A Good 3PL Partnership Starts With a Strong Systems Integration
From early involvement to robust support and continued flexibility, MD Logistics knows the fundamentals of systems integration and building a successful working relationship with customers.
As a third-party logistics provider we work as an extension of our customers’ teams, treating their product as our own. Because the nature of our business requires intimate access to our customers’ business, one of the very first aspects we discuss is integrating with their systems.
There is a common phrase in the industry that a good 3PL partnership is only as good as your integration. This is something that we keep top of mind with every new integration and over the years, we have learned what it takes to create mutually successful 3PL partnerships.
An integration is so much more than just communicating back and forth with the customer and their team. It’s ensuring the functionality that is built flows into the warehouse management system (WMS).
At the end of the day, the best integration is one that requires minimal effort to allow the flow of information between all parties. To build the most successful working relationship and systems integration, we’ve found the best formula is a mix of the following.
Early involvement. In our experience, we’ve found the earlier our integrations team is brought into a new customer onboarding, the better their integration is. The speed at which our IT team is brought into the conversation also dictates the speed at which we can fully integrate.
Business support. Involvement and support in the integration process should not just be limited to the IT department. It’s equally important to have operations teams from both sides involved in the process to ensure the correct bridges are built to support specific goals and reporting requirements.
Specialized teams. At MD Logistics, we have an IT department comprised of two, highly specialized teams of individuals, an integrations team and our WMS team. This specialization allows our team members to be experts in their field. This dynamic allows for collaboration to ensure the functionality that is built, works with and flows into our internal WMS.
Flexibility. As a 3PL, being flexible is a very integral part of our business and success as a provider. When we are building an integration, it’s important to extend that flexibility into our process, building connections that are able to evolve as our customers’ needs change.
Remain nimble. In any integration, our mindset is: “How can we work to make our customer’s jobs easier?” This nimbleness allows us to build to our customers’ standards for integration, using their specs and supplied documentation to build the bridges from our systems, to theirs.
Secure connections. Securely protecting our customers’ and their data is a vital aspect of the integration process. Each integration we perform is specialized and built specifically for the customer based on their business needs, but also to ensure we are properly protecting the information that is being sent.