Worker inside a 3PL warehouse

What Services Does a 3PL Warehouse Provide?


Until recently, many companies operating their businesses online handled all their operations in-house. They would source the products ordered by their clients, store, package, and ship them. These are extremely involving operations that take up too much time and effort. Thanks to the introduction of third-party logistics, many businesses can now focus on improving productivity.

Third-party logistics is an essential aspect of any e-commerce business. It is commonly referred to as 3PL, which allows you to partner with experts to ensure your products reach the consumers. A 3PL company is responsible for storing your inventory as it picks, packs, and ships your products. This article focuses on the services of a 3PL warehouse. Read on to find out what happens in 3pl warehousing.

What is a 3PL warehouse?

A warehouse is a structure that stores products or goods in bulk for commercial purposes. Warehousing is an essential part of your e-commerce business as it ensures all your goods are stored and handled with care.

Third-party warehouse services include storage of goods or products, receiving, packing, and shipping them to the end consumers. When partnering with a 3PL company, it should provide comprehensive warehousing services.

Types of warehouses

Learning about the types of warehouses enables you to make the right decision when it comes to partnering with a 3PL service provider. That said, there are three different types of warehouses performing various functions. They include a fulfillment warehouse, storage, and distribution warehouse.

  • Fulfillment

A fulfillment warehouse offers 3PL services. The services begin when an e-commerce company sends its inventory to the facility. Storage and fulfillment are the major services that occur in this 3pL warehouse. However, other fulfillment warehouses include additional services like managing inventory and customizing the products. These warehouses obtain goods and send out orders. What’s more, they serve numerous clients.

  • Storage

As the name suggests, a storage warehouse stores goods and materials. For instance, a local agency might need a storage space to hold seasonal equipment. Also, a company can send old paper files to a storage facility (warehouse) for archiving.

  • Distribution

A distribution warehouse receives materials and goods in bulk to transfer them to various destinations. In simple terms, a distribution warehouse is a transfer facility for multi-modal transportation.

Activities in a 3PL warehouse

Services vary in different warehouses. The main services provided by a 3PL warehouse are to receive, pick and pack, and ship products.

  • Receiving

When goods are sent, a 3PL warehouse checks them in and unloads them from containers or tractor-trailers. This service is called receiving. It is an essential service that ensures your products are ready to sell to your consumers.

  • Pick and pack

Once a customer places an order on a website, all the information transfers to your 3PL warehouse. A picker then organizes all the items in the order and takes them to the person who packs them. Here, the packer finds the right boxes and performs all the safety actions required to ship the goods safely.

  • Shipping

Shipping is the last stage of fulfilling an order. After packing and labeling the products, they are transferred to the shipping station. Different carriers stop at the warehouse and pick up the outbound consignments. The carriers ensure to deliver the items safely to the customer.

A 3PL warehouse is essential in performing various tasks to ensure your customers’ orders are fulfilled. Receiving, picking, packing and shipping are the primary services of a warehouse. Other facilities go the extra mile to provide additional services. These include kitting, inventory management, and cross-docking. Before choosing a 3PL provider, ensure they provide comprehensive services in their warehouses to increase customer satisfaction.