The holidays are a hectic time for everyone, especially for small business shippers and supply chain managers. Not only do you need the right shipping solutions, but you need them at the best rates and on a deadline. Shipping freight without expert guidance makes accomplishing all of this pretty challenging. So how can you meet all these needs and ship easier? Third-party logistics companies, or 3PLs, make it easy for small businesses everywhere to get all the solutions they need at a cost-efficient rate. Today, we’re talking about small business shipping during the holidays with a 3PL.
What Is a 3PL?
3PL stands for third-party logistics company, or a freight brokerage who serves as a facilitator in connecting shippers with carriers, lanes and more. 3PLs serve as a sort of comprehensive shipping department for small businesses and integrate themselves into anything from warehousing to transportation solutions.
A 3PL is essentially a one-stop shop for everything shipping-related. However, not all 3PLs are the same and some stand out among the rest. Make sure you know how you can measure freight broker effectiveness, so you can make the best decision about who your business partners with.
Benefits of Partnering with a 3PL
For small businesses everywhere, there are many benefits to partnering with a 3PL, especially when dealing with the classic holiday rush year in and year out. These benefits include:
- Affordable shipping rates that are exclusive to 3PLs and not available to the average shipper.
- Access to the best technology in freight, such as transportation management systems.
- Experts in logistics and customer service that guides you through every step in the process.
- Simplified shipping solutions, connections with top carriers and helpful resources tailored to you.
Affordability is key when getting shipping solutions for the holidays. 3PLs have a large network of carrier partners. These carriers give 3PLs discounts for the volume of business 3PLs send them, and 3PLs pass those discounts on to shippers. These discounted rates aren’t always easily available when going straight to the carrier yourself, so going through a reputable 3PL gets you the most affordable freight shipping rates right off the bat.
Technology is a big part of any business nowadays, and in the freight world, it’s no different. Most 3PLs use a transportation management system (TMS), which basically is a centralized platform listing out available carriers, lanes, and rates based on your shipment details for easy comparison and solution searching. With limited capacity during the holidays and stricter deadlines to meet than usual, a TMS saves you a lot of time searching for carriers, provides rates side by side for comparison, and helps manage all your shipping paperwork as well as tracking for your shipment.
Additionally, small businesses shipping during the holidays with a 3PL get the human touch that will always be needed when it comes to logistics. Your shipments are overseen by an expert shipping agent who knows the ins and outs of the industry and knows how to communicate with all parties involved in a shipment.
Helpful Holiday Shipping Resources
To help you ship as efficiently as possible during the holiday season, we have put together a few resources. Check out some of our blog posts below for a variety of holiday shipping tips, predictions and more.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday Logistics Refresher
- Holiday Business Shipping Success
- Holiday Sales Predictions You Need to Know
- Small Business Saturday Shipping
FreightCenter Is Your 3PL Partner
FreightCenter has served the shipping industry for over 20 years, and we pride ourselves in helping small businesses get the logistics solutions they need at any time of the year. From our powerful TMS to our world class shipping agents, we are your one stop shop for shipping. It’s like having your very own shipping department. Partner with FreightCenter today and optimize your holiday supply chain!