Why Choose Outsourced Over In-House Shipping Software Solution

Over the past two decades, automation of business processes has significantly increased in many industries including aviation, telecommunications, and banking. In shipping, automation has improved business efficiency by simplifying critical operations that require time and expertise. Nowadays, with increasing access to modern technology, it’s not unusual to find a small carrier using cheap off-the-shelf shipping software solutions to streamline and manage its core operations more efficiently. However, there are still quite a number of carriers who prefer bespoke IT systems despite the availability of much cheaper packaged solutions.

There are certain factors that motivate shipping business operators to develop their own IT systems in-house instead of buying cheaper off-the-shelf solutions. One of these is the advantage of having full control of the development processes which allows users to make specific improvements to the original platform as necessary. In addition, In-house platforms have been tailored to exact specifications, which is believed to deliver competitive advantage.

However, while bespoke systems offer full control of operation-specific features, they also require skilled IT staff and programmers to implement necessary upgrades. The fact that technology is rapidly changing means that IT platforms date and become unsupportable after a while. If a shipping business cannot keep up with the pace of change, it will find itself stuck with an obsolete technology which cannot support newer IT platforms. In addition, investing in a customized platform to automate only a single segment of shipping operation (e.g. a single segment of a terminal), is not worth the cost of the investment, which is significantly higher than buying off-the-shelf shipping software which can be customized to carry out various functions.

The following are some of the most prominent benefits of using off-the-shelf or packaged shipping software:

1. Price. Buying packaged software is calculated to be 10 to 50 times cheaper compared to developing an in-house IT system.

2. Flexibility. Modern packaged shipping software incorporate built-in switching options which allows operators to customize application to perform various tasks without doing any expensive reprogramming.

3. Upgrade options – Packaged software provides upgrade solutions to keep pace with fast changes in technology to make sure that users are always working from tried and tested, up-to-date, and well-supported platforms.

4. Guarantee. Customized or in-house systems do not offer test-runs prior to installation, and the end-product is not revealed until it has been delivered. Off-the-shelf solution allows you to use a system for a certain period to see if it delivers what you expect before you actually buy and install it into your existing IT infrastructure.

5. Efficiency. Packaged solutions are more cost-effective, require less resources, and deliver long-term solutions that can be customized to handle specific requirements of a shipping business.

While off-the-shelf shipping software offer a lot more benefits both in cost of investment and scope of features, accessibility to technology has significantly increased the number of software developers in the marketplace, many of which are not reputable. Carriers should be careful in choosing a supplier by checking their capability, reliability, and financial stability. After all, it’s not wise to buy from a company who’s not going to be around after two or three years, leaving you without support in a case of system failure.

5 Ways Enterprise Shipping Software Reduce Costs and Mitigate Risks

Enterprise shipping software solutions have been around for quite a while, but some shipping companies including NVOCCs and logistics providers may not have fully understood their impact on modern shipping. Well, when it comes to reducing operational expenses and improving profitability, shipping software plays an essential role.

Here are five key benefits of using integrated software solutions for shipping:

1. Prevent cargo loss or damage by allowing both shipping companies and customers to have complete container visibility while in transit or in carrier-operated warehouses.

This is especially useful for overseas transactions where goods and containers pass through complex supply chain logistics cycles that usually take weeks to complete. Container tracking software give carriers a real-time view of cargo movement, which allows them to track, monitor, and control the entire shipping process. They also make sure that orders are delivered on time and in best condition. Also knows as logistics tracking software, this application enables both carriers and suppliers to give their customers peace of mind by keeping them updated about the exact location and status of their orders.

2. Make best use of container and stowage space to maximize profit.

Operating cost and profit are major considerations when shipping goods. These are also among the reasons large companies idle their smaller vessels and deploy larger, more fuel-efficient carriers, or automate their operations using shipping management software. Doing so enables them to carry greater volumes of shipment in a single port call, which practically reduces their expenses on fuel and maximizes their profit through economies of scale.

At some point, shipping companies have to deal with awkward cargoes that are hard to fit into regular containers. This often results in broken stowage and dead or unutilized container space. Container management software quickly solves this problem. Designed specifically for container fleets, this application automates cargo load planning, optimization, and distribution of container stocks, which improves organization and increases the storage capacity of each container. For non-container cargoes, shipping software companies have also developed customized applications such as bunker management software designed for bunker carriers.

