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Third Party Logistics (3PL) providers make their living performing outsourced functions for their clients. They sell their clients on the value of focusing on one’s core competencies and leaving other functions to the experts. Historically, 3PL’s have not always practiced what they preach; many built and maintained their own IT systems with the thought being, “No software provider could possibly understand the complexities of our business model; therefore, a packaged solution will never meet our requirements.”
In recent years that philosophy has shifted. The complexity of operating a third party logistics facility, particularly one that serves multiple clients, has accelerated. As new clients come on board, or existing clients put forth new requirements, 3PL’s must react quickly while protecting their own bottom line. More and more, 3PL’s have realized that building and maintaining mission critical IT systems can be a drain on company resources and instead are partnering with solution providers to enhance their IT capability. Bottom line…3PL’s are now practicing what they preach.
When selecting a Warehouse Management System (WMS), 3PL executives face a seemingly endless number of options. It’s undoubtedly a challenge to sift through all of these options and come to the right decision for their company. Arguably, the most important question to answer in this process is whether to select a solution that is purpose-built for their industry or to select one that has been retroﬁtted for a multi-client, 3PL environment.