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How Information Access Boosts Customer Satisfaction and Lowers Cost

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CASE STUDIES

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Open Sky Group’s 3PL Client Portal creates new efficiencies and makes customer self-service a point of differentiation in today’s competitive logistics marketplace. In this use case, we examine how Open Sky Group’s 3PL Client Portal services can help your organization improve supply chain management processes.

THE CHALLENGES

Your customer calls you, wanting to know how much inventory is on hand for a planned promotion aimed at clearing the nearest expiration dates in place of the latest. A full-time employee then stops what they’re doing to answer the call, look up the information, sift lot numbers, quantities, expiration dates, and locations, and satisfy the request. How long did that take? Did you charge the customer for your time? Was the information accurate? Is there a better way to satisfy your customer?

If your warehouse management system (WMS) were linked to Open Sky Group’s 3PL Client Portal solution, your customer could have conveniently looked up the information from any browser-enabled device and gotten the details, accurately and in real-time, without ever engaging your staff. That is the way to create loyal customers. That is the way to trim costs. That is the way to stand out in today’s hyperactive, fast-moving supply chain marketplace.

 

Unfortunately, many 3PLs have yet to achieve this level of digital efficiency in their warehouses. Spreadsheets, emails, customer service desks, and hard-copy communications are still the norm for much of the industry. And even those who possess a tier one WMS lack a practical customer interface to provide detailed inbound, outbound, and inventory data to customers on demand. Without an ERP linked directly to the WMS, most customers still must go through channels to gain basic information. That is what motivated Open Sky Group to create its new 3PL Client Portal.

THE TRANSFORMATION

3PL Client Portal is a system-agnostic, add-on software module designed by Open Sky Group to bring self-service efficiency and operational transparency to Blue Yonder (BY) and other WMS installations. The software operates securely within the same cloud-hybrid infrastructure that connects your on-prem systems with BY’s SaaS offering. It’s MS SQL mirror database replicates stored data, providing access to information in real-time, without interrupting ongoing operations. With it, any permissible user can log onto the system from anywhere, anytime, and access:

  •             Inbound orders and expected receipts
  •             Outbound orders and shipments
  •             Master item lists
  •             Inventory “available to promise” across all facilities and buildings
  •             Product and shipment details including lot and serial numbers, bills of lading, proofs of
    delivery, FIFO status, expiration dates, and shipments in transit

The program provides multi-lingual options out of the box and enables direct customer order entries 24/7. Customized screen views and reports add value to the user experience, making 3PL Client Portal a service worth monetizing across the customer base as a net saving against billable service calls involving live staff.

The practical applications of Open Sky Group’s 3PL Client Portal offer multiple opportunities to differentiate your business in today’s digital supply chain environment.  Customers can manage product recalls on their own, gleaning information on specific lots, with associated shipping details and dates, in aggregated views across multiple distribution centers.  Real-time visibility into inventory aging can be used to support FIFO strategies and flag marketing opportunities for promotional clearance of aging products.  3PL Portal gives customers visibility into orders, providing self-service access to delivery status for tracking validation and locating missing orders.  And perhaps most important, transparency into inventory “available to promise” supports proactive stock management, allowing customers to avoid backorders and canceled orders based on what is in stock, already allocated, or shipped.

 

In addition to supporting 3PL operations, Portal can also benefit large enterprises where multiple WMS platforms are used to operate multiple distribution centers across broad geographies.  With labor at a premium and competition on the rise, 3PL Client Portal allows you to maximize the value of your existing staff, while also standing apart from the crowd as a digitally savvy provider. 3PL Client Portal will help you lower your operating costs, improve customer experience, and improve the flow of inventory through your facilities.

 

As cliché as it sounds, you really can offer your customers more for less with 3PL Client Portal from Open Sky Group.

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