William K. Turner
William K. Turner

A Comprehensive Guide to 3PL Software

10 min read

Published on: Jan 17, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 22, 2024

3PL Software

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In eCommerce, being quick and smart with order delivery is a big deal. You need to keep track of shipments, inventory, customer orders, and more.

This can be a lot of work, and it can be difficult to keep track of everything.

That's where Third-Party Logistics (3PL) software comes in! These helpful tools support automated fulfillment, crafting a seamless customer experience while saving invaluable time and resources.

In this blog post, we will explain what 3PL software is and take a closer look at how it works.

So, let's dive in.

What is 3PL Software?

A 3PL software solution is an all-in-one set of tools created to simplify different aspects of the 3PL process.

It is a complete system that helps 3PL companies manage and operate their businesses more efficiently.

Key features of a 3PL software

A 3PL warehouse management software (WMS) consists of a number of outstanding features that make the process smooth and streamlined:

  • Tracking and Tracing of Shipments: Keep a close eye on shipments throughout their journey, ensuring visibility and accountability.
  • Inventory Management: Efficiently manage and track inventory levels, reducing errors and optimizing stock levels.
  • Automated Order Processing: Streamline the order fulfillment process, automating key steps for faster and more accurate order handling.
  • Warehouse Management: Optimize warehouse operations, from organizing stock to improving overall logistics within the facility.
    Customer Service: Enhance customer support with tools to address inquiries, track orders, and provide timely information.
  • Accounting & Reporting: Manage financial aspects seamlessly, including invoicing, billing, and generating comprehensive reports for informed decision-making.

Types of 3PL Software

3PL software mainly consists of two main types: asset-based and non-asset-based. Each type is good for different kinds of logistics work. 

Let's break them down.

Type 1. Asset-Based 3PL Software 

Asset-based 3PL solutions are ideal for companies with a dedicated logistics infrastructure, offering granular control over operations and assets. These are beneficial when owning and managing physical resources is a strategic advantage.


  • Asset Management
  • Route Optimization
  • Warehouse Operations

Type 2. Non-Asset-Based 3PL Software 

Non-asset-based 3PL companies provide flexibility and scalability, particularly for companies focused on coordinating logistics services rather than owning assets. This model is advantageous for those seeking a broader range of options and cost-effectiveness.


  • Carrier Management
  • Network Optimization
  • Cost Optimization

Who Uses 3PL Software?

3PL logistics software is a versatile tool utilized by a range of businesses and professionals involved in managing logistics and supply chain operations. 

Here's a breakdown of the key users:

Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Providers

Role: Companies that specialize in offering outsourced logistics services.
Use: 3PL software is the backbone of their operations, helping manage inventory, process orders, and optimize transportation.

E-commerce Businesses

Role: Online retailers and businesses selling goods over the internet for e-commerce fulfillment.
Use: Employ 3PL software to streamline order fulfillment, manage inventory, and enhance customer satisfaction.


Role: Companies involved in the production of goods.
Use: Utilize the 3PL system for efficient inventory management, order processing, and coordinating transportation of finished products.


Role: Businesses selling products directly to consumers.
Use: Implement 3PL software to manage inventory levels, automate order processing, and ensure timely deliveries.


Role: Entities responsible for the distribution of goods to various locations.
Use: Leverage 3PL software for optimizing warehouse operations, tracking shipments, and managing inventory flow.

Transportation Companies

Role: Entities involved in the movement of goods.
Use: Employ 3PL software for route optimization, tracking and tracing shipments, and overall transportation management.

Supply Chain Managers

Role: Professionals overseeing the entire supply chain process.
Use: Use 3PL software for holistic supply chain management, gaining insights into various logistics aspects.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Role: Businesses with moderate scale and operations.
Use: Implement 3PL software to enhance operational efficiency, particularly when they lack in-house logistics capabilities.

Global Corporations

Role: Large-scale companies with extensive global operations.
Use: Utilize 3PL software for comprehensive supply chain management, optimizing logistics processes across multiple regions.

How Does a 3PL Software Work?

Understanding the workings of 3PL software is key to transforming the logistics process. Let's explore how this software seamlessly integrates into the 3PL (Third-Party Logistics) process:

  1. Order Placement and Processing
    When you order something, the 3PL software takes care of the details. It quickly processes your order, making sure everything is available. Think of it as a super-fast organizer for orders.
  2. Inventory Management
    The software keeps an eye on how much stuff is in the warehouse. It knows when new things are coming and where to put them. This helps in making sure we never run out of products.
  3. Warehouse Optimization
    Making the warehouse work smoothly is a big job for the software. It listens to how the warehouse is set up and organizes where things are stored. It also helps with picking, packing, and sending out orders.
  4. Shipment Tracking and Tracing
    Once your order is on its way, the software makes sure we can see where it is at all times. It helps us know when it will arrive. It's like a tracking system for your package.
  5. Communication and Customer Service
    The software helps us talk to customers and solve any issues. It keeps track of questions and updates about orders. This way, everyone stays in the loop and gets the help they need.
  6. Integration with Transportation
    Getting things from one place to another is easier with the software. It knows which trucks to use, plans the best routes, and makes sure everything arrives on time.
  7. Billing and Reporting
    The software handles the money part, too. It makes invoices and keeps track of the finances. It also gives us reports to understand how well things are going financially.
  8. Adaptability and Scalability
    The software is flexible. It can adjust to changes you want to make in your business. Whether you’re growing or need new features, the software can handle it without causing problems.

Benefits of Using 3PL Software

3PL software is a vital part of any 3PL business. Without 3PL software, companies would have to rely on manual processes and paperwork to manage their operations. 

