June 29, 2017
The 3PL warehousing world as we know it has fundamentally changed over the past few years.
As a result, 3PL warehouses now need WMS solutions that can provide a whole new range of functionalities.
But in a marketplace filled with options, how can 3PLs be sure they will get exactly what they need?
To help answer that question, we at 3PL Central have outlined what we consider to be the “Top 7 Traits Required of a Modern WMS.”
Our top 7 traits include:
Trait #1 - The Ability to Provide Custom Branding
3PL warehouses are a critical part of their customer’s success. As the last people to touch their products before they are shipped out the door, 3PLs are responsible for protecting the customer’s most valuable asset; their brand image.
For that reason, their customers need to feel that their 3PL is an integral part of their company.
Modern WMS solutions must provide 3PLs with the ability to embed themselves into their customer’s business operations.
In addition to performing flawlessly in the background, they should allow 3PLs to do things like add their logos to clients’ WMS logins and portals. This helps increase the 3PL’s visibility – and their customers’ trust.
Trait #2 - Cloud-based Access for Customers
Today’s 3PL customers want, need – and expect – their WMS to provide them with secure, real-time and personalized access to their information 24 hours a day – from anywhere in the world. A modern WMS simply must provide this ability.
In addition, a modern WMS must give 3PLs the ability to assign multiple levels of security to every account they have. The WMS should also enable customers to perform a variety of routine tasks on their own. This helps the customer save money - and the 3PL save time.
Trait #3 - The Ability to Produce Customized Communications
The soaring levels of customer expectations mean that 3PLs must be able to provide frequent – and highly customized – communications to every customer on a 24-7 basis.
A modern WMS must provide the ability to automate such tasks in order to reduce the burden on the 3PL’s staff. In addition to reducing the workload on their employees, automated alerts can literally save a 3PL’s customers thousands of dollars by alerting them to events as they happen.
Trait #4 - Segmentation of Data by Individual Customer
A modern WMS must allow a 3PL to provide their customers secure, real-time access to their data – and their data alone. This must include the ability to see everything from their individual SKUs and inventory levels - to their shipping accounts with FedEx, UPS and more.
In addition to providing access, a modern WMS must be able to handle EDI and integration with multiple service providers, formats, FTP locations, and UCC-128 labels – as well as with a wide range of e-Commerce shopping carts.
Trait #5 - Billing Management by Customer
Above all, of course, 3PLs must ensure that they are properly – and accurately - paid for all the work they do for their customers. The modern WMS absolutely must provide functionality that enables 3PLs to keep track of this data – by customer.
The best WMS solutions on the market will also automate the entire process. Such systems capture billing information as part of their normal processes, thus ensuring no revenue opportunities are lost. In addition to greatly increasing the accuracy of a 3PL’s billing, it can also reduce the time it takes to compile billing from 2-3 days - down to a couple of hours.
Trait #6 - 24/7 Visibility Worldwide
The modern WMS must do more than just provide 3PL clients with real-time access to their data 24 hours a day. It must provide 3PLs with the ability to customize this access, based on their customers’ preferences and needs.
For example, some customers may wish to access their information on their own – whereas others may wish to have it “pushed” to them via email. And some may want to have both options. A modern WMS simply must provide 3PLs with multiple options.
Trait #7 - Seamless Integration throughout the Fulfillment Chain
3PLs must be able to integrate with everyone from suppliers to customers to e-Commerce shopping carts to delivery services and more. Whether handled via EDI VAN, FTP, or Web Service Call, support for many different connections is critically important.
A modern WMS simply must provide such capabilities. Today’s warehouses require a modern WMS that supports multiple integration points for every single customer a 3PL serves. Nothing less is acceptable.