There’s no point in sugarcoating it. Logistics is complicated. There are so many puzzle pieces you need to lock in, and without the right tools, doing so can be downright overwhelming. Yet getting all those components in place is vital to your business’s success. And that’s where logistics software comes in. Because anything that makes it easier to juggle your logistics processes and resources is a godsend. So you’re probably wondering, what software is used in logistics?
Well, it varies. While there are a few software options that cover most aspects of logistics, most specialize in a single area. In this post, we’ll discuss some major aspects of logistics management. From there, you’ll find out about types of software that are available for each and the benefits of that software. Let’s dive right in.
Now, obviously, we can’t talk about logistics management if there’s nothing to manage the logistics of. So let’s start with the central component of this industry: the physical objects that need to get from point A to point B.
No matter what size your business is, having software to organize your inventory is going to make your life much easier than trying to manually keep track of inventory in a spreadsheet and anticipate the best time to order additional stock before it runs out.
Software options in this category tend to have a lot of crossover. If you search for an inventory management product, most options will also include features for warehouse management.
The software you choose will vary by your needs; as with any business investment, you should research your options to determine what will best suit your organization. But here are a few services you can consider:
But maybe you already have your inventory and warehousing covered. Let’s talk about transportation and fleet management next.
So you have your inventory, and you have it stored, but now it’s time to move it from the warehouse to someplace else. Now, you could, again, use a spreadsheet and logs to track every little thing that needs to be shipped. Also, you’ll need to monitor where everything is stored, where it needs to go, when it needs to get there, who is contracted to get it there, and how much that carrier costs—not to mention manually confirming that it has arrived on time, and if not, what its exact location is and how long it will be delayed.
But that approach leaves lots of room for human error. A better way, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is to invest in software to help you with transportation management.
Some software programs will help you outsource your shipments to a third-party fleet management company. Others will help you manage your own fleet. Nowadays, most services include GPS tracking of your shipments and text alerts. Some specialize in domestic transportation, while others will help you with international imports and exports.
But there’s more to logistics than just managing your inventory and moving it around. You also have to make sure you’re making intelligent business decisions and maximizing your profitability. Next, let’s talk about some software that can help you with the business side of things.
The last main component of logistics we’ll discuss is business intelligence and management. There are lots of generic business solutions out there, but generic isn’t good enough to optimize your logistics business.
Keeping a careful proportion between expenses and profits is critical to business success, which is why you need a precise, accurate accounting system in place. And sure, you could hire an accountant to do things manually, or you could use a general accounting solution. But a general software program for accounting doesn’t adjust its approach for all the challenges of logistics. Lucky for you, there are logistics-specific programs in place that will take your accounting to the next level.
Last, we’ll talk about customer service.
Maintaining good relationships with your customers is important for any business. But it’s especially vital for third-party logistics (3PL) providers, since that business model relies on companies wanting to outsource most or all of logistics management. Let’s look at a couple of customer service options.
With your logistics business, don’t focus solely on moving inventory from point A to point B. Customer satisfaction is key to your success, and there are tools to help you with that.
So, now you know some types of software you’ll need for your logistics business. Don’t make your work any harder on yourself than it needs to be. Technology exists to make our lives easier. Invest in a few good pieces of software, and you’re likely to see a huge return in your logistics management processes.
This post was written by Kristin Rawlings. Kristin is a writer, editor, and fierce advocate of the Oxford comma. She has experience working in journalism, academic publishing, and content marketing. Her passion is for reading and creating well-researched texts, as well as collaborating with others to share information in a clear, readable way.