3PL Warehouse with workers and forklifts

Top Challenges Facing 3PL Warehousing Providers and How to Overcome

Third-party logistics (3PL) warehousing providers are constantly facing new challenges. From the growth of eCommerce and the need for faster delivery times to the rise of omnichannel retail, 3PLs must continually adapt their operations to stay competitive. Here we will discuss some of the biggest challenges 3PLs are currently facing and how you can overcome them.

Understanding Third-Party Logistics Operations

The 3PL industry is highly complex and is constantly evolving in this modern economy. 3PLs provide a variety of services, from transportation and distribution to inventory management and storage. As such, 3PL warehouse providers must have an in-depth understanding of their operations as well as industry trends in order to succeed. 3PL warehouse managers should be intimately familiar with the different elements of their business, from freight forwarding and customs clearance to shipping and warehousing.

They also need to stay up-to-date on the latest technological innovations and industry regulations in order to remain competitive. It’s a challenging task, but this understanding will enable 3PLs to identify areas of improvement, as well as potential opportunities for growth.

Top Ten Challenges Facing 3PL Warehousing Providers

There are a variety of challenges 3PL warehousing providers must overcome in order to remain competitive. Here, we will discuss several challenges that are among the most common and pressing issues 3PLs must address:

1. Meeting Customer Expectations

As customers become more demanding, 3PLs must meet consumer expectations for faster delivery times, better service, and lower costs. 3PLs can meet this major challenge by continually improving their supply chain operations and investing in the right technology. Investing in the right WMS software is a great way for 3PLs to streamline their operations and improve the customer experience.

2. Growing Omnichannel Retail

Omnichannel retail is here to stay, and third-party logistics companies must be prepared for the challenges it presents. 3PL warehouses need to have a thorough understanding of omnichannel operations in order to maximize efficiency and profitability. 3PL warehouse managers should regularly assess their current processes and adjust accordingly.

3. Real-Time Visibility

Real-time visibility is a must for 3PLs. Customers expect to be able to track their shipments in real-time and 3PLs must be able to provide this level of service. 3PL warehouses should invest in the right technology, such as best-of-breed WMS software, to ensure that they can offer customers the visibility they need.

4. Managing Inventory

3PLs must be able to accurately track inventory in order to ensure customer satisfaction and reduce losses. 3PL warehouses should invest in technology such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and barcode scanning software in order to improve inventory accuracy and visibility. Additionally, warehouse capacity must be sufficient to ensure they have adequate storage space for inventory.

5. Adapting to eCommerce

eCommerce is growing rapidly, and 3PLs must be prepared for the challenges that come with it. 3PL warehouses need to have a thorough understanding of eCommerce operations and invest in technology such as automated order processing and tracking systems. This will help ensure all the shipments for online shoppers are processed and shipped quickly and accurately.

6. Offering Value-Added Services

Third-party logistics providers can gain a competitive advantage by offering value-added services that extend beyond their core competencies such as labeling, kitting, and assembly. 3PLs should assess their current capabilities and invest in the right technology to offer these services efficiently and cost-effectively.

7. Gain Deeper Insights into Operations

3PLs must have a complete view of their operations in order to make informed decisions and optimize performance. 3PL warehouses should invest in the right technology, such as business intelligence software, to gain deeper insights into their operations. WMS software offers 3PL warehouse operators the ability to monitor KPIs and analyze data in real-time, enabling 3PLs to better manage their operations and make more informed decisions.

8. Ensuring Compliance

3PL warehouses must ensure they are in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. 3PLs should regularly review their policies and procedures to ensure they meet all applicable requirements. Add in the interconnectedness of the global economy and it’s not uncommon for the largest of providers to offer their services worldwide. This presents 3PLs with the challenge of staying up to date on a wide variety of ever-changing international regulations.

9. Safety and Security

3PL warehouses must be vigilant about safety and security in order to protect their employees, customers, and inventory. 3PLs should invest in the appropriate protocols and technology to ensure a safe environment and protect their assets.

