Does Achieving the Best Shipping Solutions Require Hiring a Logistic Expert?

Shipping products without the aid of logistics is like journeying to an unfamiliar destination without the aid of a map; eventually, you get there, but it usually takes more time and money than you anticipated. Just as an uninformed driver makes more stops and takes more roads than necessary to arrive at his destination, an uninformed shipping process results in freight making more stops and taking longer routes than necessary, increasing the cost of the shipping process. Realizing this, shipping companies that don’t have an “in house” logistics department will seek the advice of a logistic expert. But the type of logistic expertise that they retain can also have a significant impact on the cost of the shipping process.

When a company doesn’t have its own logistic expert, it has two options for implementing shipping logistics: hiring a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, or implementing logistics software. Traditionally, shipping companies have opted for 3PL. But today, shippers are increasingly choosing logistics software over 3PL for two reasons: the software offers more shipping options and it costs significantly less than hiring a 3PL provider that offers the same level of service. For companies that are considering hiring a 3PL provider, it’s important to realize that not all 3PL providers are the same. Currently, there are three types of 3PL providers: standard 3PL providers, service developers, customer adapters and customer developers.

Stand 3PL providers offer transportation logistics, but not as one of their core competencies, which ends up making them attractive due to the low cost of their services. Service developers perform transportation logistics as their core competency, but typically emphasize in “value-added” services, such as cross-docking and specific packaging. Customer adapters oversee a company’s logistics process, but don’t specialize in innovative shipping solutions. Customer developers oversee the logistics process and do specialize in innovation solutions. But the price of hiring a customer developer is can be similar to hiring your own logistics experts.

Moreover, 3PL often places small and midsize companies in the position of hiring logistics services that don’t offer comprehensive, innovative solutions or attempting to hire unaffordable logistics services that do; a situation that makes companies realize the value of logistics software, which allows them to realize comprehensive, innovative shipping solutions that increase the timeliness of the shipping process while reducing its price by eliminating the following costs: TMS software costs, 3PL costs, gain shares, freight margins, common rate base licensing costs and annual software maintenance costs.

Logistics software is available on either a software as a service (SaaS) model or as an onsite software solution, with the former offering the advantage of remote system access. But in either case, the software allows its customers to make expert logistics decisions through an easy to use interface. Research shows that companies who implement logistics software can reduce their annual shipping costs by 10 percent after the first year.

Shipping Management Software Vs Freight Brokerage: Which Is Better?

Many shippers spend nearly as much on shipping as they do on payroll. Consequently, they look for ways to improve freight management with the goal of reducing freight costs. When creating a logistics department would be too expensive, most shippers implement logistics software or hire a freight broker. Also known as shipping management software, logistics software allows shippers to become their own logistics provider by supplying them a comprehensive logistics function. Also known as Third Party Logistics (3PL), freight brokers make carrier arrangements on shippers’ behalf.

Both options can yield solutions that combine quick delivery time, excellent freight care, and affordable rates. But logistics software offers certain advantages that freight brokers often don’t, beginning with low service cost.

Low Service Cost

Not all brokerage options require a significant investment. But the ones that don’t are oriented toward specific logistics services (e.g. cross docking, and tracking and tracing), not comprehensive solutions. For complete management of the shipping process via 3PL, a shipper must use a customer adapter or customer developer, which could cost as much as maintaining a logistics department.

Excellent Customer Service

The number one complaint among 3PL customers is a feeling of distance from the shipping process. In many instances, this is the result of what 3PL is supposed to do: take the logistics function out of a shipper’s hands. But many shippers discover they want more control over shipping than they first believed. Logistics software eliminates distance between the shipper and the shipping process by allowing the former to become its own logistics provider.

Broader Shipping Options

A freight broker will provide more options than you could realize on your own, without the aid of logistics software. But those options could be limited compared to the options offered by logistics software. Some freight brokers use electronic posting systems, where available carriers are matched with available loads, to arrange shipments. While using these systems is a valid strategy, it should not be the only strategy, as it often is. Logistics software empowers shippers to form relationships with carriers who don’t use posting systems.

Control of Shipping

Almost every shipper wants control of the shipping process. But when creating a logistics department would be too expensive, many shippers relinquish the process – and control – to a 3PL provider. Logistics software gives you the same control over shipping as a logistics department would, but a fraction of the cost. If problems arise with the software, or if you need new logistics options, the software provider can resolve the problem or make the necessary changes.

Conclusion

The shipping process involves significant costs, which can be mitigated by implementing a strategic logistical solution for transportation management systems. Although freight brokerage is a valid option, it often lacks basic benefits that shipping management software always provides: low service cost, broad shipping options, and control of the shipping process. Logistics software is often advertised as a solution for small to midsize shippers, but it can also benefit large shippers who wish to save money by not hiring a team of in-house logistics experts.

Warehousing Management Software And Getting This Software For Your Warehouse Operations

Any business owner that has to operate a warehouse knows that the process cannot operate efficiently if there isn’t a solid system in place. A solid system enables for every phase of the warehouse operations to be solid as possible.

So all of these warehouses are going to have a system they are using. The only issue is some of them choose not to make upgrades by means of implementing warehousing management software.

Now for smaller businesses, these types of businesses are usually put off by the high cost of having warehousing management software. A lot of them feel it is simply not a wise investment to make.

That might have been the case a long time ago, but now this type of software has been made affordable and easily accessible. Incorporating it into your warehouse management process would not be difficult at all.

Computer technology has advanced greatly over the course of the past few years. This means advanced warehousing management software is available to those who otherwise would not have had access to it before.

Smaller businesses can decide to utilize it by means of very affordable subscription plans. The amount you pay would be dependent on the features you need and or how long you plan on using the software.

Now what would this mean to the average business owner, particularly those who are smaller? This would mean the upfront cost of implementing warehousing management software would be greatly reduced.

This also means a business would not have to worry about hiring someone to help them decipher or implement the software. There will be no need to purchase additional equipment such as computer servers.

And in most cases the warehousing management software you would be utilizing would be completely hosted and maintained by means of the Internet. No need to worry about security or reliability problems either.

The software that is available these days is going to be extremely reliable and is going to be very secure. After all, you would not want to put your warehouse operations in the hands of any product you felt didn’t offer both to the highest degree.

Some of the key advantages to using warehousing management software would include the ability to reduce problems with shipping. Shipping errors cost a lot of money to correct and that can greatly impact the businesses bottom line. The software will give you the ability to greatly increase inventory visibility as well as accuracy.

Whatever carrying costs you have at the moment can be reduced as well. This is going to definitely help you in the long run, particularly in tough economic times.

Warehousing software will also allow you to increase order fulfillment capacity without having to hire additional staff. There are other benefits as well that you can learn about easily since the program can be taught in a relatively short time frame.

This type of logistics software is beneficial, because as a business is trying to grow the software will enable you to make adjustments so that you can scale it to fit your business as it grows.

Whatever requirements you have you do not have to worry about being locked into a specific way of doing things. You can customize certain things in order to meet specific requirements your warehouse operations are going to have moving forward.

Your process for warehousing management might very well be effective, and you can maintain that system. It is just that with using warehousing management software you can integrate the two so things run far more effectively.

If you intend for your business to grow you will need a way to do this no matter what. Start out now and start getting yourself acclimated to using this software for your business.