5 benefits of using a 3PL warehouse with a quality WMS

There are few industries where a quality warehouse management system (WMS) is more important than in the 3PL (third party logistics) warehousing industry.

As modern consumers we expect food on the shelves of our local supermarkets and our online purchases to arrive promptly, sometimes less than 24 hours after the order was placed. Few will consider the carefully planned, skillfully executed warehousing operations which allow us to enjoy these home comforts!

What is a 3PL? Why use one?

A 3PL provider offers services to move goods through a supply chain on behalf of the owner of the stock. This could include facilitating the importing and exporting of goods from overseas, local or international road transportation, last mile delivery services or 3PL warehousing with pick, pack and order fulfilment services.

Look for a 3PL partner who puts technology and innovation at the heart of their services.

Wholesale, retail and manufacturing businesses often take the decision to outsource their logistics function rather than invest in their own buildings, vehicles, handling equipment, staff and processes which take a considerable amount of time and investment to setup, train and operate effectively.

A quality 3PL provider should be a fast track to warehousing and distribution excellence… providing the warehouse system in place is robust enough!

5 good reasons to use a 3PL warehouse service


1. Online visibility

Your 3PL warehousing provider should allow you a window into their warehouse management system providing you with instant information about your stock.

Having this information available in real time from your smartphone, tablet or PC is a huge help to your growing business. This information is key for purchasing decisions, fulfilling sales demand and also managing product quality by being able to view images of faulty items which have been received from suppliers, all of which should be visible remotely through web access into the system.

2. Scalability

For smaller clients, 3PL warehousing providers typically work on a ‘pay as you go’ tariff for their services. This allows small expanding businesses to use a high quality service with a cost which reflects their sales throughput and storage requirements. Larger storage and fulfilment requirements will usually have additional considerations and will involve a minimum volume and or term of business to ensure the numbers stack up for all parties involved. Seasonal peaks are likely to be much easier to manage using the experience and resource of a 3PL provider rather than trying to build your own logistics operation from scratch.

These charges should be available to view online at any time

Quality, tier one warehouse management systems should have the ability to track all activity for each of their clients and automatically create invoices against your agreed tariff. These charges should be available to view online at any time so you can review your costs in real time but also be confident in the accuracy of the numbers based on the systems in place.

3. Focus

Being an expert in your chosen industry is perhaps the reason your business is already a huge success or is growing rapidly. Equally, if your business or industry is starting to decline, perhaps the overheads associated with running your own warehouse no longer make sense and this cost needs to be removed to allow the business to survive and return to profit.

Regardless of the reason, outsourcing your warehouse operation to a 3PL provider with a quality WMS allows you to focus on what you do very well while leaving the warehousing, picking, packing and despatching to those who are experts in their field also. Spending your time doing what you do best should give your business the best possible chance of success.

4. Innovation

Look for a 3PL partner who puts technology and innovation at the heart of their services.

Innovative 3PL providers will drive down costs through the use of modern technology while providing additional value added services to you and your end clients. Opening up internal systems to customers, suppliers and partners can drive significant cost savings through collaborating and removing repetitive admin tasks which are open to human error.

Don’t be put off by 3PL providers who insist on EDI as a way to communicate with them. Although there is some minor setup involved, explore these options as they will benefit all parties and this is a good sign that they value technology as a tool to drive excellence.

5. Speed

Sourcing and partnering with a 3PL warehousing provider can happen very quickly. The infrastructure established 3PL service providers have in place allows any business to react very quickly to changing demand. The launch of a new product can be time critical based on season or trends and a quality 3PL warehousing partner can be the ideal, ready to go launch pad for this type of distribution challenge.

If you find yourselves with more stock than expected, again, a 3PL warehouse can offer the perfect solution even for a short term fix.


Which 3PL is right for me?


Many 3PL providers will specialise. Whatever your business provides, if you look carefully you’ll find a 3PL warehousing service which knows your industry well. This could be in food, drink, technology, large bulky items, automotive or small items sold online via marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.

Clarus works with a range of 3PL providers who all subscribe to the Clarus cloud WMS service available from any device, anywhere at any time to support the services they provide to their customers.

If you’d like to speak to one of our consultants about recommending a 3PL in your industry, please contact us below and we’ll call you back.