Logistics Software Provides Companies With Freight Optimization

In the manufacturing industry, the discipline of logistics focuses on efficiently moving products from the manufacturer to the buyer. For large manufacturers, logistical operations can represent a large expense, especially when logistical elements are managed separately instead of being integrated into one solution. In an attempt to take the time and guesswork of out executing logistics, many companies totally or partially outsource their freight optimization needs to third parties. A complete outsourcing amounts to hiring a company to move products throughout the entire supply chain, while a partial outsourcing involves letting a third party manage the transportation of goods through the “stages” of the supply chain. However, implementing logistics software is a more cost effective way to achieve freight optimization that offers the same level of quality as a third party logistics provider.

There are several factors that contribute to a manufacturer’s total shipping costs, including warehouse fees, inventory fees and freight carriage fees. To minimize these fees, a manufacturer might choose to ship by air carrier instead of in tandem with freight carriage, significantly reducing warehouse fees by moving the goods from manufacturer to buyer in a matter of hours. However, to save the most money, companies have to examine all three cost areas with an eye toward developing an integrated cost savings solution. In developing such a solution, there are two basic issues that manufacturers must address: finding the right mix of freight carriage, inventory and warehouse services and finding the best price for each one.

Logistics software can help by providing an analysis of service combinations in relation to individual service cost. For small to midsize companies that deliver goods from the assembly line directly to retail outlets, logistics software can offer a basic analysis of routing options and freight rates. But companies that use multiple warehouses and multiple supply chain locations may require more, such as production scheduling analysis that develops manufacturing plans with regard to multiple supply chain locations (i.e. company’s whose products are assembled at more than one location before reaching the retailer).

The basic advantage of logistics software is that offers refined shipping solutions that meet the needs of a variety of manufacturing situations (and does so at a lower cost than hiring a third party logistics provider). For example, some solutions may focus on a particular freight carriage issue, such as analyzing how to increase delivery time by studying construction schedules and highway traffic data, while other solutions may focus on offering an integrated solution for all logistical concerns, including carrier loading, weight distribution, cube optimization and shortest path to destination. Studies show that manufacturer’s who implement logistics software regularly realize a 10 percent decrease in shipping costs after the first year.

Whether your company has its own trucking system or uses a third party, logistics software can help reduce your delivery costs without compromising punctuality, efficiency or freight safety. If you need to simplify your delivery process and reduce your cost of shipping, consulting with a logistics software provider is the best way to arrive at a solution that accomplishes both at the same time.

Supply Chain Management – Software-as-a-Service

Is spending thousands of dollars to purchase supply chain software draining your cash flow? Is your software becoming out-of-date quickly after purchasing it?

Are you investing too much time programming supply chain software to make it work right? Are you continually having problems keeping software updated and working with different versions?

Are you having difficulties creating the supply chain collaboration and visibility you desire with global customers, partners, logistics providers, sales, operational centers and administrative departments?

Are you frustrated not getting the results you were promised from your supply chain software provider? Are you tired of hearing about why the software program doesn’t work?

If you are nodding “YES” to these concerns, don’t feel lonely as most supply chain management executives agree.

Each year exporters, importers and service providers invest millions of dollars and employ thousands of software and hardware technicians hoping to improved productivity and achieve better supply chain management collaboration. Most companies never realized their supply chain management goals. And, rarely does a company attain ROI value from their software technology investment before it becomes obsolete or needs extensive re-programming. One main reason is over-the counter software packages and in-house programmed software is comprised of bits and pieces fitted together without a comprehensive end-to-end business visibility plan.

According to Forrester Research, an independent technology and market research company, the current global economic crisis will reduce spending on IT products and services by three per cent in 2009. It may not sound much but perhaps this tightening of budgets is what supply chain management executives need to take a serious look at what benefits they are attaining from their current supply chain management software and at what total cost to their company’s productivity and competitiveness.

The affordable, sustainable solution to supply chain management software is Software-as-a-Service, know as SaaS. Software-as-a-Service offers four immediate benefits that makes it very attractive in these economic times: 1) Quick to Implement; 2) Pay-As-You-Go Variable Cost; 3) Scalability to your Requirements; and 4) No Capital Expense.

