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The Right Map: Technical Routes for 3PL Success

Utilize Technology to Keep Your Shipments Straight

Utilize Technology to Keep Your Shipments Straight

When considering the services of a 3PL provider, it is crucial to examine the technical capabilities of all parties involved.

As a 3PL provider, we must remain technically flexible while also meeting the exacting standards of “big-box” retailers. Our ability to efficiently process data is directly affected by the manner in which the data is received in our Warehouse Management System (WMS).

Although we can receive information in a variety of formats, from email to fax to flat-file, we prefer to leverage the power of EDI. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), a standard format for exchanging business data, can help bridge the gap between a customer’s ERP system and our own WMS.

Since direct integration is not always possible/desirable/economical, you can use standard EDI documents such as the 940 and 945 to seamlessly trade order information. By receiving a 940 document from an ERP system such as SAP, you can process an order and return all relevant shipment details via a 945 document. In addition, the details of the 945 can be translated into an 856 (ASN) suitable for those “big-box” retailers.

Further integration can be accomplished with 943/944 documents to communicate on inbound inventory shipments. A 943 can be generated and sent when a container is on the water to a 3PL provider. When the container is received, a 944 stock receipt can be sent to confirm the arrival of the inventory.

The relationships between a 3PL provider and it’s customers can be greatly enhanced by the use of technology. By mapping out the technical requirements of everyone involved, you won’t get lost when it comes time to deliver.

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