A Guide to 3PL Delivery: Know How to Tackle Your Logistics Chaos

When it comes to performing a last-mile delivery, you need to take special care of the product until it reaches the end customer. This could be a complex process where you would be required to navigate through the city traffic in order to hand over the parcel on time. Well, from maintaining inventory to organizing transportation routes, you need to invest more time in managing logistics operations.

Now imagine this: having an assistant who lends you a helping hand in performing last-mile delivery. From releasing the product to delivering it to the right customer, a third-party logistics provider can set you free from delivery hassles. That’s right, hiring a 3PL delivery provider can not only revolutionize the supply chain process but also enhance the customer satisfaction rate. 

So, if you are planning to avail of 3PL delivery services, then you have landed at the right place. Here, we will discuss the meaning, benefits, and factors to keep in mind when choosing a 3PL provider so that you can have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Right then, read along with us to know the power of 3PL delivery services in this ultimate guide.

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What is 3PL Delivery?

3PL delivery is the process of outsourcing logistics operations to external service providers. These specialized experts help you streamline the entire process by using advanced tools and software. As a result, businesses can shift their attention to developing a new strategy, knowing that the complexities of logistics will be dealt with by a team of 3PL providers. They take care of warehousing, inventory management, picking, packing, and delivering it safely to the hands of satisfied customers.

How does it work?

Being a business owner, you would have thought, is it right to leave this complex process to someone else? Well, it’s absolutely okay to hand over logistics operations to 3PL providers. Different providers may have different processes in place, but here is what a typical process is usually followed by a third-party logistics company.

  1. At first, your 3PL provider will receive the inventory and assign a unique SKU number to it. By doing so, it would be easier to find at the time of dispatch.
  2. Whenever the buyer places an order on a website, it will then be pushed to the 3PL service provider.
  3. Then, the warehouse team will collect the ordered items and pack them in the box along with the receipt.
  4. Using the information from customer orders, 3PL will then provide a shipping label or may take help from external shippers.
  5. Later, the carrier will pick up the order from the 3PL provider’s distribution center and travel to the customer’s location.
  6. Meanwhile, customers can track the delivery status via a provided link from 3PL services. 
  7. The order will be delivered to the customer’s doorstep. 

What are the Benefits of Using a Third-party Logistics Provider?

When you ask the 3PL provider to take care of your last-mile logistics process, you get many benefits in shipping and fulfillment. Below, we have shed light on some of its perks. 

1. Simplified logistics operations

When you have hired 3PL experts to manage daily logistics operations, the process will go on as per schedule. You don’t need to take any follow-ups or more resources to complete the assignments. Once the delivery process is taking place on time, you will have more happy customers as they won’t complain about any delays. Also, it means you don’t get distracted from other business goals.

2. No more stress

Third-party logistics services can save your day by performing timely deliveries. The process eliminates the extra stress of managing fleets, route planning, and meeting customer’s demands. In short, you can rest assured that the service provider will help you out no matter how many deliveries you have. That’s how you can get rid of unnecessary headaches. 

3. Network expansion

If you’re managing the logistics services on your own, you would only cover the local areas. But joining hands with the 3PL companies can let your business expand the maximum service areas. All you need to do is ask your 3PL provider to deliver packages to the major US cities. This network expansion will slowly and steadily result in business growth without stretching your financial budget. 

Why Should You Approach a 3PL Provider?

Businesses that are yet to hire a 3PL provider for the very first time would find this solution an expensive option. But this could be the right move before you see a surge in purchased orders. After all, 3PL’s intention is not just to help big-sized delivery teams but also to scale up small or mid-sized businesses.

1. Surge in purchased orders:

Let’s understand this by an example: imagine you have a sudden increase in delivery orders during peak seasons. Handling this surge of orders is not always possible unless you have a large team to deal with. Or else if you fail to deliver them, your buyers are likely to damage your hard-earned business reputation. This is because no one wants to wait for a long time. And that’s where you should rope in third-party help to meet their expectations.

2. Shipping hundreds of orders: 

Furthermore, if you are accepting more than 90-95 orders, then you would require 3PL provider intervention to pick, pack, and ship the order. By doing so, you don’t need extra manpower to fulfill orders, and buyers will be happy to receive delivery on time.

Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing a 3PL Provider

At present, there are many third-party logistics providers available in the market, but choosing according to your business needs is all that matters. So, keep these factors in mind and choose a 3PL provider that delivers both quality and timeliness. 

1. Inventory control

Inventory is one of the major aspects that must be considered when going for a 3PL service. 3PL experts should have capabilities of managing inventory rather than just warehousing products. They should be able to view inventory levels in real time at their distribution centre. So, check how 3PL providers store inventory to know whether they will be able to fulfill customer’s orders.

