Does Achieving the Best Shipping Solutions Require Hiring a Logistic Expert?

Shipping products without the aid of logistics is like journeying to an unfamiliar destination without the aid of a map; eventually, you get there, but it usually takes more time and money than you anticipated. Just as an uninformed driver makes more stops and takes more roads than necessary to arrive at his destination, an uninformed shipping process results in freight making more stops and taking longer routes than necessary, increasing the cost of the shipping process. Realizing this, shipping companies that don’t have an “in house” logistics department will seek the advice of a logistic expert. But the type of logistic expertise that they retain can also have a significant impact on the cost of the shipping process.

When a company doesn’t have its own logistic expert, it has two options for implementing shipping logistics: hiring a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, or implementing logistics software. Traditionally, shipping companies have opted for 3PL. But today, shippers are increasingly choosing logistics software over 3PL for two reasons: the software offers more shipping options and it costs significantly less than hiring a 3PL provider that offers the same level of service. For companies that are considering hiring a 3PL provider, it’s important to realize that not all 3PL providers are the same. Currently, there are three types of 3PL providers: standard 3PL providers, service developers, customer adapters and customer developers.

Stand 3PL providers offer transportation logistics, but not as one of their core competencies, which ends up making them attractive due to the low cost of their services. Service developers perform transportation logistics as their core competency, but typically emphasize in “value-added” services, such as cross-docking and specific packaging. Customer adapters oversee a company’s logistics process, but don’t specialize in innovative shipping solutions. Customer developers oversee the logistics process and do specialize in innovation solutions. But the price of hiring a customer developer is can be similar to hiring your own logistics experts.

Moreover, 3PL often places small and midsize companies in the position of hiring logistics services that don’t offer comprehensive, innovative solutions or attempting to hire unaffordable logistics services that do; a situation that makes companies realize the value of logistics software, which allows them to realize comprehensive, innovative shipping solutions that increase the timeliness of the shipping process while reducing its price by eliminating the following costs: TMS software costs, 3PL costs, gain shares, freight margins, common rate base licensing costs and annual software maintenance costs.

Logistics software is available on either a software as a service (SaaS) model or as an onsite software solution, with the former offering the advantage of remote system access. But in either case, the software allows its customers to make expert logistics decisions through an easy to use interface. Research shows that companies who implement logistics software can reduce their annual shipping costs by 10 percent after the first year.

Types of ERP Software System – SAP Infor and Oracle

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software system aims in integrating the vital functions of an enterprise leading to a better communication and flow of data through the different units of an enterprise, regardless of their geographical locations. A standard ERP system constitutes of a software component, hardware infrastructure and a process documentation component. An ERP package integrates several functions like production, finance and accounts, supply chain management, asset management, logistics and many more. Different types of ERP software are available in the market catering to the needs of all types of business and corporate houses. Large global organizations require complex ERP package to support more functions than the small and medium sized enterprises.

A brief synopsis of the different types of ERP software is given below

SAP R/3 and B1: This is one of the most popular ERP software applications in the world with a record number of customers. SAP ERP offers two types of packages, SAP R/3 and B1. SAP R/3 integrated software is suitable for very small and big enterprises, and supports all the vital functions. This system can be customized to meet the specific requirements of a business. The client/server architecture enables this system to run on various platforms like Windows Server, UNIX and OS/400. Various database packages like SQL server, Oracle or DB2 can be used in implementing SAP R/3.

SAP B1 package, also known as “Business One”, is more suitable for the small and medium sized organizations. This package comes with pre- built modules like Customer Relationship Management, Finance, e-commerce, Warehousing, procuring and reporting.

LN/Baan: Originally created by The BaaN Corporation, LN ERP software package is configured for the manufacturing industries, which have a complex working system. The complex supply chains of these industries follow different methodologies. Suitable for the large business organizations this ERP software offers better communication and collaboration and enhances the performance and productivity. It leverages the IT infrastructure thereby reducing the expenses. This package offers a high level of customization and is largely adopted by the made-to-order and engineering-to-order organizations.

Oracle e-Business Suite Financials and PeopleSoft Enterprise: Oracle has launched two ERP software packages. One is E- Business Suite Financials, which is a user- friendly package ideal for the financial services organizations. This package offers modules for dynamic planning, budgeting, forecasting, multidimensional analysis of profits and all sorts of financial operations. It supports the functions of globally scattered organizations. The second Oracle ERP package is the People Soft Enterprise, which is highly customized, and is targeted for the complex business functions. This customized package supports a wide range of functions of different types of organizations and can be run on a number of database systems and architecture.

