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.

Truckload Logistics Software – A Better Solution During Tough Economical Times

Companies that use large semi-trailers to haul their products need a little extra support to get the most out of their shipments. Truckload logistics software works best for companies that produce enough freight to use full truckload shipping. There are alternative software choices that are just as helpful for smaller to mid-sized companies that must use less than truckload shipping for cost effectiveness. This shipping alternative takes the freight of many companies and fills a truck. The cost is split between the companies using the service. Both types of software can be used to perform better management of freight. This work can also be contracted to third party logistics experts. What most companies find is that the software gives them better control and is a much smaller, reliable investment. The struggling economy has left many companies trying to determine how to decrease budget costs so they can continue to be profitable. Logistics is one way to lower shipping costs and manage company freight. By being able to maximize the load capacity and pick the best routes, costs are drastically decreased making the software very useful.

Truckload Logistics Software: How Does It Save Companies Money?

Companies that do not rely on truckload logistics software often result to hiring third party providers. There are many reasons why this does not produce the desired cost savings. Third party providers are in the business to make money as everyone else. They choose routes and carriers that in turn make them a profit. By using managing your own shipping choices, every carrier and route chosen benefit the company and making someone else profitable is completely taken out of the picture. The weakened economy has also caused many third party logistics companies to increase rates. Discounts given by carriers have almost diminished and they must make up for the price difference. These discounts are a main source for their profit. A higher price is charged to your company over the discounted price. Third party providers also only deal with carriers that offer favorable discounts. This reduces the amount of choices available when using these services. Software meant for logistics management removes this entire scenario and puts shipping back in company hands.

Truckload Logistics Software Does Not Have Expensive or Difficult To Implement

Truckload logistics software is not this huge project that will take years to put in place. The software is easy to set up and is done so by professionals. Companies that provide this software make it simple to integrate into existing systems. What should you look for when evaluating software requirements? First, look for a company that uses non-proprietary tools. This reduces dependency on the software provider when something changes with your business or the technology being used. Software that operates with common operating systems and has non-dependent tools and utilities will work better in the existing technological environment. It will also be easier to use, more familiar, and cost much less. With the right company and software, implementation can be very simple. The upfront cost of purchase and set up is fractional compared to the amount of money saved on shipping.

Warehouse Management Software Vs Inventory Management Software

But do what does your company really need? A fully-fledged custom warehouse management system can track everything from stock location, warehouse activity monitoring and user activity tracking, whereas asset management software is more focused on managing assets and/or inventory through a barcoding system. Warehouse management software and asset management software can be a great way to keep track of your assets and inventory, but it all begins with assessing your needs and requirements.

Warehouse Management Software

As the name suggests, warehouse management software encompasses a large part of your logistics operation, from tracking products from your suppliers, its storage and user interaction to its final destination. This process is accurately and closely monitored by a bar code scanning system that can identify products and receipts that need to be logged and eventually tracked from the warehouse management system itself.

If your business is involved with the delivery stage of the product, consider an automated service where the delivery route is planned according to multiple delivery points in any given delivery service. This will typically be implemented when goods are picked for delivery, a real time saver since loading personnel will first of all be able to choose the correct stock that will be selected on a certain day and then locate the stock according to its inventoried state.

As you can see, it’s a highly integrated approach that relies on correct user input and reliable software that will bridge each stage of development. Of course, this centrally managed warehouse system is even more valuable when you have multiple warehouses. As a result, web-based warehouse software is a much more attractive option in that different warehouses can store and retrieve information based on real-time inventory information – especially effective when you can synchronize data with existing products, such as Sage or QuickBooks.

Inventory Management Software

Where warehouse management is (usually) a seamless mesh of integration, an asset management system controls just one aspect of logistics – the assets (and inventory) of your business. A bar code scanner will usually be the interface of choice for most companies, although this is set to change with the advent of RFID tagging. Either way, stock or assets are managed through a central system much like warehouse management software and can be tracked at their different stages in the supply chain.

Wasp Barcode, the bar code scanning company, distinguishes assets as products which are used by the company and may need to track their assets based on who has them etc. Inventory management, on the other hand, is much more fluid in its operation since this is incoming (from suppliers) and outgoing (to customers) stock. In their line of products, then, asset tracking software is all about locating assets whereas inventory management software is basically tracking the input and output of stock in a business.

Despite this distinction in product type, if you need to track stock accurately (probably a requirement of most successful businesses!) and even want to update your customers with current stock levels (common in the case of e-commerce), then inventory management software is really the only way to go to ensure quality and efficient stock taking.

Which One?

When it comes to choosing, the most obvious difference in the two types of stock management is scalability. If your company is involved with picking stock from a supplier, storing in a large facility, selling to customers and delivering the goods, then warehouse management software is certainly a wise choice. On the other hand, small businesses might choose asset management software in conjunction with barcode scanners to maximize their stock management accuracy, ultimately reducing the time and cost for unnecessary deliveries and customer dissatisfaction.