What is a Supply Chain Network? - Westhub Logistics
What is a Supply Chain Network?
Jan 11

Do you ever wonder how something can just show up at your door as a finished product 48 hours after you order it? How does an item get from somewhere like a fulfillment center in California to your fingertips? In this article we will be covering the importance of the supply chains and the role of third party fulfillment companies. From raw materials, to assembly, to shipping, what is the process that gets us the goods we need, when we need them?

A supply chain network refers to the interconnected system of organizations, resources, activities, and technology involved in the production, distribution, and delivery of goods and services from suppliers to customers. The primary goal of a supply chain network is to ensure the efficient and timely flow of goods and information across all stages.

“Third Party Fulfillment Companies”

All of the magic that goes into the supply chain network would crumble without third-party fulfillment companies. Third-party distributors are external companies or service providers that specialize in handling various aspects of logistics and supply chain management on behalf of other companies. They offer a range of services that can include warehousing, inventory management, order fulfillment, picking and packaging, and managing returns.

“The Importance of 3PL”

It’s important for companies to carefully evaluate and select a reputable third-party distributor that aligns with their specific requirements and business goals. Effective communication, clear service level agreements (SLAs), and regular performance monitoring are key to ensuring a successful partnership with a 3PL. When deciding on a 3PL—or, when we are specifically talking about ecommerce we usually refer to third party fulfillment companies—here are some aspects you should consider and reasons why third party distributors are vital to the entire supply chain network. 

Expertise and Specialization

Third-party distributors specialize in logistics and supply chain management, bringing their expertise and knowledge to improve efficiency. Choose a team that will have specific knowledge in the field you are working in. 


Companies can scale their logistics capabilities quickly by leveraging the resources and infrastructure of third-party distributors. This flexibility is especially beneficial during peak seasons or when expanding into new markets.

Cost Savings

Outsourcing logistics functions to third-party distributors can often lead to cost savings. Companies can avoid investing in their own warehouses, transportation fleets, and specialized staff, and instead pay for services on an as-needed basis.

Focus on Core Competencies

By outsourcing logistics and distribution tasks, companies can focus more on their core competencies, such as product development, marketing, and customer engagement.

Geographic Reach

Third-party logistics companies may have an extensive network of warehouses and transportation networks, enabling companies to reach customers in different regions or countries more efficiently.

“The Breakdown of a Supply Chain Network”

A typical supply chain network involves various entities, such as suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and customers. These entities are linked through a series of  interconnected hubs, including production facilities, warehouses, transportation hubs, and retail outlets. 

Each of these important sections works to keep the entire system running so that goods and services can reach you, the consumers. When broken down, the key components of a supply chain network include:


These are the entities that provide the necessary raw materials, components, or services required for production. That phone you have is made out of metal. That metal comes from the hard work of suppliers. 


They transform the inputs received from suppliers into finished products through manufacturing or assembly processes. So those scraps of metal we talked about, the ones that fit together to create your phone, are assembled during the manufacturing process. 


These entities are responsible for warehousing and distributing the products to various locations, such as regional warehouses or retail outlets. That shirt you ordered online is distributed to you from a warehouse through the distribution process. 


They sell the products directly to the end consumers through physical stores, e-commerce platforms, or other channels. When you go shopping, this is the retail process in action. 

Transportation and Logistics

The movement of goods between different hubs of the supply chain network is facilitated by transportation services, including trucks, ships, planes, and other modes of transportation. Logistics management involves coordinating the flow of goods, managing inventory, and optimizing transportation routes. In other words. All those trucks on the road, they are carrying something, and that thing is almost certainly goods being transported to consumers. 

“The Importance of a Supply Chain Network”

Supply chain networks play a vital role in the success and competitiveness of businesses in various industries. Simply put, without the supply chain, the economy would crumble. Here’s a breakdown as to why the supply chain is vital to the health of an economy. 

