Businesses shipping small loads through second party carriers often have difficulty finding affordable shipping arrangements. Truck Load (TL) shipping is unaffordable because a partial load would be shipped at the price of a full load, while parcel shipping can become unaffordable when a large number of parcels are shipped. When low volume shippers can afford neither TL shipping nor parcel shipping, they turn to Less than Truck Load (LTL) shipping – an arrangement where two or more partial loads fill a full semi trailer, and the shippers split the cost of the load. trucking rates
For most small and midsize shippers, LTL shipping is the most affordable transportation arrangement, but maximizing its benefits requires a strong logistics function-a requirement satisfied by one of three resources-an in house logistics department, a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider, or logistics software.
Evaluating the Resources
Traditionally, shippers keep the logistics function in-house by staffing logistics experts. When this option is unaffordable, they consider 3PL and logistics software.
The value of 3PL depends on the type of provider one uses:
- A standard 3PL provider who provides basic logistical services
- A service developer who provides specialized logistical services
- A customer adapter who manages the shipping process
- A customer developer who manages and innovates the shipping process
If you need a specific service, such as cross docking, or tracking and tracing, 3PL can be remarkably affordable, but when full shipping management is the goal, 3PL can be expensive. It can also create a feeling of disconnection from the shipping process. Compared to high-level 3PL, TMS software or LTL logistics software offer two distinct advantages:
- It is less expensive than using a customer adapter or customer developer
- It allows you to have full control of the shipping process
Available on a web-based model or an in-house model, the software can be implemented according to your company’s needs and policies. Additionally, the implementation process is designed for efficiency. The provider analyzes your transportation process, creates a program with the right features and functions, and delivers the final version of the program in 30-45 days.
Savings Start Immediately
Financially, the most attractive aspect of the software is its ability to deliver savings in the short term. In the first year, many shippers experience a ten percent reduction in shipping cost, with savings increasing in the years following. In an economy where recessionary spending is still common, a ten percent reduction in shipping cost can bring a welcome increase to a shipper’s bottom line. For many shippers, the savings generated by the software easily reach the six-figure mark.
If your business has a moderate shipping volume, TL shipping and parcel shipping may be unaffordable, and paying a 3PL provider to manage the shipping process may be unaffordable as well. If so, TMS software or LTL logistics software can provide an affordable resource for identifying the best shipping arrangements.