3PL software are third Party Logistics software and it’s designed to manage outsourced supply chain activities that include transportation and warehousing.
It benefits companies that choose not to have their own warehouses or trucks that facilitate the transportation of their products to their customers.
Their assistance focuses on matters of order fulfilment. The software assists in making the process of dealing with picking and packing, processing, and shipping the customer’s orders manageable.
Any minor disappointment during the process can be fatal to the business and can lead to poor delivery services which bring about customer complaints.
The 3PL companies provide access to 3PL logistics that assist your business to automate many of the issues that should be dealt with in the order fulfilment process.
The benefits of using 3PL software for a small business.
The benefits of using 3PL software for a small business are numerous. But the most outright ones are discussed below.
–Save time and money.
The software is capable of tracking orders, generating invoices, and processing payments directly. This helps in saving time that could be used to do the activities manually.
It also helps to cut down on expenses because you don’t have to employ data entry clerks to do the work for you. So the operational costs are also minimized.
–Reduce human error.
When you enter a process manually, the chances of errors are bound to be high. This can even worsen if the information has to pass through different people who process it manually.
These can be very costly mistakes that may result in your business incurring unnecessary losses. The use of 3PL software reduces the errors to a minimal level or completely eradicates them and that’s beneficial for the smooth running of the business.
–Fulfil your client’s needs.
The 3PL software is customizable. It can be customized in a way that suits the different needs of different companies to suit the needs of their customers.
You can modify the features to suit the different needs of your customers. It also has a feature of scaling up which allows you to add extra features as the company continues to grow.
–Helps business people to make better and more informed decisions.
The 3 PL software comes with reporting tools that can enlighten you on issues of inventory, staff performance, and all other relevant information that is paramount for the growth of your business.
There’s also the real-time data that the solution gives you that helps you make better decisions concerning your business.
-Inventory and Order Fulfilment Software.
This is a system that handles your produce stock and buyer orders. The purpose of this solution is to ensure that all your orders are fulfilled without delay and on time.
The key features of this solution include purchase order tracking, shipping order creation, and real-time visibility for inventory.
Types of Logistics Management Software.
The various modern software logistics have made it possible for the logistics industry to make integration and automation of the various aspects of order fulfillment possible.
The success of this automation has been propagated by the various types of 3PL software in existence today. Discussed below are the primary types of 3PL software.
1.Warehouse Management Systems(WMS)
3PL Warehouse Management Systems(WMS) is a software designed to optimize the productivity and efficiency of 3PL’s warehouse operations.
It performs the tasks by making the work routines faster and also ensuring that the picking, packing and shipping process is streamlined.
This system helps companies to perform various warehouse tasks that range from material receiving to order fulfillment effectively and efficiently.
Different Warehouse Management Systems offer different things. But the features of a warehouse design are common in most of them.
This is because the design should make it easy for the warehouse to maximize inventory storage. The issue of tracking inventory is also of utmost importance.
There should also be features that enable the system to create packing lists and send delivery updates to buyers. The standalone Warehouse Management systems include cold storage management, RFID tag support, and freight tracking in their features.
These are called Enterprise Resource planning systems. They mostly assist in inventory, order fulfillment, accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), and Human Resources (HR).
The systems work in different ways but have a shared database which enables employees from different departments in the organization to access the information they need to fulfill their obligations.
This factor of shared databases also helps in improving the data integrity that enables the user to create accurate reports. ERP also automates several data entry processes that help the business to save time and money.
Instead of merging data from separate spreadsheets and databases, this system allows employees to pull all the data from one system. This helps improve operational efficiency and the accuracy of reports.
It is referred to as a supply chain management suite. It enables all the processes that begin with product development all the way to order delivery to run efficiently in an organization.
The activities involved in the supply chain are product development, production, warehousing, inventory management, and shipping. This solution helps you manage all these activities that are involved in the supply chain.
It helps in tracking the flow of merchandise, and shipping data as well as providing financial information during the entire production process.
The suites merge all the activities that range from production to shipping in one dashboard. This limits the inconveniences of having to transfer data from different segmented departments which comes with the flaw of inaccurate reports as it was in the past.
The unified dashboard also cuts down on your expenses as well as makes it easier to use. There’s also the provision of electronic data interchange (EDI) in modern SCM solutions that makes it possible to transfer your information to your business partners with relative ease.
Why choose 3PL Software for your business.
Client satisfaction is what matters the most in business logistics. Your concern should be to satisfy your clients.
You need to make sure your customers get their orders on time. Customers also feel the need to track their orders during the shipping process.
