3PL third-party logistics companies help businesses fulfill orders accurately and efficiently. To ensure their clients’ satisfaction, they need innovative software programs that streamline warehousing and shipping processes.
When choosing a 3PL software program, consider its range of services, integration capabilities, and scalability. It’s also important to consider the vendor’s reliability and track record.
1. Automated Processes
The best 3PL software can automate many logistics and warehouse operations, making them easier to manage. For example, an automated process that provides a direct pick based on the product’s expiration date (also known as FEFO) can prevent inventory spoilage and lost value for retailers. Other warehouse automation features include granular tracking of inventory lots and perishable goods, as well as the ability to track seasonal products.
3PL software can also automatically capture operational tasks and invoices based on client contracts, saving time and reducing billing errors. This can improve coordination in high-volume supply chain operations and increase customer satisfaction.
When looking for a 3PL solution, consider your operational goals and any future growth you anticipate. For example, if you want to expand your fulfillment network, consider choosing a cloud-based system that allows for dynamic route optimization, allowing your business to scale without the need for additional headcount. Additionally, look for a system that can integrate with your existing warehouse management and ERP systems to streamline data synchronization. This will ensure accurate and consistent reporting across your operations.
2. Real-Time Visibility
Whether it’s tracking shipments, communicating with end customers, or planning warehouse layouts, 3PLs must have real-time visibility to keep operations running smoothly. Without it, 3PLs will face customer service issues due to inaccurate or delayed information and will waste time and money on re-work caused by inefficient processes and lack of actionable data.
3PL software can automate many manual tasks like invoicing, inventory management, and data entry that can be error-prone when done by humans. This not only increases productivity by reducing the need for human labor, but it also saves money by eliminating redundant processes that can cost more than necessary.
In addition, look for a platform that offers 3PLs real-time visibility into their inventory across multiple fulfillment centers. This will allow 3PLs to sync inventory with online stores, view actual stock counts at each 3rd party fulfillment center, and proactively reorder inventory to avoid out-of-stock issues. This allows you to offer quick, reliable shipping while maximizing your profits. Depending on your business needs, you may also want to consider using a supply chain management suite that expands on a WMS and includes features like production monitoring, vendor performance analytics, and more.
There are dozens of 3PL software options out there, and it’s important to pick one that integrates well with your inventory management system. You also want to choose a provider that offers great customer support and thrives on building a long-term partnership with its clients.
A good 3PL can help a brand manufacturer grow into new markets and offer new products without having to make significant upfront investments in facilities or logistics systems. They can provide warehousing, shipping, picking and packing solutions, and all other logistics services that a small business might not have the resources to manage in-house.
When selecting a 3PL, ask for references from other brand manufacturers that use their services. Then, assess whether the logistics provider has direct integration with the shipping carriers, accounting platforms, robotics solutions, and other fulfillment partners you need to work with. A 3PL that offers a direct integration with all of these systems will save you time and money in the long run by eliminating costly manual processes. It also ensures that your inventory data stays clean and accurate, which is critical for maximizing the performance of any 3PL solution.
Choose a 3PL with flexible scalability for all stages of the fulfillment process. Look for a provider that offers automation and cost-saving measures, real-time accuracy in inventory tracking, and seamless integration with your other technology systems.
Look for an online client portal and dashboards that give your clients full transparency into their shipments. This feature can help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as boost business growth.
Many advanced 3PL software suites can automatically print labels and choose carriers to save time, money, and effort. They can also manage returns and refunds to make customer experience a top priority.
Pick a 3PL that supports the technologies you need to work with, including shipping carriers, accounting platforms, and robotics solutions. Look for a provider with extensive technical support to ensure a smooth implementation and ongoing success. Evaluate pricing models to ensure they are affordable and aligned with the value offered by the solution. Choose a provider with a history of satisfied customers and a commitment to long-term partnership.
3PL software can streamline and automate order fulfillment, inventory management, and reporting capabilities that businesses typically cannot manage on their own. As a result, this type of software can save time and money for 3PLs and their clients, while also improving customer satisfaction.
In addition to helping to automate reordering of inventory when levels run low, fulfillment software can reduce shipping costs by directing orders to the warehouse and carrier that can process them most quickly and economically. This savings can be significant for small business owners who are competing with larger enterprises that have the resources to invest in automation and advanced logistics systems.
Whether you are looking for an enterprise resource planning system (ERP), supply chain management suites, or a standalone warehouse management system, there is a 3PL solution that will fit your needs. The key is to find a vendor that prioritizes security and offers comprehensive support. In addition, be sure to consider how the solution will work with other parts of your business ecosystem before making a purchase. The right 3PL solution will provide seamless integration and transparency across your entire process.