Let’s face it, most people do not start a company or get a cool job revolving around their hobbies or passions because they want to work all the time. Generally, they choose these purpose/passion-based pursuits so they can enjoy those activities more. So why on earth would you not leverage every software, automation, or outsourcing option, to give you and your team a better work-life balance? So read on and we will explore the various tips for automating more of your shipping and supply chain needs. So you can ride more, surf more, or just take a bit more time off with your family and friends
Transportation Management Software and Freight Management Software
https://easylogisticsmanagement.com/ One of the reasons I stayed in logistics was because of how automated a lot the process was becoming. TMS or Transportation Management Software systems were supplanting the historically very manual logistic process of calling carriers with streamlined software. Allowing companies and their logistical providers to connect to endless carriers and shipping mode service providers. Ultimately providing a 1 stop platform in many cases, to quote, book, track, and pay for all shipping services with 1 easy piece of software. Thus saving tons of busy work and giving company’s the ability to manage their complex multi-modal logistical process from a laptop if need be anywhere.
There are now many TMS platforms that allow you to quote, book, and track parcel, freight, and even international container and air freight moves. Some of these TMS even give you the ability to shop mode against mode so that you always know what the most cost-effective method of shipping for any move.
Ecommerce Sites and API integration / automations
Now with the proliferation of easy to set up E-commerce sites, we are seeing a fast evolution of API (application programming interface). Which is allowing companies and logistical providers to easily connect parcel shipping rates, freight rates, and even international rates directly to their shopping carts. Thus providing their customers the ability to pay for their products, choose a shipping price and carriers that work for them. Ultimately paying for the whole process at check out and saving tons of back and forth busy work.
With this sort of online shopping automation and payment/ logistical dispatch automation in place. You can begin to see how much manual processes can potentially be eliminated from the day to day operations. Allowing your shipping/ operations team to focus higher level growth-oriented aspects of the business. Or just not having to be at their desk 10 hours a day to stay in charge of all these diverse logistical and sales processes.
Various Modes you can automate Parcel, Freight, White Glove home deliveries.
At first API logistical connectivity was mainly centered on UPS, FEDEX, DHL, and USPS parcel shipping. However, many technology forward freight companies can now provide clients with fixed API automation. Allowing their larger products to be shipped directly from an online sales platform purchase to the end consumers door or store.
3PL Fulfillment Centers
If packing and shipping boxes all day does not blow your hair back, there are 3rd party warehouse and fulfillment centers. Providing companies that ability to outsource the receipt, quality control, storage, and packing and shipping of their products to anyone in a flexible format. Thus allowing companies to scale up quicker on a limited budget with a small lean staff and very little to no office/warehouse space required.
3PL warehouse and fulfillment centers have also rolled out sophisticated yet simple to use WMS or warehouse /inventory management software. Allowing companies and logistical teams to connect their business software, accounting software, or e-commerce site directly to the warehouse for order fulfillment and shipping. Another great reason to consider this outsourced setup is if your company is seasonal. Then you only are paying for space and services you are using.
Virtual /Outsourced shipping assistants
Virtual assistants are nothing new and are essentially just qualified people who can do the same type of work via computer and phone from the next city to around the globe for much less. Yet many companies do not consider leveraging this remote talent pool to help with logistical processes.
This can also be a great way to cut costs or provide very personalized service by over staffing a bit on a budget. It can also be a low-cost way to outsource time-consuming logistical or other tasks. Allowing everyone in your organization to enjoy a bit more free time and the reasons they came to work for the company/ industry in the first place
Sophisticated new shipment tracking features to further alleviate busywork
In the age of Amazon real-time flexible tracking methods are basically expected by discerning customers/clients. This is also another area of busy-work that can be automated and/or outsourced. Most technology forward parcel shipping platforms, freight platforms, and even international shipping channels can provide email, text, or other automated real-time shipping updates. Keeping your company, sales team, management, and end customer in the loop as purchases are en route and due to be delivered. Eliminating all the historic busy work of having to call for updates, answer customer inquiries, and keep your team abreast of important sales deliveries.
Fully Managed Transportation Services
If you are a medium to larger-scale customer there is now a growing bread of fully managed transportation services. Whereby a company that’s focus is not logistics, can contract with a professional 3PL logistical firm. To manage all or some of the companies logistical pain points and day to day shipping processes. Thus allowing those companies to focus on their core strengths and the parts of the business they enjoy most. Or just eliminate busy non-core work and take more time off to enjoy life along the way.
Managed Transportation Providers can provide software and professionally trained logistical teams Even providing preferential shipping rates for parcel management, freight management, international shipping, etc. Generally, you need to be a bit of a larger shipping company to leverage these types of managed solutions. However many times there is no upfront cost if you use the management firms shipping channels.
So what are you going to do with all that free time now?:)
So there you have it! Many great ways to automate the logistical process with software, outsourcing tasks to lower-cost virtual staff, or simply outsource the whole enchilada! The only question is, once you get your logistical processes so dialed in and automated what you will do with all the extra time? We suggest you take a deep breath and begin to enjoy the reasons you got into your industry in the first place!
If we can be of assistance in scoping out any of these or other logistical automation solutions let us know. We get a kick out of automating, outsourcing, creating efficiency in the logistical process so our clients can have a bit more leisurely and fun lives!