What is Logistics Software?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines logistics as, “the handling of the details of an operation.” At the heart of the profitability and overall success of a business is an efficient logistics system. Managing production, parts, inventory, and shipments all fall under the responsibilities of the logistics, or supply chain, management department. Such a large job includes the daunting task of managing the many details associated with logistics. Employing the use of a good logistics company can greatly affect the outcome of the logistical branch of a business. However, hiring a company that specializes in logistics can prove to be very costly to carry out. Therefore, utilizing a logistics software program may be more economical for small to moderate facilities.

When a logistics company is used, it will handle the day to day management of the business. It will have its own trained personnel that can micro-manage every detail of the supply chain. For a large company with big operations, this is a necessity. Trusting such a vital factor to an untrained person could be detrimental to the business. Many manufacturing enterprises will also maintain a logistics manager as well. Large companies will recognize cost-saving benefits that will offset the expense of continued use of a logistics company.

Unlike a large manufacturer, even a small company can benefit from logistics software. Many software makes have designed an extremely easy to use, user-friendly interface. They are fully automated and can come as a suite with many optional applications or individually loaded for specific applications only. Add to the customizable features, that they often offer online and telephone tech support; this software pays for itself in very little time.

One thing that logistic software does is use a database to make and store various records necessary for keeping track of the many processes associated with a supply chain. The software can manage the distribution, warehousing, inventory, transportation details and expenses, and customer-friendly customer service options.

Some software makers also offer global visibility, bar-code scanning, billing administration and automated issue reporting to increase the value of the services that a business gives to their clients.

A business can track how many parts they have on hand and ordered, how much completed merchandise is available, current trucking routes and loads available, and log customer service interactions. Being able to input this information seamlessly and with as little effort as possible, every business that uses logistics software or a logistics company can save money. High inventory levels cost company’s money with the operating cost associated with warehouses. Being able to communicate with a client when a load will be available will increase customer satisfaction levels. And finally being able to log customer problems, a company can identify a trend before it becomes too overwhelming.

There are several services available to manage a company’s logistics department. Without selecting a method to manage a company’s logistical issues, it will loose money and potentially suffer from low customer and employee satisfaction. Using a software or company is very seldom optional. Therefore, the important thing is to find one that best suits the needs of one’s company, at a cost they can afford, and utilizing all its features to develop a business that is well run and sure to be successful.

Freight Logistics Software: Frequently Asked Questions

Shippers have three options for managing the shipping process: maintaining an in-house logistics department, outsourcing to a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider, or implementing freight logistics software. When the objective is to choose the most economical option, most shippers choose the third option for the following reasons:

  • It gives them more control over the shipping process
  • It does not require a staff of transportation management experts
  • It allows them to choose from a broad range of carriers
  • It allows them to perform a freight audit without the help of a third party
  • It allows them to avoid paying high service fees to a third party

If you are considering making logistics software a part of your shipping process, but you need more information, the answers below can help.

How does the product compare to 3PL?

The product compares favorably to Third Party Logistics (3PL). Unlike 3PL, it does not place the logistics function in the hands of a third party. Instead, it allows the shipper to become its own logistics provider by providing resources for executing and managing the shipping process. Consequently, using the product is typically more affordable than outsourcing to a 3PL provider.

Does the product come in different configurations?

The product can be configured to meet the needs of the shipper. For example, while one shipper may need a configuration for Less Than Load (LTL) shipping, another shipper may need a configuration for transportation management. All configurations can facilitate administrative tasks such as a freight audit.

Is the product available on a SaaS model?

Freight logistics software is available on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. It is also available on an in-house model. Because it eliminates the need to purchase software and perform system maintenance, the SaaS model is typically more affordable than the in-house model.

How long does it take to implement the product?

When the product is configured to accommodate a unique shipping process, it is typically implemented thirty to forty-five days after the initial service request. In most cases, the system is up and running within forty-five days.

How much money can a company save by using the product?

The amount of money a company saves depends on two things: what the product replaces, and how much it lowers shipping cost. Using the product to replace a department of freight auditors can yield a six-figure payroll saving. A similar saving can result from using the product to replace the services of a high-level 3PL provider (e.g. customer developer or customer adapter). In terms of shipping cost, most companies report a ten percent reduction in shipping cost after using the product for one year.

Conclusion

Freight logistics software is an economical solution for shippers who need to save money on shipping logistics and reduce the cost of shipping. In addition to accommodating the needs of unique shipping processes, it also allows shippers to perform ubiquitous administrative tasks such as a freight audit. To learn more about benefits of the product, contact a provider of logistics software today.

TL Logistics Software – How Does it Compare to Third Party Logistics?

If your company is at the point that it ships enough goods to benefit from truckload (TL) shipping, achieving the optimal truckload transportation management system will require careful consideration, beginning with what logistics option you should choose. In most cases, companies have three basic options for applying logistics to the shipping process: hiring an in house logistics expert; contracting with a third party logistics (3PL) provider; or implementing TL logistics software-also known as truckload logistics software.

If your company feels like other shippers, it would probably prefer to have its own logistic expert on location. But, if adding a $70,000-$90,000 salary to your payroll isn’t acceptable, then contracting with a 3PL provider for TL shipping solutions or implementing logistics software are more affordable options.

To understand what you get when you hire a 3PL provider, it helps to distinguish the four types of 3PL providers: standard 3PL providers, which offer basic 3PL services and usually don’t feature 3PL as their main function; service developers, which offer a more specialized range of services than standard 3PL providers; customer developers, which manage a company’s entire shipping process but don’t suggest innovative shipping solutions; and customer adapters, which manage a company’s shipping process and propose innovative solutions.

If you were only looking for TL shipping solutions, hiring a standard 3PL provider or a service developer would be the most cost effective option. However, these types of providers typically place their customers with carriers that offer third party logistics providers a discounted rate that they profit from by charging their customers a rate that exceeds it.

If you think that this scenario sounds disingenuous, it is, especially as it places the provider’s interests above the customer’s in such a way that a customer has little chance of realizing optimal truckload shipping solutions, which is why it turned to the provider in the first place. TL logistics software, on the other hand, removes this situation by doing the work of a logistic expert and allowing companies to become their own logistics provider.

Like a logistic expert or customer adapter, the software evaluates every aspect of the truckload shipping process (i.e. route analysis and optimization, freight optimization, payment arrangements, etc.) and presents companies with a list of ranked shipping options that can be selected through the use of a user-friendly interface. If cost savings is a major goal in your company’s shipping process, logistics software offers a dual cost savings approach: it negates the need to outsource logistics and uncovers shipping solutions that offer the lowest price for you shipping needs.

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.