3PL refers to the outsourcing of operational logistics from warehousing, all the way through to delivery. 3PL businesses serve in logistics processes, inventory management, warehousing, and fulfillment operations.

In most cases, a 3PL becomes integrated into the company’s inventory management and transportation procedures such as carriers. Rather than storing, packaging, and shipping orders themselves, companies hire a 3PL to manage the entire process. The 3PL owns or leases its storage and transportation assets, using them to fulfill the client’s orders from a remote location.

What Services Does a 3PL Provide?

A 3PL can scale and customize its services according to the client’s specific needs. For shipping operations, the client and shipping provider should work together.

Here’s an overview of services a 3PL typically provides:

  • Warehouse storage

  • Inventory management

  • Inventory distribution

  • Picking and packing

  • Freight forwarding

  • Expedited shipping

  • Shipment tracing/tracking

  • Reverse logistics (returns)

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