No doubt, as a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, you have multiple clients for your fulfillment and distribution services. Each one, however, expects you to be able to produce accurate 3PL billing and invoicing to their individual needs, including all the pertinent details for charges.

When record-keeping and invoicing are done manually, pulling information from spreadsheets or pieces of paper is cumbersome, complex, and time-consuming. Manual billing is also prone to inaccurate charges and lost revenue opportunities when it comes to capturing all charges rendered for services.

What would make your life easier? Tracking client activity and billing for 3PL clients automatically in the same system used for your warehousing operation. That’s why you need an advanced 3PL warehouse management system (WMS) that manages both your logistics and 3PL billing operations in one solution.

The need for billing transparency

Clients rightly expect transparency when it comes to third-party logistics billing. They want to know what services your company performed for them in the course of managing warehouse inventory and fulfilling orders.

They expect a total breakdown of 3PL fulfillment services carried out on their behalf — the quantities or units involved, rates or charges per unit, applicable taxes or surcharges, and, of course, the total amounts due and amounts paid.

Along with transparency in billing, your clients expect prompt answers when they contact you for an explanation about a charge on an invoice. You lack the time to pore through multiple spreadsheets or pull data from multiple software programs to find the answer.

That’s a problem if you’re not using a single system for managing both the warehousing operation and the 3PL billing. When a busy client is on the phone with a billing dispute, you must be able to provide the answer immediately. You also need to know the answer is accurate!

An advanced WMS automates billing and invoicing

Look for an advanced 3PL system that’s capable of streamlining and automating the billing and invoicing process for accuracy and efficiency while supporting enhanced customer satisfaction. 

With a built-in module for 3PL billing, the WMS can handle complex requirements and scenarios with ease. It lets you track value-added services like kitting, labeling, and returns processing. And, you can bill for these value-added services right after completion while retaining accurate records for your CFO. 

The module enables 3PL companies to add more clients to their portfolios without taxing the system or creating excess work for their staff. It should also offer quick-to-learn onboarding so employees can operate the billing module without extensive training. 

Automated 3PL billing helps your firm scale for volume peaks or business growth, with all charges captured accurately.

Make sure the advanced 3PL software offers these billing features:

  • Customer self-service options
  • Remote access
  • Paperless transactions
  • Automated billing
  • Scheduled payments
  • Record-keeping
  • Custom dashboards 
  • Easy reporting setup
  • Scalability for high demand and peak seasons

Seamless system integration for 3PL billing

Advanced WMS systems offer seamless 3PL integrations with other systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The details captured in the 3PL billing system should correlate to the orders in your WMS and your clients’ systems with a smooth data exchange

The WMS software provider should also offer full technical support so your IT team is not required to step in and undertake heavy systems integration work. Their support should also include tailoring any functionality to meet clients’ evolving needs.

Cost and time savings

Automated 3PL billing improves operational efficiency by saving labor time. The system can automatically send out bills at the end of the month, reducing the billing cycle, simplifying the reporting process, and reducing errors.

Your staff can now find answers right away in one system when a customer calls or emails with a question. Providing a customer portal with self-serve options allows you to save even more time, as your staff doesn’t have to answer the phone or reply to an email explaining charges.

Because automated 3PL billing is more accurate, it saves you both money and labor time by cutting down on invoice mistakes.

Best of all, you can now free up your staff for other types of work such as growth-producing and revenue-generating activities.

An example of success

A 3PL that implements an advanced WMS with a billing module gets a fast payback by automating the process of producing its monthly statement of charges. Nimbl Fulfillment, a 3PL based in Salt Lake City, Utah, specializes in being a one-stop shop for fulfillment, distribution, kitting, and assembly needs.

The company struggled to tie data from multiple systems together for billing and month-end close. Its staff had to pull together multiple spreadsheets weekly to track billing and create invoices for multiple clients.

To remedy those issues, Nimbl chose Deposco’s cloud-based WMS to provide both automated billing and warehouse management with scalability for future growth. The 3PL billing module in Deposco’s order fulfillment system enables Nimbl to pull all the information needed for month-end billing and eliminate the use of spreadsheets. The 3PL sends a consolidated billing statement to each client automatically each month.

As a result of using Deposco, Nimbl has:

  • Reduced its billing cycle from 7 to 3 days
  • In addition to improving billing efficiency, order volume increased by 64% in 3 months
  • All while achieving a 25% improvement in cycle count accuracy

Read Nimbl’s case study or watch the video below.


Automated billing drives customer loyalty and new 3PL business

In today’s competitive market for 3PL logistics services, why jeopardize your client relationships? Stop providing inaccurate invoices and make automated 3PL billing your competitive advantage. 

An advanced cloud-based WMS with built-in 3PL billing capability provides precise statements of charges without having to spend considerable time – which frees your staff up for other value-enhancing client activities. 

By selecting a WMS with 3PL billing, you can automatically track activity across your entire warehouse and fulfillment operation. This helps you avoid lost revenue from overlooked charges while providing the billing transparency and exceptional customer service needed to keep existing clients and add new ones you want.