How can I use Sumtracker if I'm working with a 3PL partner?

In this Article

Who is a 3PL partner?

A 3PL partner is taking care of all your shipments. They are holding all or a certain portion of your inventory. They are supposed to pick, pack and ship your orders on time. They are also in communication with your online store and are updating

  • the inventory on your store and
  • shipment status of your orders on your store

Why use Sumtracker?

As a merchant, you are supposed to keep a close watch on your inventory, and are also responsible to manage it. You'll need full visibility to decide which items to re-order and which one to take out of stock. You have to know when a discrepancy occurred at the 3PL location and ideally keep a log of any mishandling done on the 3PL's part. You'll be able to assess your profitability of working with a 3PL over period of time with this approach.

With Sumtracker you get all of the above benefits

  • Complete visibility over your inventory and the tools to manage it
  • Know any discrepancies in inventory that have occurred at the 3PL partner location and maintain a historical log of all discrepancies
  • Get all inventory management features such as
    • Bundles
    • Low stock alerts
    • Create and manage Purchase orders
    • Sales and Inventory reports
    • Multi-location setup

How will Sumtracker work with a 3PL partner?

To use Sumtracker with a 3PL partner, you only have to turn on the Order sync for your store. You do not have to turn on the Inventory sync. Order sync can be turned on from the store settings page (Check the video below this section)

When an order comes, Sumtracker will automatically detect it from your store and reduce it from your inventory in Sumtracker.

​Lets understand the setup and operations through an example. Lets say you have a product with initial inventory as 10. This product is held at the 3PL partner's location.

​You get an order of 2 pieces on the store. This order syncs to Sumtracker and the inventory in Sumtracker becomes 8. This matches the inventory at 3PL as they will also detect the order.

​Lets say you purchase 5 more pieces of this product. You will be updating it in Sumtracker. Total inventory will be 13 now. These products have been transferred to the 3PL partner, or shipped to them directly. 3PL partner also updates their inventory to 13 for this product.

​​The 3PL is supposed to update Shopify since they are controlling the inventory on Shopify.

It will continue like this where you have the exact inventory numbers at 3PL warehouse and Sumtracker.

In an ideal situation, the inventory will always match. Now lets say, due to some reason, one of the pieces got damaged and the inventory at 3PL becomes 12.

​The 3PL will notify you in one or all of the following ways

  • Summary of all the mishandling, damages or expired products
  • Weekly or daily reports of all your inventory available with them

At this point you have to reconcile the inventory sent by them with that in Sumtracker. You can create an Adjust stock form in Sumtracker, specify the reason and make the inventory changes in Sumtracker as per the report by 3PL partner. This create a log of all the adjustments that you can view in a report format later on.

You can continue to keep track of your inventory in this manner, and noting down the discrepancies regularly in this manner.

Apart from a simple setup, there could be several variation of inventory keeping that also work well

  • You could be working with multiple 3PLs. You can create multiple warehouses in Sumtracker to keep track of all of them.
  • You could be keeping a part of your inventory at your own warehouse. You can create a separate warehouse in Sumtracker where you manage the inventory directly.

To summarise, Sumtracker will be your inventory management tool while 3PL will be responsible for holding the inventory and shipping the orders.

How to do the Initial setup

Step 1: Copy the initial inventory

You have to input the initial inventory in Sumtracker. This is the current available inventory that excludes all the items already committed in open orders. You can bulk upload the inventory through Adjust stock forms > Upload file option.

Step 2: Turn on the Order sync

Right after updating the latest inventory you have to turn on the orders sync. Order sync can be turned on from the store settings page. The store settings page is accessible from the dashboard under Store list.

New orders that are received after turning on the order sync will start syncing to Sumtracker.