In the contemporary digital era, more and more companies make a transition from outdated and manual approaches and choose logistics management software instead. Logistics management software offers lots of opportunities to boost business efficiency, foresee potential difficulties, and prepare responses to them. Additionally, these technologies give a possibility to get real-time information which will is highly appreciated by customers. Furthermore, enterprises can align their operations and make their workflow more productive. Does it sound exciting? Let’s check what is logistics software, what does it involve, and what advantages does it offer.
What is Logistics Management Software?
Logistics refers to the transfer of objects from their production point to the point where they are consumed by clients or companies. This brings about the next question, what is logistics management? Logistics management describes the supply chain segment which covers planning and implementation which facilitates storage and delivery of products and services to the clients. The processes of freight forwarding, distribution, and tracking are handled by countless logistics and supply chain companies. As you can imagine, supply chain management involves lots of hustle and bustle as this is an extremely complex process involving lots of actors.
To simplify and facilitate those convoluted processes, logistics companies use logistics management software. It helps to manage information flow (emails, letters, notifications), to coordinate shipping and delivery, to track warehouse work, to monitor packaging, and even to handle inventory. Besides, it allows companies to streamline work processes across various departments so that they are on one page.
Main Components of Logistics Management
The key components of logistics management are:
- management of in- and outbound logistics` flows;
- fleet and warehouse management;
- orders handling and checks of intertory;
- transportation management;
- handling of external logistics providers;
- arranging supply and demand;
- forecasting of demand and drafting plans.
Benefits of having a Logistics Software
Undoubtedly, logistics software brings in numerous advantages into the working of the enterprises. Below you will find an overview of the principal benefits from its utilization.
- It minimizes human errors. With logistics software, it is possible to collect and analyze data with minimal errors and thus accelerate logistics operations.
- It speeds up product delivery. The clients can select the shipping service depending on their needs without participation in the production process and get their orders quicker.
- It improves transportation. As business processes, reports, and analytics are made automatic, it becomes possible to better arrange transportation services and make more informed decisions about them based on the available data.
- It automates operations. Logistics software makes lots of functions automatic so that they can be easily and efficiently managed.
- It reduces operating costs. As these technological solutions allow to compare various delivery options, they give an opportunity to learn about the most economical ones and utilize them.
What are the latest trends in the logistic system?
Logistics management software increasingly gained in popularity in 2021 which is related to the fact that e-commerce spreads around. Another reason is of course the Covid-19 pandemic. This goes along with the constant changes in logistics software as it should correspond to the evolving demands of the clients. The evolution of this software is linked with digitalization and cloud technologies. Here are some of the top-notch tendencies which currently shape supply chain management software.
- Artificial intelligence. It enhances usage of intelligent shipping, route optimization as well as improves demand prognosis and budget planning in logistics management. Utilizing AI can significantly reduce operational expenses.
- Warehouse robots. This name doesn`t demand lengthy explanation. As numerous robotic developers use cutting-edge technologies to improve their robots, logistical giants like Alibaba or Google invest a lot into robotic infrastructure.
- Cloud-based software. It enables real-time accurate updates on costs and inventory. It also allows tracking of products in real-time, from ordering to distribution. Thanks to this, the number of missing items or lost deliveries might drop significantly. Besides, cloud logistics software facilitates communication within the network and making quick and informed decisions.
- Contactless last-mile shipment. This solution is quintessential in the world experiencing and recovering from the pandemic to reconcile delivery requirements and safety issues. To minimize physical interaction of couriers and clients, parcel lockers, contactless pickup and sending of parcels, self-service automated shipment might be used.
- Predictive analytics. Evolution of sensor and AI tools stimulated development of predictive support. Besides, this helps to prognoze demand levels, correct inventory data, boost cold chain transportation, and keep the supply chain integral.
- Distributed ledger tools, or blockchain. This technology permits secure and constant transaction recording as well as avoiding external parties and intermediaries that verify, record, and manage supply chain transactions. It also helps to improve the credibility of shared info, digitize physical artefacts such as contracts, align administration, cut down expenses, and make data audit more efficient.
Picking the right Logistics Management Software
When it comes to logistics management software, there are plenty of solutions available on the contemporary market. Regardless of the store one runs, be it physical or virtual one, it is definitely a great idea to consider using logistics software solutions. The challenge here is to select the optimal logistics software to maximally cater business goals. Although there is no straightforward recipe here, we collected some aspects which should be considered when choosing logistics software.