10. Improving Collaboration

3PLs must have the right tools and processes in place to facilitate collaboration with partners, customers, and suppliers. 3PL warehouses should invest in technology such as electronic data interchange (EDI) systems to ensure efficient communication and data exchange.

reviewing warehouse reporting by warehouse racks

How Technology Helps Third-Party Logistics Providers

Technology is an invaluable tool for 3PL warehouses. Investing in the right technology solutions can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and help 3PLs stay competitive. Logimax WMS software is designed specifically for 3PLs to help you optimize your operations and gain a competitive edge. From order processing and inventory management to shipping and tracking, Logimax WMS helps 3PLs streamline operations, improve customer service, and maximize profitability.

Aside from warehouse management software, 3PLs must invest in the right hardware, such as barcode scanning devices, RFID readers, and possibly automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) to optimize efficiency and improve accuracy.

3PL warehouses may also invest in other digital solutions such as eCommerce integrations, EDI systems, and business intelligence software to gain better visibility into their operations and make more informed decisions.

Hiring the Right Team

Aside from investing in technology, 3PLs should also focus on hiring and training qualified workers. 3PL warehouse managers should ensure their staff is well-versed in 3PL operations and have a thorough understanding of current trends. But it’s not just hiring new talent, 3PLs must also invest in ongoing training and development to ensure their personnel have the necessary skills to perform at a high level.

Process Improvement

Finally, 3PLs should focus on improving their operational processes. 3PL warehouse managers should regularly assess their current procedures and identify areas of improvement. 3PLs can benefit from automation and optimization techniques to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

With the right technology, personnel, and processes in place, 3PL warehouses can position themselves to overcome any challenge they face.

How Clients Benefit By Outsourcing Logistics Services to Your 3PL Business

Outsourcing 3PL services to a 3PL warehousing provider provides clients with many advantages, such as:

  •  Professional and reliable service: 3PLs have the expertise to manage logistics operations efficiently and reliably.
  •  Increased efficiency: 3PLs can streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve accuracy.
  •  Access to specialized services: 3PLs can offer value-added services such as labeling, kitting, and assembly.
  •  Improved customer service: 3PLs provide clients with timely updates on shipments and accurate delivery times.
  •  Reduced overhead costs: 3PLs can help clients reduce the overhead costs associated with logistics operations.

Logimax WMS Software for 3PL Warehousing Providers

In today’s competitive 3PL warehousing industry, 3PL businesses must invest in the right technology to remain competitive. Logimax WMS is an integrated warehouse management system designed specifically for third-party logistics providers. Our software helps 3PLs increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer service. We offer an in-depth suite of features to manage 3PL operations from end-to-end, including:

  • order processing and tracking
  • inventory control and optimization
  • data analysis
  • 3PL billing systems
  • and much more.

With Logimax 3PL warehousing software, 3PL companies can improve their operations and gain a competitive edge.


The 3PL warehousing industry is constantly evolving and 3PLs must be prepared to face the challenges of a changing landscape. To overcome these challenges and succeed, 3PL warehouses should invest in the right technology, personnel, and processes.

Are you looking for a 3PL WMS to increase efficiency and reduce costs in your business? Logimax WMS is the perfect solution for 3PL warehousing providers. To learn more about how Logimax WMS can help your 3PL warehouse succeed, contact us today for a free consultation.

packages on conveyor belt

How to Prepare Your Warehouse for Peak Season

The holiday rush is upon us, and many retailers are already preparing for the busiest shopping days of the year, also known as Peak Season for sales and shipping. Since this is a make-or-break time for many businesses, shipping disruptions can lead to lost sales and unhappy customers for your clients. No one wants that!

The solution is to maintain good relationships with your clients by getting their orders out on schedule. This will help ensure continued business throughout the rest of the year. Here are some tips on how to prepare your warehouse or 3PL for peak season so you can avoid complications and come out on top.

Definition of Peak Season

small boxes on laptopPeak season refers to the period when demand for products rises sharply due to seasonal events such as holidays and special occasions. This means that there will be more people buying items than usual, so retailers need to make sure they have enough stock available to meet the increased demand. This is where your warehouse or 3PL comes into play. You can help your clients meet their seasonal sales goals, ultimately reaching your storage, shipping, and profit targets.

