Vendor Compliance and Truckload Shipping: How Logistics Software Can Help

Is the cost of meeting the vendor compliance standards of large retailers and corporations worth the resulting sales? Perhaps not in the short-term, but in the long-term, complying with complex vendor standards is one of the few ways to turn mediocre product sales into phenomenal sales. Even so, small to midsized manufacturers that aim to meet the standards of large corporations and retailers cam immediately find what seem like insurmountable obstacles in their path, especially concerning standards that regard the shipping process, such as the requirement that companies ship full truckloads-as opposed to less than full truckloads-to a business’s receiving docks.

Vendor Compliance and Truckload Shipping: Can Shipping Logistics Help?

The problem with full truckload shipping-also known as TL shipping-for small to midsized vendors isn’t that they can’t ship less than a full truckload of their products in a full semi trailer; it’s that doing so is cost prohibitive. As a result, small to midsized companies typically turn to less than truckload shipping-also known LTL shipping-in which two or more shippers of partial loads combine their shipments to form a full truckload and split the cost. The general advantage of LTL shipping is its cost effectiveness, while its general disadvantage is its slower delivery time, resulting from numerous pick ups and drop offs.

But LTL can have a more specific drawback concerning vendor compliance and truckload shipping: it could throw a wrench in a business’s well-oiled receiving system, where a full truckload of products comes from a single source and is therefore brings less risk of error during the receiving process. Traditionally, only companies that produce enough goods to fill a full truckload on a regular basis use TL shipping. But today, transportation logistics allows shippers the option of shipping full loads on a schedule more suited to their production output, allowing participation with large buyers of goods.

Method of shipping is one of numerous concerns within a complex set of vendor compliance standards. But it remains one of the toughest standards to meet if you don’t have shipping logistics on your side, a service that companies can secure in one of three ways: by implementing their own logistic department; by contracting with third party logistics (3PL) providers; and by implementing logistics software, which allows you to become your own logistics provider without possessing logistical expertise. Out of the three options, the latter is the least expensive, while still supplying the broad, in-depth approach to logistics a company would receive if it had its own logistic department. To find out more about how logistics software can help your company meet the compliance standards of large corporations and retailers, contact an online provider of logistics software today.

Operating a Transportation Management System Using Logistics Software

A Transportation Management System (TMS) is an element of supply chain management that is positioned between a company’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and its shipping process. Ultimately, the system ensures that a company’s resources are invested in the best transportation process for its freight, one that offers the best combination of freight care, delivery time, and delivery cost. Supporting the system’s management function is a logistics resource, typically either (a) an in-house logistics department, (b) a Third Party Logistics provider (3PL) or (c) logistics software. How well the system works – and the style of management it offers – depends largely on the logistics resource.

Evaluating Logistics Resources

Most shippers prefer to have logistics performed in-house. Traditionally, this requires hiring experts – something that is common among large, high volume shippers that have a transportation fleet, but not among small to medium size shippers that don’t have a fleet. For these shippers, the traditional alternative to hiring experts is contracting with a 3PL provider – an arrangement whose value depended on the practices of the 3PL provider. For many companies, 3PL providers present three problems:

  • They make the transportation management process seem distant
  • Their load pairing strategies aren’t based on the broadest options
  • Their highest level of transportation management can be unaffordable

In recent years, logistics software has provided shippers with an alternative to high level 3PL, one that is capable of managing the shipping process and discovering better shipping options as they arise. In addition to costing less than a 3PL provider that manages and innovates the shipping process (i.e. a customer adapter), the software lets shippers take control of their TMS by facilitating three functions that a good TMS should facilitate:

  • Planning the shipping process. A TMS should plan the shipping process according to the shipper’s parameters, which include such things as LTL rates, delivery time and warehousing fees.
  • Monitoring the shipping process. A TMS should monitor the shipping process in an administrative capacity, handling such things as transport alerts, customs clearance and invoicing.
  • Measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Without the consistent, accurate measurement of KPIs, a shipper can persist with shipping options that don’t offer the best value.

Logistics software can facilitate these functions, allowing shippers to have the logistics function in-house without investing a significant amount of capital to have it there.

Conclusion

Companies that ship products need an effective transportation management system, which means that they need a comprehensive logistics function. Traditionally, shippers have acquired this function by hiring in-house experts or contracting with a 3PL provider. Today, however, logistics software gives them the opportunity to have the logistics function in-house without paying a premium to have it there.

For small to midsize companies, hiring in-house experts can be cost prohibitive, and contracting with a 3PL provider can bring the feeling of being disconnected from the shipping process. Logistics software can resolve both issues by offering a complete logistical function on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model.

How to Improve The Business With Logistics Software

The technological development in each field of the market was soon followed by evolutionary steps of logistics softwares and IT companies. Today there are many software companies that provide the highest quality and friendly software solutions to the Transportation Industry. Their softwares are designed to be industry oriented from the ground up. The industry-oriented approach is reflected by their market focus, products, service offerings, the customer support, and the talent base they employ.

True professional companies always stay on the cutting edge of technology innovations to deliver state-of- the art solutions to their clients. Therefore, if you have an important business to run in the transportation industry, you would better not waste anymore time and purchase at least a lite logistics suite, an affordable, but still a powerful one. Its solutions may include Freight Forwarding Software, Purchase Order Management, Real-Time Online Cargo Tracking, Inventory Control Software, Third-Party Logistics System (3PL), Trucking Software with Cross-Dock and Dispatch, Integrated Accounting Software and many more.

A Freight Forwarding Software, for example, is designed especially for small Freight Forwarders and Warehouse Management Companies. It can handle Ocean Freight, Air Freight along with Warehousing. Newest version releases have taken the request of customers in consideration and added the QuickBooks export support. That means that now you can easily export invoices to QuickBooks, saving time and reducing errors.

A lite suite version will be able to handle all the requirements of a Cargo Warehouse operation including Warehouse Receives, Warehouse Withdraws, Labels, On Hand Reports and Invoices. The Ocean Export and Air Export modules may provide an array of features like Quotes, Bookings, Manifest, Labels, Waybills (Houses, Masters, Directs) and reports that will let you keep track of your company operations at all times.

Still, if you can afford to spend more, there are more powerful softwares that will offer access to cargo status information directly through your company’s internet website, providing your customers with a powerful online shipment tracking tool. Authorized users can search, view and print information in various forms, such as: Warehouse Receipts, House Airwaybills, Master Airwaybills, House Bill of Ladings, Master Bill of Ladings and Cargo Manifest.

A complete featured suite offloads much of the administrative overhead associated with addressing client shipment inquiries, helping you to reduce cost and increase employee productivity. Also agents can enter POD information without having to call your office. They may also keep track of all cargo going to their office.

Usually, the software companies understand how critical it is for their clients to have their logistics software running 100% of the time. That is why they give their support department the higher priority. Any technical support team is committed to provide superior support service, and is available twenty four hours, seven days a week.

The companies’ staffs now understand that today is not only the software, but also the customer support that is critical to the clients. Their goal should be to build a relationship of trust with their customers and that is why 24/7 support is absolutely necessary to be provided. This kind of support can easily be achieved using the technology of the Internet. If one is interested in any of their products or services, he/she should be able to visit a contact page for more information, at least on how to get in touch with them. Also, if a customer has non-time critical issues or just has some questions, an e-mail should be provided for any inquires or an online support request form. Any problem should be resolved within a few hours, if the service is professional.

Think about the advantages of purchasing a logistics software! It will improve your time and experiences in your business area.