If your company has grown to the point that it is ready to start shipping its goods to other states, then you’ve probably heard more than your fair share of transportation logistics talk. In the freight logistics industry, you’ll rarely meet someone that seems as if they don’t know what they’re talking about, and each consultant or company can tell you why their logistics solutions are the best.
So, how do determine the good from the bad and mediocre from the awful? To put first things cargo truck first, your initial concern with achieving the right shipping solutions should be how much they cost versus the benefit that they’ll deliver. With this in mind, most midsized and growing companies that have truckload (TL) shipping needs quickly arrive at a crossroads: should they hire a third party logistics (3PL) provider or should they implement TL transportation software?
Also known as truckload logistics software, TL transportation software is offered by software companies that specialize in transportation logistics. TL transportation software can be implemented into your company’s shipping process as either an online software application that allows for remote access or an internal application, depending on your wants and needs. In either case, the software comes with an easy to use user interface that allows you to become your own logistics provider.
When you opt for logistics software, you don’t have to hire logistics professionals to operate the software, and that’s where part of the cost savings comes in versus hiring a 3PL provider. When you hire a 3PL provider, you’re paying for logistics professionals to act as middlemen between your company and freight carriers, whereas with logistics software, you’re paying for a computer application that has been developed by logistics professionals.
In addition to costing less as a service, logistics software also gives its users greater control over the shipping process by providing them with more shipping options. Because 3PL providers make their money by charging their clients more than a TL shipping solution actually costs, in order to keep their rates reasonable, they only partner with carriers that offer preferred “discounts”. What this means, of course, is that you only have the option of shipping with carriers that allow 3PL providers to make a profit, regardless of whether a non-discounting carrier might be able to save you the most money concerning other shipping cost factors, such as route length.
Some companies are happy to use 3PL providers because they simply don’t want to handle logistical concerns. But this attitude is usually based on the idea that, if a company doesn’t boast logistics as one of its core competencies, it won’t able to handle transportation logistics. When you opt for you opt for TL shipping software to achieve TL shipping solutions, you quickly realize that this isn’t the case. While 3PL can certainly provide you with valuable TL shipping solutions, there’s simply no need to spend extra money and have a decreased range of shipping options when you can easily handle your own logistics with the aid logistics software.