As a third-party logistics provider (3PL) you’re probably familiar with warehouse management systems (WMS). This software has been in use for years to manage inventory, labor, and equipment in warehouse operations. 

Although this software is commonplace in distribution, many 3PL logistics providers still don’t use the most advanced applications that have smart capabilities for managing explosive growth as more businesses seek their services in recent years.

Finding the right 3PL WMS

How do you know, as a provider of fulfillment services, that you have the best WMS software for your 3PL business?

Look for a 3PL WMS specifically designed for running a high-volume, high-speed fulfillment operation that can handle the increasing needs of clients. 

Your 3PL WMS is the brains for automating inventory control and order fulfillment workflow. So it must be highly responsive, modern, and adaptable to the exceptional service today’s clients expect.

The need for intelligent 3PL warehouse management

Without WMS brainpower, you will struggle with managing all the moving parts that must be coordinated for an effective 3PL warehouse management operation. 

Keeping track of the volumes of inventory going in and out of your 3PL warehouse would prove a huge burden if you relied on spreadsheets or paper-based records. 

Managers would struggle with coordinating the integration of workers and machines for the optimal picking and packing of orders in time to meet carrier delivery pickup schedules. 

With no WMS to consolidate and optimize workflows, you would find your staff struggling with separate software applications, putting your 3PL company at risk of:

  • Sub-optimal labor management
  • Higher rate of human errors
  • Confusion and poor traceability in order tracking
  • 3PL billing discrepancies and inefficiencies
  • Late or missing shipments
  • System outages and costly service disruption

When you take advantage of a smart 3PL WMS, it confers the intelligence to automate your 3PL’s fulfillment operation for optimal speed, order accuracy, and efficiency. 

The 3PL WMS also integrates other systems under a fully configurable umbrella of third-party logistics fulfillment software applications, providing real-time, centralized control for the fulfillment process.

Benefits of a 3PL warehouse management system

Labor efficiency

A smart 3PL warehouse system takes time out of the pick-pack-ship process, resulting in a higher level of operational efficiency. By using WMS intelligence to automate workflow direction, your business can fulfill a multitude of orders in a short amount of time, optimizing labor and reducing costs. 

Adaptability

Not only does a smart WMS direct the movement of workers in order fulfillment, but it integrates with other software to coordinate maximum platform adaptability. You also gain the flexibility to make operational adjustments in task sequencing to handle last-minute order requests. 

Time savings

Along with operational time savings, a smart 3PL WMS cuts out time spent on both billing administration and customer service. The software provides a way to bill clients, providing tailored reports and full traceability. Automating the 3PL billing process lets you get paid faster while not missing out on revenues for services that are hard to bill.

Order tracking

The software also automates time-critical order tracking information, so your staff doesn’t have to waste time responding to requests for delivery status updates or service questions. The end result is better customer service at a lower cost.

Not surprisingly, the operational savings in combination with improved customer service drive higher revenue and client retention to justify the software investment rapidly.

What makes a 3PL WMS system superior

With so many WMS systems for 3PLs out there, how can you select the right one? When it comes to choosing a 3PL warehouse system, you should look for a smart WMS package that has these intelligent features designed for 3PL fulfillment.

Advanced capabilities 

The system should provide for paperless picking in directing workers for order selection. It should be able to manage the overall workflow involving both machines and warehouse labor. Another key feature is a built-in rate shopping platform that lets you shop for the best carrier rates in real time. Finally, it should provide intuitive onboarding so you can get new clients and processes up to speed on the software quickly.

Advanced system architecture

The 3PL WMS should be cloud-based to enable fast deployment. It should also be configurable so you can customize the software to fit your client’s unique operational requirements without outside consultants. Another must-have feature is direct API connections, providing no-hassle integrations with other software including ERP/CRM, material handling equipment (MHE), ecommerce marketplaces, shipping carriers, etc.

A platform for business growth

The system should allow for easy upgrading to the technology stack with only the need for minimal IT resources. The 3PL WMS provider should offer professional services with a team that’s always available to answer questions and give expert help. 

For example, the team should provide help setting up tailored dashboards and reporting, custom fulfillment services like kitting, or a customer portal.

Rapid Time-to-Value

The cloud-based 3PL warehouse management system should provide fast deployment and easy onboarding so you can see measurable value when you need it; not years later.

An example of 3PL success with the right WMS

3PLs that implement a smart WMS overcome operational challenges and gain competitive advantages. Take Drive Fulfillment, a 3PL in American Fork, Utah, for example. 

 

The logistics services provider faced challenges in offering client visibility and measuring daily performance in its warehouse. When business growth necessitated expansion into a large facility, Drive Fulfillment decided it needed to upgrade its 3PL WMS.

At the recommendation of UPS, the company chose Deposco’s warehouse management software for enhanced client transparency. The 3PL WMS enabled Drive Fulfilment to create custom reports and dashboards for its clients. 

In addition, Deposco’s WMS supported business growth by making it possible to add new clients in days rather than weeks. Learn more about how Deposco helped Drive Fulfillment consolidate 3 separate systems and gain 100% visibility over its operations. (Embed video link here.

Be smart with 3PL WMS software

Smart 3PL warehouse management software with the intelligence to maximize order throughput and enable operational efficiency lets you provide fulfillment services that win high marks from clients at higher operational margins.

Ready to learn more about Deposco’s smart 3PL WMS? Get in touch with a representative!