A third party logistics (3PL) company is a smart choice for managing your supply chain logistics. By partnering with a 3PL, you can take advantage of their expertise in inventory management, end-to-end product processing and efficiencies of scale. You free yourself from the overhead costs of warehousing, not to mention warehouse staffing, employee training, and worker’s comp expenses. And what about personnel to handle customer service and product returns? Add in a warehouse management system (WMS) and you’re looking at even more capital expenditures. So there are obviously a number of cost and time saving reasons to outsource your fulfillment needs, but one in particular that doesn’t get the credit it deserves is technology. By entrusting your fulfillment to a 3PL, you can take advantage of their technological infrastructure without making the sizable investment required to customize and maintain a system.
When budgeting for system implementations or upgrades, businesses of varying size are challenged by other, equally important or mission-centric technology needs, from HR and payroll systems to employee networks and intranets to offsite servers for data back-up. With so many projects competing for the same IT dollars, sales software, WMS, order management systems (OMS), or enterprise systems (ES) may be downscaled or skipped over altogether in the name of cost savings. When you outsource your business to a 3PL, their development teams are dedicated to working with you to integrate your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Ecommerce platform with their WMS, OMS, or ES. They are knowledgeable on the ins and outs of their technology, and you benefit from the cumulative expertise they have of working with customers both similar and dissimilar to your business. A 3PL can already have your project integrated and functioning in much less time than it would take your IT department to research, make a recommendation, approve, and implement. Most often, their systems are capable of being coded out for custom application development specific to your business if something akin to your request isn’t already being provided. This flexibility in turn benefits the 3PL by opening new avenues of revenue from companies comparable to yours.
Putting a 3PL’s Tech to Work for You
Regardless of the type of system a 3PL uses, it should be able to seamlessly collect and pass-back order data to your CRM, oftentimes with additional features and functions than your existing system. By utilizing an Application Programming Interface (API) key that acts as both a unique identifier and a secret token for authentication, the 3PL’s development team can effortlessly integrate your existing system with theirs. Another benefit here is that 3PL developers stay current on the latest industry trends and developments and are able to quickly put them into practice as one more option available to you. Since it is literally their business to innovate the technology, you can rest assured that they will always be refining and improving it to continually differentiate themselves from their competitors. Once your relationship with them is firmly established, they may even make suggestions for improvement to your business that never occurred to you!
Outsourcing your business to a 3PL results in improved supply chain control and visibility which, when combined with the improved tech offerings and multiple areas to save both time and money, can be leveraged to help convince your business to make the switch. For a comprehensive review of your business needs and how outsourcing can help you expand your market share while saving money, contact Fulfillment.com today.