Effective Shipping Business Management With Shipping Software Solutions

Over the years, the process of shipping goods has evolved in many ways. Cargo volumes have increased every year, vessels capacity has grown and the requirements for shipping companies to comply with regulations (i.e. Customs, IMO, etc.) have also increased steadily. Freight forwarders and shipping companies used to depend highly on manual labor throughout the entire shipping process – from packing, to warehousing, inventory, loading, transshipping, and discharging of consignments. Nowadays, much of these tasks have been automated, thanks to modern shipping software solutions which enable shipping companies maximize shipping efficiency.

Maritime software solutions have been developed for companies that provide cargo transport services. They are available off-the-shelf for Shipping companies like Bulk, Tank, Container, RoRo, and break bulk carriers. They are easy to use, can be customized for specific purposes, and can be integrated into existing platforms and applications. Once employed properly, integrated shipping software can provide significant cost benefits and higher level of operational efficiency.

Since no two shipping companies are alike when it comes to their software needs, shipping software companies develop different types of shipping software depending on their functions. Container management software centrally manages a global or regional container fleet and provides visibility on container stock, container expenses and facilitates the planning and forecasting of container stocks. It maximizes the use of a container fleet. It manages complex tasks, eliminates paper works, and provides real-time reports allowing operators to monitor transaction processes from start to finish.

Modern shipping companies use container tracking software to provide their clients visibility on the actual progress of the container transport process. It generates real-time data on the exact location of containers, and provides logs of exact time each shipment leaves the port and of its estimated time of arrival.

Voyage calculation software also known as voyage accounting software enables operators to have an early forecast on costs and income to expect from each port call and/or voyage. It calculates all costs involved including port costs, canal fees, and bunker costs. With these data, operators can proactively manage their cargo mix and simulate the contribution impact for different port rotations or vessel speeds. They can then choose the most cost-effective deployment and rotation of a vessel and avoid expensive and/or less-profitable ones.

To ensure quality customer service maritime software solutions eliminate problems prevalent in cargo shipping such as lost, stolen, or damaged shipments, tracking problems, delayed delivery, uncontrolled transaction costs, and many others. Proper use of these software solutions provides powerful and seamless results, and enables shipping companies to enhance productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

Logistics Software Solutions – How Do They Compare to Third Party Logistics?

Third party logistics (3PL) is the most popular choice for freight logistics among small to midsized companies. In order to help companies that regularly make shipments that are too large to financially benefit from parcel shipping and too small to financially benefit from full truckload (FTL) shipping, companies turn to third party logistics providers to get them the best deals on less than truckload (LTL) shipping, integrated shipping methods and to reduce the delivery of products to retailers. To these ends, 3PL providers significantly reduce their clients’ shipping costs compared to what they would spend on shipping without the aid of freight logistics. But they obviously do so by charging their clients for freight logistics services.

So, what’s not to like about hiring a 3PL provider to reduce your company’s shipping costs and ensure that your goods are delivered in a timelier manner? After all, is there really such a thing as realizing freight transportation solutions without seeking the help of freight logistics experts? Yes and no. If freight logistics isn’t one of your company’s core competencies, you’ll certainly need to get logistics solutions from those that specialize in providing them. But you don’t have to turn to a 3PL provider and pay a middleman to provide you with shipping solutions when you can instead use online logistics software.

The difference between 3PL and logistics software solutions-also referred to as logistics management software-typically doesn’t lie in one having more logistics expertise than the other; rather, it has to do with how the logistics information is supplied, how much it costs and how much control companies have over their shipping process. Essentially, a third party logistics provider uses logistics management software to provide you with shipping solutions, whereas online logistics software lets you act as your own logistics provider for an affordable monthly fee. In no case will you find a 3PL provider that offers their services for the low price that you pay for logistics software solutions, nor will hiring a 3PL provider offer you as much control over your shipping options.

Having complete control over your shipping process has two main benefits: you can research the companies that you’re considering hiring and you never have to deal with a middleman’s business policies affecting the price or availability of certain shipping options. Aside of the financial and shipping management benefits offered by logistics management software, its greatest strength is its extreme ease of use. Although the term logistics software implies computer expertise, logistics software comes with an easy to use interface that neither requires expert computer knowledge or expertise in logistics, meaning that each of your company’s departments can be involved in its shipping process.

Guidelines For Choosing the Right Shipping Software Solution

In the shipping industry, choosing a software solution is a crucial undertaking for long-term business growth and sustainability. It is therefore important for shipping companies to maneuver through the selection process with knowledge that not all shipping software vendors offer solutions that could address all their operational concerns.

In order to find the best software, shipping business leaders must always remember that acquiring new information technology should not just reduce costs but also assist the progress of processes to improve efficiency and gain significant business advantage. They must perform the following proactively when selecting the right shipping software solution:

Gather data. Choosing enterprise software solutions that do not meet a company’s operational requirements is a waste of time and resources. It is important to identify key issues prior to starting the selection process.

Develop a list of software requirements. This should be performed in order to find out which requirements solution providers respond to. Only then can a vendor short list be created to determine the candidates.

Request for information and prepare a proposal. Buying enterprise solutions demands scrutiny, piloting and comparison with other similar solutions. A collection of data from different departments of the company should be obtained. The information gathered should clearly define employee responsibilities, business processes, data and work flow for the vendors to identify which areas of operation the software solution is greatly and least advantageous to.

A proposal from the shipping company should be prepared to provide an orderly and sensible view of the business’ environment and ideals for automating vital business processes.

Create scripted scenarios. Conventional strategies for evaluating software have become insufficient for complex integrated systems. Scripted scenarios can be used by companies to help them with software selection. In a scripted scenario, businesses can present a unique challenge that they want to be addressed and resolved. Creating these scenarios provides the opportunity for the company to express their vision for their operational environment following the new software’s implementation.

Have the vendor perform a detailed demonstration. Companies should have vendors arrange a detailed product demonstration using the organization’s scenarios as basis. This should be done in order to avoid the vendor from running the demonstration freely and overlook vital issues that need to be addressed. Evaluating the software can be relatively simple if the software provider will perform a concise demonstration of their solution.

Choosing the most beneficial shipping software solution for liner businesses takes thorough analysis and proactive decision-making. Enterprise solutions can be extremely costly and companies do not want to waste both time and resources in implementing software applications that would fail. It helps businesses tremendously to utilize a system for evaluating and measuring software capabilities.

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