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 Solutions – How Do They Compare to Third Party Logistics?

Third party logistics (3PL) is the most popular choice for freight logistics among small to midsized companies. In order to help companies that regularly make shipments that are too large to financially benefit from parcel shipping and too small to financially benefit from full truckload (FTL) shipping, companies turn to third party logistics providers to get them the best deals on less than truckload (LTL) shipping, integrated shipping methods and to reduce the delivery of products to retailers. To these ends, 3PL providers significantly reduce their clients’ shipping costs compared to what they would spend on shipping without the aid of freight logistics. But they obviously do so by charging their clients for freight logistics services.

So, what’s not to like about hiring a 3PL provider to reduce your company’s shipping costs and ensure that your goods are delivered in a timelier manner? After all, is there really such a thing as realizing freight transportation solutions without seeking the help of freight logistics experts? Yes and no. If freight logistics isn’t one of your company’s core competencies, you’ll certainly need to get logistics solutions from those that specialize in providing them. But you don’t have to turn to a 3PL provider and pay a middleman to provide you with shipping solutions when you can instead use online logistics software.

The difference between 3PL and logistics software solutions-also referred to as logistics management software-typically doesn’t lie in one having more logistics expertise than the other; rather, it has to do with how the logistics information is supplied, how much it costs and how much control companies have over their shipping process. Essentially, a third party logistics provider uses logistics management software to provide you with shipping solutions, whereas online logistics software lets you act as your own logistics provider for an affordable monthly fee. In no case will you find a 3PL provider that offers their services for the low price that you pay for logistics software solutions, nor will hiring a 3PL provider offer you as much control over your shipping options.

Having complete control over your shipping process has two main benefits: you can research the companies that you’re considering hiring and you never have to deal with a middleman’s business policies affecting the price or availability of certain shipping options. Aside of the financial and shipping management benefits offered by logistics management software, its greatest strength is its extreme ease of use. Although the term logistics software implies computer expertise, logistics software comes with an easy to use interface that neither requires expert computer knowledge or expertise in logistics, meaning that each of your company’s departments can be involved in its shipping process.

Logistics Software Removes the Need For 3rd Party Logistics Providers

The more products a company ships, the more shipping costs become subject to cost saving strategies. For most companies, realizing the most economical shipping solutions depends on the implementation of the most popular form of supply chain software (SCS): logistics planning software. On the most basic level, the solutions offered by logistics software improve a company’s phased planning measures, product sales forecasts and scientific safety stock. Some companies hire 3rd party logistics providers, but more and more companies are turning to logistics software in place of 3rd party logistics providers for two reasons: logistics software offers the same level of quality as 3rd party logistics providers and it offers it a much lower price.

When companies use logistics planning software, they can centralize and integrate their product delivery system by allowing drivers at different sites to connect using the most efficient travel routes, which increases product delivery time and decreases fuel costs by reducing empty running. Regardless of which style of logistical planning a company needs to implement-inbound logistics, contract logistics, LCL/FCL, LTL/FTL, etc.-logistics planning software allows companies to arrive at advanced planning and scheduling solutions that can significantly increase their bottom line. By implementing this software, companies can improve the cost effectiveness of the following product distribution arrangements, among others: container planning and empty container repositioning, intermodal transport, multi-hub and multi-leg transport, cross docking, multi-compartment trailer planning and inventory management.

One example of how logistics software helps companies reduce their shipping costs can be seen in less than truckload (LTL) shipping arrangements. Especially beneficial for companies that don’t ship a high volume of goods, LTL shipping allows companies to pay a fraction of full truckload (FTL) shipping costs. LTL shipping combines multiple partial truckloads into a full truckload and splits the full load price between the shippers. For trucking companies, LTL is beneficial because it draws in customers who would traditionally ship their good by parcel carrier. Another example of how logistics software can save companies money is by examining the characteristics of shipping routes. For example, while the shortest route might seem to be the fastest route, this software can reveal that a longer route would be faster due the traffic characteristics of the shorter route.

Without this software, most companies continue to pay more for logistical solutions than they need to. While research shows that both logistics software and 3rd Party logistics providers can help companies reduce their annual shipping costs by 10 percent at the end of one year, opting for this software adds to the savings. When companies use logistics software, they increase their bottom line in basic two ways: by delivering their products to the sales floor faster and by reducing the cost of getting them there.

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