This can be managed in-house for small businesses but the larger businesses just have to outsource the order fulfilment process to a third-party logistics provider because large businesses involve high-volume supply chains.
These large volumes need to be handled with accuracy and efficiency for the business activities to run effectively.
Let’s see why:
–Saving time through automation.
Process integrations and task automation performed by 3PL software do save a lot of time. They are capable of tracking orders, handling payments automatically as well as saving reports and invoices automatically in one place.
All e-commerce integrations with 3PL software can automatically capture orders using the software and save the information in their database. This helps save a lot of time that can be used to do other business-oriented activities.
3PL software has numerous automation that helps reduce the cost for logistics providers because they don’t have to hire a data entry clerk. It also helps to cut down on shipping expenses because most of the shipping processes are automated by the solution.
–It lowers the risk of errors.
Human errors are normally experienced when data has to be stored and produced manually. It makes order fulfilment processes tedious and demanding.
All these strenuous activities are reduced by the use of 3PL software solutions that store and process data automatically.
It makes the risk of human errors during the process minimized or eradicated because the solutions are designed to eliminate the errors.
–Customization and scalability.
3PL software offers customization and scalability. You can modify the software to suit the needs of your clients.
It also helps companies that need to add inventory, open new distribution centers or venture into another market because of its ability to scale up to suit those emerging needs.
–Insight into your client’s business.
The 3 PL software reports the entire supply chain activity that ranges from production to shipping. This helps you to see what happens at all stages of your business at any time.
It helps you to forge ways of dealing with problems that are encountered during the busing transactions.
The companies that offer these services put transparency at the forefront because businesses trust them with their entire supply chain.
They therefore let the clients track logistics performance and current inventory to ensure things run in the exact way that they’re expected to.
This transparency in the activities that pertain to the business help the companies to track the activities to their advantage.
–Improved customer support
Since 3 PL software can track payments and orders from beginning to end, your customers can track shipments in real-time and easily make returns.
There is also the advantage of customers getting expedited shipping options like same-day and two-day shipping. This end-to-end 3PL software offer allows customers to track all deliveries in real-time.
This also manages to improve customer support in the sense that the software ensures that your same-day and two-day shipments arrive on time by outing last-mile deliveries from the nearest available fulfilment center to the customers.
The role of ERP software in the logistics industry.
Order fulfillment software has many practices that it can give in implementing small businesses to achieve their ultimate goals. To improve your order fulfillment processes, you need to focus on the following:
–Keep track of your inventory and stock.
You need to ensure that you set time aside to inspect your warehouse and ensure that the records that 3PL software is offering through its automatic tracking of the inventory are correct. This move helps you avoid some discrepancies that may go unnoticed.
–Follow up on your customer’s orders.
Customers are expected to remain happy throughout the transaction period. So you need to make sure you follow up by either sending them emails or notifications after deliveries to keep track of how they feel about the transactions.
This helps you to get an early insight into possible problems and possibly handle them before the complaints escalate.
–Write detailed product descriptions.
You need to ensure that you add all the important shipping details that range from your products’ weight, dimensions and other relevant details that pertain to the products.
This makes the customers have more confidence in your business transactions. It may also assist your team to trace shipping details when the need arises.
What to consider when choosing 3PL software.
When a business chooses to work with Third-party logistics companies, they are handing over the entire order fulfilment process to the company.
With this in mind, you need to be extra cautious when choosing the company that should handle all your activities related to the order fulfilment process.
There are many factors that you should consider. But these are the outstanding ones.
The 3PL software you opt for should have the best technology that is up-to-date. When you choose the most advanced third-party logistics software, the issue of saving money and avoiding errors is settled.
If you plan to work with growing companies, you need to put in mind that the software you acquire can accommodate the level of expansion that goes beyond the in-house logistics department.
The 3PL software should be able to scale up to allow your new business ventures to be accommodated.
–The level of product packaging and labeling standards
The company that you choose should obey some set rules and regulations about product packaging and labeling. These requirements are vital in the industry and you should go for a solution that helps you fulfill these requirements to avoid future issues.
–Support for multiple client accounts
There should be an offer of multiple user accounts that helps people from different divisions to log into the app at the same time and access the information that they need.
This feature assists in saving time as the logging can be done by various people in different departments and fulfill their business obligations.
The issue of billing is important in most 3PL technologies. The solutions should be in a position to ensure that invoices are never lost or left unpaid. The charges for the services on storage, receiving, and shipping should be automated by the software to make sure that accuracy and time factor are adhered to.
