TL Logistics Software Streamlines the Truckload Shipping Process

Truckload (TL) shipping generally refers to the transportation of an amount of cargo that is enough to fill an entire semi-trailer. Unlike less than truckload (LTL) shipping, where carriers take partial loads from two or more shippers, combining them into a full load and dividing the load price, companies that perform TL shipping contract an entire load to a single shipper. While LTL shipping can present attractive pricing options for small to midsized companies that regularly ship less than a full truckload of products, the basic advantage TL shipping over LTL shipping is that the freight is never touched en route to its destination. LTL shipments are commonly handled multiple times en route. While truck load shipping is a more simplistic shipping process than less than truckload shipping, companies that use LTL shipping can still benefit from using TL logistics software to arrive at the best shipping solutions.

TL logistics-software is a particular form of truckload logistics software that helps companies optimize their freight and shipping routes to realize the most cost effective TL shipping solutions. In lieu of logistics-software, companies that don’t have their own shipping fleet or employ logistics professionals usually hire third party logistics (3PL) providers. However, for companies that need to save as much as possible on the shipping process, logistics-software is a more cost effective logistics solution than outsourcing to a 3PL provider for two reasons: it allows companies greater leverage in the shipping process and it removes the need to pay a middleman to dialogue with carriers. When companies implement logistics software, they essentially go from outsourcing their logistics to being their own logistics provider, using an easy to use user interface that’s customized to their company’s particular shipping needs.

Logistics software can be customized in accordance with a variety of shipping concerns, but freight optimization and route optimization two aspects of truckload shipping that logistics software applies to in all cases. Freight optimization deals with a variety of freight concerns, including freight size and volume, packaging and composition, all of which affect the cost of shipping. To put it simply, truckload logistics-software is used to find a carrier that offers the best price in relation to the combined factors of freight optimization. Similarly, logistics-software gives companies the ability find the best shipping routes based on various criteria, including: shortest distance, construction patterns, traffic patterns and road surface quality. By performing freight optimization and route optimization, logistics-software presents companies significantly reduce their shipping costs while improving their delivery time. According to recent studies, companies that implement logistics-software can reduce their shipping costs by 10 percent at the end of one year.

Logistics Software Provides Companies With Freight Optimization

In the manufacturing industry, the discipline of logistics focuses on efficiently moving products from the manufacturer to the buyer. For large manufacturers, logistical operations can represent a large expense, especially when logistical elements are managed separately instead of being integrated into one solution. In an attempt to take the time and guesswork of out executing logistics, many companies totally or partially outsource their freight optimization needs to third parties. A complete outsourcing amounts to hiring a company to move products throughout the entire supply chain, while a partial outsourcing involves letting a third party manage the transportation of goods through the “stages” of the supply chain. However, implementing logistics software is a more cost effective way to achieve freight optimization that offers the same level of quality as a third party logistics provider.

There are several factors that contribute to a manufacturer’s total shipping costs, including warehouse fees, inventory fees and freight carriage fees. To minimize these fees, a manufacturer might choose to ship by air carrier instead of in tandem with freight carriage, significantly reducing warehouse fees by moving the goods from manufacturer to buyer in a matter of hours. However, to save the most money, companies have to examine all three cost areas with an eye toward developing an integrated cost savings solution. In developing such a solution, there are two basic issues that manufacturers must address: finding the right mix of freight carriage, inventory and warehouse services and finding the best price for each one.

Logistics software can help by providing an analysis of service combinations in relation to individual service cost. For small to midsize companies that deliver goods from the assembly line directly to retail outlets, logistics software can offer a basic analysis of routing options and freight rates. But companies that use multiple warehouses and multiple supply chain locations may require more, such as production scheduling analysis that develops manufacturing plans with regard to multiple supply chain locations (i.e. company’s whose products are assembled at more than one location before reaching the retailer).

The basic advantage of logistics software is that offers refined shipping solutions that meet the needs of a variety of manufacturing situations (and does so at a lower cost than hiring a third party logistics provider). For example, some solutions may focus on a particular freight carriage issue, such as analyzing how to increase delivery time by studying construction schedules and highway traffic data, while other solutions may focus on offering an integrated solution for all logistical concerns, including carrier loading, weight distribution, cube optimization and shortest path to destination. Studies show that manufacturer’s who implement logistics software regularly realize a 10 percent decrease in shipping costs after the first year.

Whether your company has its own trucking system or uses a third party, logistics software can help reduce your delivery costs without compromising punctuality, efficiency or freight safety. If you need to simplify your delivery process and reduce your cost of shipping, consulting with a logistics software provider is the best way to arrive at a solution that accomplishes both at the same time.

How Does TL Logistics Software Compare to Other Logistics Options?

When a company needs to ship its goods form point A to point B, finding the best shipping arrangement is rarely as simple as contacting the nearest carrier and signing a contract. On the contrary, most shippers require the aid of in-house logistics experts, third-party logistics (3PL) providers, or logistics software to arrive at the right shipping plan in terms of delivery time and cost. However, there’s a big difference between hiring an in-house logistics expert, hiring a 3PL provider, or implementing logistic software. So, which one offers the most benefits to the most shippers? To answer this question, it helps to explain how each of these options operates within the shipping process.

A logistics expert’s place within the shipping process is fairly obvious: for roughly $80,000 a year, he or she manages a company’s shipping process and proposes newer, better shipping solutions when possible. The upside side of hiring an in house expert is that you have a logistics expert at close contact, which is never the case when you hire a 3PL. But the downside is that the expert’s salary is a lot of money to add onto an already expensive shipping process. Furthermore, despite a logistic expert’s “expertise”, he or she can rarely study all possible shipping arrangements before choosing a best arrangement-a task that TL logistics software performs with regularity.

As with hiring a logistics expert, contracting with a 3PL provider can be expensive, especially if you need a provider to manage your shipping process and propose innovative solutions. There are four types of 3PL providers: standard 3PL providers, which offer basic shipping services; service developers, which offer more specialized shipping services; customer adapters, which manage a company’s existing shipping process; and customer developers, which manage a company’s shipping process and propose innovative solutions. If you need a singular shipping solution, hiring a standard 3PL provider or service developer might make sense. But if you need TL shipping management and innovative TL solutions, TL logistics software is the more affordable option.

Due to its name, shippers sometimes believe that logistic software requires logistics expertise to operate, which isn’t true. Because the software serves as a logistics expert, figuring out the best routes and shipping methods, its users select recommended shipping options by accessing a user-friendly interface. Compared to 3PL, logistic software has three advantages: it puts companies in control of their shipping process; it allows them to cut the middleman out of the shipping process; and it provides them with the fullest range of shipping options, which combine to make the software the most affordable logistics solution on the market.

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