Third-party logistics providers serve a wide variety of clients, each with different requirements. That means their 3PL software must be robust and flexible enough to sustain retail and e-commerce fulfillment operations.
3PL software is the backbone of the operation, ensuring customers' goods are in the right place at the right time. 3PLs rely on warehouse management software to track inventory, manage order picking and handle shipping and replenishment.
Many 3PL customers are expanding their e-commerce channels and looking for solutions that provide an omnichannel view of inventory and fulfillment. Many existing distribution centers were not designed with high-volume e-commerce in mind. Instead, they were built to manager pallet-load shipments inbound for inventory, and outbound movements to retail locations. Now, many distribution centers are tasked with managing direct-to-consumer orders. Of course, customers expect fast shipping and real-time order status updates. In some cases, companies operated two separate systems, one for wholesale orders and store fulfillment, and another for e-commerce orders. Many legacy 3PL software solutions can't handle the transition.
Today, a 3PL needs a solution that can handle the entire mix of shipment volumes, from 100 orders with 10,000 pieces to 10,000 direct-to-consumer orders. Your 3PL software should be able to handle wave picking for bulk orders as well as waveless processing for individual shipments.
Your 3PL software should be built on an omnichannel approach that removes barriers between retail and e-commerce logistics, reducing inventory costs and improving the customer experience. Improving order accuracy enhances customer service and lowers return costs by getting the order right the first time. Of course, customers expect full visibility into the location and predicted delivery window for their orders.
Your 3PL software should include features such as asset tracking, lot control, barcoding and kitting. You can spend less time on manual processes by setting up custom configurations specific to your workflow.
Ideally, you will fill e-commerce orders from the same inventory as you do store replenishment order. However, if you don't have an omnichannel view of inventory, you run the risk of overstock or stock-out situations. A rush of online orders could leave store shelves empty, for example. Your 3PL software should have real-information flow rather than waiting for batch updates like many older platforms.
Look for a logistics management solution that integrates with your existing marketplaces, e-commerce, shipping, and accounting platforms. Logiwa integrates with more than 70 popular providers so the dashboard can reflect the current state of your business. These integrations automate and streamline your operations for improved accuracy and timeliness. Manage invoicing and billing with the accounting integrations and provide the best customer experience from order placement to delivery. Managing purchase orders through the system will help bring discipline to your operation.
Sure, most 3PL software provides essential functions – inventory tracking, order picking management, shipping, and replenishment. Do you need a system that supports direct-to-consumer e-commerce and the higher level of returns that are a part of that channel? Does your system support an omnichannel view of your inventory regardless of the sales channel? If you can't answer "Yes" to these questions, it may be time to look for a new 3PL software solution.
To find out more about how Logiwa can supercharge your inventory management functions, contact us for a demo today.
See the power of Logiwa, request a demo now.