(Credit: NetSuite)

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What are 3PL Logistics?

Third-Party Logistics, commonly known as 3PL, refers to outsourcing logistics and fulfillment operations to external specialists.

These 3PL logistics providers offer a range of services, including:

  • Inventory management
  • Warehouse management services
  • Order fulfillment processing
  • Dropshipping
  • Kitting and Assembly
  • And, reverse logistics such as handling returns.

This partnership is especially crucial for businesses looking to expand their reach and scale operations without the added burden of managing logistics in-house.

As an online retailer, you have plenty of other worries while running your e-commerce brand. People should focus on the quality of your product – not the quality of your e-commerce fulfillment logistics.

improving order fulfillment process

How to Enhance E-Commerce Fulfillment with 3PL Logistics 

The best partnerships come out of mutual appreciation for each other’s work – that’s why 3PL logistics and e-commerce brands work so well together. Each party benefits from the work they do individually, and as a cohesive unit.

Although there are endless benefits to working with a 3PL logistics provider, order fulfillment fulfillment process improvement stands as the very bedrock from which all other services emerge like kitting and assembly, pick pack and ship, or FBA prep services.

What Does it Mean to Improve the Order fulfillment Process?

Order fulfillment process improvement can mean a number of things, but mostly it means that every step of the order fulfillment journey – is completely optimized to be as efficient and precise as possible.

To give you an idea of exactly what this means, let’s break down each step of the order fulfillment journey to give you a comprehensive overview of order fulfillment process improvement in 2024.

Steps in the Order Fulfillment Journey

Order Receipt and Verification
  • Receiving the customer’s order electronically through the e-commerce platform.
  • Verifying order details including product availability and customer information.
Inventory Allocation
  • Locating the ordered items in the warehouse inventory.
  • Allocating the products for the specific order.
Picking
  • Retrieving the specified items from their warehouse locations.
  • Using automated systems or manual labor depending on the warehouse setup.
Packing
  • Securely packaging the items for shipment.
  • Including necessary documentation such as invoices or special instructions.
Quality Check
  • Inspecting the package to ensure order accuracy and secure packaging.
  • Addressing any issues before the package leaves the warehouse.
Labeling and Documentation
  • Attaching shipping labels and any required documentation.
  • Ensuring compliance with shipping and regulatory requirements.
Shipping
  • Handing off the package to the shipping carrier.
  • Selecting the appropriate shipping method based on delivery timelines and costs.
Order Tracking and Communication
  • Providing the customer with tracking information.
  • Keeping the customer informed about the order status.
Delivery
  • The carrier delivering the order to the customer’s address.
  • Ensuring the package is received by the customer or a designated recipient.
Handling Returns and Exchanges
  • Managing the process for returns or exchanges as per the company’s policy.
  • Inspecting returned items and restocking or processing exchanges.

While the actually order fulfillment journey can look different depending on how your online retail marketplace is setup, this provides an overview of the journey each package takes every time someone orders from your e-commerce marketplace.

3pl logistics in fulfillment at work

Steps to Optimize the Order Fulfillment Journey

Now that we know the basics of the order fulfillment journey, let’s see the key steps we need to take in order to optimize the order fulfillment process using 3PL logistics and other cutting-edge methods for fulfillment process improvement in 2024.

Key Steps to an Effective Fulfillment Strategy

Receiving and Organizing Inventory

3PL logistics providers are here to streamline the process of receiving goods from manufacturers, perform quality checks, and organize inventory.

They have mechanisms in place to enable advanced warehousing techniques and inventory management systems. By keeping these systems readily available, 3PLs ensure that products are easily accessible, reducing the time taken for the next step: picking and packing.

Picking and Packaging

All of the leading 3PL logistics providers leverage automation and other new-age technologies to increase the pick pack and ship process for their e-commerce retail counterparts.

These technologies ensure products are securely packed and are widely considering the most cost-effective ways to reduce manual human labor. Along with this, they implement sustainable packaging solutions for you to choose from, adding a personalized touch to the packaging process.

Shipping and Delivery

3PLs offer various shipping options and leverage their relationships with carriers to provide cost-effective and timely delivery solutions. Most of them have route optimization tools that help them determine the quickest and most cost-effective route possible for your e-commerce delivery.

If this weren’t enough, they often have supply chain relationships with other third-party companies that ultimately get you the best shipping rates possible.

Handling Returns and Exchanges

A critical aspect of order fulfillment is managing returns and exchanges efficiently. 3PLs handle this process seamlessly, ensuring customer satisfaction and maintaining inventory accuracy.

