Shipping Logistics Software: Frequently Asked Questions

In lieu of staffing a logistics department, many shippers turn to Third Party Logistics (3PL) providers to secure the best carrier arrangements. However, depending on the type of shipping management you need, 3PL can be as costly as staffing in-house experts. It can also make you feel distanced from the distribution process.

Instead of using 3PL, many businesses now use shipping logistics software – a class of applications that perform the logistical analysis traditionally performed by experts. If you are considering the software as an alternative to 3PL, but you have questions about its benefits and applications, the answers below can be helpful:

How much knowledge is required to operate the applications?

Ideally, the user should have a proficient understanding of transportation logistics, but a consummate understanding of logistical analysis is unnecessary. After performing logistical analysis based on the data you supply, the applications provide you with a list of recommended options via a user-friendly interface.

How much can the applications reduce the cost of freight transportation?

Research shows that top-notch shipping logistics software can reduce the cost of freight transportation by ten percent in the first year. Depending on your transportation process, the percentage could be even higher.

Can the applications support a transportation management system?

TMS software can support a Transportation Management System (TMS) by helping shippers perform the crucial processes of freight transportation management: planning and deciding on transportation arrangements, monitoring the transportation process, and measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Are applications available that support LTL transportation?

Yes. The applications can be designed to support any freight transportation need, including LTL transportation. If you routinely ship partial loads, LTL software can help you identify more affordable transportation arrangements than Truck Load (TL) or parcel shipping.

Are the applications available on a web-based model?

Yes, the applications are available on a web-based model. They are also available on an in-house model. Most shippers choose the latter due to its cost effectiveness and the ability to access the application remotely.

How much do the applications cost?

The cost of the applications depends on several factors, particularly whether it is implemented on an in-house, or a SaaS (Software as a Service) model, along with the logistical options you need. The best way to receive an accurate cost assessment is to have a provider of logistics software review your freight transportation process and administrative needs.

What if the transportation process changes after implementing an application?

The application you implement is not set in stone. If you experience new shipping needs, you can add new logistical options to the existing system. In terms of adding new options, implementing a web-based application typically offers the most flexibility.

Conclusion

Shipping logistics software is a cost effective alternative to staffing experts or contracting with a 3PL provider. Unlike 3PL, it puts you in direct control of freight transportation, helping you identify the best transportation arrangements in terms of freight safety, delivery time, and transportation cost. To learn more about the benefits of TMS software and other types of logistics software, contact a provider of web-based logistical solutions today.

LTL Logistics Software Among Other Logistical Resources

Businesses shipping small loads through second party carriers often have difficulty finding affordable shipping arrangements. Truck Load (TL) shipping is unaffordable because a partial load would be shipped at the price of a full load, while parcel shipping can become unaffordable when a large number of parcels are shipped. When low volume shippers can afford neither TL shipping nor parcel shipping, they turn to Less than Truck Load (LTL) shipping – an arrangement where two or more partial loads fill a full semi trailer, and the shippers split the cost of the load.

For most small and midsize shippers, LTL shipping is the most affordable transportation arrangement, but maximizing its benefits requires a strong logistics function-a requirement satisfied by one of three resources-an in house logistics department, a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider, or logistics software.

Evaluating the Resources

Traditionally, shippers keep the logistics function in-house by staffing logistics experts. When this option is unaffordable, they consider 3PL and logistics software.

The value of 3PL depends on the type of provider one uses:

  • A standard 3PL provider who provides basic logistical services
  • A service developer who provides specialized logistical services
  • A customer adapter who manages the shipping process
  • A customer developer who manages and innovates the shipping process

If you need a specific service, such as cross docking, or tracking and tracing, 3PL can be remarkably affordable, but when full shipping management is the goal, 3PL can be expensive. It can also create a feeling of disconnection from the shipping process. Compared to high-level 3PL, TMS software or LTL logistics software offer two distinct advantages:

  • It is less expensive than using a customer adapter or customer developer
  • It allows you to have full control of the shipping process

Available on a web-based model or an in-house model, the software can be implemented according to your company’s needs and policies. Additionally, the implementation process is designed for efficiency. The provider analyzes your transportation process, creates a program with the right features and functions, and delivers the final version of the program in 30-45 days.

Savings Start Immediately

Financially, the most attractive aspect of the software is its ability to deliver savings in the short term. In the first year, many shippers experience a ten percent reduction in shipping cost, with savings increasing in the years following. In an economy where recessionary spending is still common, a ten percent reduction in shipping cost can bring a welcome increase to a shipper’s bottom line. For many shippers, the savings generated by the software easily reach the six-figure mark.

If your business has a moderate shipping volume, TL shipping and parcel shipping may be unaffordable, and paying a 3PL provider to manage the shipping process may be unaffordable as well. If so, TMS software or LTL logistics software can provide an affordable resource for identifying the best shipping arrangements.

To learn which type of logistics software is right for your transportation process, contact a provider of web-based logistical solutions today.

TL Logistics Software – What Are Its Advantages?

If your company ships enough goods to qualify for full truckload (TL) shipping, you may think that your shipping situation can’t be improved. After all, TL shipping offers the advantage of shipping goods directly to their destination without the hassle and expense of warehouse stops. Yet, because the cost of shipping also includes the cost of the logistics function, companies should also question whether their logistics source is working for or against their shipping process in terms of cost.

Traditionally, companies either hire an in house logistic expert or outsource their logistics needs to a third party logistics (3PL) provider, either of which can be too expensive for smaller companies, especially when they need a comprehensive approach to the TL (truckload) shipping process. Today, however, companies have the option of implementing affordable TL logistics software instead of hiring an expert or outsourcing to a 3PL provider.

TL logistics software is geared toward companies that need TL shipping arrangements (i.e. where a carrier transports full semi trailers of goods on a regular basis). After implementing the software, a company selects its TL shipping arrangements from among ranked TL solutions that are presented on a user-friendly interface. When a company implements logistics software, it essentially becomes its own logistics provider, which brings three basic advantages: a wider range of shipping options; the possibility of integrated shipping solutions; and the removal of the middleman (3PL) from the logistics function. After implementing logistics software, studies show that companies lower their shipping cost by 10 percent within the first year alone.

To understand how logistics software achieves its impact, it helps to understand how companies overpay for logistics when they an in house expert or contract with a 3PL provider. When a company hires an experienced logistics expert, it can expect to pay between $75,000 and $90,000 in annual salary. Also, the shipping arrangements devised by the expert, although well researched, rarely result from the consideration of all possible shipping arrangements-a task that logistics software can perform in a matter of minutes.

Similar to hiring an expert, hiring a 3PL provider brings unnecessary cost from the beginning. And unless the provider is customer developer, which manages a company’s shipping process while developing new shipping solutions-the prospect of TL shipping being integrated with other shipping solutions (e.g. air and rail) is remote at best. Although 3PL has long been the logistics option for companies that don’t have logistics departments, that TL logistics software performs the work of a 3PL, except with better results, makes it the superior choice.

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