Any shipper or logistics provider can attest to how deceivingly simple it seems to get a product from point A to point B. With all of the different moving parts involved in transportation, the process can require quite a bit of juggling. Because of the time, effort, and money warehousing and order fulfillment can take, many shippers are choosing to outsource some, if not all, of their key functions to third-party logistics partners.

Given the widespread uncertainty that’s currently impacting the industry, finding someone with the appropriate experience and top-of-the-line resources is critical for overcoming supply chain disruptions and maintaining efficient shipping operations. As consumer demand fluctuates, the delivery window shrinks, and ecommerce soars, it’s the little things that can give your business the competitive edge it needs to succeed.

Here are some of the most common value-added services a logistics partner can provide to help manufacturers optimize their warehousing and order fulfillment strategy.

  1. Kitting

Rather than picking and packing individual items for orders as they come in, kitting involves assembling related items together into a kit ahead of time based on their SKU numbers, so they’re ready to be shipped. This value-added service offers a faster, more convenient alternative for shippers that reduces the risk of errors, improves inventory management, and increases production efficiency.

  1. Labeling and Repacking

Professional labeling services can help companies ensure industry compliance, increase accuracy and continuity, and enhance their branding. Repacking solutions similarly optimize the packaging process by removing products from ill-fitting material to more cost-effective containers that mitigate risks as well as transportation costs.

  1. Reverse Logistics

When products are moved back in the supply chain for returns, recalls, recycling, recovery, or disposals, this process is referred to as reverse logistics. Working with an order fulfillment partner can help you streamline your reverse logistics to keep your customers satisfied, improve your profit margins, and eliminate unnecessary waste.

  1. Quality Control and Compliance

Third-party logistics partners that offer quality control product inspections can protect your brand from being associated with poor quality goods by fixing mistakes before they make it to market. Additional compliance assurance solutions can also simplify complex import/export documentation to help you effectively meet local and international shipping standards as well as prevent potential supply chain disruptions.

  1. Cross-docking

Cross-docking services help manufacturers minimize handling times, inventory levels, and labor costs because they involve consolidating and sorting products before they’re loaded onto an outbound truck. This value-added service saves shippers a lot of time and money, since it only uses one truck rather than several, which also lowers the chances of your product being damaged in transit.

If you’re unable to manage your shipping operations entirely on your own, outsourcing some of your logistics functions can allow you to benefit from common value-added services like these. With improved warehousing and order fulfillment efficiency, you can focus more on the other aspects of your business and outperform your competitors.