2022 Warehouse Operations Expectations

Since the beginning of the pandemic, supply chain issues have become a continual part of doing business. Addressing and preparing your warehouse for peak season “as usual” is no longer applicable. Too many variables in the market now exist that will make it harder to predict your peak season planning forecast. Some relevant issues to note include:

  • Additional supply chain problems (backed-up ports, container backlogs, protests, strikes, rising fees, etc.)
  • Changes in customer buying patterns
  • Increased holiday inventory
  • Labor shortages
  • Unpredictable fuel prices
  • Low carrier capacity leading to e-commerce shipping surcharges
  • Inflation and/or a potential recession
  • Possible Covid resurgence

Start Preparing a Plan and a Budget

bar graph - how is your company preparing its operations for peak season?Customer support is key to a successful season. Lost shipments, damaged items, shipping delays, and returns are bound to happen no matter how well your warehouse or 3PL distributes holiday orders during this busy time. Be sure to focus on customer satisfaction, quality control, and warehouse efficiency.

Carrier shipping times will fluctuate. According to an article by DC Velocity, global air freight demand dropped 9% in July as compared to July 2021. However, your warehouse manager should be prepared to ship items earlier than you would any other time of year. Learn each carrier’s strengths and weaknesses so you are not sidelined with an unanticipated problem. Continual carrier communication is key to success in getting your clients’ products into consumers’ hands in time. In addition, air freight rates also dropped in July, yet remain still historically high – up 11% over last year – so it is important to budget accordingly.

Stock up on packaging materials. Packaging supplies are essential for any business, especially during peak season. Consider the current supply chain climate when purchasing what you need to meet demand. In a recent Supply Chain Dive article, John Blake, senior director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, noted that packaging supply is expected to remain tight through the 2022 holiday season. “Currently we’re seeing six months’ [lead time] where it used to be four to six weeks,” he said. “Things like labels have 12 to 16-week lead times, where it used to be four to six.” With supplier expectations about production schedules changing, companies need to talk with their suppliers now and figure out where they will be in the next four to six months.

Don’t ignore your workforce.  In today’s competitive environment, 3PLs and warehouses need to do everything they can in order to keep up with their competitors. One way is by offering attractive benefits and programs that will attract new warehouse workers, retain existing employees, and keep the operation running smoothly. That’s because without an active workforce you could soon find yourself facing major disruption.

Peak season also means that those working in your distribution centers will more than likely be working extended hours. Make sure that your company or 3PL is adequately staffed, even if you need to bring in temporary employees to maintain warehouse efficiency. Keep your workers’ morale up with pizza and donut deliveries for those late nights or early mornings.

All of these considerations should be planned strategically and budgeted to streamline processes before holiday shopping begins.

Strategies for Predicting Holiday Season Warehouse Volumes

There are several ways to predict peak season distribution center volumes. One method is to use historical data to determine how much inventory to have on hand which translates into warehouse space used. Another option is to forecast future demand based on past trends. A third option is to estimate current demand based on previous seasons’ sales.

Obviously, planning ahead is the best way to have a successful peak season. You can do this with the following forecasting strategies for your fulfillment services.

1. Inventory Data

Inventory managementicon of graphs on paper and forecasting are all about data. Before you can figure out what you need to order and when you need to order it, you need to understand your historical numbers. While it is not a perfect solution given changing conditions, this is a good starting point for peak season forecasting. Your warehouse management system (WMS) software should be able to provide you with historical data over several years, as well as assist in forecasting for the peak season and planning floor space for products.

2. Always Take Notes

notepad iconThe best teacher is past experience. It is not enough to just take notes on what happened during peak seasons or periods of high inventory. Your team will only be able to make accurate predictions for future markets if they know how things work after the fact. Plus, memories fade with time. Take notes throughout the year about all aspects related to the market activity – shipping percentages and punctuality, order levels, and labor hours – in order to refer back to them when planning for the next holiday rush.

