Difference Between Logistics Outsourcing and 3PL?

January 11, 2023
Posted in Logisics
January 11, 2023 Virtual Employee Services

Difference Between Logistics Outsourcing and 3PL?

The classic business model of addressing many in-house operations is only sometimes the most effective. Therefore, this is especially valid for smaller companies. Many of these establishments have been able to develop procedures while functioning on a shoestring budget.

Third-party logistics services permit you to partner with professionals on one of the most critical aspects of your eCommerce business. That will enable you to focus on marketing, growth, and customer satisfaction. They can store your inventory and will provide services to pick, pack, and ship your products. 3PL is the critical link between your manufacturing processes and your consumers.

Customers are happy when your order fulfillment operations run seamlessly, and your business grows. It is not an overstatement to declare that flawless fulfillment is the key to company success.

Before you implement a contract with a third-party logistics company, you must understand what a 3PL is. We will explain why you should integrate third-party logistics operations and how to discover the best 3PL partner.Some of these terms can be confusing, so we will clear up any confusion by defining the differences between logistic outsourcing and 3PL. Therefore, through our explanation, you will know which direction you need to find your solutions.

What is Logistics Outsourcing?

The logistics outsourcing business model is generally understood as cooperation with a Third- Party Logistics (3PL) company. Such an external partner typically runs their warehouse and provides clients with all the relevant logistics services. People refer to these companies as fulfillment centers or logistics centers.

Logistics outsourcing provides all the essential logistics assistance, which typically includes the following:

  • Management of supply chains
  • Organizing service providers' and suppliers' logistics
  • Warehouse organization of picking, packing, and shipping products
  • Fulfillment of orders and guaranteeing proper tracking
  • Utilizing a Warehouse Management System to manage inventory
What is 3PL?

The term third-party logistics, or 3PL, is often referenced as a fulfillment warehouse or center. Companies providing 3PL services deliver similar benefits as order fulfillment companies. These services include:

  • Reverse logistics (returns)
  • Inventory management
  • Warehousing
  • Shipping and Receiving
  • FTL and LTL freight shipping
  • Picking and packing
  • Kitting and customization

A third-party logistics company acts as a fulfillment operation. It delivers all the services you need to outsource your logistics operations. Different 3PL services companies specialize in various types of fulfillments and warehousing. Some are equipped for cold fulfillment and can ship food products that must be refrigerated or frozen. Other 3PL companies are prepared to keep and send hazardous materials.

What are the Benefits of Logistics Outsourcing?

Regarding the pros of logistics outsourcing, you will need to observe a few items. There are several elements you should identify. Such as:

Cost and Time Savings

For starters, you can operate something other than a warehouse! Not investing in a building should greatly relieve your corporate bank account. With logistics outsourcing, the fulfillment enterprise is entirely responsible for inventory management and reserving products. You can quickly confirm the inventory situation and the available stock amount.

A Cost-Effective Solution

When a logistics outsourcing company is employed, you transition all the fixed costs into variable costs. It is because you are no longer responsible for paying for unused space or services. You do not need to hire warehouse workers to run the warehouse.

When working with a logistics outsourcing company, there are no hidden costs. Every month, you receive a transparent statement with all the utilized services. Therefore, this is a cost-effective logistics strategy for those on a tight budget.

Establish Quick Distribution

You may ponder the time it will take to set up your distribution chains with logistics outsourcing. In most models, it assumes a period of a month. Thanks to the ready-made integration, logistics centers can quickly begin their work.

Complete Authority Over the Logistics Operations

Logistics outsourcing does not imply that all these logistics benefits transpire without your participation or that you cannot handle what is proceeding with your products and orders. Credible logistics operations businesses provide credentials to their WMS system so you can efficiently keep track of all your orders and their processing.

Moreover, products are filled and tagged according to your procedures and prerequisites. For instance, you were utilizing custom-branded cardboard boxes. You can organize subscriptions, share tracking details with your customers, and propose additional services, like express shipping.

Transfer of Responsibility

You probably already realize there is some accountability to transfer. When functioning with a 3PL company, you share a significant part of your customer associations and contact with that business. If anything goes amiss, for example, an order mix-up, your store will be blamed, not your logistics partner. That is why it’s essential to make educated decisions and choose a trustworthy partner.

Additional Expenses

If you have handled all the logistics operations in-house, you will perceive logistics outsourcing as a cost generator. However, dealing with logistics on your own evolves into an unbearable and time-consuming endeavor. That is why we consistently suggest that logistics outsourcing is an answer for large and medium-sized accounts that ship a minimum of 1,000 packages a month.

What are the Advantages of 3PL?

Working with a third-party logistics provider furnishes many benefits. Here are some of the most referenced advantages of working with a 3PL.

Gain knowledge with expertise

Supply chain logistics can be a complex situation to manage. You need to know how to provide fulfillment, warehousing, and shipping which can be significant challenges.