To begin with, it is essential to overview the scope of challenges and goals of the enterprise. This would require a comprehensive analysis to define points of improvement for the intact business operations. Additionally, it is needed to determine tools and solutions which would assist in revamping and handling these challenges.
Logistics management systems have lots of useful features and functions but the most crucial of them are:
- monitoring and control of inventory;
- integration of finances;
- inclusion and organization of CRM;
- analytics, reports and forecasts generation;
- management of warehouses and transport channels.
Of course, this list of traits and functions which logistics management software might entangle. There are many more of them you might want to consider when choosing technological solutions for a logistics enterprise. For example, supply chain management software might also include compatible multi-client architecture which is indispensable to handle several clients. Such programming enables helping various customers simultaneously or at diverse stages.
As logistics is one of the leading compounds of business operations, choosing and utilizing the optimal technological solution will streamline an enterprise with the dynamically changing market.
Delegating transport and logistics management software development to a specialized company like Exoft will allow you to get customized and scalable solutions that ideally correspond to your business strategy and drive your enterprise forward.
Key features in a Logistics Management Software
Logistics management software features are quite diverse and can be split into several groups given the aspect of logistics management which they cover. Below there is an overview of the main features as well as their value for a company.
1. Inventory management and control. This feature allows to handle and track purchase orders, supplies, product localization, SKU, etc. Deployment of this option endorses transparency, smooth order processing, storage control, and searching for suppliers.
Principal advantages of inventory management and control:
- it improves operational efficiency and productivity;
- it boosts sales and revenues;
- it reduces expenses for invertarization;
- it automates routine and makes it less time-consuming;
- it improves the customer journey.
2. Transportation management. This characteristic allows firms to route cargo from its original place of production until the terminal destination in an economical and efficient way. Furthermore, it permits to determine the most reasonable method of freight forwarding or delivery carrier.
Principal advantages of transport management:
- it optimizes and unificates shipping process;
- it reduces freight expenses;
- it allows to evaluate carrier performance and make reports on it;
- it grants access to a huge carriers pool;
- it gives valuable insights into transport operations;
- real-time tracking of shipments is possible with it.
3. Storage and warehouse management. This option allows companies to handle and administer daily workflow in the storage facilities. It splits orders into batches depending on the items` location and this way enables quicker order fulfillment as well as smart picking up decisions.
Principal advantages of warehouse and storage management:
- it optimizes order fulfillment;
- it minimizes weak insecure spots;
- it improves layout and administration of storage facilities;
- it allows to view products and their location in real-time;
- it endorses customers’ journeys and allows to provide better service.
4. Tracking and tracing option. With this feature, it is possible to keep a track of an item location at the different stages of the supply chain for optimal freight forwarding. Besides, it enables us to gather data about products and the delivery process issues by deployment of barcode, GPS, and other gadgets.
Principal advantages of tracking and tracing:
- it improves accuracy of inventory and forecasts;
- it revamps schedules of shipment;
- it secures prompt and punctual deliveries;
- it allows firms to gather info at all moments of delivery for an improved product tracking;
- it minimizes the chances of theft by providing transparency and ensuring regular reports.
5. Risk handling which facilitates the process of accident management, insurance cases handling, missing cargo, etc. Risk handling allows us to find out the causes of the vulnerabilities and areas of improvement as well as insights of what steps can be made towards eliminating those precarities in the future.
Principal advantages of risk handling:
- it facilitates determining weak spots;
- it enables making more informed decisions given the data;
- it minimizes chances of unexpected surprises;
- it optimizes usage of available resources.
Actually, to reduce and eliminate potential risks in the sector of logistics, one can follow the next guidelines:
- find out what are crucial risk issues (these can be prompt and timely delivery of goods, last-mile shipments, corresponding to the on-dock date);
- elaborate a solution for risk mitigation (this includes making a prognosis and creating a risk management plan to tackle the problematic aspects);
- collaborate with partners to maintain and strengthen the plan for risk mitigation.
6. Consolidated accounting. This option is quintessential when it comes to financial administration. All the repetitive and time-consuming operations like cost estimations, invoices, expenditure, taxes can become much easier with this feature. Besides, it keeps all the relevant info fresh and up-to-date. Last but not least, with consolidated accounting enterprises can concentrate on their close financial goals as well as to endorse their income potential.
