You’re growing fast. New customers are signing on every day. Orders are coming in by the hundreds and you’ve got inventory waiting on your doorstep to be processed. It’s getting harder to keep track of the hundreds of things happening concurrently on the warehouse floor. Mistakes are being made. And to top it all off, your existing customers are starting to demand faster and better service.
With so many things going on at once, it’s easy for a growing 3PL to get overwhelmed, especially when you’re using Excel or custom software. Running a warehouse demands patience, a clear head, and strict attention to detail – a tall order for any growing business. As a 3PL owner, your time and attention are split across multiple tasks all vital to running a successful business. So don’t wear yourself thin. Instead, opt for a fulfillment software solution that can take some of that pressure off you and your team.
Do You Really Need Fulfillment Software?
Challenges in fulfillment like redundant processes and seasonal demand are things that all 3PLs face every season, but if you’re starting to notice more and more mistakes or getting one too many complaints, it might be time to consider a change.
Here are five red flags you should look out for and the KPIs you should be monitoring:
- Increasing number of errors and mistakes – the bigger your warehouse, the more complex your workflows will become and the easier it is to make mistakes. One KPI you should monitor is the order accuracy rate, which will tell you how accurately your team is picking, packing, and shipping out orders. A good average benchmark for 3PLs that we’ve found is 99.5%*.
- Increasing time and labor need to fulfill orders – Customers want their orders fast. The longer they wait, the more complaints and penalties you’ll get. Keep an eye on your “orders shipped in SLA” KPI; this will tell you how well you’re meeting your promised delivery times. Aim for a 95% rate*.
- Rising operational costs per unit – As your business grows, fulfillment costs per item should decrease. To get a clearer picture of your overall costs and efficiency, track your gross margin percentage. A good benchmark for 3PLs is around 70%*.
- High staff dissatisfaction – With the industry’s current labor challenges, it’s more important than ever to keep your staff happy. Keep an eye on your employee turnover rate as this tracks the proportion of employees who leave over a set period. In 2021, the average industry turnover was 47.2%; aim for around 30%*.
- Low customer satisfaction rate – Creating a good customer experience is more important today than ever before. A great way to gauge customer satisfaction is through your net promoter score. If you have more promoters, or customers who are willing to recommend your company to others, you’re in a good place. A good benchmark score is 30*.
Tip: If you want to know more about evaluating your warehouse performance, here are 11 KPIs you should be tracking to grow your business the right way. *The e-book also includes the formula for all 11 KPIs and benchmarks you should aim for, just like the ones in this post.
Fulfillment software is designed to help you run day-to-day processes so you can concentrate on scaling your business. It’s a significant investment, but it can also dramatically increase your warehouse’s efficiency and productivity. Think of it as the best partner you could have as a 3PL.
Consider a Smart Fulfillment Solution
The most common fulfillment software types on the market are warehouse management systems (WMS), order management systems (OMS) and transport management systems (TMS).
A WMS helps you manage inventory, focusing on the storage and movement of products in and out of the warehouse. Designed to manage most of the day-to-day activities in a warehouse, it oversees inventory receiving and put-away, optimizes picking, and can advise on restocking. An OMS, on the other hand, manages the order lifecycle. It accepts orders from various marketplaces, manages inventory levels, and oversees order fulfillment from the moment an order is placed to when it leaves the warehouse for shipping. Lastly, a TMS oversees the movement of goods, allowing you full visibility into the shipping process.
However, these are generally sold as separate software. If you want an all-in-one solution that combines the best features of all three, look for a smart fulfillment platform like VeraCore’s. Such a platform provides you an end-to-end, fully customizable, and intelligent solution to take the burden of tracking all those minute details off you and your team.
An all-in-one solution
An ideal smart fulfillment solution covers every aspect of a working warehouse, from warehouse and inventory maintenance, order management and shipping to account management and billing. It also includes built-in integrations for all major fulfillment companies, so you’re covered at every touchpoint.
There are a lot of processes that can be automated within the warehouse – the challenge is setting everything up correctly. A smart fulfillment platform brings in intelligent automation from the start. It applies logic and defines a set of rules that once set up, can be then applied to all processes throughout the warehouse, allowing you to save time and hassle.
Fully customizable workflows
No warehouse runs the same way. A smart fulfillment platform gives you the customization and flexibility to configure and tailor all your workflows so everything runs exactly how you’d like it. It also allows you to set individual rules to accommodate specific requirements for each customer.
Features that put your customer first
One of the biggest consumers of time and attention is ensuring your clients are happy, that they have the data they need to understand decisions and the control to make them. Smart fulfillment features like client portals and onboarding tools make it easy for you to get them the information they need without needing to go through customer service.
We’re Here to Help
Fulfillment software is designed to help you work smarter. It’s meant to take away some of the pressure of running a successful warehouse so you can focus on making the big decisions.
At VeraCore, we believe in proactive planning, which is why we’ve made it a point to create a smart fulfillment platform that makes running a successful 3PL easier, not more complicated. Our solution gives 3PLs like yours the ability to plan proactively and automate your processes so that your software works for you and not the other way around.
Garrett leads the VeraCore team with a fundamental mission at its core – to help 3PL and fulfillment providers succeed by solving complex business challenges with technology. He oversees the development of scalable and efficient solutions that allow businesses to stay competitive in the fast-moving logistics, fulfillment, and e-commerce verticals.