The benefits of integrated fulfillment
When putting together your fulfilment operation, it’s important to weigh up all of your different options.
Whether you’re going with second-party logistics (2PL), where you handle all of your warehousing but outsource your shipping, or third-party logistics (3PL), where both are outsourced, you’ll need a reliable integration.
You could try doing your integrations in-house - but why risk it when you could partner with an experienced provider?
First, let's look at some of the benefits of integrating your fulfilment. Then we'll look at different systems you can integrate with.
Track your stock
Whether you’re integrating a WMS to do your warehousing yourself, or a 3PL to outsource everything, one of the biggest advantages of integrated fulfilment is the different methods of tracing your stock.
Inventory materials can be tracked using lot, batch and serial numbers by different management systems. That means, whenever something enters your warehouse, it’ll be automatically logged - and when you send something out for delivery, your stock will be adjusted appropriately.
Tracking your stock also means tracking its physical location in your warehouse. If you’re handling the warehousing process yourself, it can be a bit overwhelming for your team trying to find individual items across a huge space; integrating a WMS lets you find those materials with ease.
Accurate inventory visibility
In retail businesses, inventory is accurate only 63% of the time. By integrating your fulfilment, you negate that inaccuracy as most WMS or 3PLs will have real-time reporting of stock levels.
That means you can see and manage any lost, forgotten or outdated inventory in real-time. No more time wasted on hunting down your items or monitoring levels on clipboards; you’ll either have everything shown on your WMS dashboard, or your reliable 3PL will take care of everything and provide you with the information.
More effective and efficient labour
Whether you’re thinking of integrating a WMS or 3PL as your fulfilment option, the improvements to the workforce completing orders will be similar.
For a WMS, you’ll have more control over your own team and will be able to optimise their paths and assign specific tasks to ensure you’re making the most of the work day. There’s a lot of jobs which need completing per day in a warehouse, and a WMS identifies high priority targets to make sure you know the most efficient way to run your operation.
With a 3PL, there’s also efficiency guaranteed even if you’re not directly overseeing the warehouse. 3PL companies are experts in their field, and have the best systems available to them which means they’ve optimised their workforce for maximum effectiveness.
What else can you integrate to boost your fulfilment performance?
You don’t need to stop with just integrating your WMS and storefront - there’s other things you can integrate with them to improve your operation.
If you have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, you can integrate your WMS with that to manage processes across your entire business, with the addition of real-time warehouse tracking.
You could also integrate a transport management system (TMS) to better plan the movement of goods, or a cross-border management solution like Global-e to ease the risk of international transactions.
Most 3PLs will have their own tech stack set up, so it’s worth researching what systems they have integrated before making a decision.
If you’re at the stage where you’re looking at a variety of processes and platforms to integrate your fulfilment, Patchworks has a wide portfolio and years of experience.
With a wide range of partners, we also know who might be the best provider to get you set up with - so whether you’re looking for a WMS reliable integration, or just some friendly consultation, get in touch today.