What Services are Offered by Warehousing and 3PL Companies?

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By Craig Perrin

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, efficient storage, order fulfilment, inventory management and seamless distribution are crucial for success. That’s where warehousing and third-party logistics (3PL) companies come into play.

Here, we will explore the diverse range of services offered by warehousing and 3PL companies. Whether you are a small business looking for effective warehousing solutions or a large enterprise in need of a comprehensive logistics partner (as 3PL encompasses warehousing), understanding the services available can significantly impact decisions around your supply chain operations.

Global Shipping

Shipping services play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth flow of goods across the supply chain. Warehouse and 3PL companies may have freight forwarding divisions that offer comprehensive shipping solutions to meet diverse needs. They provide reliable and secure transportation options such as road, air and ocean freight.

By utilising their extensive networks and strategic carrier partnerships, 3PL and warehousing companies optimise international transportation and enhance supply chain visibility. With their expertise, they streamline shipping processes, ensuring the timely and safe delivery of goods to their destinations.

Customs Clearance

3PL and warehousing companies may also have in-house customs clearance teams who will play a crucial role in facilitating customs clearance for businesses that deal with international trade. They will have extensive experience and expertise in navigating complex customs regulations and procedures. They assist businesses by providing guidance and support in preparing necessary documentation, such as invoices, packing lists and completing customs declarations on your behalf.

These companies also lighten your load by collaborating with customs authorities, acting as a liaison to ensure compliance and smooth clearance of goods. Their assistance in customs clearance streamlines international trade operations, allowing businesses to focus on core activities.

Storage Solutions

Businesses may wish to investigate short and long term storage solutions. The key difference between the two is purely the amount of time you need to store your goods. Short-term storage is often a quick fix for a business challenge; whereas long term storage is suitable for companies looking for longer periods of time to provide consistency and reliability to its supply chain and customer service.

Different warehouses will have different types of storage, for example, you may be looking for racked or a non-racked solution and each has their benefits. You may also want to look at bonded warehousing or non-bonded warehousing, depending on what you are looking to store, whether you require goods to be stored without the payment or delaying the payment of import duties and taxes.  We’ve written more about the benefits of bonded warehousing, take a look. Hemisphere has a range of bonded warehousing facilities which can support your business needs. 

You will want to ensure you’re partnering with a warehouse provider that is fully accredited and trusted. Here at Hemisphere, we’ve worked hard to achieve multiple accreditations to support our customers, including AEO, ISO, TAPA, BRCGS and SOIL. 

Inventory Management

Inventory management services are a key offering of warehouse and 3PL companies. They employ advanced systems and technologies to accurately track inventory levels, monitor stock movement and ensure efficient replenishment. 

They can offer real-time visibility into inventory, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and avoid low or excess stock. From receiving and inspecting goods to implementing effective storage strategies, inventory management services help businesses reduce carrying costs and improve overall supply chain efficiency.

Pick and Pack Services

Pick and pack services involve the careful selection of items from inventory and their packaging in preparation for shipping. By employing advanced technology and efficient workflows, warehousing companies can streamline the picking process, thus reducing errors, improving order accuracy and maximising the speed and the volume of order output. A key to providing excellent customer service. 

These services also employ customised packing solutions tailored to the specific needs of each order, ensuring proper protection and efficient use of packaging materials.

Distribution and Delivery

Warehouse distribution and final mile delivery play crucial roles in the modern supply chain, ensuring the efficient movement of goods from manufacturers to end consumers. 

Final mile delivery focuses on the last leg of the supply chain journey, encompassing the transportation of goods from the distribution centre to the end customer’s doorstep. This phase is pivotal in meeting customer expectations for quick and reliable deliveries. 

For B2B deliveries, you may wish to consider the benefits of pallet network deliveries; a cost efficient system that optimises the transportation of goods through the use of pallets and distribution hubs. The transit times tend to be longer, and the goods are handled more times, however the pricing tends to be very cost effective. Or you may wish to consider dedicated loads/groupage transport services that enable you to have more control over service and timings, to meet certain criteria and customer service expectations. Finally for carton distribution, there are many parcel delivery options with next day services available, at competitive prices which allows for a high level of customer service. 

Cross Docking

Another key service that can help to streamline your operations is cross docking. This is the process of efficiently receiving, sorting and transferring goods from truck-to-truck, or container to truck, eliminating the need for long-term storage. By cutting out warehousing steps, cross-docking minimises inventory holding costs, reduces order cycle times and optimises transportation efficiency.  Some delivery sites do not have facilities to unload containers but have forklifts to unload curtain sided trailers, and therefore cross docking helps to meet customers demands and reduce lead times and costs.

Returns Management

Warehousing and 3PL companies excel in returns management services, providing businesses with new ways to handle reverse logistics. They employ specialised processes and technologies to optimise the returns process, from receiving returned items to inspecting, sorting and processing them for disposition.

By efficiently managing returns, businesses can reduce handling costs, improve customer satisfaction and identify opportunities for product improvement.

Container Storage and Unloading

Container storage and unloading services help to facilitate smooth operations for businesses engaged in shipping and logistics. These services involve the secure storage of containers and the efficient unloading of their contents upon arrival. 

By offering container storage and unloading services, warehousing and 3PL companies provide businesses with a seamless logistics solution, enabling efficient management and ensuring the smooth flow of goods from containers to the next stage of the distribution process.

Why do Companies Choose to Work with a Warehousing and 3PL provider?

Companies choose to work with a warehousing and third-party logistics provider for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it allows them to focus on their core business activities and leave the complex logistics tasks to experts. By outsourcing warehousing and 3PL services, companies can reduce the time, effort, and resources spent on managing their own logistics operations.

Additionally, it offers businesses access to a vast network of infrastructure, technology, and industry expertise that they may struggle to tap into themselves. Warehousing and 3PL providers have established relationships with carriers, suppliers, and other key players in the supply chain, enabling streamlined operations, cost savings, and enhanced customer experience.

As companies experience fluctuations in demand, seasonal peaks, or expansion into new markets, these companies can quickly adjust their services to accommodate changing needs. This agility allows businesses to scale their operations up or down without the burden of investing in additional resources or infrastructure.

Choose Hemisphere For Your Warehousing and 3PL Needs

As a leading independent provider of comprehensive logistics solutions, Hemisphere offers a seamless experience for your global logistics needs. Our expert in-house teams cover every aspect of cargo handling from start to finish, ensuring efficient operations regardless of origin or destination, with our own UK warehousing facilities giving us confidence and control over operations. 

With a strong presence across Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa, and Australasia, we are well-equipped to cater to your logistics requirements on a global scale. Trust Hemisphere to deliver reliable and tailored solutions that meet your cargo needs, backed by our extensive industry knowledge and commitment to exceptional service. 

Contact us today to experience hassle-free and efficient global logistics solutions.