I have an online business that's currently being fulfilled by ourselves and some partners. It's an okay system right now, but we definitely need to scale up as we launch more products.
Currently, we sell internationally with partners in the EU, Canada, US, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
Our products are mostly small electronic/hardware packaged items (say.. 10 x 10 x 4 inches). Everything shipped to the 3PL will be already packaged, and ready to ship, other than the shipping box and labels, of course.
Our volume right now is about ~4000 units, but I imagine as we continue to grow the business, 10K+ units and more would be minimum. The more capital we have from our profits just means bigger fuel to our business, essentially. USA is our largest market by far, at about ~60% of our business right now.
I don't foresee us needing 3PL service 24/7/365. For now, we might have more seasonal sales as opposed to having products available every day of the year. So being able to scale up and down the 3PL operations would be nice.
Our business is based/registered in Hong Kong, and manufacturing + packaging is done through China. Our packaging vendor ships the finished product to us and our international partners.
Requirements for us for a 3PL:
- Mostly importantly is handle logistics internationally, so at minimum have a fulfillment center in a major country or continent. USA, Canada, Southeast Asia, Europe, UK, and Australia is a bare minimum.
- Shipping speed is not a huge importance. Our customers aren't extremely time conscious, so things like one day or two day shipping is nice to have instead of necessity. In our market, it isn't rare at all for customers to wait weeks to many months for products to ship.
- Customer service needs to be impeccable, and if we can closely work with them, that would be ideal.
- Scalable 3PL service – we might not need their service every day of the year. It might be more like bursts for a few months at a time, and then quiet.
- Maybe be able to speak Mandarin with our manufacturers to streamline certain processes i.e. returns, defects, feedback, etc.
I have been looking into Shopify's Fulfillment Network but they seem to only cover the US right now. I also know DHL is the biggest 3PL in the world, but they seem intimidating.
So any recommendations for good international 3PL is much appreciated!
Still fairly new to the 3PL world, so if you think I am missing something, please feel free to correct me.