Third-party logistics providers coordinate the ever-important work of transporting and tracking goods throughout the world. From warehouses to semi trucks, accurately managing inventory, warehousing, and shipping requires modern and capable software solutions to ensure transparency across the supply chain. Third-party logistics (3PL) software makes this possible, enabling logistics providers to carry out their work with greater accuracy, improved traceability, and speed.
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Third-party logistics (3PL) software makes it possible for companies to coordinate and oversee the business of logistics. 3PL software allows fulfillment operations to fulfill orders, manage warehouses, coordinate shipping, track inventory, and establish billing.
Known as a specific type of logistics software, for organizations of any size, 3PL tracks and organizes items across the entire supply chain and to ensure goods arrive at their intended destination and its costs can be accounted for. 3PL software is built to handle the various needs of multiple clients, each with their own set of operational processes and billing requirements. With the right 3PL software, third-party logistics operations can generate more revenue, take greater control over operations, and enhance customer experience.
3PL software must be comprehensive enough to handle the needs of warehouses, fulfillment centers, and sources throughout the supply chain. As such, 3PL software can make any logistics operation more efficient and powerful through these benefits:
|Improved warehouse management and inventory control||3PL software typically features comprehensive warehouse management functionality, enabling client-specific workflows to oversee inbound, outbound, and inventory-control processes. Real-time visibility into the supply chain ensures transparency and accuracy of inventory throughout the warehouse.|
|Labor management||Based on built-in standards performance, 3PL software can track and compare employee performance to ensure your warehouse staff works to its highest capability. Employee management can ensure that work is being doneand that its being done right.|
|Efficient workflows||By building a customized workflow thats set to the needs of a particular client, product, or fulfillment order, staff and operations can work at their maximum efficiency. The result is faster fulfillment, greater accuracy, and higher customer satisfaction.|
|Cheaper, faster, and more reliable shipping||A signature feature of 3PL software is the coordination of shipping and receiving. Many 3PL software packages include unique systems to determine the best shipping rates, track packages, and improve shipping reliability. Shipping functionality can compare pricing among major carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS, and ensure shipments remain compliant with shipping regulations. Most 3PL solutions also include reverse logistics capabilities to enable returns processing functionality.|
|Accurate billing||The billing functionality of 3PL software ensures third-party logistics providers dont miss out on revenue. Built-in billing capabilities make it easy to invoice clients, measure sales metrics, and adhere to difficult billing rules in order to maximize revenue. Most 3PL software includes billing as a core product feature and offers integrations with popular financial and accounting software systems.|
|Paperless document capabilities||Rather than being stuck in a 20th-century paperwork mindset, document management capabilities make it possible to easily store and retrieve electronic documents across the entire platform. For instances where physical copies are required, 3PL software makes it easy to scan, store, and share copies across the entire enterprise.|
|Better transportation management||3PL software often features fleet and transportation management capabilities. Supplementing the features of a full transportation management system, 3PL software capabilities can oversee transportation planning, execution, operations, and management tasks, as well as interact directly with brokers and shippers.|
|24/7 access||Thanks to cloud 3PL software, web-based portals can be accessed anywhere, anytime, offering real-time access to critical information around the clock. Web-based 3PL software portals can be fully customizable, creating a branded user interface thats intuitive and comprehensive.|
Because all logistics operations have vastly different needs, it is crucial to understand the 3PL software features your company requires. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution that works for every 3PL provider. The best type of 3PL software for your business depends on the size and scale of your operations:
In finding the right solution for your logistics operation, its important to weigh the different features offered by different 3PL software packages against the needs of your business. To help kick off your search, here are some popular 3PL software solutions on the market today:
3PL Warehouse Manager is a comprehensive, cloud-based warehouse management system purpose-built for third-party logistics companies. Fully integrating with warehouse inventory systems in real-time, 3PL Warehouse Manager streamlines logistics operations to anticipate and satisfy customer demand. 3PL Warehouse Manager also offers full QuickBooks integration, making it an ideal choice for operations looking for a solution that works with their existing accounting system.
Designed with small and medium-sized third-party logistics providers in mind, Da Vinci offers a full suite of logistics capabilities on premise or in the cloud. An ideal fit for online retail operations, Da Vinci integrates with web-based shopping carts and is frequently used to manage the fulfillment of goods sold over the internet.
Most third-party logistics struggle with the same two essential pain points: labor and space. To reduce the cost of operations, it’s crucial to maximize capabilities through actionable information.
The importance of the logistics industry has led to many innovations in the 3PL software space. To maximize efficiency across the supply chain, 3PL software solutions have been rapidly adopting new technologies to help logistics companies streamline their operations.
Some of the market trends in 3PL software include: