3PL Warehouse Rapid Deployment and Adaptation
How to easily configure business processes to meet customer-specific requirements.
To be competitive, third-party logistics (3PL) providers need to quickly onboard new customers. It’s that straightforward. What’s not so simple is how exactly to connect and optimize all those revenue streams for the disparate services you are offering a diverse customer base.
Whether we’re talking supply chain partner interactions that could be more productive, unpredictable delivery processes, or fluctuating client needs…straightforward logistical solutions aren’t simple. They are, however, about increasing continuity—from factory to customer.
Warehouse Management’s Role in Supporting 3PL Service
Even when data is lacking for direct benchmarking, a warehouse management system (WMS) can support change and growth through introducing continuity across functions and services. An effective WMS injects productivity and cost-savings into your warehouse system processes without compromising quality.
Specifically, your WMS should leverage user-configurable process flows, functional benchmarking to test performance, and real-time enterprise-wide visibility to efficiently service new and existing customers, regardless of their specific requirements.
The capacity to configure, reconfigure, and scale operations (equipment, people, space) in response to evolving customer demands is a business advantage, especially if this can be accomplished without expensive modifications to your WMS.
In my experience, rapid customer deployment requires a scalable agile framework, unhindered data access, and smart task interleaving.
You initiate improvements by asking pointed questions about the current WMS. Could it provide detailed answers to inquiries, like “How is handling different (or more difficult) this time?”
For many of my company’s clients, this line of questioning has revealed that critical information, such as the precise cost and time investment to fulfill an order, is absent from decision-making protocol.
If capacity and visibility are insufficient in critical areas like these, it may be time to rethink warehouse management, execution, and controls; leveraging technology for growth should always be about connecting customer needs with solutions.
Case Study in Leveraging Technology to Grow Exponentially
For example, my company QSSI works with a privately owned and operated 3PL—an established presence in the textile warehousing industry—that is known for innovation in freight and logistics services.
They needed a direct response to increased customer demand and, specifically, to the shift in recent years to direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping. They required a WMS capable of supporting multiple business models simultaneously.
We worked with our client to engineer fulfillment processes and procedures to position its partners to meet their online consumers’ immediate expectations.
The QSSI WMS (“PowerHouse”) is a systems integrator for complementary supply chain management software and for all leading e-commerce, marketplace, and carrier software, including shopping carts and customer portals. Therefore, it was highly effective in handling volume fluctuations flawlessly and at a moment’s notice.
Increased flexibility also translated into reduced overhead and the ability to specify a fixed cost per unit. We identified and developed optimal solutions for the full range of customer requirements, from shipping DTC via an e-commerce site to drop shipping via a carrier. Orders are now mapped specific to their type, e.g., flagged as e-commerce.
A decisive advantage, our 3PL client could now provide its customers with the ability to compete with the largest e-commerce outlets out there.