Because of our focus within the 3PL warehousing industry, we frequently are asked if we have any recommendations of the Best 3PL Warehouse Software systems. In order to help point warehousing companies in the right direction for this very important and critical decision, we first conducted an online survey of all of our warehouses to determine which systems were most liked by warehousing firms. You can view the results of this survey HERE, which include information on the percentage of companies that purchase/lease software versus build in house, the most common purchased/leased software, and feedback about the pros and cons of these systems.
Next, we decided to compile some of the most important features to look for when researching a new software package for your warehouse. A few of our warehousing vendors volunteered information on what things they looked for in a new system. Below are some of the most important software requirements they listed.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Next 3PL Warehouse Software System
There are many different 3PL Software systems out there but it can be quite overwhelming to find the right one to fit your specific needs. When you start looking for new software it is important to know what the shortcomings are of your current system and what you need from the new system. We know that the requirements for a 3PL company can be very comprehensive as they are working for many different customers and possibly for different locations, which may even be in different states. Once you have a list of what you are looking for it is also important to keep the basics in mind. What are some other things that a 3PL warehouse should look for? We recommend looking at customization, automated billing and customer support as some of the most important factors so you can ensure that you will enjoy your new 3pl software system for years to come. Software needs to be continually updated to keep up with the fast-paced world we live in and it is important to invest in a system that will be able to do this alongside your business.
Customization of the 3PL Software
Looking at the different 3PL software systems that are out there, one thing that stands out is the difference in the ability to customize their system. Some interfaces are very easy to use but leave little to be customized for a 3PL and others are not quite as user friendly but there is training available to support you in customizing the system to your needs and requirements. Customization is very important in order to best meet your needs in the future as well. If you are able to adjust the system for your own requirements you know that you will be able to do so in the future as well when the requirements of your customers change. If there is a team available to guide you on how to best modify the software then that is even better. Bottom line – If the 3PL software has the flexibility to adapt to new situations it will let you better serve your customers and not have to worry about software capabilities later down the line.
3PL Software Billing Requirements
For every customer a 3PL company has there is a possibility that the services are charged for in different ways to meet the unique needs of each individual customer. It is important that the warehouse software can adapt to these different billing processes. If the warehouse software is able to automate the billing procedure to takes away a major burden for the accounting department and at the same time ensures that less errors can occur in the billing process.
Customer Support and Ability to Request or Implement Changes
Customer support should also definitely be one of the top things to look for. Software for 3PL services can be very intricate as these kind of software needs to be customized for many different customers. It is very important to have the right support. When a problem occurs in the system it needs to be resolved quickly in order for you to serve your customers best. Customers outsource their business to 3PL warehouses so they do not have to deal with these problems. If it takes days for support to fix an issue with the warehouse software it also means that there is loss of business for the end customer, which could also potentially lead to the warehouse losing business. Furthermore, if new updates that are needed for your business take months to get on the development schedule, you may have to implement workarounds that can be time consuming and costly. When looking at reviews you specifically look for quick response of customer support.
Other Most Important Considerations: Integration with Online Sales Channels and Bar Code Capability
With the growth of e-commerce, warehousing and fulfillment companies have had to adapt by integrating their warehouse software with a number of varying sales channels in order to receive orders automatically, send various information such as tracking information back to the client, and offer customized client reporting. The best 3PL warehouse software programs make this process easy by utilizing technology to enable the 3PL to integrate quickly with any of hundreds of online shopping carts, EDI software, and accounting and billing systems. Furthermore, warehouses are moving increasingly in the direction of automating as much of the receiving, storage, and pick/ship process as possible – requiring the need for the 3PL software to integrate with different bar code systems, pick systems, and other electronic devices. The best 3PL software companies are not only offering solutions in this regard, but also keeping up with the pace of change so that new requirements are implemented quickly.
WarehousingAndFulfillment.com Recommended ‘Top’ 3PL Warehouse Software Programs
After our review, the following are 3PL software solutions that we recommend that you consider in your search for a new software for your warehouse company.
ShipEdge Warehouse Software
ShipEdge has good reviews all across the board. ShipEdge is able to integrate with almost all selling channels, which nowadays is very important with e-commerce becoming such an important sales channel. There are many functions such as shipping management, inventory control, automated billing, barcoding, KPI reporting, etc. They also seem to concentrate more on the growing e-commerce businesses which will be a great value to have a software that understand all of the new e-commerce trends. With ShipEdge, you get an implementations manager, as well as online documentation available that will all be able to assist you on how to best utilize the system for your needs.
One of the unique aspects of ShipEdge is its Billing features – which is set up in a way that requires 3PL customers to pre-pay for services. Because of this, 3PL warehouses can reduce cash flow issues and spend money where they need to. The billing functionality keeps track of pre-paid balances and makes billing a worry-free scenario. All of the billing functionality is viewable by the end customer in a series of reports that are real-time.
