Three common challenges 3PLs face and how to solve them

by | Sep 18, 2023 | 3PLs, Logistics, Omnichannel

As a third-party logistics provider (3PL), you’re no stranger to supply chain complexity. Your customers rely on you to help them meet the unique requirements of their customers and selling channels.

Here are three strategies to optimize omnichannel fulfillment and overcome complexity.

Adapt to changing consumer shopping habits

3PLs have encountered ongoing challenges, including shifting consumer shipping trends that accelerated during the pandemic and continue to change today. Suddenly, your customers are asking you to handle not only B2B pallet shipments plus thousands of individual eCommerce orders. Continuing to meet your customers’ fulfillment expectations places immense strain on your resources.

To address this challenge, 3PLs should invest in scalable software and automation tools that optimize order processing. Automated systems will also maintain accurate stock levels and efficient inventory allocation between channels.

Meet varied fulfillment requirements

Your customers’ requirements can vary widely. Some may need special packaging, inserts or labeling. Others may work with various retailers, each with their own demands.

Keeping track of the requirements on your own can be daunting. Plus, these requirements frequently change, and non-compliance can result in chargebacks and strained relationships.

To ease this challenge, you can work with a third-party expert that tracks requirements and changes on your behalf. This partnership will boost your agility and responsiveness to your customers’ evolving needs.

Ensure your systems work together

Customizing processes and systems to meet diverse customer demands is part of your daily routine. But making all these customizations work together harmoniously is the real challenge.

For example, some customers may have straightforward Shopify integrations. Others demand point-to-point EDI connections for working with large retailers.

Building one-time connections to all your customers and systems creates a fragmented and unsustainable tech stack. To conquer this issue, it’s imperative to develop a comprehensive technology strategy. This strategy should encompass scalable systems and processes, a cohesive integration approach, and strategic partnerships to provide support in achieving your goals.

Avoid IT overload with SPS Commerce

Instead of taking on cumbersome IT projects to meet these needs, 3PLs can explore solutions that allow them to scale, optimize and connect their systems. This is where the SPS for 3PLs solution can play a vital role.

We understand the complexities logistics providers face daily. Our solution offers a single, standardized data feed into your system of record, whether that’s a custom-built system or an out-of-the-box WMS. This means you can focus your efforts on value-added activities that truly matter to your customers.

Connect with our expert team to explore how our tailored 3PL solution can help you stay in sync with your customers without straining your internal resources.

Tony Thrasher