What is 3PL and how does it all work?

One of the most common questions we get is: ‘what is 3PL and how does it all work?’

Whether you are a start-up that is rapidly expanding, or a tested business that is looking for ways to focus more attention on the engine room of your business, it can be summarised pretty simply. We break our charging into three main categories: Storage, Handling and Freight.


We consider the type of products and access frequency for your business and weigh up whether shelf, pallet or mixed storage is most appropriate and base your pricing on this. A shelf space measures 2.7m (w) x 0.85m (d) x 0.40m (h) or the height of your tallest product, and is useful if you have many, physically small products that are frequently accessed. Pallet storage is best for slow moving bulk storage items (stored up high) or best selling / fast moving goods (stored low, easy to access). We like to discuss this with you and understand as much as we can about your business plan, and the direction you are heading in. Don’t worry, as your business changes we will review our processes to gain efficiency wherever possible. Nothing is set in concrete – we stretch and grow with you!


You will have a direct line with a dedicated client manager. When stock arrives it is carefully counted and put away within 24 hours. Any variations or damages are communicated back to you as discovered.  Sales orders can reach us via a multitude of formats – we are very flexible. Our intention is to fit in with your existing processes, not dictate these to you.  The order handling process can occur with minimal input from yourselves as your orders are entered whether on your website or in an accounting package, the resulting order will be emailed to our despatch team. We can integrate easily when order volumes increase. All orders are despatched that same day, or next day if received after 2pm.


Our freight rates include both the functional responsibilities for consigning goods as well as managing the incidentals of freight movement such as loss and damage prevention, claims, and service quality management. We will also track and report shipping costs to you in clear and concise formats. We will always select the most economical method of shipping unless requested otherwise.   If you think that 3PL sounds like something you want to know more about – here are a few examples questions we will ask to give the best pricing for your needs:

  • Type of products – what is your industry? Who are your customers?
  • Total number of stock keeping units (SKU’s) – this gives us an idea of how complex your business is. Do you only sell toothbrushes? Or do you have hundreds of options?
  • Average number of orders per week or per month – focus on average!
  • Average amount of stock or pallets on hand – this tells us how much space you might take up

Sometimes these questions can be difficult to answer, particularly if your business is pre-launch. That’s okay – we’re not afraid of start-ups. We can work out the best solution together.   To find out how we can help with your logistics and order fulfilment requirements, just contact us today or read some of our case studies.


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