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.

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 – Frequently Asked Questions

If you own a growing manufacturing company, chances are that your shipping needs will eventually change. But that doesn’t mean that the shipping process has to become more complex. In fact, producing more goods can actually make shipping simpler, as can be seen in truckload (TL) shipping, where a company ships a full semi trailer of products direct to destination. To arrive at the best TL shipping solutions, companies have three options: hire an in house logistics expert, outsource to a 3PL provider, or implement TL logistics software-also known as full truckload logistics software-which allows companies to become their own logistics provider. Below, we answer some commonly asked questions about a logistics solution that’s quickly becoming preferred to the more expensive, less flexible options or hiring in house experts or 3PL: truckload logistics-software.

What Aspects of the Shipping Process Does the Software Address?

Logistics software addresses the same aspects of the shipping process that a logistics expert or 3PL provider would address, including route analysis and optimization, and freight optimization. However, unlike a logistic expert, it doesn’t require a $70,000-$90,000 salary to do its work; and, unlike most 3PL providers, the range of shipping options it presents are as broad as possible.

Do You Need Logistics Expertise to Operate the Software?

One of the biggest misconceptions of logistics software in general is that it requires logistical expertise of its user. When you use logistics software, the software serves as the logistics expert, presenting numerous ranked shipping options and allowing you to choose by accessing a user-friendly interface. The goal of logistics software is to cut the middleman out of the logistic function, and it does this by doing the work for you.

How is the Software Implemented?

Most providers of logistics-software offer it on both a software as a service (SaaS) model and as an internal software solution. In either case, the software is tailored to seamlessly integrate with a company’s current shipping process, and can be easily modified when shipping needs change. In the case of internal software, the provider can usually install the software and the hardware necessary to support it.

How Much Does the Software Cost and How Much Does it Save?

The cost of logistics-software varies widely according to two factors: whether it is implemented internally (more expensive) or as a SaaS solution (less expensive), and the range of logistic options required. However, either solution is less expensive than hiring a logistic expert or contracting with a 3PL provider. Concerning cost savings, research shows that companies who implement the software can reduce their total annual shipping cost by 10 percent in the first year alone.