Principal advantages of consolidated accounting:
- it accelerates the financial operations;
- it enables fast reports generation and analysis;
- it helps to rectify mistakes;
- it minimizes routine and makes accounting time-efficient.
7. Customer relationship management (CRM). Efficient and successful logistics management systems are also customer-oriented. Essentially, this is what determines their success to a large extent. CRM allows logistical firms to administer their relations with existing and prospective clients, improve their sales campaigns and marketing approaches. Furthermore, it allows them to keep all the info about clientele and relations with them as the consolidated entity.
Principal advantages of CRM:
- it allows to regularly monitor business activities;
- it helps to store all the pertinent info on clients` profiles;
- it ensures personalized customer service;
- it tracks marketing and sales operations and successes.
8. Support with import and export. It goes without saying that when things get international, as is the case with freight, a lot of practical nuances pop up. Therefore, this feature is extremely useful as it helps to regulate customs and taxes routine, currency exchanges, and manage trade standards. Besides, with this option one is able to prepare relevant documentation which is required in the delivery process so that at the customs control all the details are included and the shipping goes smoothly.
Principal advantages of import and export support:
- it makes bulky process of import and export automatic and better regulated;
- it helps to create the corresponding documents;
- it generates reports on the charges and taxes at the border control.
Best Logistics Software
In the current digital era, vendors, warehouses, and carriers strive to facilitate and optimize their operations by applying the best logistics software. Certainly, logistics is quite a complex domain and things can get quite hectic there, so it is vital to invest in logistics management software which will assist in tracking the goods and inventory, get real-time data, efficiently cooperate across the organization as well as with the partners and clients across the globe. All of those issues or a vast majority of them can be moderated from one logistics software tool.
The choice of the most suitable programming depends on the type of enterprise and its needs. Logistics software in general includes several groups of products which are designed to structure and regulate hectic and chaotic logistical operations. Those are ERPs, systems for demand planning, and platforms for distribution and transport handling. Below you will find an overview of the influential logistics software applications which are called into being to bring order into logistics.
- Brightpearl. This is one of the most reliable ERP platforms which offers all-round solutions for seamless customer experience and robust management process for diverse logistics providers. Brightpearl automates the process thus accelerating it as well as provides real-time monitoring capacities for producers and distributors. Besides, Brightpearl has multiple currency settings to enhance international commerce.
- Softlink (which incorporated Logi-Sys). This is a cloud end-to-end programming system which caters all aspects of logistics and supply chain. It helps to align and automate various parts of business operations making them more efficient. As it consists of different modules, Softlink can be easily customized to cover enterprise`s specifics.
- NetSuite is a platform developed by Oracle which is geared towards growth. This system aligns finances, HR operations and order processes to improve transparency and enable quick cooperation within the firm and in case of third party logistics. It speeds up cash flow and reduces cycle duration.
- Demand Solutions is also a cloud-based platform for supply chain planning. It is geared towards better visibility and transparency. Demand Solutions allow real-time connection of diverse logistical parties and optimizes the existing workflow. It can be utilized by lots of industries, including energy, food, retail, pharma, etc.
- Logility Voyager. This demand planning software offers a great opportunity to create business plans and precise forecasts. The system allows to collect data which is then integrated in an all-round demand model of supply chains. Besides, it also auto generates quite complex reports for enterprise evolutions in sales and marketing.
- Distribution Plus. This system allows firms to simplify documentation and administration processes. It also facilitates inventory control, warehouse management, delivery, and purchases and involves impressive tracking options. The data processed by Distribution Plus is easily accessible in real time from almost all gadgets.
- Epicor Distribution. This software is favored by countless distributors globally as it provides custom assistance for distribution management. Usage of Epicor brings about amazing figures. More than three fourth of Epicor customers got an income increase and 90%+ of them saved 10% of time spent on manual tasks in supply chains.
- CargoApps is a free software which digitizes and automates transport logistics and is useful for carriers, forwarders, and shippers. CargoApps plan, administer, and track order processing. It also helps to deal with subcontractors, plan routes, and calculate road payments.
Of course, the aforementioned software is only the tip of the iceberg and there are plenty of programs to select from. It is up to you which platform to go for given the business targets and specifics but as you can see logistics software opens a wide array of possibilities for its users.
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