Why Choose Outsourced Over In-House Shipping Software Solution

Over the past two decades, automation of business processes has significantly increased in many industries including aviation, telecommunications, and banking. In shipping, automation has improved business efficiency by simplifying critical operations that require time and expertise. Nowadays, with increasing access to modern technology, it’s not unusual to find a small carrier using cheap off-the-shelf shipping software solutions to streamline and manage its core operations more efficiently. However, there are still quite a number of carriers who prefer bespoke IT systems despite the availability of much cheaper packaged solutions.

There are certain factors that motivate shipping business operators to develop their own IT systems in-house instead of buying cheaper off-the-shelf solutions. One of these is the advantage of having full control of the development processes which allows users to make specific improvements to the original platform as necessary. In addition, In-house platforms have been tailored to exact specifications, which is believed to deliver competitive advantage.

However, while bespoke systems offer full control of operation-specific features, they also require skilled IT staff and programmers to implement necessary upgrades. The fact that technology is rapidly changing means that IT platforms date and become unsupportable after a while. If a shipping business cannot keep up with the pace of change, it will find itself stuck with an obsolete technology which cannot support newer IT platforms. In addition, investing in a customized platform to automate only a single segment of shipping operation (e.g. a single segment of a terminal), is not worth the cost of the investment, which is significantly higher than buying off-the-shelf shipping software which can be customized to carry out various functions.

The following are some of the most prominent benefits of using off-the-shelf or packaged shipping software:

1. Price. Buying packaged software is calculated to be 10 to 50 times cheaper compared to developing an in-house IT system.

2. Flexibility. Modern packaged shipping software incorporate built-in switching options which allows operators to customize application to perform various tasks without doing any expensive reprogramming.

3. Upgrade options – Packaged software provides upgrade solutions to keep pace with fast changes in technology to make sure that users are always working from tried and tested, up-to-date, and well-supported platforms.

4. Guarantee. Customized or in-house systems do not offer test-runs prior to installation, and the end-product is not revealed until it has been delivered. Off-the-shelf solution allows you to use a system for a certain period to see if it delivers what you expect before you actually buy and install it into your existing IT infrastructure.

5. Efficiency. Packaged solutions are more cost-effective, require less resources, and deliver long-term solutions that can be customized to handle specific requirements of a shipping business.

While off-the-shelf shipping software offer a lot more benefits both in cost of investment and scope of features, accessibility to technology has significantly increased the number of software developers in the marketplace, many of which are not reputable. Carriers should be careful in choosing a supplier by checking their capability, reliability, and financial stability. After all, it’s not wise to buy from a company who’s not going to be around after two or three years, leaving you without support in a case of system failure.

Overcome Shipping Obstacles With Reliable Shipping Software Solutions

The shipping industry is one of the most valuable and rapidly growing industries in the international business field today. without over-the-sea trading, economies will deteriorate because businesses will have very limited options to import and export goods to other countries.

Virtually all activities performed in the liner industry involve significant labor costs and time critical processes. As global trade rises, the pressure on shipping companies also increases. The demand for better customer service delivery and industry excellence keeps growing, and changes need to be made in order to sustain reliability of operations. This is the primary reason why shipping companies need to adopt modern sea freight technology and use cutting-edge shipping software solutions.

There are many areas of the shipping business that can be refined with the utilization of shipping software solutions. Principals, agents, feeder or short sea business, NVOCCs, and terminal and port operators – all parties involved in the shipping process can benefit from adopting modern shipping technology that offers software integrity and user-friendly features.

Software suites such as LIMA enables principals to combine full business functionality with a Windows-standard and easy-to-use interface for management and staff members. This line management software application addresses and resolves problems in schedule management, voyage management, CRM, cost management, equipment handling, accounting and data management.

Agents can take advantage of agency suites such as ALFA to streamline processes for sales and marketing, tariff/quotation/contract management, bookings, B/Ls, manifests, invoicing, dangerous goods handling, voyage account, Intermodal, and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). With a software application such as ALFA, redundancies are eliminated and work flow is optimized.

For feeder and short sea business, applications such as FAST offer solutions for enhanced booking process, sophisticated invoicing, complex tariff and cost management, and direct linkage to customers and partners to accommodate short transit times and avoid delays in the communication chain.

Software application suites designed specifically for NVOCCs like LIMA NVO provides the vehicle for either regional or global non-vessel operating common carrier businesses to gain competitive edge. Companies have a flexible and scalable software solution to control and monitor all business activities with complete visibility which results in improved staff productivity, tighter rein over contribution margins and revenue, reduced expenses and built-in best practices for enhanced customer service level.

Most shipping software today include applications for improving terminal operations. Terminal management software was developed in order to simultaneously and efficiently handle containerized, RoRo and general cargo for multiple shipping firms. With the use of a reliable terminal management system, operators are rest assured to run their business free from irregularities and hassles, and be able to communicate with agents and shipping firms in an entirely organized manner.

Shipping software solutions were built to facilitate and enhance the effectiveness of all the intricate processes that shipping goods entail. No matter what task is assigned to you, shipping software enables you to do it effectively and competently.

Marine Operations Made Easy With Integrated Shipping Software Solutions

International shipping presents new challenges every day. With these challenges, ship operators are constantly finding better ways to simplify every aspect of daily operations, improve efficiency, and maximize profit. Good thing, these benefits, which seemed impossible to achieve 20 years ago, are now widely available with the development of integrated shipping software.

Many ship operators and carriers find themselves dealing with high bunker costs, high charter costs, high labor costs, expensive communication between vessels and poor tracking systems. If these issues are not addressed at the right time, shipping operations become prone to encounter high losses. When any of these happens, beside the financial impact the company risks damaging its reputation and eventually loses customers.

Shipping solutions software> enables ship operators and carriers to minimize expenses and gain significant cost benefits by reducing the amount of work involved in moving cargo across international borders. This is done by automating a number of tasks that are labor-intensive and time consuming processes such as redundant data entry, inventory, documentation, invoicing, etc…

Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to shipping operations, shipping software companies have developed different kinds of marine software solutions with their specific intended functions. Advanced software applications for shipping such as container management software allow merchants to easily control and manage container activities across multiple vessels. This enables operators to track the status and location of containers to minimize damage or loss.

Two other important kinds of marine solutions software are Voyage estimation software which calculates the length of time it will take for each shipment to reach its destination, and voyage accounting software which can be used run calculations of transaction costs. Using these solutions, operators can rate shop between carriers, compare routes, and identify commercial options with best revenue potential. Vessel operators use these software applications to compute bunker costs, chartering costs, port costs, canal fees, and load/discharge expenses, helping them to avoid expensive routes, evade risky procedures, and ensure that deliveries are always on time.

In addition, modern carriers are also using container tracking software which is used to show the exact locations of container. Container tracking software also records transaction details such as exact times certain shipments leave the port, transshipments, and load/discharge activities. Using this software helps ensure visibility and minimize loss of consignments.

To recapitulate, shipping solutions software is the key to success in modern-day shipping. It streamlines complex processes and removes bottlenecks throughout the shipment order cycle. Most shipping software can be integrated into existing platforms and customized to best serve specific purposes.

Nowadays, shipping software can be purchased off-the-shelf at rates so reasonable considering the benefits they offer. One challenge however is finding the right shipping software company or vendors which provide reliable products and support services not judging on price alone. With right choice, vessel operators can easily and quickly make back the difference in cost and enjoy the competitive advantage they get from investing wisely.

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