This would be inefficient and time-consuming, leading to delays in shipments, misplaced orders, and unhappy customers.

3PL software eliminates these problems by providing a comprehensive solution that helps streamline the process. Moreover, it enables them to reduce costs, improve customer service, and increase profits.

Here are some of the benefits of using good 3PL software.

Increased Efficiency

One of the primary benefits of using 3PL software is that it can help increase the supply chain's efficiency.

3PL software allows you to track your inventory levels in real-time. This helps quickly and easily identify when you need to reorder products.

Additionally, the best 3PL software helps you track your shipments and ensure that they are delivered on time. 

Reduced Costs

Another benefit of using 3PL software is that it helps reduce the costs associated with the supply chain. 

It reduces operational costs by allowing you to automate many of the tasks associated with managing your supply chain. For instance, order processing and tracking can be automated, saving time and costs.

This allows you to provide top-notch services to your customers at the most reasonable prices.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Third-party logistics software can also improve the quality of customer service that you provide.

With the help of 3PL software, you can quickly and accurately respond to customer inquiries and provide a better customer experience. That’s how you ensure maximum customer satisfaction.

In addition, you can use 3PL software to manage your inventory levels proactively so you can avoid stockouts and backorders.

Increased Visibility

Another benefit of using 3PL software is that it can provide real-time visibility into your supply chain.

A good third-party logistics software will allow you to track your inventory levels, shipments, and orders in real-time. This will allow for more transparency and reduce the chances of mismanagement and loss.

Additionally, it can help in identifying trends and patterns in your data that can improve your overall efficiency and profits.

Better Decision Making

3PL software also helps you improve the quality of the decisions regarding your supply chain operations.

It provides you with access to data and analytics tools that are used to assess the performance of your supply chain.

Choosing the Right 3PL Software

Having just any 3PL software suite is not enough. Many 3PL businesses use outdated programs with limited functionality, which leads to inefficiency.

When selecting 3PL software, looking for some important features is essential.

Let's take a deeper look at the features we consider before choosing 3PL software for our business.

Feature-Rich Software Solution

The most important feature to look for when selecting 3PL software is that it includes a comprehensive set of features. 

A software suite with features covering the whole supply chain management process is ideal. It should include order and shipment tracking, inventory management, customer support tools, analytics capabilities, and integrations with other systems.

The right 3PL software should also have a friendly user interface so anyone can use it without specialized training.

Cloud-based 3PL Software

Cloud-based technology-enabled 3PL software is an excellent choice for companies that want to maximize their efficiency.

By having the software hosted in the cloud, they can access it from anywhere, allowing for improved collaboration between teams. 

Additionally, cloud-based systems are often more safe and more secure than on-premise solutions.

Analytics and Reporting

Analytics is essential for businesses seeking to gain insight into their operations. 3PL software should include analytics and reporting tools to develop better strategies for managing your supply chain.

Advanced analytics capabilities such as predictive analytics can also be useful in identifying potential issues before they arise. The right 3PL software should provide you with the data and insights that you need to make improvements.

It should be able to generate detailed reports and track key performance indicators (KPIs). This helps to identify trends and inefficiencies in the supply chain.

The software should also be able to generate real-time insights into the performance of your operations. This will allow you to monitor your operations and identify areas of improvement.

Integrates with Other Systems

Finally, good 3PL software should be able to integrate with other systems.

This will make it easier to manage multiple processes, such as order fulfillment and customer support, from a single platform. Integration with ERP and eCommerce platforms is especially important.

By choosing the right 3PL software, you can streamline your operations and ensure that your customers receive the best possible service. Your business will also be able to run more efficiently, resulting in lower costs and increased profits.

Potential Issues with 3PL Software 

While 3PL software brings significant benefits to logistics operations, it's important to be aware of potential challenges that may arise. Understanding these issues can help businesses navigate and resolve them effectively:

Integration Challenges

Connecting 3PL software with existing systems or third-party applications can be complex. Compatibility issues may arise, leading to data discrepancies and operational disruptions.

Data Security Concerns

Handling sensitive logistics data entry requires stringent security measures. Breaches or unauthorized access to data can lead to serious consequences.

User Training and Adoption

Introducing new software requires user training for effective adoption. Resistance to change and a learning curve can impact operational efficiency.

Customization Limitations

Some 3PL software may have limitations in customization, making it challenging to tailor the system to specific business requirements.

Being aware of these potential issues allows businesses to proactively address challenges, ensuring a smoother integration and maximizing the benefits of 3PL software. 

Regular monitoring and adaptation to changing needs contribute to long-term success in using these technologies.

In summary, 3PL software helps in transforming how we handle orders and manage our supplies. To make the most of this, choosing the right 3PL software is key. With the help of this technology, businesses can make their logistics operations better and more customer-friendly. 

If you are looking for reliable and advanced service, 3PL Fulfillment and Prep is your go-to solution. Our commitment to using up-to-date and high-tech 3PL software plays a pivotal role in streamlining our services. 

Contact us today to explore how our 3PL fulfillment services can boost your supply chain's efficiency.

William K. Turner


William K. Turner (Supply Chain Management)

Willian K. Turner, our esteemed author with expertise in International Trade, Global Logistics, and Supply Chain Management, has a lot to offer when it comes to writing about these topics. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with readers. Whether he's writing blog posts or articles his insights will be surely valuable to anyone interested in these industries.

Willian K. Turner, our esteemed author with expertise in International Trade, Global Logistics, and Supply Chain Management, has a lot to offer when it comes to writing about these topics. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with readers. Whether he's writing blog posts or articles his insights will be surely valuable to anyone interested in these industries.

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