3. View Real-Time Inventory

clock iconIt can be tough to know what you need for your operation if the data isn’t accurate and timely enough. With real-time inventory tracking from Logimax WMS, you can monitor product stocks against estimates so if problems arise, they get resolved faster. Efficient WMS software from Logimax can also prevent future issues from happening altogether by providing an accurate picture of every product on hand in your warehouse or 3PL at any given time.

4. Get Your Team Involved

team iconThe more people involved in your inventory forecasting process, the better. Involving finance and operations will give you a better understanding of what’s happening with physical stock levels at any given time; while inviting external stakeholders can help identify potential problems before they arise by allowing input for future decisions that may affect them (ie. buying/selling).

5. The Right Tools Equal Success

WMSUsing the right tools to replenish inventory can be challenging during peak season. Consider technology solutions for your warehouse or 3PL like mobile carts, RFID tags, and warehouse management system software that will help you compare your results with your forecast in real-time.

Warehouse management is a challenging task during the peak season. However, with these added picking strategies you can create more efficient warehouse operations. A more efficient warehouse will help save your company time and money on inventory management and ensure data accuracy for future forecasts.

How Your Warehouse Management System Software Can Help

warehouse management system (WMS) helps you easily access inventory management, track shipments, and keep an eye on your business. It also allows you to automate processes so you can focus more on growing your business instead of managing every aspect of it.

When you’re looking for a way to make your business more efficient, accurate, and effective at accelerating inventory turnover time then look no further than automating tasks with Logimax WMS software. The process will be streamlined thanks in part to integrations that can occur via API or online shopping cart interfaces. This allows the system not just to track what’s going on, but also to send updates as they happen. This means there are never any lost opportunities again.

Logimax WMS software reporting features can provide valuable information to help your customers plan their inventory levels. This is especially crucial this peak season as companies shift from JIT (Just-In-Time) strategies towards those that are focused on maintaining a higher level of availability, like JIC (Just-In-Case) stocking and material handling.

The best way for warehouses and 3PLs to plan ahead for peak season is by maximizing the benefits from their client relationships. To do this, you should communicate early and often with your customers. Talk regularly about schedules or upcoming promotions, as well as standards such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Communication and real-time reporting during these busy times will help everyone be best prepared for a successful end of the year. For details on how Logimax WMS can help your company during peak season, contact us today!

Worker scanning a return in warehouse

How to Maintain Order and Process Returns in the Warehouse Efficiently

Product returns are always a hassle. Whether it’s due to shipment damage, product malfunction, or product recall, managing returns effectively is essential for 3PLs and warehouses. One of the biggest challenges when handling returns is keeping employees’ labor-intensive tasks well organized. Through automated processing and integration with external systems, your 3PL warehouse management system (WMS) software should be easy for employees to use and track stock to process returns efficiently.  

Your Logistics Software is Key

WMS software is the backbone of any distribution center, and it can help you maintain order and efficiently process returns. With a powerful, easy-to-use warehouse management system, you will be able to track all inventory from initial arrival to shipping orders out the door. And since your WMS also handles returns or recalls, you can make decisions based on real-time data rather than estimates or guesses. 

The best 3PL WMS software should supply product information and traceability for every single item moving in or out of your facility. This includes inventory location assignments, product expiration dates, and lot numbers. Lot and expiration date details should automatically be tied to each item’s barcode since all inventory transactions require a scan. Warehouses whose WMS supports radio frequency and barcode labeling can leverage their wireless network to experience dramatic increases in inventory accuracy, picking accuracy, and productivity.  

Efficient logistics operations are vital to product returns and recalls. The best WMS software from Logimax optimizes efficiency by:  

  • Automatically sorting single or batch orders by date 
  • Measuring user productivity against established time standards 
  • Automatically enforcing product consolidation and rotation based on item and location rules 

WMS Software Can Help with Labor Savings 

All return and recall processing rules can be pre-set and tracked through your WMS softwareLogimax can even work with your HR system via advanced metrics to preplan and optimize workflow to track labor hours. Utilizing barcoded employee badges and asset/equipment tags, 3PL warehouses can easily trace employee time and attendance, labor and equipment costs for returns, and how long employees and equipment are assigned to activities. With the WMS software and your HR system working together, you will know exactly how high your labor costs are per task and can make any future accommodations for better productivity.   

