Mobile apps are everywhere and being used for everything, from the most mundane checkbook software and time-keeping applications to full-featured dashboards that allow business owners to control virtually any aspect of their company on the go.
It’s no surprise, then, that 3rd party logistics companies are taking the plunge and investing in mobile apps to make it easier than ever to manage warehousing and distribution of goods in the supply chain.
Just because there’s an app for that doesn’t mean that you’re going to end up getting a lot out of it, though. When you jump into mobile apps for 3PL, you should do it with eyes wide open.
Tips for Using 3PL Mobile Apps
There are plenty of 3PL mobile apps that have already been built for use or you can build one from the ground-up if you think your warehouse needs are unique enough that it warrants the time and expense. Either way, using your chosen app to its full capability is the most important part of the equation.
These are our favorite tips for getting more out of mobile:
- Take a wider view. Mobile apps are notorious for showing very limited data windows because of the limited screen space available to them. Although these tight pictures of what your supply chain, warehouse or pick floor are doing in the moment can be interesting, they’re hardly useful for much.Reset your default view to see more so you can identify wider trends. For example, if your app of choice only shows you the last four data points for order processing speed, it may behoove you to reset that to the last 10 or 20 data points.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re using a 3PL for your supply chain management, no one expects you to know everything there is to know about logistics.You may find aspects of mobile apps for 3PL systems confusing or encounter terms that you’re just really not all that familiar with. When you come across these issues, ask your 3PL or app support team so you can be certain you’re taking full advantage of the technology at your fingertips.
- Do a reality check. Mobile apps are wonderful tools for measuring, documenting and monitoring your warehousing and distribution, but like any software, they can have flaws.Once in a while, check in with your 3PL to confirm that what your app is telling you matches reality. It’s always good to check in from time to time, that way you can learn about new techniques or tools your 3PL is employing that might be of use to you.
There’s no reason to hesitate if you’re interested in using a mobile app for your 3PL shipping, just make sure that you choose apps that are made for the kind of task you’re trying to accomplish. These tips can help you get more out of even the most basic among them.