Here's what we'll cover:
Third party logistics (3PL) software helps 3PL companies manage the ordering, warehousing and transportation of supplies for another business. This software category includes warehouse management tools, freight broker software and procurement systems to track inventory, sales, purchase orders, shipping and more.
Because these providers oversee so many steps of the supply chain process for so many different businesses, 3PL software must be equally vast in scope. Specific features include:
|Warehouse management||With supplies from so many different customers moving through a public warehouse, customer profiling and lot number recording is absolutely critical. 3PL software helps managers monitor picking and put away through radio-frequency identification (RFID) capabilities.|
|Shipping & receiving||3PL software has transportation management capabilities that automate the printing of shipping and receiving labels. Bills of lading inform the supplier that supplies have been loaded onto the 3PL provider’s carrier and are ready for delivery, and inbound receipts help warehouse managers monitor the arrival of new supplies.|
|Order fulfillment||One of the primary functions of a 3PL company is to fulfill orders that have been sold by someone else’s business. This means being able to handle all of the MTS, BTO and ATO capabilities typical of order fulfillment software.|
|3PL billing||Billing is typically completed on two schedules: a monthly service/storage fee, with some kind of variable fulfillment cost. The billing needs to match these services, so the 3PL can bill easily based on orders and storage use.|
These solutions need to handle the same processes as robust SCM software systems, but without as much of a focus on the business intelligence often seen with other SCM programs. The critical evaluating criteria for a 3PL system then is whether it meets the warehousing, shipping and order fulfillment needs that match your customers.
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