Warehousing Management Software: How Software Can Streamline The Processes From Order To Delivery

There are so many processes involved when it comes to the ordering of a product from your business all the way up to the delivery.

You might be able to handle all of this just fine if you are a small business owner, but what if you have to deal with sending out hundreds if not thousands of products on a regular basis?

Think about how complex this can get without the use of warehousing management software to help you be able to quickly identify where to locate certain items in your warehouse.

You want the ability to streamline all of these processes having to do with orders and delivery. When you are able to do this you cut out things that add to the time it takes for a customer to get the products they are ordering from you.

You are able to quickly identify what is what, where it is located, and get all you need at once. The software allows you to input all the information you need into it in order to make all this possible.

Your ability to use this logistics software to help you streamline processes from order to delivery is going to enable you to determine the availability of products in your warehouse very precisely. There is going to be no accuracy problems in this respect.

This means you will be able to offer superior customer service, because you will be able to provide delivery dates to them that are realistic and that you will be able to keep with no problems.

Companies that are not able to use warehousing management software to help them speed up the time it takes to get products out of their warehouse and into the hands of costumers are going to struggle, particularly if they are a growing business.

These companies would be spending just too much time doing things that can be either avoided or speed up to the point of cutting down costs. A small business would definitely benefit from this, and warehousing management software is available at an affordable price so they can set up the system they need to make their processes run more efficiently.

What else can warehousing management software do for you because when you are trying to operate a warehouse that holds certain items you need to make sure you are able to quickly identify what you need and release it if it has been ordered.

When you can do this your shipping speeds are better not to mention certain businesses might have products on their shelves that are actually in their warehouse that have been back-ordered. The problem is your company might not know this information because it has not been released yet.

Use of this logistics software can help make sure this does not happen by automatically letting you know of back-ordered inventory. This is going to allow you to reduce problems with returns. You will be able to give your customers better shipping times as well as keep holding costs in your warehouse down.

You do not have to let all of the processes involved with ordering and getting products to customers overwhelm you. Warehousing management software helps to make all of these things easy and it can be a life saver for those smaller businesses that are fighting to establish themselves against the big boys.

The big boys likely already make use of such software, but for those who don’t they are doing their customers a disservice by not using it. Look into getting it today and watch how order and fulfillment for products that you carry improves overtime.

Inventory Software Steps That Will Maximize Your Inventory Investment While Reducing Your Expenses

You might not think that your business needs to use inventory software, and maybe this is true if you are in the very beginning stages of running a business.

However, once you were truly up and running you would be doing yourself a terrible disservice if you were not putting in place a good inventory management system that would allow you to maximize the way you were doing things.

When a business first gets started or if it is still quite small the business is going to go through a lot of cash. This is usually the make or break time for a lot of businesses.

If they are unable to use cash the right way then they are not going to survive very long. It is getting tougher and tougher to stay in business if one is not able to have cash on hand when they need it.

Seeing as how you are going to need cash on hand all the time you cannot afford to have cash tied up at all. This is going to happen no matter what you do, but there are some areas where you can prevent such problems.

Inventory would be one of them. Using the right inventory management system is just the first step. Making sure you have the right software in place to run it efficiently is the next step.

Your goal is going to be carrying only as much inventory as needed based on customer demand. You might decide to carry a little bit extra for the purpose of bigger discounts from suppliers or to hedge against fluctuations in customer demand.

In any case the goal is going to be finding that sweet spot. You do not want too much, but you also will not want too little.

When things are done thins way it means you will not have to worry about having cash tied up in inventory. Now why is this important. You want to be able to use this money in other areas of the business.

This is really important for any business that is just getting started and having cash on hand will allow you to be prepared for unexpected things.

Inventory software also allows a business to reduce negative cash flow, because it is going to allow a business to keep down inventories.

At least it will allow a business to keep them right where they need to be. Excess inventories can mean doom for certain business, especially if they are not able to eventually move it.

What inventory software is really all about will surprise you because many businesses fail to understand how logistics software can really benefit their organization long term.

For instance, say you want to set up an inventory management system that is not going to consume a lot of your time right? Well if this is the case you cannot have a system that is overly dependent on other people.

You want to know that any and all information you need to ensure your system is effective can be quickly obtained by you.

Even if you have to rely on others you still want to know what information they will need in order to ensure they bring you back the information you need to input into the software.

Inventory software will help you along in this regard. It is designed to help you answer important questions and make needed changes.

It is made so that you are able to control your inventory the way it needs to be so you keep your costs down. In such a competitive business environment you need this.

The investment you might have to make in logistics software is nothing compared to the long term value you will get by using this program daily.