2. Delivery times

As a business owner, you will never want your buyers to keep waiting for so long, right? That’s what you should look for while working with 3PL experts. Figure out the average shipping times so that you will know how quickly they reach out to the buyer’s location. In addition to that, you can ask what different shipping options are available, like next-day shipping or 2-day shipping. Such options would help clients to choose your services over anyone else. 

3. Operational costs

When going for 3PL help, you must also keep a tab on your bottom line. Otherwise, it may affect your business profit, and you would end up paying a higher price. Therefore, it is advisable to ask for detailed pricing of inventory management, product packaging, and warehousing. Question 3PL provider on what basis they calculate the product shipping cost. Hence, you must quiz a provider in order to keep overhead expenses in control. 

4. Returns management

Modern customers will raise concerns if the delivered items are not as per their expectations. Therefore, as a business owner, you must have a smooth return process in place. Similarly, when you let a 3PL provider work for you, the return process should not be exempted. So, before you join 3PL services, it is recommended to get clarification on how returns would be processed. It is equally important as product delivery in the entire supply chain process. Having robust return management can lead to a high customer satisfaction rate. 

Manage Your Logistics Deliveries with Upper

If you’re experiencing delays in deliveries, Upper can turn the tables for you by automating the delivery process. Partnering with the right 3PL provider like Upper can help you get rid of unnecessary headaches. Upper, a route optimization software, not only helps generate efficient routes for timely deliveries but also enhances the user experience. This means you can save time and effort that could be used in strengthening business strategies.

We say this because Upper has an array of features that will streamline your supply chain management. Let’s look at a few of them. 

1. One-click route optimization

Performing logistics delivery can be a daunting task if you don’t have optimized routes. That’s where Upper steps in. The route planner is capable of planning efficient routes, including additional stops. Upper considers weather, traffic flows, road closures, and driver preference while generating shortest routes. Hence, your driver spends less time on the road, eventually accelerating the delivery process. 

2. Real-time driver tracking

When you have no clue about where exactly your drivers have reached, you are likely to get engaged in phone calls, trying to figure out what took so long. But that’s not the case with Upper. The route optimization software gives you detailed insights via live tracker so that you rest easy knowing that your driver will cover all stops and return on time. 

3. Timely customer updates

Upper has an in-built feature called automated notifications for your clients to stay updated with the delivery process. The admin users can even customize the notifications as per their requirements. Sending customer notifications means your buyer will know at what time their product will get delivered. 

4. Proof of job completion

Upper comes loaded with advanced features that also include proof of delivery. Upon the successful delivery, the driver can collect the proof of service using photos or signatures. Once done, it will notify the dispatcher that the delivery agent actually delivered the product to the right customer. Thus, you don’t need to do paperwork as your driver will record delivery proof using a mobile phone.

Let Upper Tackle Your Delivery Challenges

Facing difficulty in managing delivery orders? Give Upper a shot and bid adieu to logistics challenges once and for all.


3PL providers usually offer inventory management, cross-docking, transportation, shipping, and order fulfillment. Some of them also provide add-on services like labeling, picking, and packing of customer orders. Nowadays, 3PL providers also use advanced tools for real-time tracking and data analytics.

Modern 3PL providers make the most of advanced technology as it plays a vital role in leveling up efficiency, better visibility, and optimization of the supply chain process. Additionally, there is also the role of artificial intelligence (AI) for accurate fleet tracking and predictive analytics. Hence, using such technological advancement, 3PL can provide customer-centric services.

Relying on 3PL services means you may come across several obstacles. These challenges include the potential loss of data security and confidentiality, as chances are you may reveal sensitive information to third-party logistics companies. Moreover, there are some risk factors like service disruption or unforeseen costs if you have selected an unreliable 3PL provider.

Yes, you can. It is crucial to assess the ROI (Return on Investment) by tracking key performance metrics like customer satisfaction rate, inventory turnover, delivery times, and operational costs. As a business owner, you must scale these factors before and after implementing 3PL services to know whether it actually benefits your business.


The introduction of 3PL providers has been a boon to delivery businesses as they save a lot of time, focusing on marketing and product development. This is nothing short of a logistic masterpiece that has eliminated the need for manual checkups and extra resources. Once your 3PL providers take charge of the delivery process, there will be no stress of managing, assigning, or delivering products. 

In conclusion, relying on 3PL services means not only the expansion of the business network but also having scalability and flexibility. The third-party provider helps you achieve stable growth and a competitive edge in today’s marketplace. In case you are searching for a cost-effective option to streamline logistics delivery, Upper can help you cope with modern challenges. Don’t just take our word for it; experience by yourself with a now.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.