The global 3PL market is forecast to hit US$1.3 trillion, or £1.02 trillion, per year by 2024 as more manufacturers, retailers, and shippers turn to third-party logistics (3PL) providers to help them better manage their supply chain.
Around the world, savvy 3PL’s are positioning themselves to ride the wave of growth by expanding their warehouse capacity and investing in technologies to add capability and maximise efficiency.
Microlistics has decades of experience in the sector, dozens of 3PL clients worldwide and more are choosing Microlistics WMS all the time. We thought we’d share in their own words what growing 3PL’s are looking for in their WMS software.
Many 3PLs rely on paper-based processes and manual data entry, both are slow methods, introduce errors and require constant double-entry. Even where some form of WMS is in place, often this is a ‘lite’ ERP module or entry-level product, which end up creating more issues than solving them.
Businesses seeking new logistics partners are increasingly choosing to disqualify 3PL’s who are still using paper-based warehousing, or where their journey to digital is incomplete.
Key WMS features to fully transition from manual, paper processes to digital and automated:
“Microlistics WMS will really change the day-to-day work of our team. Much less paper and manual data entry. We’ll be able to achieve better stock checks, rotation and task efficiency. The team are looking forward to the change.” Charles Mooney, Warehouse Manager at UK-based 3PL Bullet Express, who chose Microlistics WMS in 2019.
Growing 3PL’s want to add clients, or increase per-client revenue, or both. Often this involves winning new clients from new sectors, with different products and shipping needs. Products can include bulk, steel, metal, and other ‘uglies’ shipped in pallets, cartons, ‘eaches’, and other sizes.
Another way 3PL’s seek to increase revenue is through provision of additional services. These include grading and packing of products, serial tracking, damaged goods management for RTV, kitting, product assembly, eCommerce order fulfilment and date sensitive item/inventory management.
Key WMS features to rapidly add customers and services:
“As we invest in improving accuracy, efficiency and customer connectivity, we also retain the flexibility to meet the diverse requirements of our customers… We may not know who tomorrow’s new customer will be, but we will now have a system that can handle any requirement.”
Jay Kamat, Director, GMA Warehousing & Transportation, selected Microlistics WMS for it’s high level of flexibility and configurability.
3PL’s will bend over backwards to meet customer needs. This can often result in unrecovered costs that can add up over time and damage profitability. Often, 3PL’s rely on manually keying billable activities into their accounting or ERP systems, before a manager reviews and finalises every invoice.
Also, many systems don’t drive tasks to operatives based on importance or business rules. To run an effective third-party logistics business, it is critical to efficiently and automatically assign tasks, maintain service levels and more importantly measure all costs and bill them accordingly.
Key WMS features to optimise workflows and accurately capture all revenue are:
“Microlistics WMS will enable us to implement detailed task management via our existing RF device network, helping us to deliver faster, more efficient services to our customers.”
David McCutcheon, Managing Director at Bullet Express
To ensure stock availability and meet product demand, it is critical to be able to access order history and WIP inventory for a real sense of inventory levels and disposition (inventory that may already be ‘spoken for’ in other orders).
3PL’s are looking for a WMS with robust integration capabilities that can provide visibility internally, via their ERP (through real-time integration), and to customers who wish to monitor stock levels across their entire supply chain, including at multiple different sites.
Key features to look for in a WMS to accurately monitor inventory in the warehouse and on the road are:
- True multi-site, multi-location, multi-client functionality
- Web portal that allows for ordering and confirmation, real-time inventory visibility, label printing and shipping status
- Integration gateway with pre-built ERP, TMS, OMS, IMV and AMH interfaces
“Microlistics WMS gives our clients access to more data than ever before at the touch of a button, from anywhere they have web access… (We) can offer our clients the most advanced systems of access wherever they happen to be, giving you unparalleled flexibility and efficiency.”
Shan Manickam, founder of Cross Docks Australia
With decades of experience, a partnering approach and a powerful 3PL WMS, Microlistics enables 3PL’s to manage operations at maximum efficiency and easily provide value-added services to customers.
Microlistics offers Tier 1 Capabilities at an affordable price, with implementation effort as few as 30 days, allowing for rapid return-on-investment and a scalable solution for business growth.