Vendor Compliance and Truckload Shipping: How Logistics Software Can Help

Is the cost of meeting the vendor compliance standards of large retailers and corporations worth the resulting sales? Perhaps not in the short-term, but in the long-term, complying with complex vendor standards is one of the few ways to turn mediocre product sales into phenomenal sales. Even so, small to midsized manufacturers that aim to meet the standards of large corporations and retailers cam immediately find what seem like insurmountable obstacles in their path, especially concerning standards that regard the shipping process, such as the requirement that companies ship full truckloads-as opposed to less than full truckloads-to a business’s receiving docks.

Vendor Compliance and Truckload Shipping: Can Shipping Logistics Help?

The problem with full truckload shipping-also known as TL shipping-for small to midsized vendors isn’t that they can’t ship less than a full truckload of their products in a full semi trailer; it’s that doing so is cost prohibitive. As a result, small to midsized companies typically turn to less than truckload shipping-also known LTL shipping-in which two or more shippers of partial loads combine their shipments to form a full truckload and split the cost. The general advantage of LTL shipping is its cost effectiveness, while its general disadvantage is its slower delivery time, resulting from numerous pick ups and drop offs.

But LTL can have a more specific drawback concerning vendor compliance and truckload shipping: it could throw a wrench in a business’s well-oiled receiving system, where a full truckload of products comes from a single source and is therefore brings less risk of error during the receiving process. Traditionally, only companies that produce enough goods to fill a full truckload on a regular basis use TL shipping. But today, transportation logistics allows shippers the option of shipping full loads on a schedule more suited to their production output, allowing participation with large buyers of goods.

Method of shipping is one of numerous concerns within a complex set of vendor compliance standards. But it remains one of the toughest standards to meet if you don’t have shipping logistics on your side, a service that companies can secure in one of three ways: by implementing their own logistic department; by contracting with third party logistics (3PL) providers; and by implementing logistics software, which allows you to become your own logistics provider without possessing logistical expertise. Out of the three options, the latter is the least expensive, while still supplying the broad, in-depth approach to logistics a company would receive if it had its own logistic department. To find out more about how logistics software can help your company meet the compliance standards of large corporations and retailers, contact an online provider of logistics software today.

What is Logistics Software?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines logistics as, “the handling of the details of an operation.” At the heart of the profitability and overall success of a business is an efficient logistics system. Managing production, parts, inventory, and shipments all fall under the responsibilities of the logistics, or supply chain, management department. Such a large job includes the daunting task of managing the many details associated with logistics. Employing the use of a good logistics company can greatly affect the outcome of the logistical branch of a business. However, hiring a company that specializes in logistics can prove to be very costly to carry out. Therefore, utilizing a logistics software program may be more economical for small to moderate facilities.

When a logistics company is used, it will handle the day to day management of the business. It will have its own trained personnel that can micro-manage every detail of the supply chain. For a large company with big operations, this is a necessity. Trusting such a vital factor to an untrained person could be detrimental to the business. Many manufacturing enterprises will also maintain a logistics manager as well. Large companies will recognize cost-saving benefits that will offset the expense of continued use of a logistics company.

Unlike a large manufacturer, even a small company can benefit from logistics software. Many software makes have designed an extremely easy to use, user-friendly interface. They are fully automated and can come as a suite with many optional applications or individually loaded for specific applications only. Add to the customizable features, that they often offer online and telephone tech support; this software pays for itself in very little time.

One thing that logistic software does is use a database to make and store various records necessary for keeping track of the many processes associated with a supply chain. The software can manage the distribution, warehousing, inventory, transportation details and expenses, and customer-friendly customer service options.

Some software makers also offer global visibility, bar-code scanning, billing administration and automated issue reporting to increase the value of the services that a business gives to their clients.

A business can track how many parts they have on hand and ordered, how much completed merchandise is available, current trucking routes and loads available, and log customer service interactions. Being able to input this information seamlessly and with as little effort as possible, every business that uses logistics software or a logistics company can save money. High inventory levels cost company’s money with the operating cost associated with warehouses. Being able to communicate with a client when a load will be available will increase customer satisfaction levels. And finally being able to log customer problems, a company can identify a trend before it becomes too overwhelming.

There are several services available to manage a company’s logistics department. Without selecting a method to manage a company’s logistical issues, it will loose money and potentially suffer from low customer and employee satisfaction. Using a software or company is very seldom optional. Therefore, the important thing is to find one that best suits the needs of one’s company, at a cost they can afford, and utilizing all its features to develop a business that is well run and sure to be successful.

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.

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