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3PL in Melbourne

Discussion in 'Logistics' started by Vavoom, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. Vavoom

    Vavoom Member

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    Hi All,

    About to begin importing some furniture wares, and I am interested in pursuing 3PL options.

    Essentially I am looking to securely store a 20ft container of furniture with a 3PL, and then have them fulfil direct to customer for me as and when orders come in. The products are considered 'sensitive freight' and would require some care in delivery.

    Being new to 3PL, what should I look out for? What are some of the common pitfalls?

    If anyone has any recommendations for 3PL who deal with furniture, I'm all ears.

    Thanks
  2. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    Vavoom likes this.
  3. LucasArthur

    LucasArthur Renowned Member

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    Thanks Bert,

    Hope all is well.. not sure about switched on though :)

    Vavoom, ok got a silly question, if i may? Are you the store in St Kilda? If so, you'll laugh if we chat to each other.. long story..

    Re 3PL, are you actually talking about furniture? chairs, tables and the likes? To be honest, you may not only find it difficult to locate a 3pl to tackle this and then on top of that is the burden of locating one that weill treat your items with due diligence that is required (QA etc)..

    Other thoughts would include things like quality checking, or are you happy to have items just shipped without being checked.. EG: most items form China, furniture wise, are shipped in crates or cartons or combination of both? are you then wanting the 3pl to deliver in box, out of box or other - another complication and thought to assess.

    Although i have not given you answers, you will need to have your expectations outlined before contacting a 3pl..

    Another thought, if it is furniture, may i suggest you look at a 40ft HC instead of 20ft? just the cost reduction to increase size (freight wise) is minimal and will bring your cost per CBM down significantly allowing you to be more competitive on pricing..

    Hit me up, here or there, and will try assist.

    Jason
  4. arrowwise

    arrowwise Active Member

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    Furniture is definitely bulky goods territory, so purely on floor space that would have to cut into your margins if competing on price

    So Jason based on your response what types of products and what is the minimum stock levels that you find 3PL to best work for?

    .
    LucasArthur likes this.
  5. LucasArthur

    LucasArthur Renowned Member

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    Hey Steve

    Hope you have been well mate?

    You pose an intriguing question, and to be honest it really is difficult to answer. Not avoiding the question, although the question is generally better put another way. Meaning, 'what profit is derived from the intended products being sold?'

    Generally, its not about size or volume (well there needs to be turnover for the 3PL to be interested, otherwise you become a cheap storage solution) or other variables relating to variations of the first 2 although whether or not your business model and margin can substantiate a move to 3PL.

    Example, i have a few clients that only take up a very small space which have a decent margin built into them that can absorb the 3PL component - as you can appreciate, i will not disclose this, although its in the double digits and more that helps absorbing our costs (and/or other services like ours).. These have a tidy turnover of volume per week as well.

    Some have more space, higher end products.

    Although i have not really answered the question, i hope the reply helps a little.. I will add, if that is ok? and please dont be offended, any readers that is, the below to consider and this is not all inclusive just a snap shot (and it has been mentioned by me before as well in the forums):
    - Any time a 3PL handles your product, there will be a fee of some sort - be it a standalone fee or absorbed into another fee - any labour you use, has a cost.
    - All materials will need to be covered, be it itemised or built in
    - Any adhoc requests you may have, will have a cost
    - Freight, has a cost + a %markup
    - Storage, has a cost
    - Receiving stock, has a cost
    - Sending stock, has a cost

    Why do i write the above? Basically, we tackle many queries a week from start ups or smaller operators (gladly i might add) although the perception generally from a home based model and solo operator is that 3PL of any sort is overly priced and they can not rationalise the costs.. Allow me to drill down on that a little further.

