Many third party logistics (3PL) partners are currently available, which can make it difficult to identify one that’s a good fit for you. The reporting capability that a 3PL provider offers is often a good way to narrow down your candidate list. Logistics reporting tools are one of the most useful resources in the shipping industry, especially those that track shipping information in real time.
Shippers rely on reports to avoid disruptions in the supply chain, which is essential for customer satisfaction. The ability to monitor logistics service is also critical, as it allows shippers to determine who they want to represent their brand.
A reputable e-commerce third party logistics provider routinely generates reports for their clients that contain information on inventory, manifests, shipping and orders.
An inventory is a complete record of the products stored in a physical location. That can be whether it’s your own warehouse or warehousing provided by your 3PL service. Once the warehouse has been stocked, you need to monitor and manage inventory levels as they change over time.
It’s particularly important when stock is running low for a particular product before it’s completely depleted. Key information in an inventory report includes total available stock, the stock that’s reserved for backorders and incoming stock that hasn’t been received yet.
Inventory reports should be readily available. These types of 3PL reports may generally be classified into current stock level reports, dated stock level reports and stock received reports.
- A current stock level report shows an overview of the stock on hand at the time the report is generated.
- A dated stock level report provides the same information as a current stock level report, except for a particular date in the past.
- A stock received report shows products received within a given date range, rather than a specific time.
Ideally you want some kind of dashboard that can give you an overview of all the inventory you have. That’s key for efficient inventory management.
2. Warehouse Management
Understanding how to efficiently and effectively manage a warehouse can make or break an e-commerce company. Without it, orders won’t be fulfilled quickly, products could get lost, and more.
Solid warehouse reporting should include information on staffing. How many pickers and packers do you need to fulfill all your orders on any given day? How efficient are those workers? Do they typically get through all the orders they need to pick and pack each day? This provides key information on how well the warehouse employees are performing.
Other information you want in your warehouse reporting is around organization. Do you know how much product is in your warehouse? Do you know exactly where it lives within the warehouse?
Make sure your reporting provides information about how warehouses are organized and the product as it moves in and out of a warehouse. This ensures you know how much space you have and which warehouses are shipping what.
Shipping reports provide information on shipping orders, primarily shipping options and rules. That includes the source and destination addresses.
These reports also include options for shipping products from warehouses that are closest based on the destination. This is where working with a third party logistics provider with multiple warehouse options can come in handy. You’ll save shipping time and money, which all helps improve your customer experience.
For example, a shipping rule could require warehouse A to ship orders bound for states X, Y and Z. Shipping rules can also specify exceptions, such as requiring orders bound for state X to be sourced from warehouse B if warehouse A is out of stock.
For your reporting, you want to be sure your 3PL provides detailed information to optimize your shipping processes. Do they help you determine the size box needed to ship things? Do they help you find the cheapest shipping option?
Overall, can you see what is being shipped, from where, and how much it is costing you? If you can’t, look for a 3PL partner that can provide that information for you.
Reports on order fulfillment provides information on live sales. It should help organize and track orders from multiple marketplaces and multiple warehouses all in one place. This gives a necessary view of the whole order management process.
Good reporting allows you to break down orders into fulfillments. Sometimes you need multiple fulfillments if orders have to be shipped separately or from different warehouses. This is why one simple reporting platform is key to have a birds-eye view on your fulfillment process.
The reporting should include information to simplify your reverse logistics process as well. Reverse logistics can be costly and time consuming. But if your 3PL partner provides technology to help you manage it, you can have a seamless process.
3PL reporting should include a variety of reports and information to help make your e-commerce business run smoothly. These reports provide information that’s essential for managing the movement of products. It should make tracking from the order’s fulfillment to its shipment to the customer simple.
Most of these solutions include the reports needed to accomplish this goal. The decision on which 3PL provider to use is therefore more a matter of flexibility and ease of use rather than functionality.
Looking for a partner to help? Contact Tradefull to learn how we can help make your e-commerce business run smoother.