What Are Integrated Third Party Logistics Services?

You know that running an e-commerce business comes with countless logistical challenges. Between managing inventory, shipping out orders, returns, and keeping customers happy, it's enough to make your head spin. What if there was a way to simplify your logistics and let someone else handle the details so you can focus on growing your business? That's where integrated third party logistics services, or 3PLs, come in. A 3PL is a supply chain management company that can take care of your warehousing, distribution, shipping, and more so you have one less thing to stress about. Keep reading to find out how partnering with an integrated 3PL in North America could be a total game changer for your e-commerce company. In just 100 words, you'll understand what they do and why so many businesses are turning to them to scale their logistical operations.

What Are Third Party Logistics Services?

Third party logistics services, or 3PL, are integrated logistics solutions provided by companies that specialize in warehousing, transportation, and fulfillment services for businesses that manufacture or sell products. 3PL providers manage and execute key logistics functions for these companies.

As an e-commerce business owner, using a 3PL service means you can hand over time-consuming logistics operations to experts and instead focus on growing your business. 3PL providers offer services like:

  • Warehousing and inventory management: Storing your products and keeping track of stock levels.

  • Transportation and distribution: Arranging the shipment and delivery of your products using their shipping partners and carriers.

  • Fulfillment: Picking, packing and shipping customer orders.

  • Freight forwarding: Arranging the transportation of your goods domestically or internationally.

  • Cross-docking: Transferring products directly from inbound to outbound shipping.

  • Returns management: Handling the return or refund process for your customers.

By integrating multiple services, 3PL providers can optimize the entire flow of products from manufacturers to end customers. They utilize logistics management systems and shipping software to increase visibility, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

Using a 3PL service allows small and midsize e-commerce businesses to provide world-class logistics without building out their own warehousing infrastructure and logistics departments. It gives you access to the latest technologies and high-volume shipping discounts you likely couldn't achieve on your own. For hassle-free shipping and fulfillment, integrated 3PL services are the way to go.

Integrated Logistics Services Explained

So what exactly are integrated third party logistics services? Basically, it means hiring an outside company to handle multiple parts of your supply chain and logistics so you can focus on your business. 

A 3PL provider, like us, can take over processes like:

  • Warehousing and fulfillment: Storing your inventory and shipping orders to customers. We handle receiving, sorting and picking products to fulfill orders accurately and on time.

  • Transportation management: Arranging freight shipping for inbound raw materials and outbound finished goods. We negotiate with carriers to get you the best rates and oversee the shipping process from start to finish.

  • Freight forwarding: For importing and exporting, we act as your freight forwarder to handle all documentation, customs clearance and ensure your shipments reach their destination without issues.

  • Supply chain management: Optimizing your entire supply chain from sourcing raw materials to delivering finished products. We help forecast demand, locate suppliers, streamline production and get your goods to market as efficiently as possible.

Using a 3PL for integrated logistics services means you get the benefits of a highly competent logistics department at a fraction of the cost. No more wasted time and money struggling with complex shipping procedures or unreliable carriers. We give you a single point of contact for all your logistics needs and the reassurance of knowing your products are in good hands.

Focus on sales, customer service and growing your business. Leave the logistics to us. We make shipping simple!

Benefits of Using an Integrated 3PL Provider

Using an integrated third-party logistics (3PL) provider offers many benefits for e-commerce companies.

Cost Savings

Working with a 3PL partner allows you to leverage their expertise and infrastructure, which can significantly reduce costs. They have the resources, technology and processes already in place to efficiently handle logistics like transportation, warehousing, and shipping for many companies. This means you don’t have to invest in and maintain your own systems and networks. They can also use their scale to negotiate better rates with carriers that you likely wouldn’t get on your own.

Improved Delivery Times

3PLs that provide end-to-end solutions have visibility into your entire supply chain. They can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies to optimize delivery times. They also have relationships with multiple carriers, so they can choose the fastest option for each delivery based on the shipment details and destination. Some 3PLs even offer same-day or next-day delivery in certain areas. Faster, more reliable shipping means happier customers and fewer returns or chargebacks.