You need to find 3PL software with affordable prices and advanced features that can help you give your clients the best possible services.
Many clients work with 3PL providers to avoid paying for logistics software and therefore the value for your money should always be a factor to consider when choosing the solution.
Best 3PL Software in the Market.
Here are some of the best 3PL software solutions in the market.
This solution is by Royal 4 Systems and it’s a rules-based Warehouse management system that can support different industries that include 3 PL automotive, food and beverage as well as industrial machinery.
It can help users manage core warehouse processes such as task operations, and budget and productivity tracking.
The features and functions include receiving, directed putaway, picking and cross-docking, and enterprise resource planning, among others.
There is an inclusion of advanced shipping notices, purchase order organization warehouse transfers and work order processing.
WISE offers both Radio Frequency (RF) and paper-based solutions standards as well as accommodating warehouses that require RFID. The solution comes in different languages.
Royal 4’s WISE software offers customer support via email, online, or over the phone.
This was formerly known as TMW Systems. The solution specializes in helping carrier companies of all sizes to keep their costs and services competitive but maintain the delivery of enormous value.
The services it offers include fleet management, dispatch, load planning, route optimization, fleet maintenance and equipment management. There are other services that the solution offers.
They include invoicing, payroll, document management and accounting.
Added integrations such as ELD, EDI, fuel cards and visibility are also available. All modes of transportation that include FTL, LTL, intermode, and last mile are offered here.
It’s a great system to use and can be used to keep track of all load and equipment information. It also offers customization features that make the dispatch job easier.
Fishbowl is a powerful inventory control system that gives your business the tools needed to aid in inventory management and scale your business.
It can integrate with some of the popular business solutions such as amazon, Salesforces and others.
It’s mostly appreciated because of its inventory control, material requirement planning(MRP),work order management, barcoding, bills of materials and the ability to predict inventory requirements that it bases on sales trends.
This manufacturing and inventory software helps in simplifying business processes, saving money with real-time inventory updates as well as improving the efficiency of business operations.
It offers an API that can connect to other devices and has an affordable inventory and order management feature.
This software by Camelot 3PL can either be a cloud-based or on-premise warehouse management solution.
It’s especially created for third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses and fulfillment operations. It’s customizable for various business types that include day storage, retail fulfillment, e-commerce, or cold storage.
The advantage it has is of giving businesses control over inventory management as well as shipping, receiving, billing, invoicing and reporting functions.
It also offers data collection and integration options that come in the form of EDI, shopping cart and shopping carrier integration, barcode, scanning and QuickBook integrations.
There is assured visibility of the inventory and order information by the client at any time and from any device with a browser because of its WebLink.
This software is built on top of MS dynamics and that makes it highly configurable both within Camelot’s build and out of the box Dynamics build.
The Camelot team is always ready to offer any solutions for any problems encountered.
5.Lover K. Motion Software.
This is a warehouse management system that is adaptable and process-based WMS designed for companies’ unique business practices.
It has a modular design that allows users to choose from a variety of applications to suit their needs. It offers the first full HTML5 user interface in the market and makes it possible to be accessed via any web browser on any type of device.
The deployment can either be on-premise or in the Kober cloud. The built-in integration capabilities to ERP systems, material handling equipment, and many other solutions aid its full facilitation like the Kober supply chain advantage suite that includes yard, labor, and event management solutions.
This solution is highly flexible and allows the customer to make configuration changes to processes and views within the system. It’s a solid package if you have a high-rate implementation team.
This solution allows distribution managers to design routes and schedule delivery by way of analyzing the estimated service time based on the distance.
It is a cloud-based supply chain management solution that helps in the performance of outbound delivery operations.
The dispatch planning feature allows users to schedule local routes, overnight, layovers and such activities.
There is also Syntelic’s load planning that is tasked with the placement of the outbound load. This can be done based on load volume and vehicle configuration, among other issues, related to transportation.
The solution also has a feature that helps to set mapping rules that can assist in helping products of different sizes and types.
The transportation analysis tool offers a dashboard that provides information to users about planned and actual route activities and the supposed delivery time.
Support is offered via phone and email.
This is a cloud-based supply chain solution that is best placed in helping organizations in matters that deal with movement, tracking, and management of inventory and other documents.
It is made by Made4 net. Some of the activities that the solution engages in include ordering transportation, picking, packing, shipping, and storing among others.
It can adapt easily to any organization’s IT applications because of having been built on a Microsoft platform.
It has applications that can cater to industries like apparel, electronics, 3PL and others.
