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.

Logistics Software Solutions Can Benefit Your Company in Three Basic Ways

When companies present their transportation logistics solutions, they have tendency to either engage in corporate speak and not really say much about their solutions or speak with such expertise that they fail to give you a basic understanding of how logistics solutions can benefit your company in a daily way. For small to midsized companies, transportation logistics typically arrives in one of two forms: by a company outsourcing its logistics to a third party logistics (3PL) provider or by implementing logistics software solutions that are available as an online software application.

Given that logistics software offers an easy to use interface can be customized to a company’s particular shipping needs and costs far less than outsourcing to 3PL providers, it’s usually the logistics option of preference for small to midsized companies that don’t have the luxury of a shipping fleet or a large shipping budget. If you’ve heard of logistics software but are looking for a basic understanding of how it can aid your shipping process, we offer the following overview of how logistics-software solutions help companies in terms of freight optimization, shipping route optimization and shipping method integration.

Freight Optimization

For small to midsized companies that regularly ship less than a full freight load of products, freight optimization typically subsists on finding the best less than truckload (LTL) shipping options. LTL shipping is when a shipping carrier lets companies ship partial loads that combine to compose a full truckload. The cost value of LTL shipping comes from shippers splitting the cost of a full freight load. Although less than truck load shipping offers low shipping rates, due to numerous stops for delivery and pick up, it often takes goods longer to reach their destination than in other shipping arrangements. Nevertheless, logistics-software solutions can be used to find less than truckload carrier routes that offer the best delivery time. Because warehouse stops are a common feature of freight shipping, logistics software also offers warehouse optimization capabilities.

Shipping Route Optimization

If you use a 3PL provider, you probably won’t have any idea what shipping routes your carriers are using. But shipping routes are a major factor in determining overall shipping cost. Logistics-software can analyze shipping routes according to multiple criteria, including: length of route, traffic patterns, road quality and construction patterns. One example of how route optimization can decrease shipping cost and improve delivery time is by analyzing routes in terms of travel time. For example, a route that is shortest in distance may be longer than another route in terms of travel time due to traffic patterns.

Shipping Method Integration

Shipping method integration is an unofficial term that refers to the ability of logistics software to suggest integrated shipping methods for the sake of reducing shipping cost and improving delivery time. For example, even though air shipping is traditionally more expensive than ground shipping, logistics software might suggest shipping certain shipments by air due to expensive, unavoidable warehouse fees that would result from ground shipping. In addition, logistics software may make such suggestions as shipping products halfway to their destination by boat and the other half by freight truck.

5 Ways Enterprise Shipping Software Reduce Costs and Mitigate Risks

Enterprise shipping software solutions have been around for quite a while, but some shipping companies including NVOCCs and logistics providers may not have fully understood their impact on modern shipping. Well, when it comes to reducing operational expenses and improving profitability, shipping software plays an essential role.

Here are five key benefits of using integrated software solutions for shipping:

1. Prevent cargo loss or damage by allowing both shipping companies and customers to have complete container visibility while in transit or in carrier-operated warehouses.

This is especially useful for overseas transactions where goods and containers pass through complex supply chain logistics cycles that usually take weeks to complete. Container tracking software give carriers a real-time view of cargo movement, which allows them to track, monitor, and control the entire shipping process. They also make sure that orders are delivered on time and in best condition. Also knows as logistics tracking software, this application enables both carriers and suppliers to give their customers peace of mind by keeping them updated about the exact location and status of their orders.

2. Make best use of container and stowage space to maximize profit.

Operating cost and profit are major considerations when shipping goods. These are also among the reasons large companies idle their smaller vessels and deploy larger, more fuel-efficient carriers, or automate their operations using shipping management software. Doing so enables them to carry greater volumes of shipment in a single port call, which practically reduces their expenses on fuel and maximizes their profit through economies of scale.

At some point, shipping companies have to deal with awkward cargoes that are hard to fit into regular containers. This often results in broken stowage and dead or unutilized container space. Container management software quickly solves this problem. Designed specifically for container fleets, this application automates cargo load planning, optimization, and distribution of container stocks, which improves organization and increases the storage capacity of each container. For non-container cargoes, shipping software companies have also developed customized applications such as bunker management software designed for bunker carriers.

3. Pinpoint existing and potential container damages before they become completely irreversible.

Container damages can result in serious problems during shipment and or transshipments. Container repair software can help carriers pinpoint potential problems in containers and manage the labor-intensive repair process. This includes automating the associated paperwork, sending estimates, tracking status, and billing. Most importantly, this software application enables carriers to act quickly before those problems turn into expensive and extremely dangerous situations.

4. Streamline communication between ships, carriers, and ports, to facilitate seamless execution of everyone involved in the logistics network.

Cheap and streamlined communication is part of every successful shipping transaction. Shipping line software provide easy ways for logistics managers to send and receive messages using various communication devices and channels such as voice, SMS, and email. When problems arise, notifications can be communicated instantly across the supply chain, and those in charge can implement solutions to address issues and keep all operations on track. This capability is extremely important for cargo consolidators who use NVOCC software to constantly communicate with vessel operators from the shore.

5. Ensure that trade rules and regulations are strictly followed.

Every country has its own set of trade regulations for shipping. Sidestepping those regulations can result in penalties that include hefty fines, cancellation of trade license, or even imprisonment. Liner principal software streamlines the trade compliance process by eliminating paperwork to make the whole process fast and hassle-free. Carriers equipped with integrated shipping agency software receive updates on compliance requirements in each country or trade route. This helps to ensure that every segment of the supply chain has been appraised and well-informed of compliance requirements.

They say “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. This saying is worth some serious reflection especially when it comes to container or bulk shipping where small glitches can easily develop into extremely expensive and irreversible damages. The initial investments for liner shipping software implementation can be overwhelming at first, but when long-term profitability and competitiveness are on the line, it is certainly worth serious consideration.