Getting your freight and products moved around is one of the biggest pieces of selling your product. You may be considering outsourcing the supply chain part of your business. Unless you or your staff have hands-on experience with supply chain management, you probably need help.
Two terms you may hear while setting up (or updating) your supply chain are “freight forwarding” and 3PL (“third-party logistics.”) They’re not the same thing, so it’s important to understand the difference, and what comes with each.
A freight forwarder is a broker that works for you and with various shippers to get your product where it needs to go. If your product is traveling from an overseas factory, arriving in the Port of Los Angeles and heading to a nearby warehouse, the freight forwarder arranges the transportation from the factory and to the warehouse from the dock. This may involve a cargo ship, movers to unload the cargo, others to load the cargo onto trucks and to drive the trucks to the warehouse, where it gets unloaded.
If that same freight is destined for a city in Europe, the freight forwarder would then arrange transport from the warehouse to the location where the shipment will move across the Atlantic, then to its final destination. This kind of transport may combine air or road, marine, rail and another form of road transport to complete the journey.
A freight forwarder is not a shipping company and is not responsible for your shipments while in transit. They are a classic “middleman” that simply makes transport arrangements with different shippers to move your freight where it needs to go. Once your shipment has reached its destination, their job is completed.
Third Party Logistics (3PL)
A 3PL company does everything a freight forwarder does, but freight forwarding is one part of everything they offer.
A 3PL company can handle any part of your supply chain functions (including freight forwarding), or you can outsource part or all of your entire supply chain. Order management, fulfillment, shipping, warehousing, packing, delivery, shipping, and other related functions can all be handled by a 3PL company. You can choose specific functions to outsource or select a start-to-finish supply chain management. A 3PL can save your company even more money by combining all your needed services into a single contract.
Hiring a 3PL company to handle your freight frees up people and resources so you can concentrate on your company’s core competencies. You can continue designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling your products knowing that the shipping, moving and handling is all taken care of.
Contact 3PL WorldWide For Your Supply Chain Needs
With warehouses on both coasts and a host of support services, 3PL Worldwide takes the hassle of supply chain management off your hands. Let us handle your supply chain, you take care of the rest. Interested in talking to us? Contact us at (888) 456-1920 or use our online contact form.