Date: December 17, 2020
With today’s warehousing and logistics technological landscape, what software partner your third-party logistics (3PL) warehouse chooses to work with can make or break your business. One analogy I like to use for choosing the right partner is a sports team and the importance of team chemistry.
I’ve been a passionate soccer enthusiast for over twenty years. If teams don’t have “chemistry” or the ability to work together cohesively and support each other on the field, teams lose games. To win games, it’s necessary for each part of the team – defense, offense, midfield, and even coaches – to work cohesively and consistently towards common objectives such as scoring goals or denying opponent advances up the field.
Similarly, your technology partners can help you reach your goals, whether those be customer acquisition targets, order volume growth levels, or customer-needed integrations with third-party software (e.g., ecommerce shopping carts), by advising you on industry best practices and serving as a technical extension of your warehouse staff.
One of the core building blocks of a 3PL warehouse is a warehouse management system (WMS). According to our industry benchmark survey of 250+ 3PL professionals, 87% of warehouses have ranked a WMS as the number one-system and technology backbone for running and managing their warehouses. On average, 72% of those warehouses experienced order volume growth upon system implementation. Consider what WMS technology partner you work with. For example, 3PL Central partners with warehouses to advise them on industry best practice workflows and even sets up third-party integrations with shopping carts and marketplaces for customers.
Besides understanding industry best practices, another must for a technology partner is having the capability to easily integrate with the systems that your customers demand. Below are some of the most common integrations that 3PLs connect to:
Source: 3PL Central Benchmark Report
The top three integrations that 3PLs need are EDI, shopping cart connectivity, and order management systems. A few warehouse management software options are platforms that can integrate with these systems, such as 3PL Warehouse Manager.
3PL Warehouse Manager can serve the needs of retail fulfillment warehouses by offering EDI connectivity and ecommerce fulfillment warehouses by connecting to shopping carts such as Shopify and order management systems.
Break down your questions into two types, technical requirements and partnership requirements. Here are five questions you should ask a WMS provider before choosing them as your technical partner:
Let’s say you’ve evaluated several WMS vendors and narrowed down your list to your top three partner choices as part of your request for proposal (RFP) process. How do you make a final decision? Try framing your choice in terms of which partner will position your warehouse for the highest growth this coming year. We’ve learned that the top reason 3PLs don’t adopt a WMS is that it’s too expensive and too complex to setup. To overcome these barriers, look at how they can help you adapt to the change and ultimately help you achieve the highest return on investment from adopting a WMS. Analyze whether the WMS provider has supportive staff and people who you can count in case of any issues that arise. Some warehouse management software service providers even simplify the setup process through internal training and setup services so you don’t have to worry about that setup complexity.
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Nathan is an experienced SaaS product marketing manager who is passionate about creating compelling product messaging. Working closely with product, marketing, and sales teams, he is responsible for crafting effective product strategies and content to share the benefits and features of 3PL Central's solutions for third-party logistics warehouses. Previously, he has shared technology solutions with state DOTs such as the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and wireless solutions for warehouse AGV manufacturers.
3PL Central provides cloud-based WMS solutions for 3PLs so they can transform paper-based, error-prone businesses into service leaders focused on customer satisfaction, efficient operations, and growth.