Reasons to Use a 3PL for Retail Supply Chain 


With increasing competition in the retail market, it has become very challenging for retailers to manage their supply chains efficiently. A smooth retail supply chain strategy is a fundamental part of a positive customer experience, and retail companies strive to reach the golden standard of order fulfillment and fast delivery. 

Most retail companies are not logistics and supply chain management experts. There is a science to retail supply chain management and many companies do not dedicate assets to this branch of the business. Other businesses lack the resources. So, to make their online and omnichannel strategy work, retailers turn to 3PLs for help. According to Pinsent Masons study, 88% of retail companies that outsourced any type of operation to a 3PL were satisfied with the results. 

What can a 3PL bring to a retail supply chain? 

Outsourcing logistics to a 3PL is a significant step that can take a lot of responsibility off your plate and let you focus on the main business goals. Apart from time and money savings, third-party logistics providers can substantially benefit your retail business and allow you to track raw materials, inventory levels, and manage inventory 


Many companies assume that outsourcing to a third party by default means spending more on service fees. However, all the efforts of a 3PL will eventually save you money. Eventually, the overall cost will be less than an in-house supply chain management. A 3PL is a one-stop shop for most of your supply chain needs. You do not have to invest in warehousing, technology, or a logistics team.  

Eliminate Vehicle Fleet Fees 

Maintaining a vehicle fleet can be incredibly expensive. They also need consistent investment in the form of maintenance, training, fuel, inspections, and many other things. Using a 3PL may help you eliminate these costs from your business. 

Lower Time to Customer 

Gone are the days when customers were content with their orders taking a week to 10 days to arrive. With more and more companies adopting the Amazon model of using distribution centers, your logistics need to keep up, or you will be left behind. This process can be expensive. Working with a 3PL, however, can help you update your operation and speed up the process without a huge bill.  

Bulk Shipping Rates 

Shipping rates, especially spot rates, can fluctuate weekly depending on several outside sources, even daily in some cases. Retail companies need to find stability in the market to ship their products. Bulk shipping rates help that happen. This is where 3PLs can help, especially since many retail companies do not have the negotiating power of a 3PL. 

3PLs work with thousands of carriers on special terms and can offer you a much lower shipping price than the market average. 3PLs can even help you with warehouses. 

Scalable Services 

A 3PL allows you to analyze your labor, transportation, and spacing needs depending on your business parameters. Some businesses that focus more heavily on seasonal sales can really benefit from this practice. You can always ramp up deliveries, warehouse space, and any other logistics a 3PL can provide when consumer demand dictates. 

Distribution Network 

3PLs have contacts throughout the country. If your business grows, a 3PL can offer additional resources to assist that growth from those within its network. At PLS Logistics Services, we have a carrier network of over 55,000. With a carrier size that large, we can find you lanes and capacity to move your freight.  

By using our carrier network, PLS Logistics Services can often secure you a better deal. 

Provide Last Mile Solutions 

Last mile solutions have become more difficult and complex in the eCommerce era. Their importance, however, has never been greater. Customers now expect their deliveries to be faster than ever.  

If your business needs better last-mile logistics, a 3PL can provide solutions to help. 

Allows Business to Focus on their Business 

Disruptions occur in the supply chain constantly. Whether it be clogged loading docks, lousy weather, road-side breakdowns, or construction delays, something can and will go wrong. If you do not have a 3PL, these problems can cause significant issues and lead to dire consequences. This is why retail supply chain management is so crucial. 

For companies that have a 3PL, however, these problems become little more than a nuisance. 3PLs already have backup plans in place to help you through the worst supply chain disruptions. This allows you to focus on your business’s day-to-day operation without logistics anxiety.  

Ultimately, delegating logistics to industry experts is cheaper than learning every process from scratch and experimenting with your business. 

Streamlined processes 

Retailers have numerous distribution channels. Managing outbound shipments and consistently storing data can be highly challenging. 3PLs take this burden away. Good logistics providers have special technology, like a transportation management system, where you can navigate any information on a certain shipment. In the dynamic world of retail, the ability to streamline transportation processes and track shipments is critical for a smooth business flow. 


Another reason to outsource to a 3PL is their ability to adjust to your business needs. In most cases, 3PLs provide an extremely wide span of services. You can outsource a single link or an entire supply chain and still be confident about the results. You can always add up or take off operations from an outsourcing list, from transportation to inventory and returns management. 

Final thoughts 

Customer demands set the bar for performance levels for retail companies. Those who strive to succeed in the competition constantly look for ways to improve their business flow and efficiency. Eventually, more and more retailers turn to 3PLs to take care of their supply chains and get excellent results while focusing on their core competence. 

PLS Logistics Services Solutions for Retail Logistics 

PLS Logistics Services can become a reliable and dedicated logistics partner for your business. Learn more about our services and get a quote today

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