As with other industries, the transport and trucking industry has undergone significant changes in recent years. In the current business landscape, third-party logistics (3PL) software has become an increasingly important tool for those involved in last mile deliveries.
Your customers depend on you to fulfill their orders efficiently, accurately, and transparently. The fulfillment of orders is a critical aspect of many businesses, and you need to do it well if you want to keep your clients satisfied. However, order fulfillment is a complex, multistage process that begins before the order is even placed, encompassing all the complexities or the modern supply chain up to and including the last mile.
Despite appearing simple from the outside, these processes involve a lot of data and complex parameters, and even the smallest glitch, especially at the last mile, can cause everything to go awry. Luckily, modern 3PL software can provide solutions in these situations.
As a 3PL, you need to leverage solutions that can streamline and automate the process. In addition to saving you time and headaches, 3PL solutions can also prove to be cost-effective for your business and help you retain customers in the short and long term. The question is: how do you choose the best 3PL software, and how do 3PL software reviews fit into the process of choosing the right one?
3PL Software Reviews: How to Find the Best
If you're interested in purchasing new technology to manage your third party logistics operations, it's possible that you've already read some 3PL software reviews. While these reviews may have their limits, they can also provide an understanding of the providers and solutions you might be interested in.
You can use them to help you distinguish between what the vendors claim on their product catalogs or websites and the actual features of the software. You can also get a sense of some of the intangibles, like customer service and software updates, that have a big impact on the success of a software deployment. Below is a list of things to look for in 3PL platform reviews to help you figure out which solution is best for your business:
Elements of Great 3PL Software Reviews
Here are some elements you might look for when reading reviews for 3PL software systems:
As you seek to transform your company's last mile delivery processes, it’s important to ensure that the 3rd party logistics software you choose is equipped with the most advanced technology. After all, modern 3PL software solutions help reduce errors and costs by streamlining and automating processes—but they can only do that as long as they’re interoperable with your other solutions and still offering the most up-to-date tech. Here, your best bet for finding solutions that are truly future-proof is to opt for true SaaS technology that’s constantly being updated for improved performance. If the software you’re considering doesn’t offer these things, it should be pretty obvious from the reviews.
In many cases, the primary reason a company finds it necessary to outsource their last mile logistics is that their business has become too large to handle in-house deliveries. That means that, as a 3PL, your own ability to scale can be a huge part of your value prop. Keeping your business growing is your goal, so opt for 3PL software that can grow with you—i.e. one that enables you to scale the amount of trucks and orders you’re managing up or down as needed without the fuss that comes with adding on-site servers.
Ideally, software reviews for your preferred solution will talk about the ease of automation within the system. Businesses must choose software that allows them to flexibly define rules for determining how orders should be prioritized, treated, and delivered, while giving them freedom over how they configure internal alerts, connect with customers, and receive updates from drivers.
Excellent value for money
Cost saving is one of the reasons why businesses choose to outsource some aspects of the logistics to a 3PL provider—which is why your software as a 3PL provider needs to empower you to operate in a cost-efficient manner. Choose a SaaS software that is appropriate for your needs, i.e. something that offers real-time tracking, intelligent route optimization, customer communication capabilities, and a holistic approach to last mile efficiency from end to end.
Clearly, real-time order tracking is one of the most important aspects in any review. Dispatchers and fleet managers can use this feature to accurately track drivers, vehicles, and orders throughout the entire process.
A software review can provide insights into whether the system enables a seamless, continuous exchange of information, or whether it creates data silos as a result of its structure.
Reviewers might also highlight the usefulness of the visibility for other issues like managing exceptions and identifying last-mile challenges. Here, you should look out for mentions of a dashboard offering a view of the orders, live tracking, and easy exception management. The dashboard’s user interface must be flexible and can be customized for your needs.
You may also want to check out reviews that detail the software’s ability to track drivers’ behavior such as overspeeding, harsh acceleration, cornering, and braking to help fleet managers recognize which drivers need a little coaching. At the same time, reviews should give an indication of how easy or difficult it is to provide visibility to your clients.
In-depth analysis of KPIs and performance
Helpful 3PL software reviews may also tackle how well the solution provides configurable reports regarding costs, delivery performance, and other key performance indicators (KPIs) related to logistics operations. You want to be able to easily and effectively assess your performance using various metrics.
As executives learn how to utilize data to make informed decisions across the entire last mile, they can enhance customer satisfaction, reduce expenditures, and raise their profits. That’s why it is so important to make sure you will have robust reporting and data integration capabilities with your new 3PL management software.
Ultimately, the right 3PL software system can help make or break the performance and health of your delivery operations. You need to use all the tools at your disposal if you want to make the right decision. Meeting with sales representatives, scheduling demonstrations, and, of course, reading 3PL solution reviews are all key to choosing the best solution. The bottom line is that you need to make sure your 3PL software provider supports you in every way they can so that you succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.