It gives the user the freedom to manage supply chain functions from a single platform that combines the single data model and singer user interface.
The warehouse management module on its part allows the user to manage operations such as replenishment, yard management, loading, and others.
You can work through several screens at once and it allows you to view data and make adjustments all at once. This helps reduce the risk of sending items to the wrong people which enhances customer satisfaction.
The use of order route planning enables the pickers to manage multiple orders at once while the database has features that help in the control of inventory.
The functionalities offered by this software equal or surpass the ones offered in their industry at a competitive price.
8.3PL Warehouse Manager.
This solution is a cloud-based warehouse management system that is best suited for third-party logistics. It helps them manage multiple customers, processes as well as billing schedules.
The system enables access to real-time information which is essential in the business. It also integrates with warehouse management technologies that include EDI, barcoding, and e-commerce shopping carts.
The solution has a level of scalability that helps companies to manage different levels of stock in the warehouses, as well as streamline their businesses and satisfy customers.
Logistics companies are able to automate processes and bill items accurately using this software.
The features of this software include intuitive user design and a logistics-focused warehouse management module. This helps users to easily add and remove customers and products.
Process automation helps logistics providers in their quest to satisfy customers’ need for updated information.
It’s integration with QuickBooks allows users to synchronize items, inventory and purchase orders as the ability to share data between sales teams, back office, and chain team
The solution is web-based and has numerous features and the updates are constant, which include new feature releases.
9.Day Vinci Supply Business Suite.
This solution is designed by Wolin Design Group. It is cloud-based or on-premise chain management (SCM) and it’s specially equipped for small size and midsize 3 PLs, internet retailers, and wholesale businesses that have a high demand for warehouse fulfillment and other needs associated with transportation.
Da Vinci offers EDI|ERP and shopping put integration apart from WMS and TMS. It is on record for having been used to manage household goods, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.
It comes with barcode scanning, pick and pack, smart parking, web processing, customization and many other features.
The solution is known for its versatility. Customers can handle their own inventory with the Da Vinci system.
However, the downside of this system is that each section from ‘shipping’ to ‘inventory management’ to ‘EDI allocation’ is its own module that will require learning. It might not be favorable if you don’t have an IT team at your disposal.
But the support team of Molin is great and offers support when you need their expertise on matters related to the software.
The Cadre Technologies Cadence WMS is a warehouse management system that has made enormous efforts in integrating warehouse operations with logistics.
They target medium to large-sized enterprises in third-party logistics(3 PL), fourth-party logistics(4 PL),distribution and manufacturing markets.
The solution has the ability to manage warehouse operations for businesses with multiple customers, supplies and warehouses.
There’s a combination of supply chain visibility, order management, transportation management, and warehouse management under one single solution. It works in real-time to deliver business essential data to staff and management.
The operation of Cadence is either through desktop workstations or mobile RF units.
The different functionalities that are encompassed in this solution include receiving, directed putaway, shipping, kitting, multiple picking and activity billing (3 PL).
Other services that the solution offers include yard management, advanced box building, dock-door scheduling, and alerts.
Cadence data interchange provides integration capabilities with EDI, ERP and ecommerce which helps in the growth of the business.
The software is easy to use by novices and tech-savvy. It’s an open system that is easy to connect to through its own APIs and outside T SQL for collaboration of data throughout the business enterprise.
It runs almost flawlessly in a very large-scale enterprise and the picking and shipping are interfaced directly into a dynamic web portal that helps in customer entry and visibility.
The downside of this software lies in the software being so dynamic that the configuration of numerous tables needs a trained SQL administrator to manage the tables and configurations.
Although it is rich in features and has a set of integration options with a logical management inventory and also has viable hand-held scanners that assist in its functions.
The 3PL software is very beneficial to all in the industry. Whether you are a 3PL provider looking to streamline or automate your processes or a company that is in search of a provider to hand over control of your order fulfilment, the factors of improving speed, accuracy, and customer satisfaction in 3PL software can’t be overlooked.
You have to consider various options. The Standalone warehouse may be if your needs are just managing the daily operations of your supply chain process. It can just serve that purpose.
But you need an integrated SCM system to help you optimize all aspects of your supply chain process more effectively. An ERP-based product is best placed in improving billing and reporting systems.
Naturally, you need to take the time to examine your company’s needs and find a software solution that is best placed to meet them. But the focus should always be on customization and scalability to incorporate the growth that your business experiences.
You also need to research what your clients need and look for a software that can fulfil the requirements at an affordable cost.