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Inventory Management Software

3PL Inventory Management Software

Track and manage your 3PL client's inventory with increased transparency

What is 3PL Inventory
Management Software
?

Inventory management software (IMS) is an app or suite of software tools that companies use to track and manage inventory. Whether this is in a warehouse, a stockroom, or from a third-party logistics service, the end goal is to provide increased transparency and efficiency in the inventory management process.

3PL Inventory Management Software (3PL IMS) caters to third party logistics companies. A 3PL company often provides inventory management for a wide variety of businesses, and an IMS solution can ensure that inventory is tracked accurately according to each company’s specific needs and requirements.

A 3PL IMS increases your organization’s productivity and efficiency by streamlining functions like picking, packing, shipping, and reverse logistics procedures.
Beyond that, 3PL IMS will allow you to better serve multiple clients within the same warehouse by tracking inventory and orders for each customer and integrating with a wide range of eCommerce platforms and shopping cart tools like Amazon, Shopify, eBay, and more!

The integrations don’t stop there. 3PL IMS will also work in unison with many transportation management systems, enterprise resource planning software, and supply chain management tools.

3PL inventory management software is designed to help you streamline your warehouse operations and increase productivity, efficiency, and revenue.

How 3PL IMS Impacts Your Business

Now that you have a better understanding of what 3PL inventory management software is, let’s dive deeper into the many ways it can impact your business.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but these are some of the most common ways 3PL IMS can make an immediate impact.

Track Inventory Levels, Orders, Sales, and Deliveries

Managing logistics for multiple companies with large product lines and specific needs can be challenging.

 

Luckily, 3PL inventory management software can help you simplify this process while also ensuring you have up to date information on inventory levels, orders, sales, shipping, and deliveries so you can spot potential problems.

Not only will you have access to this information, but your customers will as well. This creates transparency and trust.


Receiving Inventory

In a 3PL warehouse, things are constantly in flux.

 

Products are moving from one place to another, orders are going out, new inventory is coming in, and so on.

Because of this, it’s easy for newly received items to get lost in the shuffle. That’s bad news.

With a 3PL IMS solution, you can prevent this from happening by improving the receiving process at your location.

Barcode scanning provides a customizable level of flexibility that fits your needs. Whether you’re scanning single items or incorporating lots numbers for FIFO or LIFO strategies, all receiving information is stored in a single repository. There’s no need to reconcile databases or perform other time-consuming tasks to track your inventory data.


Storing Inventory

The old saying is “time is money,” but in the 3PL game your warehouse space also has a monetary value. The better you utilize space, the more inventory you can store and the faster your team can fill orders.

 

3PL inventory management software can help you optimize your warehouse, workers, and workflows. This leads to increased efficiency and productivity.


Processing Requests & Orders

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) technology makes processing orders and requests easy because there’s no need for paper documents or other special documentation.

 

This helps eliminate the potential for costly errors.


Picking, Packing, & Shipping

Paperless picking, packing, and shipping tools help your 3PL operation in a variety of ways.

 

First, paperless wave picking and item location tools help your team navigate the warehouse with maximum efficiency. Fewer wasted steps when moving through the warehouse means you’ll fill orders faster, with fewer employees.

Packing technology means you’ll have another opportunity to spot any potential mis-picks or problems before they leave your warehouse and head to the customer.

Shipping tools will help you get orders out quickly, so they arrive at their final destination in short order.


Processing Returned Items

In the event that a return or a product recall does happen, 3PL IMS solutions can make resolving these issues quick and easy.

 

A 3PL IMS will provide detailed product tracking and traceability information, whether the return is a single item or a batch or a Lot of items.

When the products arrive, you’ll be able to easily enter them back into inventory with simple barcode scanning that will automatically update your stock count.

With features like Business Hub, your clients will also be able to track the returns in real-time, creating an additional level of transparency.

Returns are inevitable, but you can easily remove the headache of dealing with them by utilizing 3PL warehouse management software.