Cost Efficiency

An efficiently managed supply chain network can help reduce overall costs. By optimizing processes, minimizing waste, and improving inventory management, companies can achieve cost savings in areas such as procurement, production, transportation, and warehousing. This cost efficiency can lead to competitive pricing and increased profitability, which benefits everyone!

Customer Satisfaction

Efficient supply chains ensure that products are readily available when and where customers need them, reducing lead times and minimizing stockouts. A well-designed supply chain network enables companies to meet customer expectations in terms of product availability, quality, and delivery. This improves customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth. 

Flexibility and Responsiveness

Supply chain networks that are agile and responsive to changing market conditions provide a competitive advantage. By having the ability to quickly adapt to fluctuations in demand, supply disruptions, or changes in customer preferences, companies can maintain a high level of customer service and gain an edge over their competitors.

Collaboration and Coordination

Supply chain networks involve multiple stakeholders working together, including suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Effective collaboration and coordination among these entities lead to better communication, information sharing, and decision-making. This collaborative approach enhances efficiency, reduces delays, and promotes innovation within the supply chain network and allows third party distributors to act effectively in getting goods where they need to go as efficiently as possible.  

Risk Mitigation

Supply chain networks are susceptible to various risks, such as natural disasters, geopolitical uncertainties, supplier disruptions, or demand fluctuations. A well-designed network incorporates risk mitigation strategies and contingency plans to minimize the impact of these system blockages. This includes diversifying suppliers and creating backup plans to keep clients of 3PLs satisfied and on schedule. 

Competitive Advantage

A highly optimized and effective supply chain network allows companies to differentiate themselves by offering faster delivery, superior customer service, higher product quality, or lower prices. A well-managed supply chain network can serve as a source of competitive advantage for businesses.

In summary, an efficient and well-managed supply chain network is crucial for reducing costs, enhancing customer satisfaction, enabling responsiveness, fostering collaboration, mitigating risks, and gaining a competitive edge.

“Ecommerce and the Rise of Fulfillment”

The concept of a supply chain network is essential for understanding how goods and services move from suppliers to customers. With the rise of e-commerce and the increasing demand for fast and efficient delivery, the role of supply chains has become more critical than ever before.

Fulfillment centers in California and elsewhere play a vital role in this network, offering services like warehousing, transportation, and order fulfillment and making sure that all the ends meet seamlessly. 

Third-party fulfillment companies act as key players in the supply chain ecosystem. These specialized service providers offer expertise in logistics and supply chain management, allowing businesses to focus on their core competencies while outsourcing the complexities of order processing, inventory management, and distribution. By partnering with reputable third-party distributors, companies can benefit from their infrastructure, scalability, cost savings, and geographic reach. 

The breakdown of a supply chain network involves various components, including suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and transportation and logistics providers. Each faction plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth flow of goods and information from raw materials to the hands of end consumers. Effective coordination and collaboration among these entities are essential for optimizing efficiency, reducing costs, and meeting customer expectations.

Supply chain networks hold immense importance for businesses and the overall economy. They enable cost efficiency, customer satisfaction, flexibility, responsiveness, collaboration, risk mitigation, and a competitive advantage. Efficient supply chains ensure that products are readily available, meet quality standards, and are delivered in a timely manner, all of which contribute to enhanced customer experiences and loyalty.

In conclusion, supply chain networks are the backbone of modern commerce, and fulfillment centers in California and all over the country play a pivotal role in their successful operation. By embracing the power of efficient supply chains, businesses can position themselves for growth, gain a competitive edge, and deliver superior value to customers.

About Westhub Logistics

At Westhub Logistics we practice a client-first approach. We stand out with an unprecedented standard for personalized 3PL services. Our first goal is to listen to your needs and provide you with unique solutions. WHL can work with you to create a customized FBA plan, and you won’t have to pay for unnecessary services. If you are seeking logistics support, we’d love to hear from you, our team is ready to help. Give us a call today 408-585-9346 or send us an email at sales@westhublogistics.com

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