WHAT TECHNOLOGY MAKES A 3PL “EXCELLENT?”
Not all new technology is good. Technology only helps 3PL if it expands your capacity to handle fulfillment. Here are a few of the features you’ll require if you want to work with larger customers:
- A world-class WMS, or Warehouse Management System. A great WMS will help you accurately handle logistics. But it does more than that. It can help you save money, for example, by reducing damage claims. In one example of WSI incorporating WMS, a customer saved significant amounts of money because the WMS handled product inspection and used barcoding to keep tabs on every single product in inventory.
- Integrating third parties. Shopify is an example of technology that easily implements third-party applications. As Shopify users implement these applications, it expands the capacity of the underlying platform. Can your technology do the same? 3PL needs to be capable of third-party integrations to expand its capabilities. Without this adaptability, technology won’t have the broad capacity of a platform capable of integrating third-party software. WSI tailors specific logistics solutions that can incorporate third party technology.
- Order and inventory accuracy. Without inventory accuracy, nothing else works. Effective technology doesn’t only ensure inventory control but uses its data to drive innovation. Consider that “54% of retailers use data to determine more efficient delivery routes,” according to some statistics. The more accurate your fulfillment is, the less you’ll have to worry. This kind of optimization is only possible with accurate technology like barcoding on each product is in place.
- Visibility. These days, customers want to see the status of their order from end to end. According to surveys, “83% of U.S. online shoppers expect regular communication about their purchases.” Enhancing this visibility reflects well on your brand and helps improve the way customers perceive your solutions. The result is more trust–and more loyal customers down the line.
- Consultative-type technology. Technology like heat mapping can drive insights into your fulfillment solutions by helping you identify the most important inventory to move. This means that your technology can play a “consultant”-like role and help you identify inventory priorities. Using heat mapping makes complex decisions much more intuitive. Without technology like this in place, you’re only left with “best-guess” strategies.