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Is Your 3PL an Integration Expert? Here are 4 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Contract

BusinessIs Your 3PL an Integration Expert? Here are 4...

As your business grows in both volume and complexity, playing the modern fulfillment game for an apparel or fashion brand can become overwhelming. In fact, without integrations in place to manage your orders and foster communication between your various sales, order, inventory, returns and warehouse systems, managing it all can quickly suck up all your bandwidth, leaving less time for growth activities.

If your brand is starting to scale up but you haven’t integrated all of your systems together, it may be time to seek the help of a fully third-party logistics (3PL) fulfillment company that has the right blend of integration expertise.

But buyer beware. Not all 3PLs are the same and all of them seem to claim integration capabilities. To ensure your 3PL truly understands the integrations game, be sure to ask these four key questions. Don’t sign on the dotted line until you get a confident YES to each one (with proof to back it up). The growth of your brand depends upon it.

1. Does the 3PL have an in-house technical team to handle integrations?

An in-house development team is a strong indicator that a 3PL can manage and customize integrations to fit your specific needs. An on-site team – not some 3rd party tech team in another country – is essential for configuring integrations, troubleshooting synchronization issues, and creating custom solutions that fit your business needs. Their presence ensures quick problem resolution and the ability to adapt and scale as your business evolves and technology standards change. At no time does this become more critical during peak sales seasons, such as Black Friday, when an unresolved technical glitch can cost you dearly in lost sales.

2. Does the 3PL use middleware to connect multiple systems into one hub?

Top-notch 3PLs employ intermediary software to link their warehouse management systems with your sales, order, inventory, and accounting systems. Multi-channel inventory management software like Blastramp.com consolidates multiple sales channels (like Shopify, JOOR, NuOrder) into a single hub that provides you with real-time visibility into your supply chain. This behind-the-scenes software enables seamless order flow and real-time inventory visibility, synchronizing data across channels to keep product availability and delivery status updated for everyone in the supply chain.

3. Can the 3PL integrate all your systems directly into their warehouse management system (WMS)?

Direct integration with a 3PL’s WMS streamlines operations by providing immediate visibility into inventory levels, order status, and other critical data. In real terms, this means that your warehouse can immediately start the fulfillment process the moment your customer completes an ecommerce sale. Integrating your sales directly with your 3PL pick and pack warehouse eliminates the need for manual data entry and communication, reduces human error, and ensures that all parties are working with the same information. Improved coordination reduces misunderstandings and delays, leading to more efficient operations and an improved customer experience.

4. Does the 3PL have existing two-way integrations with major e-commerce platforms?

Two-way integrations with major e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce ensure seamless data exchange between your sales channels and the 3PL’s systems. This capability reduces errors and helps you maintain consistent order information and inventory levels. Automated processes save time, reduce data discrepancies, and help prevent issues like overselling, overstocking, and delayed shipments. If you’re in the fashion/apparel industry, using specialized inventory management integrations can significantly improve your operational efficiency.

Is Your 3PL an Integration Expert?

Choosing the right 3PL means forming a strong partnership with an integration expert who can support your business growth. Asking the above four key questions will help you identify a 3PL that can deliver seamless operations and exponential scalability. Don’t settle for any 3PL that cannot answer the above questions with confidence and evidence.

Seeking a reliable 3PL? For brands looking to expand into the North American market, consider the best 3PL in Canada ; rated highly by customers and able to offer fully integrated, professional fulfillment services tailored to meet the needs of your growing brand.

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