    If you operate from home, there are hidden costs that you burden (potentially) under you personal ledger and absorb as a no cost solution without actually considering it that way.. This may include, although not limited to:
    -Labour (to process orders, in or out: to check stock: to enter freight order: to pick and pack your order: etc)
    -Paper for your printer (labels and reports)
    -Electricity
    -Storage Space (garage or spare room or everywhere )
    -Labels for shipping
    -Materials - tape: boxes: peanuts etc
    -Phone
    -Internet
    -Heating (god its cold in Melbourne today)
    etc etc etc

    This is mentioned as the above costs are costs that if operating from home are just consumed under the personal ledger and you may or may not take into account when you look for a 3PL. Especially your labour of love in your business - packing and all other forms.

    What is not taken into account either, which is why 3PL is a positive step for those wanting to grow, is that a 3PL can work with you (well should want to and align with you, something that is our goal from commencement to become an extension of your business) in order to take away the labour and potentially mundane processes that keep you away from revenue deriving activities. Many that see value in using a 3PL or similar, have already established that picking/packing/processing is a task that is keeping them away from sales and other activities - or even their families at night..

    The above is the most relevant reason one should want to use a service like this (or to get orders out in a timely fashion that some sellers struggle with - being pulled at in multiple directions), not seeking cost cuts or other as costs generally arent cut and in most circumstances you will pay more than you already are (as your free labour and other resources mentioned above can add up).

    If you want to grow your business and partner with someone to do the menial (lol) tasks whilst you deploy new strategies without the worry of picking/packing etc etc, then 3PL is handy.

    Its a long reply, with no direct answer and for that i apologise.. Although there just is not an easy answer. Seeking a long term solution should be anyones goal when engaging a 3PL as it takes a little while for each to get to know one another - My customers have been with me for years, i work closely with them on a personal level and endeavour to maintain open communications throughout the relationship - its easier to help, if i know who i am working with and vice versa.

    Steve, will add though, we also have many that have successful service businesses (IT/POS/Communications) that use our service to send out hardware - with little or no profit, although its an extension of their business. Using us allows them to work on site more, which is where there dollars are. Hope that makes sense?

    If anyone has questions, please ask.. happy to help whenever i see a post, if i feel my reply will assist of course..

    Cheers
    Jason
  6. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    Jason, Great answer as usual, it's interesting whats involved when it's all put in one spot. the only thing I think you missed is the coffee.
  7. arrowwise

    arrowwise Active Member

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    Thanks Jason - fantastic response and you've helped educate me more in this area. To most it sounds like some sort of underground courier code jargon.

    Most don't even realise such a service is possible let alone how it can actually assist to benefit and grow a business.
  8. LucasArthur

    LucasArthur Renowned Member

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    Didnt miss the coffee, that is the one item i absorb into my costs
  9. Warehousing Fulfillment

    Warehousing Fulfillment Member

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    Hi
    i am a start up 3PL in Sydney. My background is warehousing and distribution working for large organisations in Australia focusing on supply chain & logistics. I have gone out to do my own thing and SAVE CLIENS MONEY as i know the true costs of what they sell to the small guys. My focus is Small to Medium Businesses and StartUps. Target commodities are clean small freight such as toys baby products fashion accessories shoes. I am based in Sydney at the moment if anyone is interested for information my number is 0497074485 Regards eCom Logistics Pty Ltd.
  10. LucasArthur

    LucasArthur Renowned Member

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    Welcome, sorry i must have overlooked your name, WF

    Can you add anything to the question posed on the forum for all to learn? IMO, i find the forum is helpful and a place to share ideas so others perusing across the site can learn from points of interest..

    Once read, you may find people will contact you as you exhibit expertise in a desired field or they may not.. However, not really sure spruiking your business through a random post (albeit related to your industry) is the best move to acquire clients.

    Honestly, have a look around the forum and see if you can contribute to some relevant posts with some insight and trust me, people will find you ;)

    Cheers and all the best on your venture.

    Jason
    Warehousing Fulfillment and bb1 like this.
  11. Warehousing Fulfillment

    Warehousing Fulfillment Member

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    thank you Jason

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