The Three Types of Logistics
Management Software

Before you can choose the right 3PL warehouse management solution for your organization, you’ll need to decide what type of logistics software best meets your needs.

No matter which type of software you choose, understand that an advanced IMS will help 3PL suppliers streamline their businesses by integrating with outside platforms and eCommerce tools and automating your operations.

There are three main types of logistics management software: Standalone Warehouse Management Systems (3PL IMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems, and Integrated Supply Chain Management (SCM) suites. Let’s explore them further.


Standalone Warehouse Management Systems

Standalone 3PL Warehouse Management Systems increase both the productivity and the efficiency of your 3PL company’s warehouse operations.

In terms of 3PL warehouse management, this type of software allows the logistics provider to manage a wide variety of warehouse operations, including:

  • Increased shipping efficiency
  • Tracking and receiving stock in real-time
  • Improved picking and packing processes
  • Easily meet specific client inventory requirements
  • Data and analytics management
  • Quality control safeguards to ensure proper order fulfillment

Standalone 3PL WMS software pinpoints inefficiencies and problem areas and helps you devise solutions to eliminate them. The end result is a better customer experience


Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems integrate essential business processes, such as accounting, customer relationship management, inventory, order fulfillment, and human resources across different modules.

ERP systems offer a variety of features, however they all include a shared database easily accessible and utilized by employees across the company’s various divisions (such as sales, marketing, or shipping.)

Some common ERP features include:

  • Integration with other eCommerce and sales platforms
  • Automation
  • Data analysis and reporting
  • Tracking and visibility
  • Customer relationship management
  • Supply chain management

In addition to streamlining operations, ERP systems can help increase both efficiency and accuracy across the board.


Integrated Supply Chain Management (SCM) Suites

Integrated Supply Chain Management (SCM) software suites manage the entire supply chain beginning with product development and ending with delivery to the customer’s doorstep.

Key features in an SCM solution include:

  • Integration across your entire supply chain
  • Real-time collaboration tools
  • Analytics and forecasting tools
  • Robust customization features
  • Scalability

Advanced SCM software suites integrate all supply chain activities from manufacturing and logistics to fulfillment and shipping, to create better collaboration, communication, risk management, and adaptability among company divisions and partners.

This improves agility and transparency throughout the process, which lowers operational costs and increases efficiency throughout the supply chain.

The Benefits of Using 3PL Software

As you continue your search for the right 3PL IMS solution, it’s important to consider the benefits this technology will bring to your business.

Some of the most obvious ways a 3PL IMS will help your business include:


Time saved through automation

Companies not utilizing 3PL inventory management solutions often spend an excessive amount of work hours dealing with mundane tasks. This is a lost cost in terms of time and money.

 

An inventory management system can automate many of your daily processes, freeing you and your team to focus on what matters most.


Reduced costs on both ends

One of the benefits of this increased level of automation is that it reduces costs for both the 3PL and the company’s clients.

 

Improved workflows, fewer errors, and increased overall efficiency will all have an impact on the bottom line.


Lower risk for error

With quality control checks, paperless picking, and other tools, companies using a 3PL IMS can dramatically reduce the number of errors they make.

 

This is one more way inventory management software can help improve your finances.


Customization and scalability

Every business wants to grow, so scalability is important. Choosing the right 3PL IMS means you’ll have a tool that grows with your business and not one you’ll eventually need to replace.

 

Every business wants to grow, so scalability is important. Choosing the right 3PL IMS means you’ll have a tool that grows with your business and not one you’ll eventually need to replace.


Insight into your business

We live in the age of big data. Robust reporting features and analytics tools provide an unparalleled level of insight into your business’s operations.

 

We live in the age of big data. Robust reporting features and analytics tools provide an unparalleled level of insight into your business’s operations.


Increased transparency

Running a 3PL requires building trust with your customers. One of the easiest ways to do that is by using an inventory management solution that allows for increased levels of transparency.