Regarding supply chain logistics, 3PL organizations are experts. They can assist customers with years of experience and industry connections by quickly streamlining processes. Additionally, 3PLs often give insight into issues when shipping internationally. Such problems include documentation, customs, duties, and differing shipping regulations. Working with a third-party logistics organization can ease the strain of complying with international shipping protocols.

Virtual Employee Services offers exactly what you need when it comes to LPO. It counts with a full team of experts ready to support and advised you. VES services will help you save money by optimizing your logistic process and it offers you scalable options by adapting 100 percent to your inhouse logistics operations.

Save time and money

Employing a 3PL can greatly decrease or even eradicate the necessity to finance warehouse space, technology, transportation, and employees to carry out logistics operations. Therefore, you can focus on more of your core competencies.

Third-party logistics providers can likewise assemble proactive organizations aware of supply chain mistakes. Therefore, it helps you avoid costly and risky mistakes. Providing industry forecasting from 3PLs help optimize product statuses to preserve inventory holding expenses. When employing a 3PL organization, they can save you time by acquiring the  needed to carry out supply chain logistics efficiently.

Scale operations and be more flexible

When a company uses a 3PL, it can scale area, labor, and transportation according to the current inventory. Further, they can continually facilitate the transition between seasonal spans and industry oscillation.

Enterprises can depend on a 3PL to assist development in new regions when extending into unexplored markets. Consistently examining ways to improve supply chain aspects, 3PLs maintain the tools and technologies essential to provide adjustments that could demonstrate as challenging for businesses. Management software can interpret and monitor supply chain strategies to remove inefficiencies. Third-party logistics providers obtain continuous advancements to your logistics operation, ultimately guiding to savings and tremendous efficiency during your logistics ambition.

What are the Distinctions Between Logistics and 3PL?

While they are sometimes misunderstood by one another, 3PLs and contract logistic firms may supply completely distinct or even similar assistance.

3PLs assume an expanded position in the supply chain because of the ability to sustain a broader range of logistics operations. Contract logistic firms manage transportation and routing. A 3PL business supplies sweeping logistics assistance, such as warehousing and order fulfillment. However, these businesses also incorporate inventory administration and automated delivery.

To better understand the distinctions, we must define the roles inside these businesses a little deeper.

Inventory Administration

The implementation of software enables solutions to help 3PL businesses with inventory administration. The built-in inventory management is effortless to track inventory.

Therefore, at any current moment in time, you can manage SKUs and monitor inventory performance.

Comparing the inventory administration of 3PLs to contract logistics firms is a big difference. Contract logistics firms only specialize in delivery and transportation.

Utilizing recorded order data, you may forecast future demand and reasonably understand when to restock inventory. Improving inventory management decreases the possibility of spending more for charges.

Scalability of Order Fulfillment

The right 3PL has the proper methods and strategies to deliver more adaptability. They can provide contract logistics to current purchasing rates throughout the retail fulfillment process. Therefore, depending upon the fluctuation of orders, 3PLs can scale the orders to ship in a timely fashion.

Delivery Administration

Logistics is a fantastic way to make educated decisions. Therefore it is equally essential to keep track of the supply chain. 3PLs managing multiple fulfillment center sites can aid in allocating goods.

Knowing where there is most demand for your product can help place your product in areas closer to your customers.

The policy of supply chains is to pass savings on to their customers and avoid wasting money. As a result, 3PLs work with major carriers and regional carrier partners to negotiate shipping rates.

3PLs also employ automation to provide order tracking information and deliver monitoring data. You can follow the complete delivery process and provide this information to your customers.

Tracking Present Shipping Orders

Today, monitoring solutions for orders are just as critical to your customers. Customers now expect current shipment notifications on every purchase made online. Sometimes even up to the present minute. They want the comfort of knowing they will receive their product. Therefore they can have time to be at the location to collect the shipment.

Warehouse Administration

Warehouses are the most common supply chain management method. In the United States, millions of square feet are dedicated to stores.

3PL warehouses guarantee the inventory is received, stored, picked, packed, transported, and replenished most cost-effective manner utilizing warehouse management systems (WMS).

Warehouse administration by 3PLs can also help you with utilizing a WMS. In addition to streamlining and improving back-office operations, a WMS provides insight into their fulfillment process. So you can know what is in transit, on hand, and the delivery of items.


Third-party logistics providers can offer expertise, help streamline supply chains, and save time and money. Trusting 3PL experts with your shipping logistics can make a difference in how your business functions and allow you to focus on increasing your overall value to customers.

Knowing whether you need logistic outsourcing or a 3PL business is essential to improving your bottom line. Virtual Employment Services provides talent acquisitions for those in these industries. If you have any questions about how to find the top talent in your industry, contact us, and we will see how we can assist you.

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