Shipfusion Blog

Finding The Right 3PL Fulfillment Partner During a Crisis

Choosing the right partner can make or break your company’s logistics, customer service, and repeat purchases. Using a fulfillment center like Shipfusion frees you from navigating the fulfillment landscape with zero stress. Below are some insights on how Shipfusion can take your business to the next level during COVID-19 and tips when choosing a 3PL fulfillment provider. 

Social distancing has created a shift in demand. A few key trends have emerged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A sudden spike in demand for household products such as home electronics, office supplies and household cleaning items are now referred to as the ‘new essentials’.

On the opposite end, we have seen industries such as clothing and jewelry declining now referring to these items as ‘non-essentials’. The online food and beverage industry remains fairly steady.

eCommerce is more important than ever

Managing your eCommerce business is more important than ever as one-third of people don’t plan on shopping in-person for at least another two months, if not longer. What does all of this mean? It means, that choosing the right fulfillment partner for your eCommerce business is now more important than ever. 

Both the US and Canadian governments recognized that our supply chain is critical to the economic infrastructure; defining transportation and logistics workers as essential employees. Selecting the right eCommerce logistics partner has never been more important. Below we have outlined a few key points to keep in mind before signing on to a 3PL fulfillment partner. 

What is a 3PL and when do you need one? 

3PL’s are a key component in the supply chain for many brands; taking the orders and fulfilling them– fairly simple. Clients never need to think twice about the handoff between received orders and their fulfillment. 3PL’s receive inventory and store it before shipping it off to consumers, along with returns and delivering an out-of-box experience. Finding a fulfillment partner that is fully automated is a key concept when signing-on during a pandemic, this allows for your eCommerce business to be in a better position to deliver the best customer service possible. It is important to sign up with a fulfillment partner before getting too overwhelmed where you start under-delivering to customers, breaking your fulfillment promises and damaging your overall brand.

Shipfusion is the full-service 3PL solution: 

  • Multiple fulfillment centers across the US and Canada
  • Freight 
  • Shipping and receiving
  • Returns
  • Integrations 
  • Inventory management 

Multiple Fulfillment Centers: Fulfillment should be simple, Shipfusion’s full-service network lets you control your data with fast shipping and transparency for clients in the US and Canada. Our multiple fulfillment centers across North America allow or quick delivery and even temperature-controlled product storing. 

Freight: Shipfusion automates the process of booking and managing freight by using AI-driven matching algorithms to find the best carriers, routes, and rates from our network of logistics partners. Our Live Pricing app is integrated directly into each carrier, allowing them to pass back accurate live pricing options to end customers at checkout.

Integrations: Shipfusion easily integrates with popular eCommerce apps and includes an intuitive, web-based app that lets you manage inventory and fulfillment on any device. The onboarding team ensures the accuracy of data for new customers with a complete analysis of SKUs and multiple tests run between Shipfusion and existing systems.

Shipping & Receiving: Fulfillment companies like Shipfusion will have relationships with many different major shipping carriers, therefore providing you with the best rates and next-day guaranteed shopping options. Fulfillment companies like Shipfusion will have cut off times for orders to be placed by. 

Returns: Shipfusion’s custom returns portal easily generates shipping labels and knows exactly when merchandise is returned and receives confirmation that quality control checks were done upon arrival. 

Inventory Management: Easy integration, Shipfusion will set up everything you need to control and maintain inventory and shipments. The Shipfusion platform automatically updates inventory data as orders enter the system, providing a real-time snapshot of your products across every sales channel and facility.

Checklist when picking a 3PL fulfillment partner: 

YOUR COMPANY: 

  1. How many orders do you ship a day/month? 
  2. What is your maximum capacity? 
  3. How many SKU”s do you have? 
  4. What is your product? 
  5. What are your product specifications?
  6. Where are you shipping to and from? 
  7. What are your storage needs ( pallet occupancy)? 
  8. What sales channels are you using?
  9. What additional services do you require outside of general fulfillment? 
  10. What is your timeline for transition and are you currently working with another 3PL?

YOUR 3PL COMPANY: 

  1. What are their hours of operations ( including weekends and holidays)?
  2. How many warehouses do they operate and where are they located?
  3. Do their warehouse locations correlate with your brand’s high-volume area?
  4. Do they have a good online presence and rating?
  5. Do they have case studies to show you or customer references? 
  6. Have they worked with companies in your industry? 
  7. What kind of customizations do they offer?
  8. Do they offer next day delivery? 
  9. Do they integrate directly with your online store and have an app?
  10. What is the communication process like? Is it easy to get help?
  11. How are the costs are broken down in their quotes; Transportation, receiving, warehouse and pick and pack, account set up and minimum costs? 
  12. What extra support are they offering during COVID-19? 

BREAKING DOWN COSTS

  • Transportation: Shipping your product to your fulfillment center
  • Receiving: Offloading products from your transportation provider to your fulfillment centers warehouse
  • Warehousing fees: Usually a monthly fee based on the amount of space used and charged per pallet. 
  • Pick-and-pack fees: Picking units from shelves or bins and packing them for each shipment– most times this can be discounted or lowered for higher volumes
  • Shipping: Delivery of product to your end customer. 
  • Account set-up fees: Account creation and software integration 
  • Minimum fees: Minimum monthly spend is required. 

PUSHING FORWARD WITH PURPOSE: 

Shipfusion has implemented several safety and health measures to keep the warehouses a protected environment. Shipfusion’s COO Jared Cantor said, “Shipfusion implemented extensive COVID-19 screening protocols at the beginning of February, which included temperature testing, daily symptom checker questionnaire and full PPE coverage for all employees in the warehouse”. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing several eCommerce businesses to reassess who they partner with. It’s important to understand and know the stability of your 3PL company during a crisis. 

Shipfusion sets your business on autopilot and combines flexible, reliable fulfillment with powerful, real-time technology. Shipfusion has multiple fulfillment centers across the US and Canada– making it easy to manage your eCommerce business. For more information on how to set your business on autopilot, contact one of our fulfillment specialists today.

“Part of the theme at Shipfusion is that we don't constrain our clients. We work with them as business partners, which allows them great flexibility to work with other 3PL solutions and still take advantage of Shipfusion services.”

Dean Bentley-Falcke
Senior Solutions Architect and eCommerce Specialist
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