 

Tools like SkuVault’s Business Hub allow your clients to have real-time access to your warehouse so they can monitor levels and make decisions in a timely manner.


Improved customer service

According to a 2021 Statista study, 26% of 3PL providers see customer satisfaction as a major challenge they’re dealing with.

 

The reasons for customer unhappiness generally spring from two key areas: a lack of transparency or costly errors on the part of the 3PL provider. 3PL inventory management software can help alleviate both of these issues.
Allowing your customers to access their inventory in real-time through Business Hub means you’ll dramatically increase transparency.


By utilizing tools for QC and increased productivity, you’ll decrease the number of common customer complaints.

Your 3PL deserves better inventory transparency

Download this guide to learn the features you actually need to build happy customers

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What to Look for in 3PL Software

There are a wide variety of 3PL solutions on the market, but they are not all created equally.

Choosing the right 3PL IMS will depend on your specific needs and future plans, but there are some features any good 3PL IMS solution should have. They include:


Up-to-Date Technology

Technology is constantly evolving. Outdated software can create more problems than it solves.

 


Scalable Functionality

Your business is going to grow. You need software that can scale and evolve with you.

 


Labeling Compliance

Whether you’re required to meet government labeling regulations or just trying to meet industry standards, look for a software solution that will create the labels you need.

 


Multiple Client Architecture

As a third-party logistics provider, you’ll likely find yourself managing inventory and shipments for multiple clients. Each of those clients will likely have different needs and requirements.

 

You’ll need an inventory management solution that can handle each individual partner, and still work seamlessly for your team as well.


Billing and Invoicing

This one seems obvious, but good billing and invoicing tools are essential. Be sure your 3PL IMS solution integrates with your accounting software to avoid headaches.

 


Great Value

3PL IMS solutions cover a wide range of pricing levels. One thing to be aware of is many providers will offer a price, but then bill separately for each label or barcode you print. This can quickly get expensive.

 

Find a provider who meets your needs and budget, but also doesn’t surprise you with hidden costs.


User Interface

The best 3PL software in the world isn’t useful if your team and partners don’t know how to use it.

 

Choosing an IMS with an intuitive and easy-to-understand interface guarantees everyone will reap the benefits of your new software.


Customer Dashboard

Building on the previous point, you’ll also want to find software that includes a customer dashboard that is accessible and easy to navigate.

 

This will help with the transparency issue by ensuring your customers have access to their inventory levels and other important data whenever they need it.

It will benefit a 3PL business by freeing your team from having to continually create reports manually for your clients.


Order Management Software

Tracking orders can be a challenge, and that challenge can grow exponentially when you’re providing logistics services for multiple clients.

 

Prevent problems and create happy customers by selecting an IMS with order management tools that can not only help you today, but scale with you as your business grows.


Easy to Automate

One of the key benefits of 3PL inventory management software is that it saves you time by automating many of the mundane tasks that come with fulfilling orders and handling logistics.

 

The catch is that your IMS isn’t as effective as it could be if you’re not able to easily automate your key processes.

Find a tool that will not only allow you to automate your inventory management, but one that also makes setting up automation easy.


Inventory Management

It seems obvious that you’ll want inventory management software that actually manages inventory, but keep in mind that there are multiple methods for managing stock.

 

If you have clients who use First In, First Out, Just In Time, or Last In, First Out, you’ll want to find software that can integrate with these IM philosophies seamlessly.


Shipping and Receiving

Shipping and receiving is a key component of inventory management. Find a software solution that can streamline the process to prevent errors and reduce workload.

 


Reporting

Whether it’s for you or your customers, you’ll want a 3PL inventory management solution that features a wide variety of analytics tools.

 

Reports are an excellent way for you and your customers to spot opportunities, find problems before they have an impact on business, and forecast for the future.

We’re a film believer in the power of data. Make sure your 3PL IMS provides the reports and analytics you need to take your business to the next level.

Your 3PL deserves better inventory transparency

Download this guide to learn the features you actually need to build happy customers

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