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.

Maintain Cost-Efficient Bunker Consumption Through Shipping Software

Carrier operators are recently shaken up by significant developments involving one of the world’s largest oil suppliers. The shock comes after Denmark-based oil supplier OW Bunker has filed for bankruptcy this year, citing up to $750 million in debt due to alleged fraud. Analysts say this will spark a domino effect as carrier managers are hard-pressed to find alternative suppliers and make up for exposed amounts. Increases in the market price of fuel are also feared. This spells only tough times ahead for many carrier operators, especially those without shipping management software.

It is essential in the maritime services sector to adopt cost-efficient ways to stay afloat in such a volatile industry. It is volatile in the sense that it experiences numerous events that challenge profitability, such as OW Bunker’s filing for bankruptcy. Such scenario has prompted an increase in the demand for effective marine software solutions.

However, companies that already have integrated shipping management software are well-prepared to meet such challenges and shipping software companies have already churned out a variety of cost-saving solutions that profess better management of bunker consumption regardless of various scenarios.
Prior to the development of integrated shipping software, carriers relied on structural modifications to render their vessels more fuel efficient. For instance, modified fins can be considered for better speed regulation. The downside to this is that modification costs a fortune and takes a long time to install. Modern shipping on the other hand relies on digitizing speed calculation and management through intelligent voyage calculation. The system automatically estimates and determines ideal vessel speeds. It makes complex calculations that can accurately identify fuel-efficient speeds without compromising on-time deliveries, in a sense leading to bunker savings.

Other factors such as weather conditions and technical failures also pose risks to effective fuel consumption. Operators are powerless with regards to these, which is why they need a shipping software system that mitigates the effects of such scenarios. An intelligent voyage calculation system can make precise estimates as to current position and voyage duration. It then recommends a wide-range of actions that the crew can undertake to keep fuel intake within ideal limits while minimizing, if not eliminating, delivery delays.

Marine software solutions also allow for effective fuel management. There are software options that feature accurate fuel usage estimates using sophisticated operations. The software determines the actual consumption needs of the vessel, singling out the “cappuccino effect” which usually happens when filling up the vessel’s engine. With sophisticated bunker management software, monitoring bunker activities can work like a breeze. Carriers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they are consuming bunker volumes actually needed for particular voyages. Imagine the savings it entails!

Commercial shipping management has come a long way. From making manual estimates on bunker consumption, carrier operators now use marine software solutions to face a variety of challenges to their revenue generation. Despite difficult times ahead for the bunker fuel market, carrier operators can continue making money through automated fuel management processes.

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.