Third-party logistics (3PL) providers are establishments that provide solutions to help various businesses manage and execute the logistics of warehousing in a better manner. 3PL service providers can boost warehouses’ success rate and simplify their customers supply chain. They also help in bringing effectiveness in order fulfillment and shipping transport. In a nut shell a 3PL (third-party logistics) provider offers outsourced logistics services. In essence, 3PL companies monitor and manage warehousing operations, the transportation of goods and order fulfillment.
WMS Technology in 3PL
Implementing a comprehensive warehouse management system enables a 3PL company with organized data on warehouse stock, and an easy way to keep track of goods belonging to multiple clients. WMS technology can improve slotting and picking patterns and increase communication between transportation management and warehouse management systems. Advance WMS systems can also communicate with labor management software, which helps companies optimize their workforce. 3PL operators today also are extending services beyond basic warehousing & provide consulting and advise the retailer or manufacturer on the best course of action.
Improved Warehousing Experience
Warehousing is the crucial link in the entire supply chain and leads to perfect order fulfillment if designed and managed professionally. Several tasks such as receiving, storage, cross docking & shipping activities are performed under a warehouse. When operating a warehouse, businesses always come across questions about storage structure, inventory management, resource planning and so on.
Appropriate solutions to these concern areas make any warehousing operation efficient, which in-turn leads to organized processes and subsequently enhance productivity. Seasoned 3PL service providers know their warehousing network in and out and are fully capable of fulfilling warehousing needs for any kind of product and type of operation. Warehouses managed by 3PL providers are the perfect storage and distribution choice irrespective of whether your products need racking or surface storage, palletized or non-palletized, etc.
A Perfectly Designed Warehouse
In the entire supply chain cycle financial investments in warehousing is one of the largest by any business. Unaligned warehouses for the strategy planned, leads to inefficient order fulfillment rate. Corporates should ideally understand that alignment with 3PL providers will bring down their warehousing cost and they can use a perfectly built warehouse with all the latest facilities to store their inventories at a cost effective monthly rental model.
Well Defined Storage Process
3PL providers provide customized services from heavy shelving to light racking, pallet storage to piece storage and using best storage method to store the product. Every product is unique and needs to be stored properly for efficient picking and order fulfillment. This is the basic rule of warehousing to store heavy, light, fragile, perishable and temperature controlled cargo separately along with utilization of maximum warehouse space. Storage methods should be in a way to make your warehouse operations most efficient and save storage cost, picking time and reduce the possibility of wrong shipping.
Warehouse is considered as the storage and distribution hub of any business. Right from setting up to running daily operations, warehousing brings multiple challenges to the business & should be error free. Along with challenges, it is absolutely not feasible for individual businesses to own and operate warehouses on their own.
Process adherence for operating a warehouse makes it more efficient. Inbound and outbound processes should be well defined and implemented. A process-less operation always lead to unfulfilled orders, missed TAT, mismatched inventory levels leading to less warehouse efficiency. Outsourcing warehouse operations to an expert 3PL partner resolves all your operational challenges. 3PL service providers always make sure they follow a standard operation procedure considering the customers supply chain strategies and ensure required throughput is achieved consistently.
It is a fact that partnering with 3PL service providers can always fuel warehouses’ success factors and bring drastic simplification in your entire supply chain. But then there are always some flip side to the same and problems may arise.
An important disadvantage is that direct control over the processes in warehouse management cannot be held. This lack of control can sometimes lead to customers having to settle for little to no clue on the way that a warehouse is run.
But with technology based tools that are available today, it’s easier for 3PL companies to provide end to end visibility to shippers that use their services. Hence it is very key that 3PL management companies implement modern technology which shall then surely lead to a rise in their adoption.
IT enablement – By 3PL, for 3PL
In the recent studies it’s established that an estimated around 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies and 96 percent of the Fortune 100 use 3PL services.
Witnessing a paramount growth in the usage of 3PL warehouse and inventory management software, 3PL companies are slowly starting to embrace the best IT solutions & some are even developing their own solutions. One substantial help to this is that 3PL companies are well aware what’s the key to be a leader in the market.
3PL companies are gearing up and standing up to the need of the hour and developing software which offers many other key benefits. This definitely brings in advantage such as reduction of downtime when integrating the new solutions. With in-built software developed specifically for the use of 3PL companies what we can expect is drastic reduction in downtime during the implementation of new software.
Conclusion: 3PL operators shall continue to establish their presence for a long time and will provide a series of benefits for customers that integrate their services. An effective & optimum usage of time and resources coupled with efficiency and customer delight are vital in ensuring a healthy supply chain management. With the rise in trend of shipping and warehousing demands there is no doubt on the significance & growth for 3PL centric warehousing, inventory and transportation management solutions. Fur business houses it’s time to take a wise decision for adopting a 3PL focused WMS technology solution with the current state of maturity attained surrounding the 3PL business domain.