A lot of companies trust their supply chain management responsibilities to third party logistics and warehousing providers. As most companies would like to get the best warehousing and logistics services without incurring the costs of setting up their own warehouse management system, they have preferred to outsource these services to a third party logistics (3PL) firm.
This is because 3PL companies specialize in all of these transportation and warehousing services, and they can customize their services to meet the needs of their clients. However, when choosing a third party logistics and warehousing provider, most companies consider the physical and digital technologies that this company offers.
In fact, research has shown that most companies will demand more technologies from 3PLs than they would have ever demanded from themselves. The following are some of the digital and physical technologies that these third party logistics providers must have:
There are very many documents that are handled in supply chain management. Some of them include:
All of these documents should be handled by document automation technologies that will help in the creation and storage of electronic documents. These document automation technologies help 3PL companies to reduce the time that is spent on data entry and proofreading. It also helps the company to save costs on paper, postage, faxes, document storage and labor.
These 3PLs will require their customers to fill template based forms for any repetitive document. They are also using ERPs and CRMs to handle all the accounting documents that are used in the supply chain management industry.
Third party warehousing companies should have technologies that help them to manage, monitor, track and trace the fleet vehicles. The best technologies provide real-time monitoring of anything that they have been entrusted with. The third party logistics and warehousing providers use GPS technologies, GIS technologies, mobile communication technologies and a number of information systems to achieve real-time management and monitoring.
A number of automatic vehicle location systems have also been used to track the exact location of a vehicle and to communicate with the transportation team. The Fleet Management Systems include modules that help to manage the performance of the vehicle and its tires, to check the level of fuel, to monitor the routes that the driver uses, and to take any precautionary measures in case a problem is noticed.
The cloud has made it easier for third party warehousing companies to store information that can be easily accessed by their customers and other people who are involved in the supply chain management. This has helped a lot with communication and supply chain visibility. A Customer Relations Management systems and Transport Management systems can be stored on a cloud server in order to improve communications between the 3PL company and their clients. This technology will make it easier for clients to get real time information on the status of their shipment.
These technologies help with the storage and preservation of the goods that the 3PL has been entrusted with. It is very common with third party logistics providers who handle food and beverages as well as pharmaceutical goods. They may need technologies that help to keep the containers cold and that help to preserve these products.
Security is extremely important in supply chain management and warehousing. Third party warehousing companies must use a number of security applications to ensure that the goods that they are entrusted with arrive in one piece. The security technologies that are used in warehouses include CCTV cameras and real-time monitoring software. The security applications that are used in transit include tracking and tracing devices.
Technology has helped third party logistics companies to lower costs, reduce risks, and increase supply chain visibility. It has also helped to save time and to improve communication and relations with the clients. Ultimately, these technologies have helped to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.