The Advantages of Choosing a 3PL Warehouse Management Solution

When choosing a warehouse management solution, there are several factors to consider. These include the size of your operation, the number of employees, and the type of inventory you need to manage.

In today’s competitive market, businesses must constantly look for new ways to improve their operations. One area where they often fail is in selecting the right warehouse management system.

This is why choosing a 3PL warehouse management solution can be such a challenge. There are dozens of options available, each claiming to offer superior features.

Warehouse Management System vs. Order Management System

When choosing between a Warehouse Management System (WMS) and an Order Management System (OMS), there are several key differences to keep in mind.

The warehouse management system (WMS) is a software program used by warehouses to track inventory and manage orders. It allows users to enter items into the system, view them, and perform various functions like reordering, picking, packing, shipping, receiving, etc.+

An OMS is usually cheaper than a WMS. However, if you plan to add additional functionality later, then a WMS may be better suited for your needs.

3PL WMS for Ecommerce Fulfillment, Dry Goods, Cold Storage and More

The most common types of warehouse management systems (WMS) are those used by eCommerce companies. These systems allow retailers to track inventory, manage orders, and fulfill customer orders from one central location. They can also provide order visibility into the supply chain so that customers know exactly where their products are at any given moment.

Cold storage refers to storing items at temperatures below freezing. This includes refrigerated warehouses, cold rooms, freezers, and other similar facilities.

3PL Software

The 3PL software market has seen rapid growth in recent years, driven by increasing demand from small businesses looking to automate their supply chain processes. As well as being able to track inventory levels, order fulfillment times, and manage customer orders, many solutions offer additional features like barcode scanning, RFID tagging, and mobile ordering.

Advanced 3PL providers and software will help warehouse workflows by integrating to warehouse automation tools like AMR, conveyors, and carousels.

Inventory control

The inventory control process is one of the most important parts of running any business. It ensures that you don’t run out of stock, and it helps you manage your costs by keeping track of what you’ve sold and what you still need to order.


A 3PL (third-party logistics) company is responsible for managing all aspects of shipping, receiving, and inventory management for a business. They do this by providing warehousing space, transportation services, and picking and packing services.

Warehouse operations are handled by warehouse managers and warehouse operators that are employed by the 3PL, but allocate their time to the various client’s needs. They can perform additional value-added services like repacking, white labeling, and other operational processes. 

They also handle invoicing and payment processing, so when a customer makes a purchase, the 3PL takes care of everything from start to finish because it saves the client time and money.

When you work with a 3PL, you no longer need to worry about how much storage space you need, what kind of packaging materials you should use, or whether you need to hire additional staff to help with the workload. Labor costs and storage costs are included in the services.

You simply focus on running your business and let the 3PL handle the rest.

Analytics and reports

Some of the key areas to expect increased visibility through business intelligence analytics and reporting. 

1. Inventory accuracy

A good warehouse management system should help you track inventory accurately with proper inventory management tools. If you have inaccurate data, you could end up paying for products you don’t actually own.

2. Employee productivity

Your warehouse management system should also help you keep track of employee productivity. This includes tracking how long it takes them to pick orders, process returns, and ship items.

3. Customer service

You should also choose a warehouse management system that helps you provide excellent customer service. This means having a system that allows you to quickly respond to customers when they contact you.

4. Security

Finally, you should choose a warehouse management system with security features that protect your business from theft and fraud.

5. Scalability

As your company grows, so should your warehouse management system. Your software provider should be able to scale with your business.

Key Integrations for 3PL

A good 3PL warehouse management solution should integrate well with your ERP software, CRM, and accounting systems to show visibility into supply chain activities.

It also needs to provide real-time visibility into the shipment status of each order. This includes tracking the location of every item, whether it’s at the loading dock or in transit.

You also need to know what items are missing from stock, so you can order more when needed. And finally, you need to know how much inventory you have left, so you can plan accordingly.

These are just a few examples of the many functions that a good 3PL warehouse management system should perform.

Specialty elements

Now it’s time for you to think about the unique factors facing your company in the 3PL space and the broader supply chain activities. A common system that a 3PL WMS should have is the ability to monitor when items are transferred from one owner to another.

3PLs need consistency in transferring inventory from one owner to another. There are lots of things that go into making sure that handoffs and handshaking go smoothly. Find a WMS that lets you record receipts and properly note the date when goods were accepted. You’ll need to be able to see every step in the entire chain for each order, from the time it was received to when it was shipped.

On-Premise vs. Cloud-Based Warehouse Management System

The cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS) has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ability to provide real-time visibility into inventory levels across all locations, allowing companies to better manage their supply chain.

Supply chain management software was slow to migrate to the cloud, but third-party logistics companies are often on the forefront of that move to centralize supply chain processes and supply chain activities. 

Final Thoughts

The advantages of choosing a 3PL warehouse management solution are many. Here are just a few reasons why you might consider them:

1) A 3PL warehouse management system allows you to manage inventory across multiple warehouses, locations, and vendors. This means you can easily track shipments, order fulfillment, and keep tabs on inventory levels.

2) A 3PL warehouse software solution helps you streamline processes and improve efficiency. By automating tasks, you can save time and money.

3) A 3PL warehouse solution makes it easy to integrate with other systems. This means you can connect your accounting software, ERP, CRM, and other applications to your warehouse management software.

4) A 3PL warehouse system gives you access to powerful reporting tools. These reports allow you to analyze data and identify trends.

5) A 3PL warehouse program provides you with detailed analytics. This includes information like shipment volumes, average lead times, and shipping costs.

About the Author

The world changed for me about two months into my M.B.A. program. While I have always risen quickly to management roles, learning how to truly be a part of a business and its many systems began to really excite me. While I have loved taking out-dated processes and digitizing them for cost savings, I am excited to take my project mangement experience to greater heights and really contribute to a company's growth as the head of a team excited to drive change. -Justin Velthoen

Justin Velthoen

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