Transport Software Solutions – Frequently Asked Questions

Shipping software – also known as freight management software and transport software – offers an economic way for companies to handle their own shipping logistics. Shipping software offers the transport software solutions that a company would receive through a logistics department or a 3PL provider, but at less cost. Yet, due to its relative newness, some shippers have misconceptions about the software that prevents them from experiencing its benefits. Below, we answer some frequently asked questions regarding transport software solutions to lay these misconceptions to rest.

Does Shipping Software Require Logistics Expertise to Operate?

One of the greatest advantages of shipping software is that it doesn’t require logistics expertise of its users. Therefore, a company can become its own logistics provider without hiring in house logistics experts. After evaluating all potential shipping options to determine the best options for a given situation, the software presents its findings through an easy to access user interface.

Is the Software Created by People With Experience in the Shipping Industry?

Shipping software companies are technically software companies. But, in most cases, their management has direct experience in the corporate side of the shipping industry. As its name suggests, the software is designed to evaluate the shipping process from a logistical standpoint, which it does with precision regardless of its producer’s corporate identity.

Does the Software Offer a One-Size-Fits-All Solution?

Like many types of software that are available on a SaaS model, shipping software is offered in both a ready to implement version and as a tailored software solution that reflects a company’s shipping process. For example, if a company has both truckload (TL) and less than truckload (LTL) shipping needs due to a production process that sees parts travel to various manufacturing locations, shipping software can be designed to offer the best shipping arrangements for this process.

What Happens if a Company’s Shipping Needs Change?

Because it’s natural for a company’s shipping needs to change as it grows, produces new products, or explores new business options, transportation software can be edited to accommodate a company’s changing shipping needs. Changes made to a company’s shipping software make take as little as minutes or as long as a few days.

Exactly How Does Shipping Software Save Companies Money?

First, the software saves companies money by doing the same work as a logistics expert or a 3PL provider while costing much less. Second, it saves companies money by assessing a broader range of shipping options than 3PL providers, who prefer solutions that fall within their greatest financial interest. Third, it saves companies money by offering integrated shipping solutions (i.e. air, road, rail, and sea), which is uncommon among most 3PL providers.

How Does a Logistics Software Solution Compare to Third Party Logistics?

If you’re searching for new shipping solutions, you may have encountered the debate that asks: which is more beneficial to the shipping process: implementing a logistics software solution or outsourcing logistics to a third party logistics (3PL) provider? To answer this question, its helps to consider the three things that every company wants out of the shipping process: cost effectiveness, excellent delivery time, and safe delivery of freight. With these things in mind, we take a look at whether a logistics software solution or a 3PL solution offers the greatest value.

Cost Effectiveness

In terms of cost, you’ll always pay more to receive a comprehensive, innovative approach to the shipping process from a 3PL than you will to implement a logistics software solution, and the reason why is simple: when you hire a full scale 3PL provider (i.e. a customer adapter), you pay a company to do what logistics software does without employing anyone. In other words, the software allows you to become your own logistics provider. Although other types of 3PL providers can be hired for less than the cost of customer developers (i.e. standard 3PL providers, service developers, and customer developers), they don’t provide the same level of service, with standard 3PL providers and service developers only offering specific services, and customer developers handling the full shipping process without proposing new solutions.

Excellent Delivery Time

Excellent delivery time depends on route analysis and optimization, as well as the availability of integrated shipping solutions. In simple shipping situations, route analysis could consist of analyzing route time in relation to distance, road surface quality, traffic patterns, etc., while in complex shipping situations, such as global shipping or moving unfinished products from location to location during the manufacturing process, route analysis could consist of the strategies mentioned above along with developing integrated shipping arrangements that could combine road, air, sea, and rail shipping, or any combination thereof. Improved delivery time can be achieved with both logistics software and 3PL. But logistics software, due to its impartiality, will present a broader range of options.

Safe Delivery of Freight

The safe delivery of freight is achieved through freight optimization, particularly in terms of using the right stacking strategies and ensuring that like products are shipped together. The cost of broken freight is perhaps the least mentioned aspect of shipping cost, and preventing it from happening can be achieved with either 3PL (e.g. standard 3PL provider or service developer) or logistics software. However, unless a shipper is looking for freight optimization alone, using logistics software would be the better choice financially.

A Logistics Software Solution – Signs That Your Company Needs One

For companies that don’t have in house logistics experts, the question of how to handle the logistics of the shipping process often leads to contracting with a third party logistics (3PL) provider, a solution that rarely leads to a broad range of shipping solutions yet still costs more than implementing logistics software-also known as freight management software-which functions as a logistics expert and allows companies to choose from among recommended shipping options using a user friendly interface. While logistics solutions besides freight management software aren’t inherently bad, they’re usually more expensive and less thorough. Below, we take a look at some signs that indicate that your company could benefit from switching to a logistics software solution.

Feeling Disconnected From a 3PL Provider

The biggest complaint of 3PL customers about doing business with 3PLs is that the line of communication between provider and customer seems anything but fluid. While not having a talking business relationship with your 3PL provider isn’t necessarily a sign that your shipping process could be better, it is a symptom of how 3PLs do business: remaining at their position atop the logistics function by withholding logistical information. If you’d really like to know what your 3PL provider isn’t saying about your true range of shipping options, a logistics software solution will provide the answer.

Contracts With More Than One 3PL Provider

If you have a limited budget or are trying to save money on shipping logistics, you may have two or more contracts with standard 3PL providers and/or service developers, which means that you don’t have an integrated approach to your shipping process. Although specialized service oriented 3PLs can match your needs with carriers, they don’t integrate carriers for improved delivery time and decreased shipping cost. With freight management software, you have the opportunity to integrate all shipping methods (road, rail, air and sea) to improve delivery time and reduce cost of delivery.

Broken Freight on Arrival

While its rare to never experience broken freight, some companies experience it more than they should because they ship with a carrier that isn’t designed to handle it. Part of freight optimization is ensuring that freight is properly stacked right and shipped with other types of freight (especially in LTL shipping) that won’t cause damage. If you experience broken freight on a regular basis, chances are that there’s a problem with your shipping process that can easily be optimized with freight management software.

Feeling No Control Over Your Shipping Process

Because the cost of shipping is one the biggest expenses that shipping companies incur, every shipper should have as much control over its shipping process as possible. When shippers contract with 3PL providers, they relinquish control of the shipping process, putting themselves in the position to be overcharged and uninformed. Freight management software allows companies to become their own logistics providers, regaining control of their shipping process and saving money at the same time.