In this day and age, it is very hard to find an industry that hasn’t been disrupted or completely overhauled with the rise of Information Technologies. Logistics that has always been heavily rooted in numbers and transparent data sets (inventory, product lists, sales orders, etc.) seemed like a perfect target for this hulking juggernaut. And truly, as the competition slowly grew and efficiency became a priority. The tasks that were once performed by humans fell into the hands of Logistics Management Software (LMS). But, what exactly are these software systems and how they affect the entire industry?
Let’s try to find out.
What is Logistics Management Software (LMS)?
Essentially, LMS is a robust system that overviews and coordinates activities commonly associated with logistics management. Therefore, if we want to truly understand what these products are capable to perform. We first need to quickly go through the essentials of logistics management.
The tasks that fall under this umbrella are as follows:
- Transportation management (inbound and outbound)
- Fleet management
- Warehouse management
- Inventory control
- Processing orders
- Organizing supply and demand
- Managing third-party suppliers
As we can see, all these duties, especially when performed simultaneously require a high level of coordination and efficiency. In terms of required resources, performing all these things manually translates to thorough training and extensive manpower – both of which can put quite a strain on a business‘s budget.
On the other hand, LMS systems are capable of automatically processing orders, do inventory management and coordinate different activities within a company. All this makes management considerably less strenuous.
The benefits of using Logistics Management Software
Going beyond the simple notion of improved efficiency, LMS systems bring to the table quite a few tangible benefits that have a huge impact on the current state of the entire industry. Let’s take a look at some of the most important mentions.
Reducing management costs
We already addressed how LMS systems are capable of reducing the costs associated with the training and employment of the overseeing workforce. These are not the only monetary relieves these systems are capable to produce. Logistics software can make a detailed overview of available shipping services and transportation methods. Compare their price and efficiency, and choose the option with the lowest price. Improved planning and lower downtimes have strong financial implications as well.
High level of Specialization
Logistics management is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of different activities. Appropriately, the available offer of solutions that put a higher focus on each one of these activities is equally as diverse. So, if your primary focus is on efficient transportation. You can invest your resources in a reliable Transport Management System that will allow you to perform this specific duty in greater depth. In this case, businesses unlock access to some of the advanced transportation-related options like automated allocations and rate card calculation, improved stock management, etc.
Reducing human-caused errors
Working with extensive volumes of information can prove to be overwhelming for human beings, no matter how proficient they are at the job they perform. As a result, you get flawed scheduling, misplaced orders, and compromised data sets. One of the greatest advantages AI has in this regard is the ability to perform these tasks almost instantaneously, with little room for error. The only way the mistakes can occur is, once again, due to human factor or incorrect input data.
Improving customer service
The extensive freight-related feedback provided by the contemporary logistics software systems is not only useful in the operational sense. Data can be transferred and built directly into the company’s CRM system. This gives the customer relationship teams much-needed confidence in interaction with potential clients. The information about freight costs, scheduling and similar important parameters is accessible at any given moment.
Increasing delivery speed
Finally, it should be mentioned that the value of the LMS systems doesn’t lie exclusively in the organizational field. The ability to quickly acquire and process freight-related information can affect how the freights are performed in the field. For instance, if the software concludes that the flow of goods across some route can be obstructed. It can quickly re-route the supply line and keep the delivery within the agreed timeframe.
The future of Logistics Management Software
With all things said, it should be mentioned that in spite of all the positive things we have covered. The current state of LMS represents only the blueprint for a much more exciting future. Namely, the advancements we are making in the field of Machine Learning, seemingly on a daily basis. Will find the implementation in the logistics industry on a wider scale. Once things are set in motion, we will see even greater autonomy of the LMS systems. Also the increased participation in CRM (mostly through the implementation of user-oriented chat-bots).
Taking all these things into consideration, it is easy to observe that using LMS systems (or some of their highly specialized saplings). Gradually transforms from the way of getting a competitive edge to the absolute requirement. The technology is evolving at a rapid pace – the businesses that are able to stay ahead of the curve will be the business that will rule the industry.