Why you will need to have a great 3PL partner in place for 2024

We could spend time telling you how important your 3PL partner is to your reputation and customer service levels but, if you are in the eCommerce space, I think we can safely assume you already know.

So, as we step into 2024, let’s delve into the current state of the 3PL logistics world and why having an exceptional partner is more vital than ever.

The Shifting 3PL Landscape

Over the past 4 years the e-commerce and logistics industries have been facing ongoing disruption from the dramatic rise in e-commerce during the pandemic, labour shortages, rising costs of transportation and the changes in consumer spending due to the cost-of-living and inflation. 

Despite this, the fulfilment market is booming. You can see huge, new warehouse facilities everywhere, and the motorways and railways are buzzing with freight as eCommerce growth continues. The 3PL market in the UK is expected to be worth at least £25 billion in the coming year, and it will continue to grow exponentially for the foreseeable future.

Key 3PL Trends in 2024:

  1. Customer-Centric Solutions 

    The UK 3PL market is witnessing a surge in demand for efficient and cost-effective logistics solutions. Customers are seeking providers who can offer streamlined supply chain management, transparent processes, and end-to-end visibility, emphasizing the importance of a customer-centric approach. 

  2. Technology-Driven Operations 

    The increasing complexity of supply chains are propelling the adoption of technology-driven solutions. Companies are turning to 3PL providers equipped with advanced platforms for tracking and managing shipments. Real-time data analytics, cloud-based platforms, and automations and robotics are becoming integral to optimising logistics operations.

  3. Sustainable Practices:

    Sustainability is no longer a buzzword; it’s a key trend shaping the 3PL market in the UK. There’s a growing demand for environmentally-friendly logistics solutions. From sustainable transportation options like electric and hybrid vehicles to eco-friendly practices, both regulatory requirements and customer preferences are driving the industry towards more sustainable practices.

Meeting 3PL Challenges Head-On

In the face of these developments, the escalating costs of hiring staff and rising overheads pose challenges to sustained growth. At Synergy, we recognise the need to adapt and innovate, not just for the sake of our business but also to contribute to sustainability targets. As a trusted 3PL partner, we believe in shouldering the burden of industry challenges, allowing you to focus on what you do best—serving your customers and growing your brand.

You might wonder why these industry intricacies matter to you. The answer is simple: with a reliable 3PL partner, these challenges shouldn’t be a concern for you. While global and local economic conditions may still have some impact, how your partner deals with them is crucial. We choose to prioritise minimising disruption to your service over our own needs, ensuring a seamless experience for your customers.

Signs you need a new 3PL partner

The reality is that in 2024 you will need more than a 3PL supplier. You will need a 3PL partner that knows how to adapt and support your growth. If you observe any of the following signs, it might be time to reconsider your current 3PL partnership:

  • Your shipping errors are starting to increase. 
    A recent study highlights that a staggering 73% of consumers encounter problems with their online deliveries, and alarmingly, nearly a quarter (23%) express reluctance to order again from a retailer after such issues. This highlights the critical importance of reliability in the logistics chain. If your existing 3PL partner is experiencing challenges now, it’s crucial to recognise that these issues may persist, especially as the market continues to expand. Reliability isn’t just a convenience; it’s a cornerstone of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
eCommerce Fulfilment Customer Service smiling packer
  • Returns and cancellations are causing stock headaches. 
    The rise in online shopping has upped return rates, bringing along higher processing costs. Without a reliable returns tracking system, inventory accuracy takes a hit, leading to financial losses from missed sales or administrative expenses.

    It’s worth noting that returns aren’t solely customer-induced; shortcomings in your fulfillment processes can also contribute. Ensuring precision in your dispatch operations is paramount to curbing these challenges and maintaining the integrity of your inventory management system.

  • They are not using real-time reporting and are not investing in development. We already have and will continue to invest in improving the use of customer-focused technology in our processes. If you cannot access real-time stock and other relevant information, you could be losing to competitors who can.

  • Sudden reductions in customer support because of overload. Everyone is busy, but that isn’t always a good thing. It can very quickly lead to a decrease in customer service. That leaves you without answers for your customers, and in turn, damages your brand reputation.

If you identify with any of these challenges or simply wish to discuss your unique needs, Synergy is here to assist. Contact us today to explore how we can make 2024 a stable and smooth year for your business, ensuring seamless deliveries and a strengthened brand reputation. Let’s navigate this evolving landscape together.


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Gary Rees

Gary Rees

Gary Rees is the owner of Synergy Retail Support, one of the leading SME fulfilment centres in the UK. Having successfully grown the business for over 30 years and with relationships with most household brands, he now looks to partner with customers rather than just act as a supplier so that both parties can grow together. Gary has extensive knowledge in retail compliance, production technologies, shipping details and customer service.

Feel free to contact me personally if you’d like to discuss your business.

01604 412 290