Thousands of ecommerce businesses are striking a narrow balance between explosive growth and a carrier network that can’t keep up. See how 3PL companies like Kuehne+Nagel LTL+ can help ease the load and get your products moving now. 

With the recent boom in ecommerce, carriers are more strained than ever before as they try to meet the needs of an industry experiencing unprecedented growth. Some carriers simply can’t keep up, especially those in the freight space. If you’re feeling stuck with a carrier that can’t meet your needs, keep reading. You’ll learn how you can integrate your store with hundreds of available LTL (less-than-truckload) carriers with just one connection. 

Why Use a 3PL? 

Third-party logistics suppliers (3PLs) specialize in creating smooth LTL shipping solutions. They rely on a massive network of carriers, meaning there’s a carrier available on-demand for whatever the shipment or route. With a 3PL on board, your LTL shipping experience will feel more like a parcel shipping scenario. If you want simple, straightforward and beautifully predictable shipping, you should take note.

With a 3PL you don’t have to rely on a single (or a few) LTL carrier to fulfill every shipment. By using a service like this, you give yourself and your customers instant LTL rates from a network of carriers. Not only does this ensure you get the best rates, it ensures you find a carrier who’s actually able to fulfill the shipment, right when you need them. This way, you never have to spend hours tracking down and booking a carrier, and you know you’re giving your customers a great rate. With integrating with just one 3PL, you’re connected to hundreds of carriers. Plus, you can happily skip the headache of invoice review and unexpected add-on charges. 

Another big benefit of using a 3PL is that you get to tap into carriers across the country. Many carriers specialize in a specific region of the country, meaning shipping outside that area could cost you big. With a 3PL, you’re not tied to any specific carrier, so you always get the lowest rate possible, even shipping across multiple regions. 

Types of 3PLs

In the past several years, 3PLs have become increasingly popular, as they offer their clients a bevy of solutions for operating more efficiently without taking up employee time. There are several types of 3PLs:

Non-asset-based 3PLs:

These companies provide outsourced freight brokerage support through a network of external carriers. They don’t have warehouses, trucks or drivers of their own. Instead, they focus on linking shipping customers with carriers to find the most efficient solution. An important distinction between different non-asset-based 3PLs lies with which party holds the carrier contracts. Some negotiate their own contracts and pass on rates to customers, while others integrate their customers’ carrier accounts directly. 

Warehousing 3PLs:

This is a type of 3PL that typically plays a big role in everyday operations for its customers. These companies manage storage, distribution and shipping of goods so customers don’t have to manage the full supply chain on their own. 

Freight forwarders:

This type of company is less a 3PL and more like a middleman. These companies link different parts of a shipment up seamlessly and can sometimes provide more competitive rates, especially for international shipments. ( saying that with these kind of providers they might warehouse goods for you or they might consolidate shipments that you send to them and forward them in a bulk shipment along with shipments from others. That’s how you get the cost savings.)

For most ecommerce businesses, a non-asset-based 3PL is a good fit. Beyond that, you’ll want to be sure that the 3PL you use allows you to use your own account with carriers, rather than holding the contracts themselves. This is important because it means you’re not tied to that specific 3PL, the rates negotiated for you are yours. High quality 3PLs have a staff of experts who are focused on negotiating great rates on your behalf. 

If you’re ready to work with a 3PL but don’t know where to start, try Kuehn+Nagel LTL eCommerce, a company that specializes in making LTL freight as simple as parcel shipping. With a focus on technology, they offer a customizable platform that integrates seamlessly both with your fulfillment, warehousing and ERP systems and with ShipperHQ. 

How to: Where does ShipperHQ come in?

ShipperHQ makes connecting to a 3PL simple and painless. It’s a great way to integrate a single shipping solution into your checkout, while leveraging the power and flexibility of a 3PL. Even if you’re not ready to switch completely, we can help set you up with both individual carriers and a 3PL, so you’re ready to pivot between the two as your needs change.

In addition, ShipperHQ merchants with a 3PL connection can directly pull live rates and apply shipping rules to them. This way, they can tailor options by customer, product, location and more to deliver the most accurate possible rates. Add-on fees, also called accessorials, can also be populated, giving both you and your customer a clear picture of the full cost of the shipment. 

We’ve built out strong relationships with 3PLs, and have worked closely with them to integrate technologies. Kuehne+Nagel LTL+ is a reliable partner that brings core principles to the table we can get behind, like building and supporting positive carrier/merchant relationships. They’re a partner we confidently endorse thanks to a reputation for negotiating great rates that work in their customers’ favor, without restrictions that only allow customers to access those great rates through their platform. It’s an all-around win for ecommerce shippers. 

Changing your Business to a 3PL approach

Ready to jump in and give it a try?

Contact us and we help get you setup. Adding a 3PL to your shipping strategy may require some small changes in the details of your fulfillment and warehouse processes, but the process is straightforward and quick. Whether you require a lot of a little help getting set up, we’re here to walk you through the process to help you find better and more reliable LTL rates.