LTL Software Versus Other Logistics Resources

LTL Software is logistics software that is designed for shippers who need Less than Truck Load (LTL) shipping arrangements. Unlike a Full Truck Load (FTL) shipment, in which a semi trailer contains the freight of one shipper, an LTL shipment combines two or more shipments from different shippers into a semi trailer. This arrangement can benefit shippers that have a small to medium shipping volume in one of two ways:

  • It can be more cost effective than parcel shipping
  • It can be more cost effective than FTL shipping

A potential drawback of LTL shipping is that, depending on the number of times a shipment is sorted and routed during transit, it could take longer to reach its destination than is acceptable. When freight has a wide delivery window, this issue doesn’t pose a problem. When it has a narrow delivery window, delivering it via an LTL airfreight carrier, or combining into a full truckload and transporting it to a break-bulk facility located in the region of its delivery may be better options. After arriving at a break-bulk facility, LTL freight is separated and sent to its destinations.

LTL Softwareand Other Logistics Sources

LTL Software is an alternative to two sources of logistics that can also arrange LTL shipments: an in house logistics department and a freight broker, also known as a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider. As small and midsized shippers know well, creating an in-house logistics department to oversee a small to medium volume shipping process can be cost prohibitive. But by the same token, not having a logistics resource can make the shipping process unaffordable. Faced with this dilemma, many shippers turn to 3PL providers for logistical expertise.

Today, there are four types of 3PL providers that offer different types of service. Standard 3PL providers offer the most basic shipping services; service developers offer value-added shipping services; Customer adapters manage an already existing shipping process; while customer developers manage an already existing shipping process and propose new shipping solutions.

How does logistics software compare to the services offered by these providers?

It does not manage the shipping process, but it allows shippers to manage it in the same capacity, and with the same resource-based effectiveness, as the 3PL providers above. By using logistics software instead contracting with a 3PL provider, shippers can pay less for shipping, gain control of the shipping process and realize more shipping options. Some 3PL providers arrange shipments using an electronic posting system, where available loads are matched up with available carriers. But logistics software can present options that aren’t available in a posting system.


LTL software is an ideal solution for companies that need an affordable alternative to 3PL or creating an in-house logistics department, one that doesn’t sacrifice the resourcefulness that these options provide. To learn more about how LTL software could benefit your shipping process, and how you can benefit from implementing it on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, consult a provider of logistics software.

Does Achieving the Best Shipping Solutions Require Hiring a Logistic Expert?

Shipping products without the aid of logistics is like journeying to an unfamiliar destination without the aid of a map; eventually, you get there, but it usually takes more time and money than you anticipated. Just as an uninformed driver makes more stops and takes more roads than necessary to arrive at his destination, an uninformed shipping process results in freight making more stops and taking longer routes than necessary, increasing the cost of the shipping process. Realizing this, shipping companies that don’t have an “in house” logistics department will seek the advice of a logistic expert. But the type of logistic expertise that they retain can also have a significant impact on the cost of the shipping process.

When a company doesn’t have its own logistic expert, it has two options for implementing shipping logistics: hiring a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, or implementing logistics software. Traditionally, shipping companies have opted for 3PL. But today, shippers are increasingly choosing logistics software over 3PL for two reasons: the software offers more shipping options and it costs significantly less than hiring a 3PL provider that offers the same level of service. For companies that are considering hiring a 3PL provider, it’s important to realize that not all 3PL providers are the same. Currently, there are three types of 3PL providers: standard 3PL providers, service developers, customer adapters and customer developers.

Stand 3PL providers offer transportation logistics, but not as one of their core competencies, which ends up making them attractive due to the low cost of their services. Service developers perform transportation logistics as their core competency, but typically emphasize in “value-added” services, such as cross-docking and specific packaging. Customer adapters oversee a company’s logistics process, but don’t specialize in innovative shipping solutions. Customer developers oversee the logistics process and do specialize in innovation solutions. But the price of hiring a customer developer is can be similar to hiring your own logistics experts.

Moreover, 3PL often places small and midsize companies in the position of hiring logistics services that don’t offer comprehensive, innovative solutions or attempting to hire unaffordable logistics services that do; a situation that makes companies realize the value of logistics software, which allows them to realize comprehensive, innovative shipping solutions that increase the timeliness of the shipping process while reducing its price by eliminating the following costs: TMS software costs, 3PL costs, gain shares, freight margins, common rate base licensing costs and annual software maintenance costs.

Logistics software is available on either a software as a service (SaaS) model or as an onsite software solution, with the former offering the advantage of remote system access. But in either case, the software allows its customers to make expert logistics decisions through an easy to use interface. Research shows that companies who implement logistics software can reduce their annual shipping costs by 10 percent after the first year.

TL Logistics Management Software is Essential to Cutting Shipping Costs

When companies grow large enough, they typically purchase their own shipping fleet and have a logistics department that manages their shipping process from a variety of vantage points. But for small to midsize companies that don’t have a shipping fleet or an in-house logistics team, carrying out and managing their shipping process means outsourcing their transportation logistics or trying to choose the right shipping options on their own. In most cases, these companies trust a third party logistics (3PL) provider to provide the best TL shipping solutions for their unique distribution needs. However, to save money and have more control over the shipping process, more and more companies are turning to truckload logistics software-also referred to as TL logistics management software. In addition to allowing small to midsize companies to become their own logistics provider, freight logistics software helps them save money with respect to the following areas of the shipping process: freight management, transportation execution and freight payment and audit.

Freight Management

Freight management amounts to managing each means freight distribution, including but not limited to: small parcel, less than truckload (LTL), full truckload (FTL), rail and sea. While large companies employ logistics professionals or construct internal freight councils, small companies typically either outsource freight management or defer to purchasing personnel or shipping or warehouse managers. By implementing TL logistics management software, companies realize more shipping options than they do from outsourcing to a 3PL provider. Because 3PL providers only use carriers that they can make the most money with, your shipping options with 3PL providers are limited to what makes the best sense for 3PL providers and not necessarily for your company.

Transportation Execution

Traditionally, transportation systems are designed for tendering outbound shipments, meaning that they aren’t designed for managing inbound and third party shipments. In addition, parcel carriers have compliance requirements that cause shippers to use a separate system for parcel processing, leading to higher freight costs. Ultimately, shippers have a difficult time keeping their freight from being tendered outside of their original pricing agreements and end up overpaying for freight transportation. To remedy this situation, TL logistics management software allows companies to enforce internal and external compliance throughout the shipping process with regard to the carrier pricing agreement.

Freight Payment and Audit

TL logistics management software allows you to combine your freight payment and pre-audit data, which gives you limitless reporting options concerning your freight spend. With the combined information uploaded to the software application’s dashboard to give you almost real time visibility of your freight spend, you can to monitor freight KPI’s on a daily basis to further control shipping costs as KPI’s change. The freight payment and auditing capabilities of truckload logistics software also allow you to receive more of your freight bills through EDI, which serves to lower your pre-audit costs.