Consider these Software-as-a-Service benefits that will add value to your supply chain management and company profitability:

o SaaS saves money. No more software installation or maintenance headaches.

o SaaS reduces IT staffing, technology spend, and distractions.

o SaaS provides real-time global supply chain information with on-demand reporting.

o SaaS improves mobility. Desktop / Laptop compatible, no mainframe computer needed.

o SaaS saves deployment time. Get the entire company and all overseas offices upgraded instantly at the same time.

o SaaS allows immediate access to the latest software innovations, logistics supply chain tools and regulatory compliance.

o SaaS encourages supply chain coordination and collaboration. Company departments, customers, vendors, logistics providers and partners can contribute and collaborate in real time. And, eliminate duplicate data entry at your different locations and departments.

o SaaS helps control confidentially. Allocate access permissions based on who needs to know what information. Give your top executives full end-to-end visibility to track and trace, quote pricing, generate performance reports, ensure regulatory compliance, create what-if scenarios and much more.

o SaaS improves network security protection. Built-in global security to defend against malicious threats, hacker attacks and harmful viruses.

o SaaS allows redistribution of IT budget and eliminates tedious paperwork. More time and money available to focus on sales, marketing, customer service improvements and profit to the corporate bottom line.

o SaaS can be integrated into other company software applications and provide seamless end-to-end visibility into your business performance and profitability metrics.

o SaaS provides immediate real time information, statistics and reporting. Enables supply chain management by key performance indicators KPI’s.

o SaaS does not require a large capital expenditure. Pay-as-you-go. Variable monthly fee based on usage.

o SaaS offers scalability. Big and small companies. You can quickly deploy logistics applications and regulatory compliance applications that are urgently needed now to improve your competitive edge and visibility. Add more SaaS features and modules as your requirements expand.

o SaaS can be customization. Quick adaptation to your specific operational, sales, administrative and accounting requirements. Screen views, reports and communication mimics how you want to manage your business and logistics supply chain.

SaaS Software-as-a Service offer the best supply chain management technology at a cost you can afford delivering the results you need to sustain productivity, visibility and profitability. If your current supply chain software isn’t providing you the tools you need to manage on-demand; or not creating the coordination and collaboration you desire; and is more of a distraction and problem than the results, perhaps it’s time to explore Software-as-a-Service Supply Chain Management.

Vendor Compliance and Truckload Shipping: How Logistics Software Can Help

Is the cost of meeting the vendor compliance standards of large retailers and corporations worth the resulting sales? Perhaps not in the short-term, but in the long-term, complying with complex vendor standards is one of the few ways to turn mediocre product sales into phenomenal sales. Even so, small to midsized manufacturers that aim to meet the standards of large corporations and retailers cam immediately find what seem like insurmountable obstacles in their path, especially concerning standards that regard the shipping process, such as the requirement that companies ship full truckloads-as opposed to less than full truckloads-to a business’s receiving docks.

Vendor Compliance and Truckload Shipping: Can Shipping Logistics Help?

The problem with full truckload shipping-also known as TL shipping-for small to midsized vendors isn’t that they can’t ship less than a full truckload of their products in a full semi trailer; it’s that doing so is cost prohibitive. As a result, small to midsized companies typically turn to less than truckload shipping-also known LTL shipping-in which two or more shippers of partial loads combine their shipments to form a full truckload and split the cost. The general advantage of LTL shipping is its cost effectiveness, while its general disadvantage is its slower delivery time, resulting from numerous pick ups and drop offs.

But LTL can have a more specific drawback concerning vendor compliance and truckload shipping: it could throw a wrench in a business’s well-oiled receiving system, where a full truckload of products comes from a single source and is therefore brings less risk of error during the receiving process. Traditionally, only companies that produce enough goods to fill a full truckload on a regular basis use TL shipping. But today, transportation logistics allows shippers the option of shipping full loads on a schedule more suited to their production output, allowing participation with large buyers of goods.

Method of shipping is one of numerous concerns within a complex set of vendor compliance standards. But it remains one of the toughest standards to meet if you don’t have shipping logistics on your side, a service that companies can secure in one of three ways: by implementing their own logistic department; by contracting with third party logistics (3PL) providers; and by implementing logistics software, which allows you to become your own logistics provider without possessing logistical expertise. Out of the three options, the latter is the least expensive, while still supplying the broad, in-depth approach to logistics a company would receive if it had its own logistic department. To find out more about how logistics software can help your company meet the compliance standards of large corporations and retailers, contact an online provider of logistics software today.