Logistics companies today face a multitude of challenges. The demand for delivery services is on the rise, while customer expectations are higher than ever before. Besides, competition is becoming increasingly tougher year over year. To gain a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the competition, logistics providers will need to embrace digitalization. The era of spreadsheets and back-and-forth phone calls is gone.
Through the adoption of new technologies, industry standards will rise. Companies in the logistics industry work faster and more effectively, better coordinate entire supply chain operations, and offer an enhanced customer experience. This trend has been visible for several years now. The global digital logistics market is expected to reach $19.88 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 14.4%, up from $11.02 billion in 2017.
We will be looking at the different types of logistics software used in the industry below.
What Is Logistics Management Software?
Logistics software is designed to provide users the necessary tools to support them in the execution and management of their logistics operations. This type of software can be divided into two separate sections as follows:
Supply chain management software (SCM) – Supply chain software typically includes features that manage the execution of freight pick-up, freight tracking, and delivery. Supply chain management keeps track of all the inventory and transportation details that go into logistical operations.
Brokerage and bidding – Freight broker software manages the logistics providers serving third parties on a contractual basis. Included under this umbrella, we have elements such as contract management, load tracking, API integrations, carrier onboarding, rating, quoting, and more.
What Software is Used in Logistics?
Various Supply Chain Suites – These include various transportation management features that can be delivered as either standalone products or as modules of a suite. Since not all supply chain software suites provide advanced transportation management functions, they often integrate with transportation management software (TMS). They do this through partnerships or by using APIs.
Transportation Management Software – Includes features such as automated carrier selection to determine the most efficient carrier or shipping method for each delivery. Other features include route optimization, shipment consolidation, real-time tracking of cargo, and dispatch scheduling.
Warehouse Management Software (WMS) – This software helps manage, coordinate, and track the physical location of goods in an inventory. This type of software makes it easy for companies to find products that need to be shipped. The WMS ensures a higher level of accuracy and operational efficiency in order fulfillment, delivery times, labor management, and order status visibility.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – The ERP software is a system that allows organizations to manage their flow of information effectively by combining various business functions. An ERP software can help logistics providers manage their business more effectively by reducing risks and company costs. The ERP will help in matters of inventory control, distribution, staff management, and various cost reductions.
Order Management Software – These systems capture, track, and fulfill orders across multiple sales channels. Logistics companies can use these systems to track the status of orders, manage recurring orders, invoicing, clone orders, integrate with shipping carriers, detect issues and errors, manage returns and back orders, or reconcile purchase orders.
Inventory Management and Control Software – This software is used to manage product availability that’s owned by the company, helping it to determine how many items can be delivered. It helps manage purchase orders and supply levels, tracking on-demand, allocated, and ordered quantities. It also supports order fulfillment and supplier sourcing.
Load Boards – Also known as freight boards, load boards are an online marketplace where truck owners and operators, freight forwarders, shippers, and freight brokers can post and search for loads to keep their freight moving.
Shipping Software – This focuses entirely on what happens between the moment loads are shipped and their arrival at their destination. Shipping software helps businesses create and manage shipping documents, such as bills of lading and packing lists, and track the shipment status.
Yard Management Software – This system is used to optimize the physical locations (docks) used to load and unload trucks. This type of software is used to schedule trucks based on arrival dates, size, and goods being delivered.
Fleet Management – This software is used to ensure that fleets are correctly maintained, and their use is optimized. It’s also used to limit the risk of accidents and includes various maintenance operations, repair, and equipment upgrades.
Route planning software – As its name would suggest, this type of software focuses on route planning by finding the best delivery routes and assigning them to drivers. Route planning software is typically used by small- and mid-sized delivery companies that don’t have large fleets and don’t ship large quantities of products from multiple locations.
Transportation Management Software
Necessary for any logistics company, transportation management software (TMS) is a logistics software solution that sets the workflow and optimizes every logistics process related to transportation.
The primary focus of a TMS is to optimize the shipment process and thus reduce the costs and expenses associated with it. Generally speaking, a transportation management system can act as a connecting bridge between a company’s order management system, warehouse management system, and enterprise resource planning software. All of these systems play an important role in a logistics company’s ability to take customer orders and move them through the supply chain as quickly and seamlessly as possible while communicating the progress from the initial order through to the final delivery.
Originally outbound-oriented, TMS systems have evolved to become a sort of control tower within the supply chain, making it a key component within the inbound side of a company’s logistics activities. The system’s ability to tie in all major business platforms provides organizations with an optimization strategy of the entire supply chain by making the TMS a central hub for all tactical and strategic moves.
Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that there are dozens of types of TMS software out there, varying in terms of both complexity of features and intended market. A TMS can also be suitable for businesses that don’t have a logistics focus and only some basic transportation needs.
Advanced TMS Features
When it comes to logistics providers, transportation management systems can offer more advanced features. Among them, we can include the following:
Load Management – The ability to view, organize, track, and update load tracking throughout the load cycle. It also allows you to sort loads based on customers, keywords, drivers, carriers, reference numbers, and more.
Quotations – Generate and send quotations for any type of transportation mode. Logistics businesses can also track the status of quotes and convert them into orders whenever necessary. This feature also allows for the addition of ad-hoc quotes, email templates, shipping rate generation, and more.
Invoicing – Businesses can freight and create documents that detail what each stakeholder and shipping partner is owed. The TMS software can handle most primary accounting capabilities.
Document Management – Some TMS solutions can also receive, maintain, and archive files, documents, and other information. The software also uses customizable templates to generate new documents, add various security features, and share files internally and externally.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): This TMS feature facilitates the exchange of business documents from one device to another in a standard electronic format.
Application Program Interface (API) – Allows multiple software systems to exchange data between themselves electronically.
Carrier Onboarding and Compliance – Some logistics providers, such as freight brokers, may need to onboard new carriers quickly and effectively. They also need to track their compliance details. The system should integrate with other industry software present and allow the freight broker to gather data from disparate sources.
Load Board Integrations – Many logistics companies will need to use load boards to post or search for loads. By integrating with these freight boards, the TMS allows its users to update their listings on multiple pages simultaneously in only a fraction of the time.
Tai Software is a logistics software that encompasses many of the aforementioned features and benefits. It’s also a cloud-based solution that uses artificial intelligence to provide its users with a centralized hub that can automate the shipping and accounting process. In doing so, it will also help companies scale their growth.
It’s a solution that addresses every aspect of the shipment lifecycle, making it a great TMS software platform for freight brokers, third-party logistics providers (3PLs), freight forwarders, and large shippers alike. Request a free demo today!