Conducting annual performance reviews is part of doing business. If you manage or own any kind of business, you know that annual reviews must be done in order to evaluate an employee’s work performance and how it impacts the company’s goals and objectives.
Employees are not the only thing that can impact your day-to-day operations and should undergo an annual assessment, however. If you’re a third-party logistics company manager or owner, evaluating the performance of your warehouse management system (WMS) software needs to happen yearly as well. Whether you operate a small business or run multiple warehouses, your 3PL software can make all the difference in how efficient and productive your logistics business runs.
An annual review of your 3PL software helps to ensure you’re getting maximum utility from it as well as allowing you to identify areas where additional investment might improve inventory control, order fulfillment, and overall supply chain operations. To make sure nothing is overlooked, we’ve created an in-depth checklist that covers everything from database performance and shipment accuracy to workflows and reporting tools. Keep reading for specifics on what should be covered during your annual third-party logistics software review.
Here are some key items you should check in order to assess your 3PL software’s annual performance:
Does Your 3PL WMS Software Integrate Properly?
Third-party logistics warehouse management system software is essential for many businesses to effectively manage their warehouses. A thorough check should always be conducted to ensure that your 3PL software is fully integrated with all of the necessary applications and operating error-free. Examples of integrated systems to review include ERP, accounting, EDI, shipping, human resources, climate control monitoring, and third-party applications.
Having a 3PL WMS that can manage inventory and is connected with all of these other critical components will prove invaluable in allowing visibility into every area of your warehouse’s complex operations, not just order management. Not only can your 3PL WMS software simplify daily procedures, but also keeps operations cost-effective while offering improved accuracy and reliability. Integrating 3PL warehouse management software into a company’s business operations can be a major stepping stone toward scale effectiveness as your business grows within the supply chain management and logistics industry.
Do Team Members Use the WMS 3PL Software as Intended?
Are your employees completing all of the necessary fields and using proper codes in the warehouse management system? Is the inventory management system software hard for them to comprehend? What good is your software if it isn’t being used properly? Ensuring your third-party logistics software solution features an easy-to-use user interface is critical for all team members in the organization, from managers to employees.
To optimally use the features available and save time and money, training for all workers is essential for getting the most value-added services from your WMS software and supplier. Some third-party logistics companies do not put enough emphasis on training, which is a huge mistake that could cost them multiple clients in the end and encourage a client to seek out other third-party logistics providers in the end.
It is important to train all new employees on common features of the 3PL software when hired and offer training support on-premises from seasoned employees. When new 3PL WMS key features are added, provide workers with updated training as well. Don’t forget to offer refresher courses throughout the year too. Having a WMS supplier who offers free or low-cost on-site or online training is a great way to ensure everyone understands how to use it and connected mobile devices and equipment resources properly. Doing so will prevent any costly mistakes while ensuring the timely shipment of customer orders.
Lastly, it’s important to walk new clients through your 3PL software customer portal so they can look up available inventory and order data in real-time.
Is the WMS Inventory Management Information Accurate?
There is no point in having one or even several third-party logistics warehouse management systems if the information within is inaccurate. That’s why it is imperative that you evaluate your 3PL WMS software at least annually.
Are orders from EDI transactions pulling inventory from the correct stock sequence? Does each 3PL warehouse location communicate accurate information in real-time? When you initially selected your third-party logistics software, you were relying on having real-time visibility into your inventory levels and movements, which is essential in your supply chain process. An annual evaluation can bring any 3PL software system problems to the forefront if they haven’t been already.
Your 3PL warehouse management software helps your company effectively manage orders, shipping, receiving, and fulfillment processes across multiple locations. With access to real-time visibility into inventory levels and stock movements at multiple warehouses, locations within your supply chain network are able to communicate with each other while keeping up-to-date information on available inventories.
Safety is also a priority when packing and shipping orders; third-party warehouse solutions must properly identify hazardous materials, cold storage SKUs, and their associated destinations. Competent 3PL software can help ensure these items are managed properly.
Does Your Third-Party Logistics Software Improve Efficiency?
