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.

Inventory Software Will Allow You To Maximize Costumer Service – Follow These Steps To For Success

The last thing any business wants to do is take on any expensive they feel they are not going to need. This is one of the primary reasons why a lot of business, especially those that are just starting or are smaller, will decide to go without an effective inventory management system that is implemented by means of inventory software.

These businesses will try to do things the hard way. The hard way equals a business having to invest more time, which of course is going to mean more money.

In order to convince you of how beneficial it would be for you business to have inventory software, we need to discuss the overall value it is going to provide you with moving forward.

The one aspect we can focus on is the lifeblood of your business, and that is going to be making sure your customers are satisfied. Now you might have a good product or products.

You might have friendly staff who answer the problems of customers. You might run a pretty efficient business. However, without inventory software you are not doing all you can to make sure you are maximizing customer service.

Why do you think this is? Well, without the right tools at your disposal to make inventory management more efficient you are going to run into problems such as inaccurate customer forecasts.

This means you are going to underestimate or overestimate the amount of software you need. How much do you believe this is going to cost you in the long run? Then you have issues such as various changes that can happen to original customer orders.

When this happens it can throw everything into a tail spin. Let’s not forget the overall lack of account management your business might have.

All of these things combined make for poor customer service performance in regards to on time delivery, not suppliers and not purchasing. What do you believe is going to happen because of this?

You are likely going to end up carrying a lot of excess inventory or not enough. This is going to lead to inventory write offs.

You are going to end up having higher product costs, which is going to mean lower profit margins for you. Inventory software is going to enable you to solve all of these problems without hassle.

There are many reasons why inventory software will help you make more profits at the end of the day. For instance, right now you probably have a good idea of how many sales you can expect to get for a given product at a given time of the year.

You might have taken the time to put this information together and it has worked out well for you. However, without inventory software there is a chance you are opening yourself up to a huge forecast error.

You want the individual product sales forecast for your business to be as accurate as possible. The more accurate the product sales forecasting is the smaller the forecast error will be.

This means you are not going to need that much inventory to make sure that you are able to maintain a specific level of costumer service. There are other benefits as well.

Your most likely use machines in your business if you carry a lot of inventory. Not carrying excess inventory means you will not have to worry about over using machines you might have when it comes to producing products.

You will not build products before they are needed, and as a result you are not going to have to commit capacity of your machines too early.

Inventory software which is another term for logistics software, is a tool no business can afford to be without if they want to run a sound inventory management program.

Logistics Software Helps Companies Achieve the Optimal Freight Bid

Whether your company’s success depends on shipping a large amount of goods or a small amount of gods, chances are that your shipping process can benefit from the implementation of logistics management software. Also referred to as freight transportation software, logistics management software uses the power of logistics to increase the delivery time of a company’s products and cut its shipping costs in the process. While logistics software can benefit companies of any size, it remains ideal for small to midsized companies that don’t have the IT infrastructure to support a full scale shipping system and must therefore rely on third party shipping for the delivery of their goods to and from warehouses, to and from manufacturing locations and ultimately to store shelves. By using logistics software, companies can examine the shipping process from a variety of vantage points, including accounting, billing, dispatching, payroll, driver settlements, carrier settlements and shipping route efficiency, allowing them to realize the optimal freight bid.

In addition to the shipping process benefits that logistics software offers companies, perhaps its greatest advantage is that you don’t have to have a background in logistics to understand and operate it. On the contrary, the software comes with an easy to understand user interface that reduces learning curve, and the software can easily be integrated into a company’s already existing transportation procedures. Logistics software can be accessed from any computer location through the Internet and offers a variety of customized modules that allow all employees associated with the shipping process to view the process from their particular vantage point. Some of the module areas commonly offered by logistics software are accounting, customized reporting, scheduling, shipping management, purchasing management, labor management, job management, order management, inventory management, data import and export, cross currency management and labor management.

One scenario where logistics software regularly benefits companies by improving their shipping time and reducing the cost of the shipping process involves warehouse management. In some cases, companies that lack logistical capabilities end up choosing the shortest shipping route in terms of distance without considering the number of warehouse stops that are made along the route. Consequently, their goods take longer to reach their destination than they would have if shipped on a longer route that didn’t contain as many warehouse stops. In addition, more warehouse stops equals increased warehouse fees, and logistics software may discover that the additional fuel charges that result from a longer route are less expansive than the total warehouse fees of the shorter route.

Another scenario where logistics software helps companies improve delivery time and save money involves evaluating alternate means of transportation. Although a company might be used to moving its products by freight, logistics might reveal that it could improve delivery time and saving money by air shipping their products. Although traditionally more expensive than ground shipping; in some situations, air shipping can prove more economical than grounding shipping due to the collective expenses associated with ground shipping routes. Regardless of your company’s current shipping arrangements, examining them using logistics is certain to save you time and money by allowing you to realize the optimal freight bid and/or integrated transportation solutions.

Advantages of Logistics Software Over Third Party Logistics

For manufacturers who ship a steady supply of cargo, the cost of shipping can rival the cost of payroll. Consequently, reducing shipping costs is a full-time task for most shipping managers. Today, most shippers manage the logistical side of shipping (the part of the shipping process where costs can be cut) with one of the following resources:

  • In-house Logistics – A model of shipping logistics in which the shipping process is managed by a shipper’s own staff of experts.

  • Third Party Logistics (3PL) – A model of shipping logistics in which a third party manages one or more aspects of the shipping process.

  • Logistics software – A web-based or in-house program that allows shippers to choose its own shipping arrangements and perform important tasks such as a freight audit.

Most shippers prefer the first option, but paying a team of experts can be unaffordable. Left to choose between the second and third options, many shippers choose the latter based on the following considerations:

Cost

The cost of 3PL is based on the services a shipper receives. When a shipper receives only a few services through a standard 3PL provider or a service developer, 3PL can be affordable. However, when a shipper uses the comprehensive services of a customer adapter or customer developer, the cost of 3PL can be significant. A software-based resource can facilitate comprehensive shipping management for a fraction of the cost of high-level 3PL services.

Shipping Options

Some 3PL providers make carries arrangements using a narrow range of carrier options, such as those found in an electronic posting system. Conversely, logistics software allows shippers to choose from a limitless range of shipping options based on the appropriate shipping model (e.g. less than load or truckload), and perform a freight audit to monitor shipping costs.

Control

Shippers who use 3PL commonly complain that the shipping process feels too removed-a complaint that often results from the failure of a 3PL provider to provide ongoing, in-depth communication to the customer. Using a software-based resource eliminates this issue by placing the shipper in full control of the shipping process.

Permanence

When shippers use 3PL, they often go through multiple 3PL providers as their shipping process evolves, beginning with a standard 3PL provider and eventually using the services of a customer adapter or customer developer. In addition to being more expensive than using a software-based resource, switching from one 3PL provider to another requires forming new business contracts, continuously delegating more shipping tasks to a third party, and implementing new standards for quality control.

Most shippers wish to implement a permanent logistical solution as soon as possible, and implementing a software-based solution is the best way to do it. After the solution is implemented, it options can be changed as the shipping process changes, providing a seamless transition that does not require the customer to look for a new service provider.

Conclusion

For many shippers, logistics software is the most cost effective logistical resource. In addition to allowing shippers to choose from the broadest range of carrier options, it allows them to perform important tasks (e.g. freight audit) without the assistance of a third party. To learn more about the benefits of software-based logistics, contact a provider of transportation software.