What Is the Difference Between 3PL & Fulfillment?
The difference between 3PL & fulfillment is an important distinction for businesses. However, in a general discussion of supply chain management, 3rd party logistics and full-service fulfillment may seem, at first glance, to be very much the same thing. Indeed, you may even come across the term “3PL fulfillment,” which can further blur the lines. Both designations refer to the business of managing and shipping product. 3PL logistics businesses can include freight forwarders and courier companies, with services that include pick and pack, warehousing, and distribution. To clarify, a fulfillment center can be said to offer 3PL+++, with a menu of available services that go well beyond the basics. Read on to learn more about the difference between 3PL & fulfillment.
What is the Scope of 3PL?
A 3PL logistics company receives, provides storage for, and ultimately distributes products according to specific orders. While some businesses try to manage on their own, many explore 3PL logistics when their commerce grows to the extent that in-house order fulfillment is unwieldy or overwhelming. At its most basic, 3PL is the outsourced management of warehousing and transportation. For example, 3PL services can include:
- Warehouse storage
- Inventory Management
- Timely Shipping
A 3PL logistics company is a logical next step for the eCommerce owner who is running out of garage space to store and pack product. Additionally, a move to 3PL can expand a business’ ability to scale quickly and efficiently.
What Does a Fulfillment Center Offer?
As mentioned, a fulfillment center is defined as a third-party logistics (3PL) facility. However, fulfillment offers added value services that address a broader range of need than basic 3PL. For example, fulfillment centers receive, manage, and complete online orders for customers on behalf of eCommerce retailers, sales teams, sales reps, and a variety of others. Because fast, efficient processing and delivery is key, fulfillment depends on a reliable chain of communication between all parties. In addtion, fulfillment centers can ship directly to individual customers as well as handle a high volume of product for B2B.
A fulfillment center is an integrated operation. Centera staff personnel trained to receive, pack, label, and ship orders, as well as manage returns. A short list of integrated fulfillment services includes:
- Custom Packaging & Printing
- Reverse Logistics Services
- Rework & Repack
- Advanced Integrated Technology
- CRM Solutions
At CCG Marketing Solutions, we combine the best of all worlds, with full-service distribution and fulfillment services located 20 minutes from NYC. Our state-of-the-art facilities feature 500,000 square feet of warehouse storage. In addition to clean, modern storage, we offer a complete menu of integrated distribution and marketing services, including branding support for events.
The Difference Between 3PL & Fulfillment Is Integration
A fulfillment center provides faster order processing and delivery, and can put goods directly into customers’ hands. Picking, packing, labeling, customer relations, and returns are part of the fulfillment center experience, as well. Therefore, the primary difference between 3PL and full-service fulfillment is that fulfillment offers a dedicated team to provide ongoing flexible solutions and customer support, as well as a plethora of marketing resources.
CCG distinguishes itself as a complete in-house solution for all of the above. Also, we expertly manage compliant pharmaceutical sampling, printing, branded merchandise and promotional products, and trade show support. Our in-house approach allows us to develop and manage fulfillment platforms with a technology platform tailor designed for each business. We do it all, on site.
Full-Service Focus on Marketing Solutions & Fulfillment Integration
CCG closes all the gaps with technology-driven single source integrated fulfillment and warehousing. With these tools, we help healthcare, CPG, automotive, retail, financial, and travel and entertainment companies optimize their time and resources. Contact CCG Marketing Solutions to learn more about customizing a fulfillment strategy for your company.