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.

Transport Software Solutions – Frequently Asked Questions

Shipping software – also known as freight management software and transport software – offers an economic way for companies to handle their own shipping logistics. Shipping software offers the transport software solutions that a company would receive through a logistics department or a 3PL provider, but at less cost. Yet, due to its relative newness, some shippers have misconceptions about the software that prevents them from experiencing its benefits. Below, we answer some frequently asked questions regarding transport software solutions to lay these misconceptions to rest.

Does Shipping Software Require Logistics Expertise to Operate?

One of the greatest advantages of shipping software is that it doesn’t require logistics expertise of its users. Therefore, a company can become its own logistics provider without hiring in house logistics experts. After evaluating all potential shipping options to determine the best options for a given situation, the software presents its findings through an easy to access user interface.

Is the Software Created by People With Experience in the Shipping Industry?

Shipping software companies are technically software companies. But, in most cases, their management has direct experience in the corporate side of the shipping industry. As its name suggests, the software is designed to evaluate the shipping process from a logistical standpoint, which it does with precision regardless of its producer’s corporate identity.

Does the Software Offer a One-Size-Fits-All Solution?

Like many types of software that are available on a SaaS model, shipping software is offered in both a ready to implement version and as a tailored software solution that reflects a company’s shipping process. For example, if a company has both truckload (TL) and less than truckload (LTL) shipping needs due to a production process that sees parts travel to various manufacturing locations, shipping software can be designed to offer the best shipping arrangements for this process.

What Happens if a Company’s Shipping Needs Change?

Because it’s natural for a company’s shipping needs to change as it grows, produces new products, or explores new business options, transportation software can be edited to accommodate a company’s changing shipping needs. Changes made to a company’s shipping software make take as little as minutes or as long as a few days.

Exactly How Does Shipping Software Save Companies Money?

First, the software saves companies money by doing the same work as a logistics expert or a 3PL provider while costing much less. Second, it saves companies money by assessing a broader range of shipping options than 3PL providers, who prefer solutions that fall within their greatest financial interest. Third, it saves companies money by offering integrated shipping solutions (i.e. air, road, rail, and sea), which is uncommon among most 3PL providers.

Why Choose Outsourced Over In-House Shipping Software Solution

Over the past two decades, automation of business processes has significantly increased in many industries including aviation, telecommunications, and banking. In shipping, automation has improved business efficiency by simplifying critical operations that require time and expertise. Nowadays, with increasing access to modern technology, it’s not unusual to find a small carrier using cheap off-the-shelf shipping software solutions to streamline and manage its core operations more efficiently. However, there are still quite a number of carriers who prefer bespoke IT systems despite the availability of much cheaper packaged solutions.

There are certain factors that motivate shipping business operators to develop their own IT systems in-house instead of buying cheaper off-the-shelf solutions. One of these is the advantage of having full control of the development processes which allows users to make specific improvements to the original platform as necessary. In addition, In-house platforms have been tailored to exact specifications, which is believed to deliver competitive advantage.

However, while bespoke systems offer full control of operation-specific features, they also require skilled IT staff and programmers to implement necessary upgrades. The fact that technology is rapidly changing means that IT platforms date and become unsupportable after a while. If a shipping business cannot keep up with the pace of change, it will find itself stuck with an obsolete technology which cannot support newer IT platforms. In addition, investing in a customized platform to automate only a single segment of shipping operation (e.g. a single segment of a terminal), is not worth the cost of the investment, which is significantly higher than buying off-the-shelf shipping software which can be customized to carry out various functions.

The following are some of the most prominent benefits of using off-the-shelf or packaged shipping software:

1. Price. Buying packaged software is calculated to be 10 to 50 times cheaper compared to developing an in-house IT system.

2. Flexibility. Modern packaged shipping software incorporate built-in switching options which allows operators to customize application to perform various tasks without doing any expensive reprogramming.

3. Upgrade options – Packaged software provides upgrade solutions to keep pace with fast changes in technology to make sure that users are always working from tried and tested, up-to-date, and well-supported platforms.

4. Guarantee. Customized or in-house systems do not offer test-runs prior to installation, and the end-product is not revealed until it has been delivered. Off-the-shelf solution allows you to use a system for a certain period to see if it delivers what you expect before you actually buy and install it into your existing IT infrastructure.

5. Efficiency. Packaged solutions are more cost-effective, require less resources, and deliver long-term solutions that can be customized to handle specific requirements of a shipping business.

While off-the-shelf shipping software offer a lot more benefits both in cost of investment and scope of features, accessibility to technology has significantly increased the number of software developers in the marketplace, many of which are not reputable. Carriers should be careful in choosing a supplier by checking their capability, reliability, and financial stability. After all, it’s not wise to buy from a company who’s not going to be around after two or three years, leaving you without support in a case of system failure.