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Five Features 3PLs Need in a Shipping Solution

Third-party logistics (3PL) companies are complex organizations with numerous moving parts, which is why they require a shipping solution that enhances efficiency. The correct shipping solution can be the key to a fulfillment warehouse's success in everything from inventory management to packaging orders, correcting shipping errors, to accepting returns. Depending on what a 3PL needs, shipping solutions can serve various purposes, but more than anything else, they help keep e-commerce customers satisfied while allowing warehouses to grow their businesses. 

Here are the top five shipping solution features every 3PL needs:

Real-Time Rate Shopping

The best way to save money on shipping is to have a real-time comparison of the best delivery route and price for outgoing orders. 3PLs can achieve this with Real-Time Rate Shopping. This feature allows shippers to customize their rate shopping capabilities to include multiple preferences like preferred carriers and shipping time. To streamline and automate the order process, warehouses can customize this feature to rate shop their entire 3PL fulfillment center based on the same credentials or individually process orders from specific client accounts. Although many shipping solutions offer rate shopping as a feature,  working with a fully stacked shipping API for ecommerce, like DesktopShipper, that illustrates all available rates in a single, centralized view is the most optimal method to make the most of rate shopping benefits. 

Multi-Location Fulfillment

Multi-location fulfillment is generally an e-commerce business or warehousing facility that utilizes multiple locations to reduce shipping costs and reach a higher volume of customers. As a result of offering fulfillment services at several locations, 3PLs can adapt their business model as needed. An advantage of using a shipping solution built for multi-location warehousing systems is that it enables the utilization of one software tool across multiple warehouses, allowing for interconnected inventory and delivery settings.  An example of this is DesktopShipper's Profiles feature. This feature allows for 3PLs to specify shipping requirements for each integration, customer, and multi-location warehouse. Additionally, 3PLs can automate specific origin and return locations for each profile and link preferred carriers to relevant accounts to ensure orders are handled as efficiently and effectively as possible. 

Order Management

Order Management is an essential feature of any shipping solution needed by an e-commerce business or third-party logistics provider. The main objective is to deliver orders on time, per customer specifications, and at minimum cost. This is achieved by integrating with various order sources (marketplaces and selling platforms, inventory management systems, warehouse management systems, etc.). DesktopShipper’s OMS features provide 3PLs with flexibility and scalability. When you can integrate your current marketplaces, selling platforms, and carriers within one centralized view, you automatically have an advantage in logistic e-commerce. 

Advanced Markups (on Profiles) 

As noted earlier, profiles are an essential feature that 3PLs should consider. They allow 3PLs to specify the shipping requirements for each of their integrations. Profiles configured to be customer-specific, or integration-specific allow warehouses to create Advanced Markups on behalf of customers. This means that the user may set rules to add a markup to the overall shipping fee - either as a percentage or as a flat charge, by adding markups according to the carrier, shipping service, and even particular zones and weight breaks. With Desktopshipper, advanced markups can be tied to shipping profiles, making it easy to control which orders are processed at which rates. Whether your company works with negotiated or published customer rates, 3PLs can set carrier rules and automated billing for each customer or profile. Shippers can also set advanced markups on profiles for flexible billing options for customers. 

Batch Processing

The importance of batch processing for any 3PL cannot be overstated. With Batch Processing, warehouses can organize and assign batches in a more efficient manner. In addition to updating order details in bulk and setting printing sequences, 3PLs can rate shop-specified batches in real time. Using DesktopShipper, warehouses can sort batches by carrier, customer address, day of order processing, profiles, or any other desired criteria. Afterward, print labels and ship orders as your company deems appropriate. Batch processing allows you to set the rules!


3PL companies are well aware of the importance of software technology, and ultimately, having a comprehensive shipping solution is essential to growing their business. When selecting a software solution for your 3PL, be sure to consider the above features, and when you're ready to make the transition, DesktopShipper can help you ship, save, and grow!


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