As a third-party logistics (3PL) company, customers expect you to execute client orders swiftly, effectively, and precisely. Order fulfillment is a fundamental aspect of any business. If you want your clientele to be happy, you must do it perfectly.
The order fulfillment process is a multistage process starting from receiving inventory, storage of stock, order processing, and shipping. This seems simple, but any mistake in this process can mess everything up. This is where fulfillment software chips in. It enables you to substantially lower order entry errors and boost visibility. That said, here are the top features of the best fulfillment software for 3PLs:
For your 3PL business to run smoothly and successfully, you must keep track of the goods and services available. This ensures you never run out of stock but always have an updated inventory every time you receive and process orders. It also enables you to:
- Make accurate sales forecasts: By keeping track of your stock, you can easily make accurate sales forecasts. This enables you to make more informed business decisions, allocate resources for future expansion, and manage your cash flow.
- Manage theft and fraud: Inventory management lets you keep close track of your goods and services. This ensures that your untrusted employees won’t take advantage of any chance; thus, you won’t incur unnecessary losses.
- Enhance your customer experience: Proper inventory management ensures you have what your customers order and can deliver them on time. This satisfies their needs, so they build trust and confidence in your brand.
- Save on storage costs: Inventory management enables you to determine the products you need to stock more and the ones you need only in limited amounts, maximizing your storage space.
Therefore, choosing a fulfillment software with inventory management functionality is vital. In essence, you need software that enables you to:
- Store and distribute inventory as required
- Get an insight into inventory levels in real-time
- Handle purchase orders
- Receive incoming stock
- Forecast stock levels correctly
Automation is another key feature of the best fulfillment software for 3PLs. It saves time, effort, and costs; lowers manual errors; and gives you more time to concentrate on your primary goals. Furthermore, it ensures that repetitive tasks are completed quickly, and you can produce superior quality outcomes as there are no human errors. This keeps your business moving forward. According to Forbes, in 2021, eCommerce penetration moved from 17% to 34% in only 2 months after automation. This figure is forecasted to hit 24% by 2025.
For these reasons, you must thoroughly check for automation features before settling on a particular software. This considerably accelerates the fulfillment process as most daily decisions are automated.
Order management is an essential step in the fulfillment process. It’s the process of tracking orders, methods, and people required to provide and handle the client’s data for the order. It manages everything from receiving orders to delivery. Without proper order management, your company can struggle to take and process orders.
This can result in the inability to fulfill orders or deliver appropriate products to your clients. This can annoy your customers who may not buy from you. Also, it gives your brand a negative reputation. Therefore, you’d want to ensure that the fulfillment software you select can:
- Track orders
- View and handle customer data
- Display each incoming order for every channel
- Inform clients of shipping updates
- Generate, search, and modify orders
As a 3PL service provider, you may be busy taking orders and making deliveries, forgetting some crucial situations in your company. For instance, you may fail to check your inventory or delivery status. Remember that customers want to know when their goods will arrive. As such, they make several calls which can hinder your operations as you’d be busy dealing with calls.
For this reason, you’d want fulfillment software that enables you to send delivery status notifications to your clients. Also, it should notify you when:
- There are integration or shipping errors.
- Goods are about to arrive.
- The goods arrive at the exact destination.
- You have low inventory, or your inventory runs out.
- Shipping information is incomplete.
Your aim as a 3PL service provider is to ensure you satisfy your clients by cost-effectively delivering the right products at the expected time. This means that you need fulfillment software with fulfillment functions that allow you to:
- Provide in-store fulfillment
- Choose the shipping methods you require
- Generate and print shipping tags
- Incorporate with shipping providers
- Simplify the process of receiving, packaging, and shipping orders for goods
To stand out in online retail, you must be updated with the market trends and keep operations costs low. Fulfillment software enables you to grow your business while managing and lowering operating expenses. However, when your software has outdated features, choosing or sticking with them can significantly impact your operations. Use software with the above features. It’ll ensure you stay up to speed with customer expectations regarding order fulfillment.