Advanced Technology

Top 3PL companies are constantly upgrading their technology to provide the best solutions. They invest heavily in logistics software, warehouse management systems, transportation management systems, and more. As an e-commerce business, you get to take advantage of these technologies without the cost of implementation and training. Things like real-time tracking, automated pick and pack systems, and dynamic routing can help get orders to your customers as efficiently as possible.

Focus on Growth

When you outsource logistics to a 3PL, it allows you to focus your time and resources on the core business activities that drive growth like product development, marketing, and sales. The 3PL handles the operational details, freeing you up to work on strategic initiatives to scale and expand into new markets. Growth is challenging enough without the distraction of logistical issues, so a 3PL partner is invaluable.

Using an integrated 3PL provider for e-commerce order fulfillment and shipping can save you money, speed up deliveries, provide advanced technology, and allow you to focus on business growth. For many online retailers, the benefits of outsourcing to a 3PL far outweigh the costs.

Services Offered by Integrated 3PLs

Integrated third party logistics (3PL) providers offer a wide range of services to help optimize your supply chain. Some of the major services include:

Transportation Management

Integrated 3PLs can handle arranging transport for inbound raw materials and outbound finished goods. They work with trusted carriers to move your freight via modes like truckload, less-than-truckload, air, ocean, rail, and intermodal. They track your shipments door-to-door and handle claims if needed.

Warehousing and Fulfillment

Integrated 3PLs operate climate-controlled warehouses to store your inventory. They handle receiving, putaway, storage, picking, packing, and shipping your orders. They can set up customized fulfillment processes to meet your business needs. Some 3PLs also offer value-added services like kitting, labeling, and product customization within the warehouse.

Freight Forwarding

For international shipments, integrated 3PLs act as freight forwarders to move your cargo overseas. They help handle documentation like bills of lading and customs clearance. They work with overseas carriers to transport your goods to the destination port and final delivery.

Reverse Logistics

Integrated 3PLs also handle returns, repairs, and refurbishing. They work with your customers to facilitate return shipments back to the warehouse. They inspect returned goods, determine whether items can be resold, repaired, refurbished or recycled. They handle the necessary steps to get the materials back into inventory or properly disposed of.

Using an integrated 3PL for multiple services leads to greater efficiency, coordination, and cost savings. A single point of contact means better communication and accountability. And consolidated shipping and billing simplifies your accounting. Overall, integrated 3PLs aim to optimize your supply chain so you can focus on your core business.

How to Choose the Right 3PL for Your Business

When looking for an integrated 3PL partner, you want to find one that's the right fit for your business. Here are some factors to consider:


What services do you need? Make a list of must-haves like shipping, warehousing, and freight forwarding. Also determine what value-added services would benefit you, such as packaging, labeling or returns management. Look for a 3PL that offers all or most of what you need.


Choose a 3PL with experience in your industry and handling the kinds of products you sell. Ask about their track record and check references from other clients. An experienced 3PL will understand your business needs and be able to provide tailored solutions.

Customer service

Your 3PL's customer service can make or break your experience. Talk to some of their clients to get a sense of their service and responsiveness. Look for a 3PL that will provide a dedicated account manager, 24/7 customer support, and proactively keep you informed at every step. Strong customer service means better communication, faster problem-solving, and less headaches for you.


Compare rates of potential 3PL partners to determine who offers the best value. Don't just look at the bottom line price—evaluate what's included for that price. Factor in costs for extra services as well as potential cost savings from greater efficiencies. A 3PL with competitive pricing that aligns with the value they provide is ideal.

Finding the right integrated 3PL takes time, but choosing a partner that meets all your needs will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on growing your business. Evaluate your options carefully and make the choice that's right for you.

Find Your 3PL

So there you have it - the basics of integrated third party logistics services and how they can streamline your e-commerce operations. When you partner with a 3PL provider that offers integrated services, you're getting an all-in-one solution to managing the flow of goods from manufacturing through delivery to your customers. No more worrying about coordinating with multiple companies or dealing with the headaches that come from a supply chain with too many weak links. An integrated 3PL gives you a single point of contact, visibility into your entire supply chain, and the efficiencies that come with seamless integration. For any e-commerce business looking to scale fast while keeping costs low, integrated 3PL services are the way to go. Make the move and you'll be wondering why you didn't do it sooner.

Have a question about our pricing? We offer cost-effective and transparent pricing.

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