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.

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.

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.