3. Pinpoint existing and potential container damages before they become completely irreversible.

Container damages can result in serious problems during shipment and or transshipments. Container repair software can help carriers pinpoint potential problems in containers and manage the labor-intensive repair process. This includes automating the associated paperwork, sending estimates, tracking status, and billing. Most importantly, this software application enables carriers to act quickly before those problems turn into expensive and extremely dangerous situations.

4. Streamline communication between ships, carriers, and ports, to facilitate seamless execution of everyone involved in the logistics network.

Cheap and streamlined communication is part of every successful shipping transaction. Shipping line software provide easy ways for logistics managers to send and receive messages using various communication devices and channels such as voice, SMS, and email. When problems arise, notifications can be communicated instantly across the supply chain, and those in charge can implement solutions to address issues and keep all operations on track. This capability is extremely important for cargo consolidators who use NVOCC software to constantly communicate with vessel operators from the shore.

5. Ensure that trade rules and regulations are strictly followed.

Every country has its own set of trade regulations for shipping. Sidestepping those regulations can result in penalties that include hefty fines, cancellation of trade license, or even imprisonment. Liner principal software streamlines the trade compliance process by eliminating paperwork to make the whole process fast and hassle-free. Carriers equipped with integrated shipping agency software receive updates on compliance requirements in each country or trade route. This helps to ensure that every segment of the supply chain has been appraised and well-informed of compliance requirements.

They say “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. This saying is worth some serious reflection especially when it comes to container or bulk shipping where small glitches can easily develop into extremely expensive and irreversible damages. The initial investments for liner shipping software implementation can be overwhelming at first, but when long-term profitability and competitiveness are on the line, it is certainly worth serious consideration.

Overcome Shipping Obstacles With Reliable Shipping Software Solutions

The shipping industry is one of the most valuable and rapidly growing industries in the international business field today. without over-the-sea trading, economies will deteriorate because businesses will have very limited options to import and export goods to other countries.

Virtually all activities performed in the liner industry involve significant labor costs and time critical processes. As global trade rises, the pressure on shipping companies also increases. The demand for better customer service delivery and industry excellence keeps growing, and changes need to be made in order to sustain reliability of operations. This is the primary reason why shipping companies need to adopt modern sea freight technology and use cutting-edge shipping software solutions.

There are many areas of the shipping business that can be refined with the utilization of shipping software solutions. Principals, agents, feeder or short sea business, NVOCCs, and terminal and port operators – all parties involved in the shipping process can benefit from adopting modern shipping technology that offers software integrity and user-friendly features.

Software suites such as LIMA enables principals to combine full business functionality with a Windows-standard and easy-to-use interface for management and staff members. This line management software application addresses and resolves problems in schedule management, voyage management, CRM, cost management, equipment handling, accounting and data management.

Agents can take advantage of agency suites such as ALFA to streamline processes for sales and marketing, tariff/quotation/contract management, bookings, B/Ls, manifests, invoicing, dangerous goods handling, voyage account, Intermodal, and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). With a software application such as ALFA, redundancies are eliminated and work flow is optimized.

For feeder and short sea business, applications such as FAST offer solutions for enhanced booking process, sophisticated invoicing, complex tariff and cost management, and direct linkage to customers and partners to accommodate short transit times and avoid delays in the communication chain.

Software application suites designed specifically for NVOCCs like LIMA NVO provides the vehicle for either regional or global non-vessel operating common carrier businesses to gain competitive edge. Companies have a flexible and scalable software solution to control and monitor all business activities with complete visibility which results in improved staff productivity, tighter rein over contribution margins and revenue, reduced expenses and built-in best practices for enhanced customer service level.

Most shipping software today include applications for improving terminal operations. Terminal management software was developed in order to simultaneously and efficiently handle containerized, RoRo and general cargo for multiple shipping firms. With the use of a reliable terminal management system, operators are rest assured to run their business free from irregularities and hassles, and be able to communicate with agents and shipping firms in an entirely organized manner.

Shipping software solutions were built to facilitate and enhance the effectiveness of all the intricate processes that shipping goods entail. No matter what task is assigned to you, shipping software enables you to do it effectively and competently.