ShipEdge also focuses on one of the critical areas of the warehouse process – receiving. The software focuses more attention on the purchase order and replenishment of goods, knowing that if receiving is negatively impacted all other areas of the warehouse falls apart.
From our own research we would like to add that ShipEdge does not appear to have the extensive customization capabilities some of the larger 3PL warehouses might need to cover all of their bases. However, considering price/quality it definitely would be well suited for the smaller to mid-range 3PL companies and more than capable of meeting the demands of this segment of the market.
Infoplus is a web-based system that offers a lot of communication if so desired by a 3PL. There are alerts for almost everything, including low stock alerts, shipping alerts, etc. These alerts come in per email, which makes it easier for employees to catch. The dashboard is customizable and is very easy to navigate as well as having a quick search which can make it even easier to find the necessary transactions. There are smart filters, which again can be customized to the individual warehouse process. They allow access to all data in real-time, which makes reporting a breeze. As well as giving the warehouse the ability to choose which information they share with their end-customers. The system also can create processes out of exceptions which can significantly control any errors should they occur. It also has the capability to let an employee know how best to stack a pallet with the materials that are requested in an order. All of these options make it much easier to prevent errors and is so user friendly that every employee can process almost any order. As they say on their website it “eliminates the warehouse hero” and can give all of your employees the same capabilities. Besides all of the customization we discussed above it also gives you the ability to customize billing and their customer support has some great reviews. Of course, because they offer extensive customization, they may not be as willing to perform small changes and force them onto other clients, as some warehouse software program companies prefer.
In terms of downside, the only potentials are relative newness to the market (which isn’t necessarily a negative but simply something to consider), and the price point. Smaller or start-up 3PLs may not have the budget for Infoplus, but certainly the more established 3PLs that desire to control every aspect of the warehouse programmatically will find the software to be well worth the cost. Finally, Infoplus doesn’t provide in-software billing, but with all of the customizations allowed within the software and reporting, you can easily prepare any report for import into your billing systems.
Some of the other 3PL Software Programs on the Market
Below are some of the other programs that you might want to consider.
CIO Direct is a web based order management software (OMS) and warehouse management system (WMS). It is a software as a service (SaaS) application so there are no expensive installations or upgrades. CIO Direct was developed as a 3PL Software as well as for use by multi-channel merchants. The system is easily configured to receive orders from multiple sources and function seamlessly with existing shipping software.
Ramp Systems is an Enterprise software company dedicated to providing superior WMS and EDI software to the Logistics Industry, specifically 3PL, PRW and Fulfillment operations.
Founded in 2006 and staffed exclusively by industry veterans with extensive operations, services and software backgrounds, Ramp Systems was created with the primary goal of dramatically reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of software solutions required by our customers to operate their business while simultaneously providing innovative, modern and superior solutions that do more than the competition “out of the box”. Key components of value proposition include perpetual licenses, customer driven updates and upgrades always provided at no cost, reasonable services rates and rapid turnaround times
The Ramp Mission: Provide superior, modern and innovative software solutions that align with the increasing demands of our clients’ business. We strive to minimize our customers’ total cost of ownership (TCO), while maximizing productivity and profitability.
Conveyorware is a business distribution software built by a warehousing and fulfillment pioneer specifically for fulfillment and logistics firms. It offers a unique set of features developed through years of experiences and truly offers an all in one package for 3pl firms. It is a pay as you go software that makes it truly affordable to have best in class fulfillment software at your fingertips – starting at $100 per month.
3PL Central provides easy-to-use on-demand warehouse management software (WMS) exclusively for third-party logistics companies helping them run more efficiently, grow their business and satisfy customers— all starting at less than $500 per month per warehouse.
Veracore was a widely used option among our 3PL warehouse companies in our survey. Veracore specializes in fulfillment companies, commercial printers, 3PL’s and e-retailers to manage their fulfillment operations.
Netsuite is yet another popular system. While Netsuite doesn’t specialize in the 3PL warehouse industry, it does offer enterprise level capabilities.
SmartTurn focuses on the 3PL warehouse industry and offers a solid alternative for 3PLs to consider.
Some Other Software Programs You Should Consider for Integrating Varying Systems
Sometimes, systems need further programming to ‘connect’. For example, not every 3PL software program has the “out-of-the-box” capability to integrate with every shopping cart. In these case, your warehouse is left with manually coding a new integration, which takes time. Companies like Dropstream take some of the pain out of this process by helping your warehouse system integrate without having to perform the programming in-house.
Dropstream provides an on-demand solution to help third-party logistics companies reach more customers with an order fulfillment workflow integration using todays most popular shopping cart platforms. Using Dropstream you’ll be able to automatically receive orders from your customers using any one of our supported eCommerce platforms, including 3dcart, Magento, Magento Go, Shopify, BigCommerce, Amazon, and more.