Amateurs Study Shipping Rates, Professionals Study Logistics

Omar Bradley offered a truism, that amateurs study tactics, armchair generals study strategy, and professionals study logistics. This is just as true in the world of business as it is in the military. Logistics is the art of getting supplies where they’re needed so other functions can happen. In the modern business world, logistics means freight shipping – both internally and externally. In this field, freight rates and carrier rates are the price of doing business.

Freight shipping is one of those expenses that can be minimized, but never totally eliminated. It’s also a manpower time sink, and because of this, more and more companies are outsourcing their freight needs to third party logistics companies. These are outfits that have people who do nothing but look over the assorted rates and package deals offered by the major freight carriers and try to find the best deal possible for their client, with a nice commission on top for them.

All in all, third party logistics management makes sense for organizations that are above a certain size (too small, and they don’t generate enough volume to be worth the trouble of maintaining the account) and below a certain size (at which point the company can have an inside staff that does the same function for less).

Alternatives to third party logistics offers are in house logistics software. Much the same way that travel agencies quickly became redundant with online booking services, logistics software vendors are trying to render the third party logistics company obsolete. Building automatic data scrapers that can do the basic work of comparing logistics rates to different parts of the country or world is fairly straightforward, as is a price search algorithm.

While these systems primarily offer a way to avoid third party logistics fees, they also offer a bit more direct control over your company’s shipping needs, and some managers and executives like that hands on feel. They can also be used to significantly automate a lot of routine functions in the shipping department and the mail room. They can also be used to identify process problems – there’s a saying that every time something was sent out overnight, someone higher up in the chain didn’t do their job correctly, and when you’re looking directly at the costs of expedited shipping, it becomes easier to focus on the process issues that lead to it, than when you’re looking at a third party statement of account.

Ultimately, which one works best is a function of your business’ needs and internal culture; some businesses simply don’t want to bring that job in house. Others need to. Both are viable strategies depending on what your operation’s needs truly are.

3 Key Processes Of Transportation Management System

Transportation Management Systems are really meant to increase the ROI and efficiency of your logistics company and has become a mandatory element for an effective logistics management. The transportation management system or TMS helps your make your logistics management more organized and accurate.

Transportation Management software are aimed at bringing down the time, cost and improved profit. If the time and cost taken are decreased, then there is no doubt that your profit would sour high. All you need to do is to learn to manage this amazing tool in the right way. If you are not managing TMS in the proper way then you cannot expect your business to improve.

Here I would like to talk about the 3 key processes of a transport management system, which have an influential role towards the success of your logistics business.

1) Planning and Decision Making
Planning and Decision making are the most essential parts of any successful organization and cannot be ignored at any cost. If the planning and decision making are not up to the mark, the business is sure to suffer. There have been many instances when many companies have vanished due to lack of proper planning and decision.

A transportation management solutions helps you to plan your logistics business effectively and categorize your transport schemes accordingly based on the importance as per user policy. Some of the major things that plays vital role in proper planning and decision making are transport cost, shorter lead-time, fewer stops, flows regrouping coefficient etc.

The TMS systems is also known as logistics management system and helps you to calculate your transportation cost and adjust your routes so as to experience a decrease in the transportation cost. It helps you to find out which routes yields you better profit margin and which are the stops that needs to be avoided without harming your profit ratio.

In the end the report generating facility offered by this vehicle management system helps you to analyze your logistics management in a much better way. You can even change the scheduling and routing of your vehicles for better results. The report helps you to plan better and make decisions based on that.

2) Customer follow-up
TMS helps you to experience a better customer relationship and follow up due to its enhanced features. One of the advanced feature that makes the tool stand out is the GPS vehicle tracking facility, which helps you to track your vehicle with the help of satellites. With this you would be able to inform your customers as where the vehicle is and when their goods would be delivered. It also helps in effective billing, accurate report generation, documentation etc, which makes your customers happy and satisfied.

3) Measurement
A transportation management system offers you a detailed and customized analytics report which would help you to understand your business in a much better way. The report would help you to find out the areas that needs improvements and also help where you stand when compared with the previous months. Certain reports helps you to drill down more deeper so as to get a better assessment regarding your vehicle routing software.

Logistics Planning Software and Freight Shipping

Since the deregulation of the trucking industry in the 1980’s, trucking companies have offered an increasing range of shipping solutions that helps the manufacturer minimize shipping costs; one of which is less than truckload (LTL) shipping. In LTL shipping, companies that ship less than full truckloads of goods can save money by paying a fraction of full load shipping fees. For trucking companies, shipping earnings remain the same. They create a full truckload out of partial load shipments and receive payment from each company. For manufacturers, arriving at the optimal LTL solution usually requires the implementation of logistics planning software, which analyzes the cost of shipping and transportation needs in relation to product destination.

The obvious advantage of LTL shipping is that it allows companies to decrease shipping costs. But the downside is that products often take longer to reach their destination due to the multiple destinations implied by the shared load. In such cases, using logistics planning software to analyze a shipping situation instead of opting for standard LTL is the best way to integrate a solution that brings lower shipping costs while ensuring timely delivery. Whereas as LTL companies specialize in LTL, logistics software specializes in developing solutions that combine each element of the shipping process into a streamlined, cost effective delivery system. A company that requires freight tracking services in addition to simple pick up and delivery would benefit more from using logistics software than relying on the advice of an LTL shipping company.

Most companies that utilize logistics software consistently run a large number of products that are assembled at multiple locations before they arrive at retailers. At first glance, incurring the start up cost and service fees of logistics software might seem contrary to the goal of decreasing operating costs. However, studies show that companies who implement logistics software regularly reduce their shipping costs by ten percent in the first year alone. Exactly how is this savings created? In part, it results form the fact that logistics software eliminates costs associated with other logistical solutions, such as annual software maintenance costs, TMS software costs, 3PL costs, freight margins, gain shares and common rate base licensing costs.

While logistics software is popular among companies whose yearly shipping costs can amount to more than a small company’s annual earnings, it can also offer solutions for smaller companies. For example, a company that simply wants to improve delivery time can use the software to analyze road construction trends and highways traffic patterns. In either case, the software never fails to improve a manufacturer’s finances by making its system of delivery markedly more efficient.