A logistics operator, also known as a 3PL (3rd party logistics), is a business entity that provides warehousing and distribution services to other companies. By its very definition, operators should be true experts in the area of warehouse logistics, using the most effective tools to generate positive economies of scale.
The logistics operator manages the goods of many customers.
Logistics operators often prove to be more efficient and less costly in carrying out daily tasks than logistics departments in many companies. This is mainly due to the scale of the business. It is the above-average scale (the operator in a single warehouse serves many customers), which causes the price of a single operation to fall.
In order to be able to manage customers’ goods well and effectively, it is necessary to implement a WMS with a “multi client” mechanism. This is a functionality that allows you to manage separately goods belonging to different customers (even if they are the same goods). Such an option allows you to effectively shape your storage, picking and release strategy, respecting any contractual arrangements with customers.
Automation of customer billing - billing functionality.
Logistics operators, in their day-to-day work with clients, rely on contractual rates that correspond to the ratio of time spent, to perform each activity. When handling even moderately sophisticated contracts, end-of-period debit calculations can be a real nightmare for administrative or accounting departments.
In order to minimize the effort involved in such calculations, it is therefore advisable to choose a WMS that comes with 3PL Billing functionality. This is an option that allows automatic calculation of amounts due for services performed in a given billing period. Such a system will save time and streamline the invoicing process.
Ease of integration, web-based customer service interfaces and the ability to handle couriers more easily.
Another desirable area from the perspective of logistics operators looking for a solution to optimize warehouse operations is the area of broad, easy integration with customer systems and courier systems.
A WMS for the 3PL industry, should support standard integration models with external systems such as the customer’s ERP and courier management systems. A desirable feature of the WMS, should also be the availability of web-based tools, allowing customers to enter various data without having to activate further WMS licenses.
Openness to the needs of the modern economy.
A modern WMS supporting logistics operators, should be able to support multiple industries, different products and an extensive customer base. It is also worth taking care of elements that “open” the system to the challenges of the future.
One such area is certainly that of multi-channel commerce. In this space, it is worth providing functional support in the form of picking support for e-commerce, or handling returns. It is also worth noting the availability of WMS connections to online stores, or so-called market places.