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.

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.

Retail Market: Thrust in Software Solutions

Here is a list of various retail management software used in different departments of retail industry to enhance the performance and profitability of stores.

  • ERP Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
  • Point Of Sale (POS) Solutions
  • Inventory Management & Control
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Reports On Performance
  • Customer Solutions
  • Accounting & Financial Management
  • Mobility Solutions
  • Social Networking
  • Business Analytics
  • Affiliate Marketing

Cloud solutions & Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

E-tail and retail companies gets cloud support by leveraging the powerful ERP solutions. Retail operations can be managed online using a centralized database without making investments in infrastructure like server, firewall, licensing, anti-virus, etc. This software is easier to install and provides a number of benefits which include offline storage support (without an internet connection), push notifications, and supports multiple mobile platforms like iOS, Android, etc.

Point of Sale (POS)

POS software solution helps retailers to face some of the difficult challenges of retail market. A right POS software provides better shopping experience, improves productivity and drives sales of customers. Point of sale includes payments, cash management, security control, and employee management.

Inventory Management & Control

Retail business is supported by a robust inventory management and control software offering multiple channel and multiple location support. This software is flexible and can manage orders, billing, pricing, shipping and sales. You also get SMS alerts if a specific order level for each item is reached and also helps you to track the goods in various warehouses or locations.

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain solutions involves shipping products and services much faster, with better quality. The various components of supply chain management solutions are warehouse management, inventory management & control, wireless tracking, and point of sale solutions. Retailers can manage orders and stocks efficiently and can also make the supply channel very effectively.

Reports

Retailers can generate reports and analyze performance of stores, departments, customers, employees, stock, sales and products using the Reports software, which also helps retailers to maximize their efficiency and profits.

CRM Solutions

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software allows retailers to capitalize on customers’ database and their history of transactions across sales channels and meet the challenges in retail market. CRM strategies provides a 360 degree view of customers and makes retail marketing solutions easy. It paves way for long-lasting and enduring customer relationships and is surely a loyalty addition for retailers and support them through some aggressive marketing campaigns and promotions at point of sale.

Accounting & Financial Management

All the accounting and financial needs of stores can be successfully managed, controlled and made easier with Accounting & Financial Management software. This includes bank accounts, inventory, vendor, billing; employees and payroll management which help retail companies to make some quick decision-making.

Web Store

Retailers can integrate eCommerce features to host their existing site adding online shopping, payment gateways, multiple language and currency options which are cost-effective and provides intuitive shopping experience to customers.

Mobility solutions

Retailers can harness the power of mobile technology on POS solutions to service customers anywhere, anytime – on the go. Mobile POS makes customer interactions engaging and they can get up to date product and store information by integrating GPS in smartphones and tablets. This helps retailers to provide high quality customer service, improve efficiency and increase profitability.

Analytics

With Analytics, business data can be transformed into meaningful information and enables retailers to take informed decisions and also gain a competitive edge over their rivals. Analytics software doesn’t need higher investments from retailers. It helps retailers to customize Analytics features thereby increase their sales volume, which will in turn increase their profitability and provide better ROI.

Affiliate Marketing

Retailers can create email marketing campaigns, search-engine optimization and affiliate marketing strategies which will increase revenues, reduce costs and improve ROI in real time basis. Discounts, deals, promotions, coupons, volume pricing and customer-specific discounts will drive sales exponentially and promote customer loyalty.

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