There are many things to take into consideration anytime you are looking for the best... well, anything. And it's no different when talking about which 3PL software platform is the best out there.
Of course, a lot of this decision-making is based on personal preference and individualized needs. However, there are a few general things that all good logistics software solutions have in common and that you should be looking for when choosing a platform. Oh, and of course, the 3PL partner you choose to work with will also determine the platform choices available to you to a certain degree.
So, to help you along, we've put together a list of the 3 most important factors to consider when choosing your next 3PL software platform. Whether it is your first time or 100th time working with these solutions, following these simple guidelines you'll save time, money and stress. Most importantly, you will find the best fit for your supply chain operation and keep business flowing smoothly.
The Cloud is Your Friend
The main problem with any software solution is that technology moves faster and introduces better systems on an almost monthly basis. It can sometimes feel as if as soon as you get a system installed, updated and running, and all of a sudden a new upgrade becomes available. This results in spending more time and sometimes more money to upgrade your system. And for systems that are hosted on a physical server in-house, this means manual maintenance and potential downtime while the changes are made. For larger businesses, this downtime can result in thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Luckily, this is where cloud-computing really comes in handy. Better yet, any decent 3PL software platform will feature cloud integration.
The cloud is a storage system that is contained through redundant servers and can be accessed remotely. And due to the way the cloud works, updates can generally be performed without any downtime.
Aside from providing the ability to update your software on the fly and without much human intervention, the cloud-based network offers a certain level of flexibility. Allowing users remote access to reports, tools, and apps remotely from most devices is what makes cloud-computing one of the best technological advancements of our time. And the logistics industry has not been shy to adopt, adapt, and attribute the technology to great successes!
A Good 3PL Software Platform is User-Friendly
Although technology can help improve operational efficiency, it is useless if your users can’t access the tools with ease.
Most of today’s advanced 3PL software solutions focus on individual user access. This means that most of these systems provide the ability to create multiple user profiles. Each of those profiles can then be assigned specific roles. These roles allow unique access to programs, files, or apps that they need to be able to view or modify and restrict access to others.
For example, the same 3PL software program can be configured for managers, department leads, or individual employees to use. Each one of these account types gives users specific access to programs, files, and tools they need. This unique option allows companies to keep sensitive data secure and provide access to users on an "as needed" basis.
The dashboard should be easy for users to configure to their personal preferences and comfort level. The general workflow should be intuitive, straight to the point and easy to understand.
If the software solution you are considering lacks the user-friendly aspect, it's time to look in a different direction!
3PL Software Platform Solutions are Powered by 3PLs
The best way to ensure a smooth transition is by working with a professional 3PL like Redwood Logistics. We have been working with technology providers that design cloud-based solutions specifically for shippers. This technology expertise in the fulfillment and tasks of a 3PL provides a unique blend of practicality that decision-makers appreciate.
Ultimately, any company can make use of a 3PL platform. However, without the expertise of an experienced 3PL managing them, the mileage may vary. (no pun intended)
A professional 3PL can help you choose a software system that is compatible with your existing software platforms. They can also help you implement the program, assist with training, and ensure that the platform is scalable.
If you’re thinking about upgrading to a new 3PL software solution for the 2020 fiscal year, contact the logistics experts at Redwood Logistics today.