3PL LogisticsHow does fulfillment work?

Inventory management presents significant challenges to manufacturers and retailers, regardless of size. These challenges include finding suitable space, implementing an efficient order fulfillment system, and hiring qualified personnel. In addition, many growing companies lack the financial resources and in-house expertise to effectively set up and operate a warehouse.

When it comes to warehouse challenges, 3rd party logistics service provider offers a valuable solution. These companies specialize in outsourced logistics support and are commonly referred to as 3PLs. By effectively using a 3rd party service logistics provider, you can focus on increasing production (for manufacturers), sourcing (for retailers) and optimizing your overall operations. In this way, you can delegate the challenges of inventory management to the 3PLs and focus on your core competencies and on your ecommerce business growth.

Get a quote today arrow-right

The Meaning of Third Party Logistics

3rd party logistics service providers (3PL) usually handle receiving stock shipments, managing warehouse inventory, and fulfilling customer orders for shipping. These warehouses typically serve multiple ecommerce companies and act as a central hub for storage and distribution.

3rd party logistics service (3PL) may also be referred to as an order fulfillment company, fulfillment warehouse, or fulfillment services. Companies that provide 3PL logistics services offer solutions similar to order fulfillment centers in Europe or in any other region. These solutions typically include the following:

  1. Warehouse services and distribution
  2. Inventory control
  3. Order fulfillment services, picking and packing
  4. Shipping and receiving

So how does a 3PL fulfillment work?

A 3PL warehouse is owned and managed by a third-party company. When your goods arrive, the 3PL team documents the incoming shipment and records the new inventory received. The entire physical order fulfillment process, from picking an item off the shelf to preparing and releasing it for shipment, is handled by the 3rd party logistics service.

If you were to witness these operations firsthand, they would resemble those of any other modern commercial warehouse. The key difference, however, is behind the scenes: The 3PL is in control, not you and your team. Ultimately, you entrust the 3rd party logistics provider (3PL) with the responsibility of managing your inventory and fulfilling orders.

So how does a 3PL fulfillment work?

4 Steps of Third-party Logistics:

Step 1: Producing the products & sending to the 3PL company

The first step in the third-party logistics process is for your company to manufacture its products. Whether your company orders its products from suppliers or manufacturers them itself, this crucial step takes place before the order fulfillment process begins.

Once your company has manufactured a batch of products, the next step is to send them to the 3PL company you have partnered with. This ensures that the products are ready for storage and distribution.

Step 2: Storing & organizing the items by the 3PL company

Once the 3rd party logistics service (3PL) receives your products, it applies its own procedures to handle them. These procedures typically include storing, logging and organizing the products. Products may be stored in the 3PL company’s warehouse facilities, where they can be easily tracked and retrieved as needed.

In some cases, the 3rd party logistics provider (3PL) can even distribute inventory across multiple strategically located order fulfillment centers in Germany or in any other country to optimize final mile delivery times and reduce shipping costs.

Step 3: Fulfillment the orders by the 3PL company

When your company receives customer orders, it’s your job to route them to the 3PL logistics company. This is where the 3PL logistics company’s order fulfillment expertise comes into play. After receiving the orders, the 3PL logistics company performs a process known as “pick-and-pack fulfillment”.

During this process, a dedicated picker or team of pickers selects the items needed for each order from inventory. They carefully pack the items with appropriate materials to ensure they are protected during shipping.

Step 4: Preparing for shipping & delivering to the customers

After orders are processed and packed, the 3PL logistics company prepares them for shipment. This includes applying shipping labels provided by the contracted carrier. The 3PL logistics company works closely with the carrier to ensure that the packages are properly labeled and ready for pickup.

Once the carrier receives the packages, they take care of the final leg of the journey, providing the delivery of the orders directly to your customers’ doorsteps. This seamless coordination between the 3PL company and the freight forwarder ensures that your customers receive their orders in a timely and efficient manner.

So your company sends its products to the third-party logistics service, which then takes care of stocking in warehouses, order fulfillment services and shipping. This partnership allows your company to focus on its core competencies while you leverage the 3PL company’s expertise to optimize the logistics and delivery of your products.

Put your logistics and warehousing in safe hands

Request a quote arrow-right

Why should a ecommerce business work with a 3PL?

Working with an external 3rd party logistics service provider (3PL) offers numerous advantages. As your business grows, so does the complexity of your supply chain, and a 3PL can help you manage these challenges effectively.

1. Competence

A 3PL has in-depth knowledge of the logistics industry. They are well equipped to help your company develop and implement a customized logistics strategy tailored to your size, industry and specific requirements.

2. Partnerships

3PLs often work with partners who can complement their services and support your ecommerce business. For example, they have close relationships with leading transportation companies such as DHL, PonyExpress and others.

Many 3PLs partner with companies in the ecommerce industry, including digital marketing agencies, payment providers and packaging companies. Working with a 3rd party logistics provider (3PL) gives you access to these partner services at a reduced rate.

3. Time savings

One of the main benefits of working with a 3rd party logistics service provider (3PL) is the significant time savings they bring you on a daily basis. Order fulfillment services include various tasks, such as sourcing packaging materials, packing orders, coordinating with carriers and managing returns.

In addition, inventory management is a time-consuming process, but a reliable 3PL logistics company simplifies inventory monitoring and control and eliminates the need for complex spreadsheets and tedious data analysis.

By entrusting these tasks to a 3rd party logistics provider (3PL), you can focus your time and energy on other important aspects of your ecommerce business such as marketing, networking, product development and recruitment, which ultimately drives growth.

4. Smooth & fast growth

3rd party logistics service provider (3PL) is able to meet your evolving needs as your ecommerce business expands. Growth is often hindered by constraints such as limited space, labor, technology and processes. 3PL logistics companies are specifically designed to overcome the challenges associated with rapid ecommerce business growth.

When you consider the time you save by outsourcing to a 3PL and the resources you no longer have to manage yourself, you can devote more energy to growing your ecommerce business quickly instead of focusing solely on day-to-day the needs of customers

More about of outsourcing warehouses:

Why work with WAPI?

Access to resources

By partnering with WAPI, your business gains access to resource networks that were previously out of reach. These networks allow providers to offer you the lowest cost for freight and storage. Thanks to their efficient routes and industry contacts, they can get your goods to their destination faster and cheaper.


At WAPI we are true experts. We’re always up to date with the latest developments in inventory control and technology. By working with us, your business can benefit from our expertise and use our technology without having to make the same investment.


We can build a global network that offers higher returns and lower risks. We take care of the day-to-day paperwork, including customs documentation and audits. This efficiency ultimately translates into lower costs, on-time delivery, improved customer service and a better financial outlook for your business.

Flexibility and scalability

With WAPI, you can leverage economies of scale in labor, transportation and space tailored to the unique needs of your business. Even if your company has already invested in infrastructure or facilities, these costs are fixed. This means that you pay for the entire warehouse in Europe or in any other region, regardless of whether you use half of it or the entire warehouse. With WAPI, you only pay for what you use, which translates into lower shipping costs throughout your business cycle.

Up-to-Date Analysis

Another great benefit of working with WAPI is access to real-time information about your shipments. We provide you with key performance indicators, business intelligence and important reports so you can analyze your performance and make informed decisions.

Focus on what you do best

With WAPI, you can focus on what you do best while leaving the logistics to the experts.

Let’s discuss which services are best for your business.

Request a quote arrow-right