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.

The Benefits of Warehouse Management Software

In its simplest terms warehouse software is an application, often called a warehouse management system, or WMS, that supports the day-to-day operations in a warehouse. Warehouse Management Software solutions enable centralized management of tasks such as tracking inventory levels and stock locations.

It is possible for Management Software systems to operate as standalone applications or to run as one part of a complete Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, system solution.

Before, warehouse software was limited in scope. For the most part, it was simply able to reveal to management where certain stock and products were located within the warehouse. Today, Warehouse Management Software systems are extremely complex and data intensive. In fact, the higher-end systems may include tracking and routing technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, and even voice recognition. Due to this intricacy of operations, the more complete Warehouse Management Software systems often require a knowledgeable IT staff to run them properly. Therefore, initially a system to control movement and storage of materials within a warehouse, the role of Warehouse Management Software gradually evolved to embrace light manufacturing, transportation management, order management, and even complete accounting systems.

The detailed setup and processing within a Management Software system will differ significantly from one software vendor to another. Nevertheless, the basic logic will use a combination of item, location, quantity, unit of measure, and order information to determine where to stock, where to pick, and in what sequence to perform these operations because the goals remain the same. From the very simplest to the most complex of Warehouse Management Software systems, they have all been designed to provide management with the information it needs to efficiently control the movement of materials within a warehouse in a more efficient and effective manner. Thus, a true Warehouse Management Software system plays a key role in the supply chain with the fundamental objective being to be in charge of the materials in a warehouse -how they move along the chain of production, where they move to and when does this movement occur, and where they are stored when the route is finished. Warehouse management, therefore, includes a certain amount of control over the receipt, storage, and movement of goods -almost always finished goods, to intermediate storage locations or to the customer.

Because Warehouse Management takes charge of the progress of products through the warehouse, a second objective is to keep track of all the associated transactions, such as shipping, receiving, put-away, and picking. Directed picking, directed replenishment, and directed put-away are keys to this type of software. The systems also direct and optimize stock put-away based on real-time information about the status of bin utilization. It of necessity involves the physical infrastructure, tracking systems, and communication between product stations. In other words, the reason warehouses need and want good, in-house warehouse management software is to have a set of computerized procedures to handle the receipt of stock and returns into the facility, model and manage the logical representation of the physical storage facilities, manage the stock within the facility, and enable a seamless link to order processing and logistics.

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.