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.

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.

TL Shipping Software – How it Can Benefit the Shipping Process

Among companies that ship a significant amount of goods, there are two theories of how to approach the shipping process: find workable shipping solutions and then turn your attention to other matters, or constantly remain aware of the shipping process to take advantage of better options when they become available. As one might expect, taking the first approach almost always results in paying more for the shipping process, while taking the second generally results in both cost savings and improved delivery time.

Companies that ship a significant volume of products usually ship at least some their goods using truckload (TL) shipping, where a single company ships enough goods to fill a full semi trailer. The opposite of full truckload shipping is less than truckload (LTL) shipping, in which companies that ship partial semi trailer loads combine their shipments to form a full load and then split the price of the load. The basic advantages of TL shipping solutions is that goods arrive at their destination faster and, as a result of their being shipped direct and avoiding warehouse freight handling fees, shipping costs less.

While it’s obvious at what point a company can benefit from TL shipping, achieving the optimal TL shipping arrangements can be more difficult. As with achieving the best of any shipping solution through the use of logistics, TL shippers have three options for realizing the best truckload shipping arrangements: hiring in house logistics experts, outsourcing logistics to a third party logistics (3PL) provider, or implementing TL shipping software-also known as full truckload logistics software-which essentially serves as a logistics expert, presenting companies with a range of TL shipping options that can be examined and selected by accessing a user friendly interface.

For most companies, have their own logistics department is the ideal situation for overseeing the shipping process. But for small and midsize shippers that can’t afford a payroll increase, the options are quickly narrowed to 3PL or TL shipping software. There are four types of 3PL providers: standard 3PL providers and service developers, which offer individual shipping solutions, and customer developers and customer adapters, which oversee a company’s entire shipping process. To achieve only a TL shipping solution, a company would likely choose one of the former two.

Contracting with standard 3PL providers, or service developers costs significantly less than contracting with customer developers or a customer adapters. But compared to logistics software, which allows companies to cut the middleman out of the logistic function and become their own logistics provider, it still represents an unnecessary expense, not to mention that fact that service based 3PL providers never offer the range of shipping solutions offered by logistics software, as they typically connect customers with carriers that offer a preferred discount that allows them to charge over and above the discount to profit from the arrangement.