Posted on September 30, 2017
If your company ships enough goods to qualify for full truckload (TL) shipping, you may think that your shipping situation can’t be improved. After all, TL shipping offers the advantage of shipping goods directly to their destination without the hassle and expense of warehouse stops. Yet, because the cost of shipping also includes the cost of the logistics function, companies should also question whether their logistics source is working for or against their shipping process in terms of cost.
Traditionally, companies either hire an in house logistic expert or outsource their logistics needs to a third party logistics (3PL) provider, either of which can be too expensive for smaller companies, especially when they need a comprehensive approach to the TL (truckload) shipping process. Today, however, companies have the option of implementing affordable TL logistics software instead of hiring an expert or outsourcing to a 3PL provider.
TL logistics software is geared toward companies that need TL shipping arrangements (i.e. where a carrier transports full semi trailers of goods on a regular basis). After implementing the software, a company selects its TL shipping arrangements from among ranked TL solutions that are presented on a user-friendly interface. When a company implements logistics software, it essentially becomes its own logistics provider, which brings three basic advantages: a wider range of shipping options; the possibility of integrated shipping solutions; and the removal of the middleman (3PL) from the logistics function. After implementing logistics software, studies show that companies lower their shipping cost by 10 percent within the first year alone.
To understand how logistics software achieves its impact, it helps to understand how companies overpay for logistics when they an in house expert or contract with a 3PL provider. When a company hires an experienced logistics expert, it can expect to pay between $75,000 and $90,000 in annual salary. Also, the shipping arrangements devised by the expert, although well researched, rarely result from the consideration of all possible shipping arrangements-a task that logistics software can perform in a matter of minutes.
Similar to hiring an expert, hiring a 3PL provider brings unnecessary cost from the beginning. And unless the provider is customer developer, which manages a company’s shipping process while developing new shipping solutions-the prospect of TL shipping being integrated with other shipping solutions (e.g. air and rail) is remote at best. Although 3PL has long been the logistics option for companies that don’t have logistics departments, that TL logistics software performs the work of a 3PL, except with better results, makes it the superior choice.
Posted on September 29, 2017
When companies present their transportation logistics solutions, they have tendency to either engage in corporate speak and not really say much about their solutions or speak with such expertise that they fail to give you a basic understanding of how logistics solutions can benefit your company in a daily way. For small to midsized companies, transportation logistics typically arrives in one of two forms: by a company outsourcing its logistics to a third party logistics (3PL) provider or by implementing logistics software solutions that are available as an online software application.
Given that logistics software offers an easy to use interface can be customized to a company’s particular shipping needs and costs far less than outsourcing to 3PL providers, it’s usually the logistics option of preference for small to midsized companies that don’t have the luxury of a shipping fleet or a large shipping budget. If you’ve heard of logistics software but are looking for a basic understanding of how it can aid your shipping process, we offer the following overview of how logistics-software solutions help companies in terms of freight optimization, shipping route optimization and shipping method integration.
For small to midsized companies that regularly ship less than a full freight load of products, freight optimization typically subsists on finding the best less than truckload (LTL) shipping options. LTL shipping is when a shipping carrier lets companies ship partial loads that combine to compose a full truckload. The cost value of LTL shipping comes from shippers splitting the cost of a full freight load. Although less than truck load shipping offers low shipping rates, due to numerous stops for delivery and pick up, it often takes goods longer to reach their destination than in other shipping arrangements. Nevertheless, logistics-software solutions can be used to find less than truckload carrier routes that offer the best delivery time. Because warehouse stops are a common feature of freight shipping, logistics software also offers warehouse optimization capabilities.
Shipping Route Optimization
If you use a 3PL provider, you probably won’t have any idea what shipping routes your carriers are using. But shipping routes are a major factor in determining overall shipping cost. Logistics-software can analyze shipping routes according to multiple criteria, including: length of route, traffic patterns, road quality and construction patterns. One example of how route optimization can decrease shipping cost and improve delivery time is by analyzing routes in terms of travel time. For example, a route that is shortest in distance may be longer than another route in terms of travel time due to traffic patterns.
Shipping Method Integration
Shipping method integration is an unofficial term that refers to the ability of logistics software to suggest integrated shipping methods for the sake of reducing shipping cost and improving delivery time. For example, even though air shipping is traditionally more expensive than ground shipping, logistics software might suggest shipping certain shipments by air due to expensive, unavoidable warehouse fees that would result from ground shipping. In addition, logistics software may make such suggestions as shipping products halfway to their destination by boat and the other half by freight truck.
Posted on September 28, 2017
Today, two types of freight solutions appeal to shippers that rely on carriers: logistics software (a.k.a. TMS software) and third party logistics (3PL). Logistics software allows shippers to become their own logistics provider by using a software program, while 3PL providers negotiate arrangements between shippers and carriers. Frequently compared and contrasted, logistics software and 3PL each offer unique benefits. However, the former has the following important advantages:
Standard 3PL providers and service developers, which offer particular services and not comprehensive solutions, are usually quite affordable. When you hire a provider that offers innovative management of the shipping process – namely, a customer developer – the cost can compare to hiring an in-house logistics department. Logistics software provides logistics through a software as a service (SaaS) platform. It can also be implemented as an in house solution. Instead of relying on a costly customer developer, you can save money and realize more control by using a software solution.
A top complaint of 3PL customers is they feel distanced from their shipping process and the entity that manages it. Different 3PL providers have different approaches, but few of them integrate the shipper in the shipping process in a formal capacity. For some shippers, having the shipping process fully managed by another entity is appealing. Due to its expense and vendor issues it involves, most shippers wish to be involved in the process. Freight logistics software does more than “involve” shippers in their own shipping process; it puts them in control of it.
3PL providers make freight arrangements by listing an available load in an electronic posting system, where it can be matched with an available carrier, or by negotiating with carriers that don’t use a posting system. Because the former method is usually the easiest, many 3PL providers use it to arrange the largest percentage of shipments – a scenario that limits shippers to carriers who use a posting system. Logistics software removes this barrier and exposes you to more carrier options. In some instances, a shipper misses the best carrier option because the carrier who could provide it will not work with the shipper’s 3PL.
No shipping process is as secure as one that the shipper handles on its own. When outsourcing to a 3PL, shippers naturally lose the capacity to scrutinize the carriers with which their loads are placed. Although 3PL providers select carriers with the customer in mind, they also select them with themselves in mind – a dichotomy that can jeopardize the interests of shippers. Freight logistics software alleviates security concerns by putting you in control of the shipping process.
Logistics software is a viable replacement for 3PL, particularly for shippers who wish to control their own shipping process. Next to payroll, shipping is the second largest operating expense for most shippers. This means that rejuvenating a stale shipping process with better carrier options can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line – an impact that logistics software allows you to achieve.