Instituting Return Procedures 

Return guidelines are usually specified by each customer based on their requirements. However, 3PL warehouses always implement a standard set of procedures for returned goods because you must have a set way of physically handling and processing inbound returns. Every step in the process can be stored in Logimax’s WMS software for full return traceability. 

1.  Receiving Returned Inventory

A Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) or Return Goods Authorization (RGA) form should always be filed prior to the initial product return. These forms can easily be generated and sent using a web client portal. Customer name, return authorization date, order number, and carrier tracking number are pieces of information usually included. On arrival at the warehouse, the shipment is compared to the RMA/RGA for accuracy. Once received into the WMS system, returned products should be marked accordingly and moved to the inspection area.

2.  Inspecting Returns

When you receive a returned item, it’s important to be thorough in your quality inspection process. There are a few different things you’ll want to check for: 

  • Carton and product damage 
  • Product expiration dates 
  • Product tags, including barcodes and stickers 
  • Any other markings on the product or packaging that may indicate tampering or reconditioning 

Food items cannot be resold once returned. Log these returns immediately and dispose of the food product accordingly. Return damaged or malfunctioning products to the manufacturer or destroy them per customer instructions, recycling procedures, and governing agency guidelines.   

3.  Repacking Inventory

Non-food products can be resold if the item is not damaged or malfunctioning and damage is only to the packaging. These items can usually be repacked and added back into inventory with a new SKU assigned to note that it was previously returned. These items are sometimes offered at discounted prices — as warehouse deals or opened box discounts. Repacks occur either at the warehouse facility or the manufacturer depending on the 3PL warehouse partnership.  

Procedures for Recalls

Distributors and 3PLs both can be incredibly valuable to brands in managing their product recalls. During a recall, a warehouse must be able to provide complete life cycle information on affected SKUs, including lot number and expiration date. It’s vital that the warehouse is aware of what recalled inventory is in-house, quantities shipped out already and to whom, and how much recalled product is yet to be received.  As a general rule, recall procedures should include: 

  • Report all prior shipments of recalled products to your client. 
  • Immediately put a hold on all of the recalled SKUs. No product marked for recall should be allocated or shipped, even if it is on the staging dock. 
  • Assign a segregated area of the warehouse for recalled products. For better visual identification, indicate the area with appropriate signage and mark items with hold tags. 
  • Alert customers. This may be done by the manufacturer or distributor depending on procedural recall assignments. Customer communication typically is in the form of an email and sometimes accompanied by a press release. 
  • Do not receive any additional recalled product from the manufacturer even if it is on order.  
  • Change the class code of the recalled product SKU for potential ordering, picking, receiving (returned), or destroying under specified guidelines and regulations.  
  • Generate and issue appropriate reports to the client. 
  • Some clients may require a mock recall as part of their partnership with the warehouse to ensure that the process will run smoothly, should a recall occur.  

Trends in Returned Products

Logimax WMS software can also aid your clients in identifying trends in returns by generating customized reports. These can include which products have been returned, why, when, and how often over select periods of time. This is particularly helpful in identifying future recalls, uncovering packaging or shipping issues and problems, and highlighting possible product defects or opportunities for improvement. The ability to provide this information to your clients gives your business a huge advantage. 

Because the supply chain is built on relationship building and cooperation between your 3PL warehouse and customers, look into finding the right technological solutions for your inventory tracking. Make your returns processes more effective by integrating the best software for warehouse management systems from Logimax. 

man standing in warehouse

Why Your WMS Software is Key to Unlocking Current Supply Chain Problems

You’ve read it in the headlines. It affects everyday life whether you are the consumer or a product supplier. Severe supply chain backlogs are crippling product sales everywhere and it’s not only costing companies significantly but straining customer relationships. Issues can include late shipments, persistent out-of-stocks, and disgruntled end-users, to name a few.

