LTL Software Versus Other Logistics Resources

LTL Software is logistics software that is designed for shippers who need Less than Truck Load (LTL) shipping arrangements. Unlike a Full Truck Load (FTL) shipment, in which a semi trailer contains the freight of one shipper, an LTL shipment combines two or more shipments from different shippers into a semi trailer. This arrangement can benefit shippers that have a small to medium shipping volume in one of two ways:

  • It can be more cost effective than parcel shipping
  • It can be more cost effective than FTL shipping

A potential drawback of LTL shipping is that, depending on the number of times a shipment is sorted and routed during transit, it could take longer to reach its destination than is acceptable. When freight has a wide delivery window, this issue doesn’t pose a problem. When it has a narrow delivery window, delivering it via an LTL airfreight carrier, or combining into a full truckload and transporting it to a break-bulk facility located in the region of its delivery may be better options. After arriving at a break-bulk facility, LTL freight is separated and sent to its destinations.

LTL Softwareand Other Logistics Sources

LTL Software is an alternative to two sources of logistics that can also arrange LTL shipments: an in house logistics department and a freight broker, also known as a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider. As small and midsized shippers know well, creating an in-house logistics department to oversee a small to medium volume shipping process can be cost prohibitive. But by the same token, not having a logistics resource can make the shipping process unaffordable. Faced with this dilemma, many shippers turn to 3PL providers for logistical expertise.

Today, there are four types of 3PL providers that offer different types of service. Standard 3PL providers offer the most basic shipping services; service developers offer value-added shipping services; Customer adapters manage an already existing shipping process; while customer developers manage an already existing shipping process and propose new shipping solutions.

How does logistics software compare to the services offered by these providers?

It does not manage the shipping process, but it allows shippers to manage it in the same capacity, and with the same resource-based effectiveness, as the 3PL providers above. By using logistics software instead contracting with a 3PL provider, shippers can pay less for shipping, gain control of the shipping process and realize more shipping options. Some 3PL providers arrange shipments using an electronic posting system, where available loads are matched up with available carriers. But logistics software can present options that aren’t available in a posting system.

Conclusion

LTL software is an ideal solution for companies that need an affordable alternative to 3PL or creating an in-house logistics department, one that doesn’t sacrifice the resourcefulness that these options provide. To learn more about how LTL software could benefit your shipping process, and how you can benefit from implementing it on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, consult a provider of logistics software.

Get Professional Software Engineer Help by Outsourcing

There is a growing trend among companies today to outsource their IT tasks to software engineers to give themselves a cost-friendly way to get top-notch technology.  If you’re not sure about what, exactly, a software engineer can do for your company or what kind of qualifications you can expect to find, here are a few points to keep in mind:

Software Customization and Design – If you have a piece of software that you want customized to fit your needs or you would like a specific program developed to meet your exact needs, a software engineer can help.

Implementation – Getting the right software is only half of the battle – you have to be able to implement it and use it properly.  A software engineer can help with all steps in the implementation process and can provide training to end-users.

System Maintenance – At some point, your software will need some routine maintenance to ensure that it is still as optimal as possible.  A software engineer can help with this and can also help you forecast the maintenance costs and useful life for software and/or technology that your company may be considering. 

Compatibility – Software does not exist on its own, it requires interfacing with other technology and hardware to work.  A software engineer can help you determine what software is compatible with your current facilities or what you need to upgrade/change to make new software work. 

Troubleshooting – Valuable time and money is lost any time your system is down or runs slow.  Consulting with a software engineer is a good way to identify recurring problems and fix them to improve your efficiency. 

A software engineer could be exactly what your business needs to turn itself around.  A professional with a diverse background in software design and IT maintenance can be the missing link that enables you to get the most out of your technology.

TL Logistics Management Software – Frequently Asked Questions

What types of Shippers Use TL Logistics Management Software?

In most cases, shipping companies that regularly produce enough products to fill a full semi trailer use truckload logistics software, as “TL” refers to truckload, or full semi trailer. However, it’s important to note that TL logistics software actually refers to a service option within logistics software as a whole. In other words, companies that have less than truckload (LTL) shipping needs and use logistics software to meet them can have a TL logistics option added to their package at a later date, particularly if their software operates on a software as a service (SaaS) model.

Does it Make Sense to Combine LTL and TL Management in the Same Package?

A company can have as many logistics management options within a software package as it wants. But the fact that more options result in higher fees usually deters companies from adding more options than they presently need. However, if a company can benefit from having its LTL shipments combined into TL shipments and transported to a break station, then having LTL and TL shipping options within the same package could be beneficial.

Is it Better to Implement Logistics Software on a SaaS or an Internal Basis?

Although some companies have policies that require software solutions to be implemented on internal basis, most companies receive the greatest benefit from implementing logistics software on a SaaS model. To implement the software on an internal basis, you typically incur the following costs, which are eliminated by SaaS: software purchase, hardware purchase, system maintenance fees and system upgrade costs. In addition, implementing logistics software as a web-based application offers the advantage of letting system users access the system from any Internet terminal worldwide, whereas internal solutions function like an intranet.

Can TL Logistics Management Software Replace the need for a Logistics Expert?

Perhaps the greatest misconception about logistics software is that you need expertise in logistics to use it. On the contrary, logistics-software does the work of a logistics expert, presenting a shipper with optimized shipping options across the entire shipping process. One of the main selling points of logistics-software is the remarkable affordability that it brings to the logistics function, which comes from its replacing the need to hire in house logistics experts or high level third party logistics (3PL) providers.

Isn’t 3PL the Still Best Option If You’d like to Dialogue With a Logistics Expert?

The top complaint of 3PL customers is that they feel kept on the outside of the shipping process due to lack of contact with their 3PL provider. Furthermore, most providers of logistics-software allow their customers the option discussing logistics issues whenever necessary. With logistics software, you essentially become your own logistics provider, which is as close to the logistics function as you can get.