Amateurs Study Shipping Rates, Professionals Study Logistics

Omar Bradley offered a truism, that amateurs study tactics, armchair generals study strategy, and professionals study logistics. This is just as true in the world of business as it is in the military. Logistics is the art of getting supplies where they’re needed so other functions can happen. In the modern business world, logistics means freight shipping – both internally and externally. In this field, freight rates and carrier rates are the price of doing business.

Freight shipping is one of those expenses that can be minimized, but never totally eliminated. It’s also a manpower time sink, and because of this, more and more companies are outsourcing their freight needs to third party logistics companies. These are outfits that have people who do nothing but look over the assorted rates and package deals offered by the major freight carriers and try to find the best deal possible for their client, with a nice commission on top for them.

All in all, third party logistics management makes sense for organizations that are above a certain size (too small, and they don’t generate enough volume to be worth the trouble of maintaining the account) and below a certain size (at which point the company can have an inside staff that does the same function for less).

Alternatives to third party logistics offers are in house logistics software. Much the same way that travel agencies quickly became redundant with online booking services, logistics software vendors are trying to render the third party logistics company obsolete. Building automatic data scrapers that can do the basic work of comparing logistics rates to different parts of the country or world is fairly straightforward, as is a price search algorithm.

While these systems primarily offer a way to avoid third party logistics fees, they also offer a bit more direct control over your company’s shipping needs, and some managers and executives like that hands on feel. They can also be used to significantly automate a lot of routine functions in the shipping department and the mail room. They can also be used to identify process problems – there’s a saying that every time something was sent out overnight, someone higher up in the chain didn’t do their job correctly, and when you’re looking directly at the costs of expedited shipping, it becomes easier to focus on the process issues that lead to it, than when you’re looking at a third party statement of account.

Ultimately, which one works best is a function of your business’ needs and internal culture; some businesses simply don’t want to bring that job in house. Others need to. Both are viable strategies depending on what your operation’s needs truly are.

LTL Software: An Overview

Small and medium size shippers often need Less than Truck Load (LTL) shipping arrangements to move their freight. Unlike Truck Load (TL) shipping, in which cargo from a single shipper fills a semi trailer, LTL shipping fills a semi trailer with cargo from two or more shippers. After splitting the cost of the load, each shipper pays less for shipping than it would if it used TL shipping.

As with any shipping arrangement, maximizing the benefit of LTL shipping requires shippers to locate the best rates. To do so, many shippers use logistics software.

Logistics Software among Other Resources

Logistics can be defined as “The detailed coordination of a complex operation where a small or large group of people and facilities are involved in the movement of materiel, goods, or supplies.”

Logistics software is an application that helps shippers choose the best shipping solutions by supplying the logistics function. In the absence of the software, a traditional logistics department or a third party logistics (3PL) provider would supply the logistics function. For businesses that have a limited budget, hiring a team of logistics professionals, or paying a 3PL provider to manage the shipping process, is often unaffordable.

Logistics software is an affordable alternative to these options, as it allows shippers to manage the shipping process without investing significant capital in the management function. In addition to improving your bottom line by improving your Transportation Management System (TMS), logistics software can help you profit by replacing a logistics resource that costs more to maintain. If your company needs to cut shipping costs, implementing the software can help. According to research, using tailored logistics software reduces shipping cost by at least 10 percent in the first year.

Implementing the Right Program

To realize the most savings, shippers must implement TMS software that is tailored to their shipping process, and has the lowest collateral costs. Shippers that need LTL shipping would implement LTL software. To minimize collateral costs, they would implement the product on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, which eliminates the following expenses that come with implementing it on an in-house model:

  • Product purchase
  • Installation fee
  • System maintenance fees
  • System update fees

Implementing logistics software on a SaaS model is similar to implementing other programs on the same model. The service provider performs a four-step process:

  • Analyzes your unique shipping process
  • Creates a program that reflects your wants and needs
  • Presents the program for your review
  • Implements the program when you approve it

The program is operable 30-45 days after you approve its implementation, and you can start to see savings within weeks. If your business needs a low cost solution for finding the best LTL arrangements, a SaaS logistics solution is an excellent option.

Conclusion

Now more than ever, companies improve their bottom line by cutting operating costs. For shippers, the shipping process and the logistics function are two areas where operating costs can be cut significantly, and implementing TMS software is an effective way to do it. If your business needs to reduce the cost of shipping and identify better LTL arrangements, implementing LTL software is an affordable way to accomplish both.

How to Improve The Business With Logistics Software

The technological development in each field of the market was soon followed by evolutionary steps of logistics softwares and IT companies. Today there are many software companies that provide the highest quality and friendly software solutions to the Transportation Industry. Their softwares are designed to be industry oriented from the ground up. The industry-oriented approach is reflected by their market focus, products, service offerings, the customer support, and the talent base they employ.

