A Third-Party Logistics (3PL) warehouse operation is different to company-owned warehouses. Traditional Warehouse Management Software (WMS) offers standard processes to support warehouse activities like picking, put-away, loading, unloading, etc. 3PL warehouses offer rented warehouse space and value-added services to their customers; it operates with a few additional business processes, which are critical for business operations.
This makes 3PL warehouse operations more complex and creates a need to have Logistics Software specific to the 3PL business. Below are five questions to determine if your WMS software is designed to support 3PL operations.
1. How easy & quick is it to onboard a new customer?
In 3PL businesses, it’s always a challenge to onboard a new customer if it needs modifications in system processes or system integration based on the customer’s requirement or the products to be handled within the 3PL warehouse. Rehouse. e.g., EDI integration, product-specific change in inbound or outbound processes, storage and other service charges calculation specific to the customer.
It takes longer with the high costs to incorporate such changes within the software solution. A 3PL software solution should be designed to incorporate such modifications using the process figuration approach rather than a traditional approach to customise the software every time. Also, it should be up to date with modern technology to easily integrate with 3rd party software or systems.
2. Does it offer customer contracts & invoicing processes?
3PL company’s revenue model is based on the rented storage space and various services offered to their end customers. e.g., Handling, Handball, Pallet Charges, Shrink wrapping, etc.
3PL software solution should be capable of handling customer contracts and their complexities to calculate storage and service charges.
3. Can it be easily integrated with 3rd party software in less time & effort?
If customers demand process automation, 3PL software solutions must have the capability to integrate using modern technology with less time and effort. Suppose customers demand process automation by integrating their system with 3PL software. In that case, by integrating their system with 3PL software, the 3PL software solution must be able to integrate using modern technology with less time and effort. 3PL software solution powered by its integration platform or tool will eliminate the dependency on any 3rd party service integration provider. e.g., EDI integration.
4. Does it offer miscellaneous 3PL processes?
Unlike traditional operations, 3PL warehouses operate with a few miscellaneous business processes. e.g., stock ownership changes from one customer to another, Value Added Logistics Services (VAL), and customs bonded goods transactions. Your WMS must be capable of handling these business processes as well.
5. Does it offer other inbuilt logistics modules?
For companies operating in multiple logistics-related businesses, e.g., Warehousing, Transportation, and Freight Forwarding, it is always beneficial to have one software solution which offers all three modules, WMS, TMS & FMS, with seamless integration among all the modules. This eliminates the need to integrate multiple software working in silos and unwanted complexities in day-to-day operations.
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