When a company needs to ship its goods form point A to point B, finding the best shipping arrangement is rarely as simple as contacting the nearest carrier and signing a contract. On the contrary, most shippers require the aid of in-house logistics experts, third-party logistics (3PL) providers, or logistics software to arrive at the right shipping plan in terms of delivery time and cost. However, there’s a big difference between hiring an in-house logistics expert, hiring a 3PL provider, or implementing logistic software. So, which one offers the most benefits to the most shippers? To answer this question, it helps to explain how each of these options operates within the shipping process.
A logistics expert’s place within the shipping process is fairly obvious: for roughly $80,000 a year, he or she manages a company’s shipping process and proposes newer, better shipping solutions when possible. The upside side of hiring an in house expert is that you have a logistics expert at close contact, which is never the case when you hire a 3PL. But the downside is that the expert’s salary is a lot of money to add onto an already expensive shipping process. Furthermore, despite a logistic expert’s “expertise”, he or she can rarely study all possible shipping arrangements before choosing a best arrangement-a task that TL logistics software performs with regularity.
As with hiring a logistics expert, contracting with a 3PL provider can be expensive, especially if you need a provider to manage your shipping process and propose innovative solutions. There are four types of 3PL providers: standard 3PL providers, which offer basic shipping services; service developers, which offer more specialized shipping services; customer adapters, which manage a company’s existing shipping process; and customer developers, which manage a company’s shipping process and propose innovative solutions. If you need a singular shipping solution, hiring a standard 3PL provider or service developer might make sense. But if you need TL shipping management and innovative TL solutions, TL logistics software is the more affordable option.
Due to its name, shippers sometimes believe that logistic software requires logistics expertise to operate, which isn’t true. Because the software serves as a logistics expert, figuring out the best routes and shipping methods, its users select recommended shipping options by accessing a user-friendly interface. Compared to 3PL, logistic software has three advantages: it puts companies in control of their shipping process; it allows them to cut the middleman out of the shipping process; and it provides them with the fullest range of shipping options, which combine to make the software the most affordable logistics solution on the market.