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All companies deal with stress in their supply chains. But, while there are no easy solutions for many of the issues we’re all dealing with, that doesn’t excuse logistics pros from trying to do better.

Fixing everything can’t happen overnight, so a better approach can be to focus on the slightly smaller things with the potential for the largest impact. Not surprisingly, this is where logistics technology can contribute — and often in ways companies have not considered.

At this point, most companies have some amount of shipping software to take care of the transactional and task-oriented parts of their logistics operations: tendering loads, managing rates, printing BOLs, etc. But less taken advantage of is the technology that supports a more complex part of logistics that can significantly lower costs and improve delivery service. We’re talking about load planning and optimization software.

Load optimization is not typically included in most entry- and mid-level TMS technology that many 3PLs and managed logistics providers offer clients. However, the cost and performance improvements it facilitates make it a must-have.

What are the benefits of load planning and optimization software?

Most benefits come from the technology’s ability to model complex scenarios and consider options a person can’t on their own. For example, with load optimization software, the ideal routing plan can be built to maximize cost reduction and service performance involving a high number of carriers, rates, locations, and delivery transit times.

Considering all of these factors together looks complex — and doing it and doing it well is even more complex. Customer requirements, such as knowing how the product needs to be handled and the constraints for making delivery at any consignee, will all impact the optimal load plan. To start, dock receiving hours and any special delivery requirements (e.g., liftgate, inside delivery) across the locations must be considered when planning a truck’s route. When you multiply this type of complexity over dozens or scores of daily shipments, the value of technology to assist in making the best routing decision every time instantly becomes obvious.

Companies can also use load optimization software to gain increased flexibility when responding to last-minute changes or delays upstream in the supply chain, as it enables them to quickly consider new information and update a load plan in real time. This ability includes modeling scenarios for multimodal shipping plans to take advantage of what each mode has to offer, while considering capacity constraints present in the marketplace at the time.

How to determine if you can benefit from load optimization software

As we mentioned, load optimization software is not an entry-level kind of logistics technology and is not part of the typical “free” TMS systems a lot of companies offer. But the benefits to companies shipping more than just a few loads a day are legitimate. And the more unique your business is, the more likely you are to realize the advantages of it.

Here’s an offer so you can evaluate if load optimization software can benefit you. Visit TransImpact.com and get in touch with our Managed Logistics Team for a demonstration. We’ll talk about how this specialized logistics technology can support your business based on your company’s unique shipping patterns and needs. You’ll quickly see the benefits and if the technology is a worthwhile investment for you.

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