A significant component of e-commerce business order fulfilment is ensuring customers have the right items they ordered at the right time (or earlier) and in good condition. However, e-commerce business operations can quickly become complicated if you’re also handling warehousing and other moving parts.
This means that you must keep track of your inventory, ordering, shipping, and returns—in addition to other processes involved in running an e-commerce business. The problem with outdated manual tools is that warehouse management can get even more complicated. They’re prone to human error and can, therefore, cause delays and hurt your bottom line.
By using 3PL software platforms, e-commerce businesses can leverage the technology and efficiency the software provides, allowing them to modernize warehouse operations and scale exponentially.
What is 3PL?
Third-party logistics, or 3PL, refers to the practice of outsourcing order fulfilment logistics to a service provider or company. If, for example, you’re an e-commerce business that sells your products directly to customers, partnering with a 3PL provider may mean relegating storage and shipping of your items for you.
3PL also provides other services, including procurement, management, fulfillment operations, inventory management, warehousing, returns, and other logistics.
What is 3PL software?
3PL software is a fulfilment solution that aids in executing supply chain logistics, order fulfilment, and warehousing processes for multiple clients. 3PL software can do many things, like smart inventory management, stock replenishment, and even managing returns.
This type of software also typically integrates with other existing solutions to better streamline operations and data within e-commerce (or other) businesses. 3PL software connects all aspects of 3PL operations:
- E-commerce channels
- Shipping carriers
- Billing and accounting software
- Fulfilment network
The main goal is to provide end-to-end visibility to keep order fulfillment smooth and streamlined while keeping customers updated regarding the status of their orders.
What are the benefits of 3PL software?
Using 3PL software for e-commerce warehouse operations affords many benefits not just for the store but also for its customers. 3PL software can help businesses expand operations, increase flexibility, and reduce operational costs.
Delays in order fulfilment can significantly impact your bottom line. Having a 3PL system that is easy to implement and scales as your operations grow is critical to ensuring that there are no fulfillment delays and that customer satisfaction is kept up. Statistics reports that e-commerce sales are only expected to skyrocket, with a projected $8.1 trillion in revenue by 2026. This means that businesses must be prepared to scale, and ensuring everything is streamlined, automated, and optimized is a good starting point.
Operational flexibility and agility
As e-commerce and direct-to-consumer selling are expected to grow, so are the expectations for warehouse operators and 3PL service providers. This means doing away with outdated manual systems and staying agile in the face of trends and high competition. 3PL software significantly improves operating efficiency and provides solutions for inventory management, packing, and shipping.
Increased operational visibility
3PL software also increases operational visibility into warehouse operations. This is because newer 3PL software is cloud-based and automated, giving you real-time access to make required changes and improvements.