These are often referred to as reverse logistics and have become just as important as the delivery process. Nowadays, companies need to offer flexible return policies and your online retail store needs to keep up on the backend.

industry-leading order fulfillment solutions

Technology for 3PL Logistics and Order Fulfillment

It’s no secret that the integration of technology in 3PL services has revolutionized e-commerce order fulfillment.

Technologies such as automation, AI, and real-time data analytics play a crucial role in improving the efficiency and accuracy of fulfillment processes.

Here are a few of the new technologies you need your 3PL logistics to take advantage of it you want to see order fulfillment process improvement in the near future:

One of the key benefits of these technological advancements is the ability to handle high volumes of orders. This speed and efficiency is a must in the fast-paced world of e-commerce retail.

Furthermore, the use of data analytics helps 3PL providers anticipate demand patterns, optimize inventory levels, and make informed decisions, ultimately leading to better customer service and reduced costs.


Still not convinced the e-commerce logistics market is growing at rapid speeds? Check out some of these statistics from Zion Market Research!
(Video Credit: Zion Market Research)

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cloud based shipping in logistics graphic

Future Trends in 3PL and E-Commerce

The future of 3PL in e-commerce is shaped by several emerging trends.

As we move into 2024 and beyond, we can expect to see an increased focus on sustainability in logistics, with 3PL providers adopting greener practices and eco-friendly solutions.

This dynamic shift helps reduce the environmental impact of logistics operations while simultaneously catering to the growing consumer demand for sustainable business practices.

Another significant trend is the continued integration of advanced technologies like blockchain for enhanced transparency and IoT (Internet of Things) for better tracking and monitoring of shipments.

These technologies will further refine the efficiency and reliability of 3PL services, allowing for even more streamlined and customer-centric fulfillment processes.

custom kitting services final thoughts

Conclusion: 3PL Logistics is the Answer to Order Fulfillment Process Improvement

Now that your eyes have been opened to the complexities of 3PL logistics, hopefully you can appreciate the vital role they play in order fulfillment process improvement, especially as it matures throughout the next decade.

Even with these services as comprehensive solution to the order fulfillment process improvement for e-commerce logistics, implementing them can be a complex and daunting task.

That’s why you need a partner like Launch Fulfillment to walk you through every step of the process. They can assist you, regardless of what stage you’re at in the business development process.

It’s about time you focused on your business – we’ll worry about the backend of things.

Let’s Be Partners.

References

Baluch, Anna. “38 E-Commerce Statistics of 2023.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 10 Mar. 2023, www.forbes.com/advisor/business/ecommerce-statistics/.

Bloch, Guy. “Council Post: How Customer Expectations Have Led to the Rise of Hyperlocal Fulfillment.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 7 Apr. 2022, www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2022/04/06/how-customer-expectations-has-led-to-the-rise-of-hyperlocal-fulfillment/?sh=482a31ad1c8c.

Bockelmann, Theresa, and Jan Recker. “How One Company Used Data to Create Sustainable Take-out Food Packaging.” Harvard Business Review, 11 Nov. 2022, hbr.org/2022/11/how-one-company-used-data-to-create-sustainable-fast-food-packaging.

“E Commerce Logistics Market Size, Share & Growth Analysis 2028.” YouTube, YouTube, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX1YgZ3I_3c. Accessed 18 Jan. 2024.

Kawa, A, and B Pieranski. “[PDF] Green Logistics in e-Commerce | Semantic Scholar.” Semantic Scholar, 2021, www.semanticscholar.org/paper/GREEN-LOGISTICS-IN-E-COMMERCE-Kawa-Piera%C5%84ski/1c8c87649a0655a9dcf77ef80c66449e71e70eef.

Shukla, Surabhi. “What Is Ecommerce Order Fulfilment? ( And 6 Steps to Improve the Process).” Insights – Web and Mobile Development Services and Solutions, 2 Nov. 2023, www.netsolutions.com/insights/ecommerce-order-fulfillment/.

“What Is Order Management?” YouTube, YouTube, 24 Feb. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdcAtze8oQo. Accessed 18 Jan. 2024.

Witkowski, Krysztof, et al. “Logistics Models in E-Commerce.” Sciendo, Sciendo, 6 July 2020, sciendo.com/article/10.2478/rput-2020-0012.

Yates, Timothy. “Council Post: The Cost of Manual Sales Order Management Workflows and the Benefits of Automation.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 27 Oct. 2023, www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2023/10/25/the-cost-of-manual-sales-order-management-workflows-and-the-benefits-of-automation/?sh=5d6b70295813.

 

 

 
Jake Tripp

Jake Tripp

Lead Content Strategist

I’m a content strategist and copywriter who specializes in social media and blog content architecture. I help brands nationwide to communicate their values and build loyal audiences.