To those not familiar with the shipping process, transporting goods from one point to another can seem as simple as partnering with any given carrier. But for those who are familiar with the process, especially companies that ship on a regular basis, achieving an optimal shipping arrangement is understood to be as difficult as it is. However, the larger a company grows and the more goods it ships, the more opportunities it has to save money through shipping arrangements, one of which is truckload (TL) shipping, where a company ships full semi trailers of goods direct to destination, improving delivery time and reducing shipping costs by avoiding warehousing and freight handling fees.
To discover whether TL shipping is an option for your company is as simple as determining whether you ship enough goods to, when packaged and loaded properly, full semi trailer. But ensuring that you arrive at the best form of truckload transportation management can be more difficult, as companies are generally presented with three options when attempting to achieve the best oversight of their TL shipping process: hiring an in house logistics expert; contracting with a third party logistics provider; or implementing TL logistics management software-also known as truckload logistics software-which performs the work of a logistics expert and lets companies choose from among ranked TL shipping options through a user friendly interface.
As one might expect, the preference of most companies is to have their own logistics expert, especially considering that the biggest complaint of 3PL customers is the distance between the provider and the customer, leaving customers feeling as if they have little control over their own shipping process, which is somewhat true. Regardless of the type of 3PL provider a company contracts with (standard 3PL provider, service developer, customer developer, or customer adapter), the provider assumes control of a certain part or the entire function of the shipping process. Yet, many companies feel compelled to contract with 3PLs that offer singular services-with TL shipping being one of them-to save money on the shipping process.
Compared to the $70,000-$90,000 salary earned by experienced logistics experts, contracting with a standard 3PL provider or a service developer, both of which offer particular services instead of a comprehensive approach to the shipping process, costs less. But the savings often come at price: not realizing a meaningful range of TL shipping solutions. In many cases, standard 3PL providers and service developers place their customers with carriers that offer a discounted shipping rate to the 3PL, which the 3PL then charges the customer over and above to make a profit from the arrangement.
When companies grow tired of dealing with 3PLs for TL shipping solutions, they often turn to full truckload logistics software, which cuts the middleman out of the shipping process and lets a company become its own logistics provider. Upon implementing the software, companies save money by both eliminating the need for 3PL and realizing more cost effective shipping options, with research showing that companies can reduce the annual cost of their entire shipping process by 10 percent after only the first year.