With no supply chain relief in the near future, you must have a strong grasp of your current warehouse management system (WMS) software and its capabilities, or lack thereof. Does your current WMS software live up to your expectations? If not, a re-evaluation may be in order.

To be the most efficient, and therefore most profitable, during and after this dreadful supply chain crisis, the right WMS software can help you succeed.

Top Benefits of Exceptional Warehouse Management (WMS) Software

  1. Better Inventory Visibility – If your current WMS software is constantly experiencing problems or not providing you real-time updates, it can lead to considerable operational problems. With a more powerful WMS software system from Logimax, you can view up-to-date inventory data to see what’s actually in stock and ready to go during all points of the distribution process. From receiving to stocking to storing, having a clear picture of exactly what products are on hand means you can maintain the appropriate amount of inventory, process orders, and ship on time without issue. A great WMS software also provides valuable forecast information to help you get a jump on reordering stock in enough time to avoid supply chain problems.
  2. Lower Operating Costs – If your current WMS software is not providing data in one or more areas, it can drastically affect your overall warehouse operations. A great deal of time can be wasted having employees searching the aisles to locate products because your software doesn’t allow for proper inventory tracking. The right software from Logimax can lower your operating costs by helping you plan your warehouse space and labor as efficiently as possible. A superior provider can aid you in determining the proper inventory location, shelving set-up, and pallet arrangement, plus the equipment needed for the best functionality.
  3. Optimal Security – It is critically important that your WMS software provides the highest security to thwart threats to your operations. Security breaches will cause even more problems on top of the current supply chain crisis. Are your warehouse operations truly protected through your current software? A superior system allows you the ability to create audit trails so transactions are tracked to specific employees, therefore reducing the risk of theft and improving accountability. Software with user-access controls means you decide which team member has access to specific levels of information across your organization.
  4. Just-in-Time (JIT) and Just-in-Case (JIC) Inventory – Just-in-time (JIT) inventory ensures you aren’t holding large amounts of inventory for long periods of time, while Just-in-Case (JIC) inventory imagines the worst-case scenario for your most critical items (think semiconductors or, two years ago, masks and hand sanitizers) so you don’t run out. It’s a balance that requires forecasting and continually adjusting that forecast as things change. Your WMS software should enable you to set and update reorder levels and to exchange that information in real-time with your suppliers and customers. Whether you distribute sourced products from overseas or are kitting for local manufacturers, if they can’t keep you stocked and you don’t have products to store and distribute, it will hurt your bottom line.
  5. Improved Billing Management – Billing tools or modules built right into WMS software or that can seamlessly integrate with third-party apps make the process of managing A/R and A/P a snap. By adding a multi-functional software package from Logimax you can manage WMS billing without the hassles and added resources that may be necessary with less powerful software.
  6. Enhanced Supplier and Customer Relationships – Good relationships are more important now than ever given today’s uncertain supply chain atmosphere. With advanced WMS software, you can shorten wait times at the dock doors by scheduling inbound deliveries and outbound shipments, all resulting in faster turnaround times for customers. Couple this with radio frequency tools to drastically improve order accuracy and fulfillment. The result? Your increased reputation for responsiveness will ensure your customers are more than satisfied with your performance.

See how Logimax software can put your company on the right track today.

Kitting Orders in Logibuild

Add Value with Easy Kit Building

Want to sharpen your skills when it comes to building kits for customers? This value-add service can add significantly to your bottom line.

Learn how Logimax’ Logibuild tool makes kitting easy in our latest customer Tech Talk:


Get an in-depth look at the capabilities for processing kit items in Logimax. We’ll cover:

  • Building a “Bill of Materials” (BOM)
  • Planning builds while forecasting any shortages
  • Picking the source items using Logimation
  • Completing the finished item.

With more of your customers requiring you to handle e-commerce and shopping cart orders, assembled items are becoming increasingly important.

Contact your Logimax rep today for a link to this Tech Talk on Logibuild.