True professional companies always stay on the cutting edge of technology innovations to deliver state-of- the art solutions to their clients. Therefore, if you have an important business to run in the transportation industry, you would better not waste anymore time and purchase at least a lite logistics suite, an affordable, but still a powerful one. Its solutions may include Freight Forwarding Software, Purchase Order Management, Real-Time Online Cargo Tracking, Inventory Control Software, Third-Party Logistics System (3PL), Trucking Software with Cross-Dock and Dispatch, Integrated Accounting Software and many more.

A Freight Forwarding Software, for example, is designed especially for small Freight Forwarders and Warehouse Management Companies. It can handle Ocean Freight, Air Freight along with Warehousing. Newest version releases have taken the request of customers in consideration and added the QuickBooks export support. That means that now you can easily export invoices to QuickBooks, saving time and reducing errors.

A lite suite version will be able to handle all the requirements of a Cargo Warehouse operation including Warehouse Receives, Warehouse Withdraws, Labels, On Hand Reports and Invoices. The Ocean Export and Air Export modules may provide an array of features like Quotes, Bookings, Manifest, Labels, Waybills (Houses, Masters, Directs) and reports that will let you keep track of your company operations at all times.

Still, if you can afford to spend more, there are more powerful softwares that will offer access to cargo status information directly through your company’s internet website, providing your customers with a powerful online shipment tracking tool. Authorized users can search, view and print information in various forms, such as: Warehouse Receipts, House Airwaybills, Master Airwaybills, House Bill of Ladings, Master Bill of Ladings and Cargo Manifest.

A complete featured suite offloads much of the administrative overhead associated with addressing client shipment inquiries, helping you to reduce cost and increase employee productivity. Also agents can enter POD information without having to call your office. They may also keep track of all cargo going to their office.

Usually, the software companies understand how critical it is for their clients to have their logistics software running 100% of the time. That is why they give their support department the higher priority. Any technical support team is committed to provide superior support service, and is available twenty four hours, seven days a week.

The companies’ staffs now understand that today is not only the software, but also the customer support that is critical to the clients. Their goal should be to build a relationship of trust with their customers and that is why 24/7 support is absolutely necessary to be provided. This kind of support can easily be achieved using the technology of the Internet. If one is interested in any of their products or services, he/she should be able to visit a contact page for more information, at least on how to get in touch with them. Also, if a customer has non-time critical issues or just has some questions, an e-mail should be provided for any inquires or an online support request form. Any problem should be resolved within a few hours, if the service is professional.

Think about the advantages of purchasing a logistics software! It will improve your time and experiences in your business area.

Six Benefits of Implementing a Software-Based Logistics Management Program

A logistics management program-also referred to as a transportation management program-is a comprehensive approach to managing every aspect of the logistics process while developing innovative shipping solutions that save time and money wherever possible. A logistics management program is achieved in one of three ways: hiring a team of in house logistics experts, hiring a third party logistics (3PL) provider or implementing third party logistics software.

Hiring a team of experts is usually too costly for small to midsized companies, and hiring the type of 3PL provider that would implement a comprehensive, innovative logistics management program is usually too costly as well. But implementing logistics software allows companies to develop a comprehensive, innovative management program without the aid of paid professionals. Logistics software does the work of a logistics expert, meaning that its users don’t need to possess logistics expertise. Instead, they use a user-friendly interface to choose from among recommended shipping solutions for every area of the shipping process. Below, we list six benefits that shippers experience after implementing logistics software.

Reduction of Expedited Order Costs

Expedited shipments can significantly drive up the cost of shipping if they occur on a regular basis; and without a comprehensive logistics solution, they typically do. Logistics-software allows shippers to reduce expedited shipments through better shipment planning and system directed exceptions handling, which resolves exceptions before they necessitate an expedited shipment.

Increase of Load Consolidation

Upon implementing logistics-software, shippers immediately realize the ability to consolidate parcel shipments into less than truckload (LTL) shipments, as well the ability to consolidate LTL shipments into truckload (TL) shipments, each of which significantly lessens annual shipping costs.

Automation of Carrier and Mode Selection

When companies automate the selection of the best carrier and the best shipping mode, they save money in terms of both saved time and saved manpower, especially considering that logistics software immediately pairs optimal carrier and optimal mode selection.

Identification of Invoice Discrepancies

Searching for discrepancies in invoices on your own can be tedious and time consuming. But logistics software can instantly compare the audit of a freight invoice against the shipping contract, allowing you to never pay for services that weren’t rendered as promised or that were rendered in violation of the shipping contract.

Tracking of Carrier Performance

Tracking a carrier’s performance can help you negotiate better rates. Logistics software provides information on a carrier prior to your forming a contract with them, which can allow you to receive a lower rate if, for example, a carrier’s promised delivery times average a few minutes or more less than the promised times.

Reduction of Product Breakage

Regardless of the cost effectiveness of shipping routes and load arrangements, a company doesn’t profit from an economical shipping process if its products regularly break en route. Logistics software solves this problem by connecting shippers with carriers that offer the right mixing and stacking strategies for a particular type of freight.