3PL WMS software offers vast improvements in efficiency for warehouse management systems and overall operations. By utilizing 3PL software, processes such as order picking, packing, shipping, and receiving can be streamlined, saving time and money while increasing productivity. The inventory tracking process is also made easier with the help of this type of 3PL warehouse management system software since one of its many benefits is the ability to reduce errors, fulfill orders, and quickly collect and share data from each part of the supply chain.
Companies that use 3PL WMS software often experience faster average delivery times and fewer errors in comparison to those that don’t leverage third-party logistics technology. Therefore, supply chain 3PL software is a valuable resource for improved efficiency within warehouse operations.
Has Your WMS Software Increased Customer Satisfaction Ratings?
For any third-party logistics facility aiming to increase client satisfaction, reviewing and evaluating the capabilities of their warehouse management software is very important. In order to truly maximize customer contentment, it is important that clients have access to all necessary information they need on order status, shipping dates, and inventory availability from an easy-to-use cloud-based portal.
Additionally, ensuring that your customer service representatives (CSRs) have the resources and organization needed in order to quickly answer questions and fulfill support tickets helps ensure happy customers! Investing time and effort in 3PL WMS features can be a crucial step in increasing the satisfaction of your customers and service ratings.
Are the 3PL WMS Reporting Features Satisfactory and Working Properly?
It’s essential to ask yourself if your third-party logistics WMS reporting features are satisfactory and working properly. It boils down to assessing the software’s ability to generate accurate reports that provide insight into shipping performance metrics like order accuracy rate and inventory levels. The reporting function is crucial if you want to reach your third-party logistics goals. It offers the perfect way to provide your customers with data on order fulfillment for different companies, shipping costs, billing, and more.
Make sure you have the option of generating proper reports to meet governing compliance regulations, plus run customized ones when you need them without extra programming from your WMS software provider. Ultimately, it’s paramount that the specific features of your 3PL WMS reporting options offer an easy way for you to gather information about your operations for more efficient decision-making.
Are You Receiving Updates for Your 3PL Software?
Having 3PL software in place is a great way to manage your warehouse processes and gain efficiencies. One of the biggest benefits is having access to the latest software updates from your WMS provider. Updates typically come through at least once a year, and each one can offer new features and application enhancements to make sure your operations are running smoothly.
If you’re not receiving any updates from your WMS provider, that’s usually a red flag. As quickly as the supply chain changes, an out-of-date application could cripple your 3PL’s fulfillment process and hurt your business. In addition, if support sent you a software update but you have yet to initiate the installation process, it means that you’re missing out on potential upgrades and program fixes, which could lead to hiccups down the road. In other words, proactive updates are key for keeping everything running optimally!
Do You Need More Third-Party Logistics WMS Features?
You already know how third-party logistics and warehouse management systems software can play important roles in streamlining your warehousing operations. But if you’re still struggling with efficiency, it may be time to assess whether the current software features you’re using meet your needs.
Adding new features or plugins to your current 3PL software can help automate processes that you currently do manually. Some examples include annual inventory cycle counts, customer billing, labor tracking, and customer returns. Implementing new software modules can drastically improve your workflow. Even small changes to your third-party logistics software can result in major gains for business owners looking to increase efficiency without adding significant labor costs.
Has Your 3PL Software Provided a Good ROI?
When assessing the performance of your third-party logistics WMS software, it’s important to remember that you’re investing in a tool for improving your ROI. Evaluating the return on investment should be an integral part of any 3PL warehouse management software review.
You’ll want to look at whether or not you’re able to maintain a balance between the costs of operation and the value you’re getting from specific features such as inventory visibility, improved order fulfillment cycles, more accurate data entry and reporting, labor optimization, and automated processes. If your 3PL software isn’t delivering on ROI, it might be time to consider a different WMS system that offers better performance and cost savings.
By taking the time to review your 3PL WMS Software annually, it helps ensure that it is meeting the needs of your business now and in the future or whether you need to consider looking for a new WMS provider.
If your 3PL needs assistance reviewing your current WMS software’s effectiveness, contact Logimax for a professional consultation and more information on our innovative warehouse management solutions.