Your third-party logistics (3PL) provider is an essential part of your brand’s success—and a really great 3PL partner becomes a seamless extension of your team, working to tighten your operations, deliver exceptional results, and enhance your brand reputation.
Especially in the beauty and wellness industries where brands work with different kinds of regulations for various products, your 3PL should be your eyes on the ground to ensure that not only are your products coming from the manufacturer in the best shape possible, but also that every order that leaves the fulfillment center is fulfilled to your specifications—with all the right regulatory supports in place from start to finish.
Each day in the U.S., the carriers UPS and FedEx deliver a combined total of 34 million packages—many of these coming from eCommerce brands, direct-to-consumer companies, and online retailers. At the fulfillment center, these millions of packages are assembled, labeled, and shipped out directly to consumers, making the 3PL teams a critical part of how your customers interact with your brand.
Maintaining Good Manufacturing Practices
Within the beauty and wellness industries, there are several regulatory classes that retailers and manufacturers need to abide. Within these classes are distinct differences for Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMPs. As explained by the World Health Organization, “Good manufacturing practice (GMP) is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. It is designed to minimize the risks involved in any pharmaceutical production that cannot be eliminated through testing the final product.”
These GMPs—also sometimes called “Good Distribution Practices” or GDPs—aren’t just critical to the safety and viability of the products you sell, but they are also essential to adhere to mandated, regulatory guidelines regarding how products are stored, labeled, assembled, and shipped. In the beauty and wellness industries, these regulator classes will vary from one product to the next, but will typically include:
- Consumer goods
- Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs
- Dietary supplements
- Medical devices
Your 3PL’s quality control team handles regulatory compliance in a multitude of ways. For instance? They can handle things like:
- Document management
- Change controls
- Audits of internal facilities
- Federal and state licensing for fulfillment
- Client investigations
- Destroy review
Plus? They are your eyes and ears on the fulfillment lines, ensuring that as product comes into your warehouse, it has met GMP requirements and that when goods and products are stored, packaged, and shipped (and when items are returned and evaluated for restocking), that they adhere to these same GMP guidelines.
Your quality assurance and quality control teams will work at the fulfillment center to implement a quality system that details all necessary procedures for your entire logistics operations to follow, including the regulations for GMP and GDP as administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
By consistently applying your brand- and product-specific GMP and GDP guidelines, your quality team will assure predictability and reliability, which instills brand confidence from both customers and regulatory authorities.
Adhering to Branding and Quality Standards Throughout Fulfillment
With the right licensing in place, a qualified 3PL partner that specializes in the handling of beauty and wellness products can be critical to maintaining high-quality products and ensuring they are ready to ship. Maintaining brand standards at the fulfillment center can include:[Text Wrapping Break]
- Temperature control, either to adhere to FDA and GMP standards or stabilize products.
- Labeling and relabeling, especially to prepare products for shipment to international markets.
- Lot code tracing, which is a fairly simple, smart investment to track product quality issues and isolate bad, damaged, or expired product lots.
- Packaging and repackaging, including shrink-banding for consumable products, kitting, bundling, and putting products in cartons, as well as proper procedures for standard order fulfillment.
- Returns processing, which includes reviewing which returned goods can be processed for restocking and which need to be disposed of.
- FDA-regulated disposal, which may include recycling a product, sending it to waste energy, or otherwise properly disposing of the item, depending on the item.
Your 3PL’s quality team should act as your partner, addressing each order and product according to your GMP specifications and custom brand standards. Your quality team will also review and approve procedures and will take action based on any deviation from your chosen, established practices so that in the fulfillment center, things are always happening according to your specifications.
Ensuring Order Accuracy and Reducing Losses
It’s the law of large numbers: If you are shipping out large order volumes, even a fraction of a percentage of inaccurate orders can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, costing online retailers unnecessarily in product losses and brand reputation. With the right quality checks in place, your quality team will put processes in place to ensure that your customers’ orders are picked and packed correctly, then shipped with the correct carrier—all in record time.
When it comes to order fulfillment, quality control is a game of balance; it’s about spending enough time to ensure order accuracy and audit fulfillment practices while still enabling fast fulfillment to meet consumer demands for quick shipping. Plus? When issues arise, your quality team will assess the data and conduct a thorough investigation to continuously improve fulfillment practices.
OceanX: Your Partner in Quality
OceanX knows that fulfillment is about so much more than just getting products to your customers; it’s about advocating for you and representing your brand the same way you would. As such, we have many quality control and quality assurance processes in place to adhere to GMPs and brand standards, optimize fulfillment and reverse logistics, and deliver peak order fulfillment accuracy. We offer:
- Ambient and temperature-controlled facilities
- Packaging optimization, as well as kitting, labeling and relabeling, shrink-banding, and more
- Unmatched lot code tracing capabilities
What’s more? As a modern fulfillment partner, OceanX has a series of web and mobile applications engineered to enable fulfillment quality inspections. These applications provide invaluable data that can be used to track and trend inspections and even track errors based on factors like sites, brands, pickers, inspectors, issues, and more to continuously improve our processes and cater to your needs, and even see how much you’ve saved thanks to order accuracy.
To discover more about how we can improve the quality of your entire fulfillment process and bolster your brand’s reputation, contact us today!