TL Shipping Software – What Can It Offer Growing Businesses?

If you own a small manufacturing business, there may come a time when you need to ship full semi trailer loads of goods-a process known as truckload (TL) shipping. Compared to less than truckload (LTL) shipping, where two or more companies that have partial loads combine them into a full load and share the price, TL shipping has two advantages: because products are shipped directly to their destination, delivery improves and the absence of warehouse stops reduces shipping cost. But to realize the TL shipping arrangement that best meets your needs, you’ll need to incorporate TL transportation logistics into your shipping process.

When companies need new shipping solutions, they typically secure logistics expertise in one of the following ways: hiring an in house logistics expert; outsourcing logistics needs to a third party logistics (3PL) provider; or implementing TL-shipping software, a specific type of logistics software that allows companies to arrive at TL-shipping solutions. Upon evaluating these options, you’ll discover that each of them has its advantages. But when it comes to improving delivery time while reducing shipping cost as much as possible, TL-shipping software is the superior choice. To understand why, its helps to understand the basic drawbacks of hiring in house experts or outsourcing to 3PL providers.

Having your own logistic expert isn’t a bad decision. In fact, it’s far preferable to outsourcing your shipping process to a 3PL provider that you rarely contact. Yet, hiring even one experienced logistics expert could set you back $90,000 a year-an unnecessary cost considering that TL-shipping software ensures that every potential TL shipping solution is analyzed prior to the recommendation of a best solution. Although having its own shipping fleet and logistics department may be your company’s final destination, there’s no need to pay for in house logistics before you need to when logistics software can do the same work at a fraction of the cost.

Unlike hiring a logistics expert, outsourcing to 3PL providers can cost you less than $80,000, but only if you hire a provider that offers individual shipping solutions and not a comprehensive, innovative approach to the shipping process. The types of 3PL providers that offer individual shipping solutions are two: standard 3PL providers, which offer basic shipping solutions; and service developers, which offer more specialized shipping solutions. Depending on your company’s needs, hiring a specialized 3PL provider could make sense. But if you want your shipping process, TL shipping included, to fall within the same logistics function, simplifying your shipping process with logistics software is the best option.

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.