As a winery, managing direct-to-customer (DtC) sales can be challenging. Outsourcing order fulfillment to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider offers solutions to a wide range of logistical issues. Read on to learn how 3PLs can fit into your business model and help you streamline your operation.
What is a 3PL?
Ecommerce businesses face numerous challenges, including inventory management, warehousing, compliance, and fulfillment. As you know, these difficulties are only amplified in a niche as specialized as the wine industry. Third-party logistics (3PL) services offer solutions to help companies handle these challenges. Experts in supply chain management, 3PLs leverage their knowledge of infrastructure and technology to help businesses simplify their operations, automate order fulfillment, and concentrate on growing their business.
Why use a 3PL?
Because of their convenience and efficiency, 3PLs have quickly become the industry standard for shipping around the world. In 2002, supply chain and logistics experts Armstrong and Associates found that 46% of Fortune 500 companies use 3PLs to help with their freight arrangement. In 2017, that number nearly doubled to 90%. By 2020, it had increased to 93%. At this point, most major corporations—think Apple, Target, Anheuser-Busch, Under Armor, etc.—and a large number of small businesses use third-party logistics companies to streamline their operations.
Expertise and Experience
3PLs specialize in logistics and supply chain management, including everything from transportation and warehousing to inventory management and customer service. In the wine industry, this also includes specialized knowledge on compliance, bottle handling, and more. By working with a 3PL, businesses have the ability to allocate more time and resources to what they do best, such as production, sales, and marketing.
Wine production is an expensive endeavor. However, partnering with a 3PL can significantly increase operational efficiency beyond what a single business could achieve on its own. By freeing up valuable resources, 3PLs allow businesses to focus on growth and expansion rather than getting bogged down in inefficient logistics operations.
3PLs have established relationships with carriers and can negotiate better shipping rates for their clients. They also provide efficient warehousing solutions, reducing the cost of inventory management, storage, packaging, and shipping.
By keeping up-to-date with the most advanced software and systems to manage their operations, 3PLs also increase inventory and order accuracy. Furthermore, they often provide warehouse automation solutions, significantly cutting back on labor costs.
Flexibility and Scalability
3PLs can quickly adjust their services to match clients’ changing needs. If your business experiences a sudden surge in product demand, such as during the holiday season, a 3PL can immediately ramp up its shipping and warehousing capacity to match. This avoids costly bottlenecks and ensures timely deliveries, regardless of changing market conditions.
3PLs have extensive networks of carriers, warehouses, and other logistics partners around the country (or globe). This means that businesses don’t need to worry about leasing warehouses, investing in transportation services, or establishing complicated logistics systems of their own.
All shipping operations inherently carry risk, and a 3PL can help mitigate that. For example, there may be a labor shortage in your area, making it difficult to find and hire qualified logistics personnel in times of need. Or, a warehouse accident may put your business in a tricky financial situation. By using a 3PL, you outsource these risks and can instead direct your resources to your core business.
The wine industry is a niche field with a number of unique business considerations, especially when it comes to shipping. At Wineshipping, we’ve spent over two decades perfecting our craft, growing to become the largest and most trusted name in the business. We work as an extension of your brand to ensure the best shipping experience for both you and your customers. Here’s how we help wineries deliver:
We Know Our Stuff
Wineshipping is the largest and most experienced 3PL in the wine industry. With extensive knowledge of temperature control, bottle handling, and other special precautions, we’re now at the forefront of the beverage shipping industry, leading the way as the #1 logistics partner for alcohol brands in the US.
Turnkey Logistics Solutions
We provide a fully functional solution for handling the entire shipping process, from the winery to the final destination. Wineshipping takes care of transportation, packaging, warehousing, and delivery, ensuring that your product is shipped safely and securely with no hiccups.
Efficiency and Accuracy
With 99.2% inventory accuracy and 99.7% on-time service, we provide the fastest, most accurate, and most cost-efficient delivery network for alcoholic beverages in the US. Using the latest technology and extensive analytics, we’re here to make sure you ship your product as quickly and as safely as possible, all while getting the best deal possible.
With a multitude of regulations at the federal, state, and local levels, navigating beverage alcohol compliance can seem impossible. At Wineshipping, our dedicated legal and compliance team stays up-to-date on federal and state-level regulations, helping integrate our system with your preferred compliance and sales software for an easy, streamlined experience.
Warehouses Around the US
When it comes to shipping your wine, we understand that time is of the essence. To help facilitate efficient shipping practices, we’ve built the industry’s largest system of strategically placed warehouses, with locations established around the country to minimize cost and travel times while offering the best customer experience.
Awesome Client Portal
Our new Awesome Client Portal (ACP) offers an intuitive, powerful, and performant experience, allowing clients to collaborate directly with the Wineshipping team and take advantage of the full Wineshipping ecosystem with the click of a button.
Small and Large, We’ve Done It All
We’ve worked with everything from family-owned businesses to major wine conglomerates. No matter the size of your operation, we know how to best tailor our logistics systems to meet your needs and help you deliver quickly, accurately, sustainably, and affordably.
Nearly 70% of US consumers value eco-friendliness when considering a brand. At Wineshipping, we’ve committed to building sustainable shipping practices across the board, offering 100% carbon-neutral shipping options, replacing EPS foam with recycled packaging across our entire network, and making charitable contributions to numerous ecological initiatives.
The bottom line is that 3PLs have become a cornerstone of modern ecommerce. Their extensive logistics experience and large, flexible networks are critical to effectively scaling any contemporary business. In the wine industry, this equates to less time worrying about packing, warehousing, shipping, and compliance, and more time spent doing what you love most: making and selling wine.
Ready to optimize your wine business? Send us a message and let’s get started.