Five WMS that should be on every 3PL provider’s shortlist
The 3PL warehouse is a buzz of activity where thousands of products from hundreds of companies can crisscross, but where data never should. You’ve got a significant task ahead of you, keeping everything separate but flowing, and it might be time for a special 3PL WMS when things are getting too crazy.
Our guide looks at some of the distinct aspects of running a 3PL business and what you might need with a 3PL WMS, providing some perspective on what your competition likes about the platforms they use.
Each 3PL WMS we look at is a strong contender with robust reporting and tool sets, but you’ll want to contact multiple vendors to find the best fit for your specific 3PL warehouse layout.
1. Cloud focus: 3PL Central’s Red Rock Warehouse Manager
For 3PLs who are considering a cloud deployment for their warehouse management systems, 3PL Central is a player that should be kept in mind. The company offers a 3PL Warehouse Manager as well as the Red Rock Warehouse Manager.
The Red Rock platform was built specifically as a 3PL WMS and focuses on integration with ERP and accounting systems as well as supporting omnichannel order management tools. You’ll also get access to software and integration of a massive set of barcode and other scanners from different OEMs to simple integration with FedEx and UPS.
The 3PL warehouse system allows you to manage multiple customers across different billing schedules and to provide real-time information – but it’s easy to keep data properly siloed.
The cloud nature also makes it appeal to many 3PLs because there’s fewer installation and maintenance costs, helping users control their spending and overall budgets.
2. Consumer goods focus: AFS Technologies
For the 3PL operating in the consumer goods space, AFS Technologies has a nice history and broad customer base that should inspire confidence in its capabilities to operate successful and handle known concerns easily.
Like most 3PL warehouse systems, it places a high priority on automating manual processes and cutting inefficiencies. Customers like its strong analytics play, which they’ve noted have helped better understand their markets and find better business opportunities.
When looking for a 3PL WMS to cover the food and beverage space, AFS offers s robust option that is compliant with multiple regulations including the Food Safety Act and Produce Traceability Initiative, plus it supports voice picking for GTIN box codes.
It’s a viable choice to consider when you need specific industry support.
3. Non-perishable focus: Aptean
Aptean’s cloud Catalyst WMS made the list for its successful history with non-perishable goods, though recent positive reviews also made it a contender for a focus on integrating with other enterprise platform.
The core of the system is scalable and builds on a rules-based, workflow that should allow it to continue to grow in the realm of integration and software support. It is easy to flex between single or multiple locations and channels plus offers a strong mix of inventory, warehouse, and labor controls.
It works well in the complex supply chains that seem to crop up as non-perishable brands expand, giving the 3PL warehouse access to robust slotting, dynamic route planning, and overall transportation management tools.
4. Complexity focus: Iptor
Iptor, recently rebranded from IBS, offers a 3PL WMS that aims to solve complex problems.
The company places a large emphasis on expanding beyond simple WMS features and tackling the thousands of customer-owned products a 3PL might manage within a single location. It’s integration and transparency tools simplify inventory management and can help 3PLs offer value-added services around these products.
Customers prefer its capabilities for ensuring each individual client has the right packing and shipping procedure, plus the Iptor 3PL WMS makes tracking and billing quick and efficient. It’s a good example of how receiving, stocking, and picking tools should be scaled up to meet significant demands.
5. Integration opportunities: Cin7
Sometimes the WMS on a 3PL’s shortlist is less about complete management of a 3PL warehouse and more about the doors it can open. Cin7 is one of those special considerations because it places a significant emphasis on integrating its customers with a wide number of 3PLs.
The system is designed to work with your existing warehouses and provide stock transparency down to the bin level, just like if your clients were running their own warehouse. The platform also offers an electronic data interchange that makes it easier to share information with your customers.
If you have an existing customer who already uses Cin7, the brand has an incentive to work with you on a broader integration process. It’s an interesting opportunity when you’re looking for growth markets and want to provide an added benefit to existing or new customers.
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