TL Logistics Management Software – Is It Better Than Third Party Logistics?

For companies that ship their goods by ground, using truckload (TL) shipping arrangements is key to reducing the cost of the shipping process while improving delivery time. TL shipping occurs when a shipper contracts with a carrier to ship full semi trailer loads of goods to a specific destination-a scenario that represents the opposite of less than truckload (LTL) shipping, where companies that ship less than full semi loads combine their loads to form a full load and share the price. Unlike TL shipments, which are valued for their timeliness, LTL shipments are prone to numerous pick up and delivery stops, and can result in unwanted warehouse fees.

Even if your company qualifies for truckload shipping arrangements, it still needs a way to arrive at the best arrangements for its situation-a need that can be met through one of three scenarios: hiring in house logistics experts, outsourcing to third party logistics (3PL) providers, or implementing TL logistics management software. Traditionally, companies have pursued hiring their own logistics experts; or, if developing a logistics department proved unaffordable, outsourced their logistics to a 3PL provider. But today, more companies are choosing to implement logistics software, of which TL logistics management software is one type, to arrive at the best shipping arrangements.

Compared to hiring in house experts or outsourcing to 3PL providers, TL logistics management software brings two advantages: it costs less, and it results in more shipping solutions. By allowing companies to become their own logistics providers, logistics software cuts the middleman out of the shipping process-a move that can save larger companies six figures annually. But the software also cuts down on the cost of shipping by performing shipping route analysis and optimization and analysis of integrated shipping solutions to a degree unavailable through 3PL providers.

An example of how TL logistics management software can benefit the truckload shipping process is as follows: upon performing route analysis in relation to integrated shipping options, the software might determine that shipping a load by truck half way to its destination and shipping it rest of the way by air would provide the lowest shipping cost and best delivery time. If a company used a 3PL provider, this scenario would only occur under two circumstances: if a non-asset based 3PL provider had a financial relationship with a trucking carrier and an air carrier whose routes could intertwine, or if an asset based 3PL provider owned the right assets to make such a situation financially favorable.