How 3PL Technology Solutions Can Improve Your Supply Chain Efficiency
Technology is necessary for modern supply chain management. It can help improve efficiency both in terms of time and costs, and it can make supply chain management more effective. One of the biggest benefits of utilizing a 3PL is the leading-edge supply chain tech they bring to the table. This article addresses some of the ways 3PL technology solutions can help companies of all kinds, from ecommerce businesses to manufacturers, improve their bottom line and efficiency.
Supply Chain Challenges and How 3PL Technology Can Help
Visibility in the supply chain is one of the main challenges many businesses face. Even with great technology, businesses oftentimes don’t have a good look at their entire supply chain at the same time. Data is siloed, leaving key insights out of sight and out of mind when it comes time to strategize.
3PL technology can help by bringing data into one place to offer 360° supply chain visibility from vendor orders through final delivery to the customer.
Cost efficiency is a serious challenge many businesses face when it comes to their supply chains. With supply chain expenses accounting for up to 10% of revenues according to one survey, cutting supply chain costs can have a significant impact on the overall bottom line.
Technology delivered by 3PLs can help companies cut costs in several ways, including improving vendor relations and procurement, cutting costs in warehousing operations, and saving money on transportation costs through smarter routing or carrier management.
Since supply chains account for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, conscientious companies are looking for ways to be more efficient and therefore environmentally friendly, but efficiency doesn’t come easy.
3PL technology is a great way for companies to achieve more efficient and therefore more environmentally friendly warehousing and transportation operations.
Service to the end customer is another critical challenge that can be difficult for businesses to manage on their own. Consumer expectations mean that supply chains must move faster than ever, and delays can cost companies big in terms of reputation and money.
By improving scheduling and visibility into shipments, 3PL technology can help companies ensure that shipments arrive on time and in full. This not only helps save money but can cut costs in the long run, too.
How 3PL Technology Solutions Can Help with Specific Supply Chain Functions
How exactly does 3PL tech fit into overall supply chain management to improve efficiency? Here are some of the supply chain functions where technology provided by a 3PL can make an impact.
3PL Technology for Purchase Order Management
3PL technology isn’t just for downstream functions; it can also help more efficiently manage upstream functions and bring warehouse operations and transportation into sync. 3PL tech often offers a way to manage vendor relationships and orders with real-time inventory management data directly at hand to avoid over or under-stocking.
Warehousing 3PL Tech Solutions
Warehouse management software is a great way to improve efficiency in a warehouse, from tracking product through the warehouse to racking more efficiently. 3PL technology will ideally offer a customizable solution to help operations flow smoothly based on a company’s individual business model and needs.
3PL Technology Solutions for Transportation
Transportation costs accounted for two-thirds of logistics costs in 2017. A 3PL transportation management system (TMS) can help improve transportation operations’ efficiency by helping choose the right carrier for the right load, more efficient routing, facilitating shipment consolidation, or any combination of the above.
3PL Solutions for Inventory Management
Inventory management is critical to not only serving the end customer but also succeeding in today’s tech-savvy world, but many companies are still managing inventory the old-fashioned way, sometimes even operating out of spreadsheets. A 3PL’s technology can help step up inventory management to help ensure each location has the inventory they need to fulfill orders.
Benefits of Integrating 3PL Technology with Current Systems and Processes
Most companies already have supply chain solutions in place that they’ll keep even if they bring a 3PL on board to bolster their tech stack, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP)solution. For current systems and new 3PL tech solutions to function at their peak, they must be integrated, or connected together, so that data can flow back and forth between systems.
There are several benefits to embracing and integrating 3PL technology into the current workflow. Some of those include:
- 360° real-time visibility across all systems, both the 3PL tech and internal systems
- Cost savings due to better visibility and efficiencies driven by the technology
- Improvements in the level of service to the end customer
- More streamlined processes
Key Considerations When Choosing a 3PL Technology Solution to Improve Supply Chain Efficiency
Comprehensive Logistics Technology
A 3PL tech solution will ideally be able to control the entire supply chain from a single platform. From order, warehouse and transportation management t to tracking and POD technology, the ideal 3PL technology will be able to see and manage all your supply chain processes in one place.
The 3PL third-party logistics provider behind the technology should know how to manage specific needs, such as white glove service or medical device shipment. These services are critical to ensuring a company’s needs can be met.
As is ever the case when hiring a company, whether it’s a 3PL or another service provider, getting an idea of the experiences past customers have had is a great way to gauge a provider’s suitability. Check to see if the 3PL has case studies available and ask for references if possible.
How Does SEKO Logistics Leverage Tech to Offer More Efficient, Effective Logistics Services
SEKO Logistics’ technology gives customers visibility and control of their entire supply chain in one place, both upstream and downstream. With technology solutions to address common challenges throughout the entire supply chain, SEKO can provide comprehensive tech to help companies address efficiency from every angle. You can learn more about SEKO’s tech offerings by reaching out to our team.
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