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.

How Transportation Management Software Promotes Intelligent Execution

There is a subset of supply chain management called “transportation management system” that refers specifically to transportation operations and is a component within an enterprise resource planning system. This area has evolved quite a bit in recent years thanks to technological advancements, and now transportation management software has made it possible for companies to add context to a shipper’s transportation data. This software oversees four key processes of transportation management: planning and decision making, transportation execution, transportation follow-up, and measurement. Modern transportation management software has the ability to use context to determine whether:

  • an incorrect invoice charge was caused by a carrier re-weighing their freight or by re-classifying their freight
  • a shipment arrived late due to inclement weather or due to the consignee not being available to sign for the delivery

These are just two examples of the types of judgments that logistics shipping companies can make with the help of transportation management software. Here are a few more ways that this technology can be used today:

Exception Management Process

This software can be configured to periodically alert an individual when lanes, carriers, or facilities do not meet specified targets. This is especially helpful because it allows managers to instantly know when the amount of business their company is doing has changed. Before transportation management software, management would have had to wait up to a year before being made aware that targets were not being met. The sooner that management is aware of a problem, the sooner it can begin to look for a solution.

Freight Execution

Today, a single transportation management software product can be used for shipments in all modes, whereas before additional applications had to be added for special cases like small parcels. Additional documents, which are needed for shipments like pallet labels or hazardous materials documentation, can now be printed on-site. In the past, this documentation needed to be printed ahead of time.

Improved Communication

Logistics shipping companiescan provide vendors with a tool that allows them to pre-load shipping business’ rules, carriers, and purchase orders. Using this pre-loaded information, vendors can send shipments to the shipper’s carriers without having to wait for the carrier to provide this information.

Dashboards

All of the aforementioned data can be pulled into a centralized location, or dashboard, that shippers can use to monitor the company’s freight activity in real-time. The result is an effective measurement of the Freight Payment and Pre-Audit so that it matches the data that is continuously coming in. Put more simply, the ability to monitor this data in real-time means that shipper is finally able to determine what is happening in their supply chain. Only by staying up-to-date on trends and data will a shipper be able to make the most intelligent decisions.

When logistics shipping companies decide that they are ready to acquire transportation management software, they have three ways to do so. They can use a traditional purchased license (on-premise licensing,) a remote or cloud-based solution (hosted licensing,) or a blend of these two options (on-premise hosted licensing.) Shippers looking to determine which option is best for their organization should reach out to a transportation management software provider about their preferred opinion.

Plug Up Money Leaks in Logistics With Pallet Management Software

If your business uses different types of pallets and other shipping and receiving equipment, chances are you can benefit from pallet management software. The shipping of raw materials to manufacture your product may use Chep, LPR or IPPL pallets whereas the finished product may use a different kind of equipment to ship to your storage warehouse or client destination. When these different types of equipment come from multiple vendors, your logistics problem can multiply.

What the Software Can Do for Logistics

Do you find yourself being charged for damaged or lost pallets? What about pallets that are picked up late? What if you end up with skids that are not yours? All of these issues could be vastly improved with implementation of the right pallet management software.

Software could track each and every pallet and piece of equipment used for shipping and receiving of raw materials to your finished product. Why would you want to know where each individual pallet is at all times? Perhaps you discover a problem with product A that is being shipped on pallet Z. Or, maybe a client wants to reduce or expand their order. You can re-route one or more back to or from your storage warehouse with a just a few keystrokes and mouse clicks.

The ability to track each piece of equipment involved in the shipping and receiving of your raw materials and finished goods means that there is less room for error in several areas. The company you hire or lease the equipment from would be less likely to slip erroneous charges for lost or damaged goods onto your invoice. Plus, you can ensure the empty pallets are picked up and re-delivered to the right destination in a timely manner so you are not charged for extra time.

The Bottom Line

Software can essentially automate the tedious task of tracking all your shipping and receiving equipment. Things are easier to resolve and you may even have the ability to link and reconcile with your client and vendor software programs. You have more control and focus over logistics tasks, allowing you to plow through various types of data as well as make transfers and re-routing simpler.

Risks are minimised which means more money is saved for the logistics department. The reporting tools and easy use are additional benefits of using pallet management software. The bottom line is that you have better control and can minimise expenses with the software, leaving you with more time for more important matters.