The Short Ramp to Automated Billing and Customer Self-Service for 3PLs
Just as revenue leakage associated with manual invoice processing at 3PLs can put a drag on business growth, so too does old school customer service, based on phone calls, emails and warehouse legwork, erode customer loyalty. Wouldn’t it be great to solve both problems in a single stroke?
Open Sky Group answers the question with its new Kaleidoscope suite of supply chain management solutions for 3PLs, introduced this March in Chicago at ProMat 2023. On the floor in Chicago’s McCormick Place, Open Sky Group executives treated an audience of 3PL top brass with a basic flyover of its new and expanding suite of solutions. Here’s a taste of what went down.
What is Kaleidoscope and how did it come about?
Kaleidoscope is a next generation suite of supply chain tools built on Open Sky Group’s deep 3PL experience and architectural expertise. The platform currently offers two complementary solutions:
- Enhanced Client Billing (ECB) – An automated billing solution that captures defined, billable transactions in any warehouse management system, assigns client-specific charges based on the parameters set, and creates an invoice to streamline billing and reduce errors common to manual data entry at 3PLs.
- 3PL Client Portal – A secure internet portal that allows 3PL operators to provide timely information to clients, based on client ID and client group, through a system-agnostic, add-on software module designed to enable self-service efficiency and operational transparency on any WMS.
How can ECB help 3PLs work smarter?
- The level of manual processing in traditional 3PL billing, by nature, creates bottlenecks. Questions arise, the process halts, and humans have to track down answers, all of which introduces new opportunities for errors and delay. What’s more, value-added tasks, such as kitting charges, pallet wrapping, or custom labels, often get overlooked, adding to revenue leakage. With ECB, the program “knows” the correct contract rules, billing rates, and task charges and automatically reflects those charges on the final bill. In addition, all of this happens in real-time, streamlining the approval process and breaking down bottlenecks.
How does a client portal improve business?
- 3PL clients want visibility into their ongoing inbound, outbound, and inventory-to-promise status; it’s how they run their businesses and what their own customers expect. As a result, 3PLs that can make this information available to clients in a self-service, real-time application necessarily stand apart from the competition. Open Sky Group’s 3PL Client Portal provides this level of transparency, without tying up paid resources. And, its customizable dashboards offer a branded, purpose-built client experience.
What technical challenges are involved in adopting Kaleidoscope?
- All Open Sky Group Kaleidoscope solutions are hosted on the cloud and available as Software as a Service. Our use of open APIs simplifies integration with other enterprise systems, warehouse management systems, and associated data sources. This flexibility makes Kaleidoscope a lightweight extension to any supply chain operation, ready to adopt quickly and efficiently with a minimum of modifications.
What can we expect next?
- Open Sky Group has already developed a transformative new Business Analytics solution designed to provide better insights for making informed decisions. Business Analytics is currently being rolled out as part of our Kaleidoscope suite. More applications useful to 3PLs will be introduced as the platform expands over time.