In-House vs. 3PL Fulfillment: What You Need To Know

The decision between In-house vs. 3PL fulfillment can be one of the most critical. It can also be the most challenging decision you’ll ever make. Depending on your company’s fulfillment model, ensure you consider various factors. You will learn everything about In-house vs. 3PL fulfillment in this post. Continue reading!


In-House Fulfillment

In-house fulfillment is the right choice for certain businesses. It can be an efficient, cost-effective, and reliable option. But this will only apply if your company has a small number of products to ship. It may also be that the company is in a niche market where you don’t have many competitors. You may consider using in-house fulfillment if you want to control shipping processes. You want to assign specific responsibilities to employees who will manage shipping operations. The operations may include:

  • Order processing
  • Packing
  • Shipping orders
  • Tracking shipments, and
  • Customer service.

The above situations may not apply to your company. In that case, 3PL fulfillment might be better for you. When comparing 3PL vs. In House Fulfillment Services, many advantages come with outsourcing.

Quick reading: How To Commence a Supply Chain Analysis.

Third-Party Logistics

Third-party logistics providers can help you scale, grow, and manage your inventory. They do this by taking care of the most important things for your business. You want to focus on the things that make you unique. One important aspect is building relationships with customers and growing sales. A 3PL will handle all the behind-the-scenes work operations. So, you can focus on essential things. Which is making sure your company is growing as fast as possible.

Third-party logistics describes the service of managing a company’s supply chain. A 3PL provider can help with warehousing and shipping. They also do distribution, transportation, and delivery.

The reasons why companies choose to outsource their supply chain management are varied. For one thing, it’s often cheaper: a 3PL can offer more affordable rates than in-house employees. It also enables a company to concentrate on its core competencies. At the same time, the company can outsource all logistical needs.

A 3PL provider can offer services ranging from warehousing and order fulfillment. Other benefits include transportation management and freight brokerage. They may also provide value-added services like data analytics and fleet management systems. This kind of service allows you to track your shipments in real-time.

Running the Numbers Using In-house Fulfilment

When running the numbers, it’s essential to include the cost of capital and labor. Going in-house means you’ll need to hire people to work at your warehouse. This will cost you money and take time and money. Additionally, they’ll need more employees if you use 3PLs for fulfillment services. This would not be the case if they were fulfilling orders themselves. And don’t forget about all the hours spent managing your warehouse operations!

The labor cost can be high depending on how much volume is processed each year. Transportation is also a factor in calculating what it would cost for either option. Going with an in-house solution could mean renting trucks or vans.

When comparing options, warehousing costs should also be considered. Prices can explain this can varying prices. Factors like the location of warehouses play a crucial role here. For instance, you may look at the relative distance from customers’ homes. There might be extra costs related to storing goods in many locations. This means having enough space within those facilities (e.,g., storage racks).

Level of Experience Between In-house and 3PL Fulfillment

When deciding which type of fulfillment to use, you should consider both options. Look at their level of experience and expertise. In-house fulfillment has more expertise in your business. They know your product better than anyone else. They can also customize their operation to fit your unique needs.

A 3PL will probably be able to teach your team a lot about logistics and supply chain management. Still, they may not have as much knowledge about how your product is made. It may also be challenging to know how they want the product shipped. Plus, they may not understand the nuances of all your customers’ preferences. Also, 3PLs often have experience with other companies like yours. For example:

  • Suppose you sell pharmaceuticals. So, another pharmaceutical company uses a third-party shipping company for its warehouse operations. In that case, the third-party shipping company has experience handling prescription drugs. It also knows how to handle such items when shipping them via ground or air transport.

Scalability and Flexibility

In terms of scalability, in-house fulfillment is more flexible than third-party fulfillment. Here’s why:

  • In-house fulfillment gives you complete control over your inventory and shipping operations. But, you can have as many or as few warehouses as you want and manage them.
  • Third-party fulfillment services are limited by their contracts with clients (including Amazon). They tend to work on a smaller scale than in-house options. But they sometimes offer a range of pricing tiers. So, smaller sellers can access a certain level of service without paying the total price.

In terms of flexibility, third-party fulfillment services are more flexible than in-house options. Here’s why: Third-party fulfillment providers use highly automated systems to scale quickly. They achieve these results without extensive human resources at each facility.

Selecting the Right Plan for the Business Will Help It Succeed

The first step to choosing the right fulfillment strategy is considering your goals. It would be best to look at your objectives. Determine which fulfillment strategy is right for you. However, there are many factors that you should take into account, including:

  • Your budget
  • The size of your business
  • The type of products or services that you offer
  • The kind of customer base that you serve (e.g., B2B vs. B2C)

Once you’ve taken these questions into account, determine your inventory requirements. If inventory management isn’t your biggest worry, consider outsourcing costs. How much will you save in outsourcing these types of tasks?



In-house fulfillment offers more control over everything from shipping to storage. Yet, 3PL companies can provide benefits that may make them worth considering. At the very least, adding a 3PL option to your list of choices is a good idea. Complexity and fluctuation in sales volumes continue to grow. So, there should be increasing value in opportunities. For more details, contact sales support.

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