Third Party Logistics providers (3PLs) are providing great value to many companies by providing outsourced (or "third party") logistics services for all or part of their supply chain management functions. 3PLs are able to provide streamlined services to their customers, while reducing their costs by applying their technologies and facilities across all of its customers.
The trend toward consolidation in the 3PL industry, while generally delivering a higher level of service, leads to higher costs. In the current environment of larger 3PL companies it is increasingly critical for these providers to streamline their operations, increase their capabilities, and differentiate their offerings.
“As manufacturers and retailers continue to work on controlling costs—while increasing their agility and responsiveness—third-party logistics (3PL) providers are becoming a critical resource. According to the 2014 18th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study published by Dr. John Langley, 72 percent of shippers are planning to increase their use of outsourced logistics services in the future.
This is certainly good news for 3PLs, but that same study also revealed an information technology (IT) gap that vendors must close in order to add even greater value for their customers. A full 98 percent of shippers believe that the continued success of their global supply chains depends on managing data, as well as leveraging it to make better decisions. Yet only 55 percent of shippers are satisfied with the information technology services delivered by their 3PL partners.”
A key factor in how successfully 3PL providers address the IT gap is in what technology tools and products they implement in their facilities. In a perfect world they must choose cost-effective solutions that amplify the key values that drive customers to consider hiring a 3PL’s services.
Listed below are key reasons to use a 3PL company for supply chain functions and how StayLinked next generation terminal emulation can enhance these values for the 3PL provider:
IT Expertise – StayLinked’s advanced architecture was developed by a team of IBM/UNIX server experts to solve the long-standing shortcomings of legacy terminal emulation solutions. By virtue of its unique architecture, StayLinked Terminal Emulation (TE) is the fastest TE solution available for mobile devices. Legacy terminal emulation products send all telnet/SSH traffic over the wireless network to the mobile device. With StayLinked all interactions with the host application are executed locally on the host computer. Only small, very secure interactions are exchanged over the wireless network with the mobile device. StayLinked also uses a very efficient protocol in transporting any information between the server and the mobile device. This is especially important when contending with very slow or erratic wireless networks where legacy terminal emulation products are more likely to fail.
The underlying StayLinked architecture provides the foundation for unmatched application modernization, data analytics, voice enablement, and helpdesk features.
Increased productivity – One of the biggest productivity killers in the warehouse is lost connections from the data collection device on the warehouse floor to the server-based application. StayLinked virtually eliminates these dropped sessions by safeguarding against the inherent poor reliability of the wireless networks.
Inventory Accuracy – Poor inventory data accuracy can lead to delayed shipments, increased labor costs, poor customer satisfaction, expedited shipping costs, and more. Even the best inventory management system is vulnerable to lost scanned data due to an unreliable wireless terminal emulation connection. StayLinked is the most reliable product in its class resulting in the virtual elimination of lost data due to erratic connectivity.
Reduced Costs – By keeping warehouse associates on the floor performing assigned tasks, StayLinked reduces customer support costs, employee downtime costs, as well as costs associated with excess data collection device spares.
StayLinked licensing provides superior value as the model is based upon concurrent connections to the server rather than requiring a license for every device. The licensing model also supports the ability to transfer licenses from old devices to new devices with no additional license fee.
Scalability and Flexibility – Due to StayLinked’s highly efficient communication protocol and advanced architecture the system can easily grow to support the 3PL as it acquires new customers and as those customers grow. StayLinked also supports the widest range of mobile devices across device manufacturers and operating systems including the latest versions of Android and iOS.
Continuous Optimization – One of the key values of StayLinked is the ability to optimize and enhance host-based applications while requiring no changes to those mission-critical systemss. Through screen recognition and reformatting StayLinked can completely control the screens that the end user views. Erroneous information is removed, important information is easier to read, and graphics enhance usability. Applications can also be easily voice-enabled to provide hands-free/eyes-free capabilities. Additionally, StayLinked can provide wireless system and end user analytics to help identify optimization targets and technical deficiencies in the warehouse.
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