Logistics Management Software Solutions and How to Leverage Them


If your operation is desperately looking for supply chain management tools, the process can be quite intimidating. No one ever said having options was a bad thing, but too many options can make finding the perfect solution more challenging than it needs to be. If you’re looking to get a jump on gathering some information about some best-in-class logistics software, our comparison guide can get you started.

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Logistics planning software takes many forms and is invaluable in the world of supply chain management. The rest of this guide will focus on what logistics management solutions are, what they can bring to managing third-party logistics (3PL) operations and how to choose between an integrated or standalone logistics management solution.

What This Guide Covers

What Is Logistics Software?

Logistics software is an enterprise-grade management tool that provides businesses with the resources necessary to streamline production and delivery processes throughout the product life cycle. On a basic level, logistics management is all about strategy. Supply chains are composed of a variety of complicated moving parts, both inbound (supply of raw materials to your warehouse) and outbound (supply of finished products to consumers). When one of them starts to fail, the entire chain suffers. Logistics management attempts to lay out a thorough plan that avoids such errors and keeps things moving accurately and quickly.

Both information and goods travel along supply chains and are vital to each other’s success. In order to gain visibility into how this important cargo travels, software for logistics management streamlines the planning and control of each necessary step.

We are going to take a look at three different types of software:warehouse management systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and SCM suites. As we said earlier, many operations (3PL providers included) can have a tough time finding the perfect fit. 3PL companies, in particular, need a software solution that gives them the specialized tools they need to succeed. In light of this, let’s see how logistics planning software helps manage 3PL.

Key Features

Now that we have established the definition of logistics management, let’s look at the key features of logistics software.

1. Inventory Management

You can track active orders, record shipments and schedule resupplies with real-time sales data and historical trend analysis. A sound inventory control strategy is necessary to reduce overstocking and dead stock.

2. Transportation Management

It involves the physical transportation of finished products from your warehouse to customers. Depending on the nature of your business, you might need to select a suitable carrier or shipping service or plan your transportation route, which includes scheduling pickup, route optimization and real-time shipment tracking. An efficient transportation operation can cut costs significantly.

3. Warehouse Management

Use IoT devices, sensors and smart storage tools to monitor your warehouse in real time. Greater visibility means you know what is in your warehouse and where — at all times. Better visibility translates to faster shipping, optimized storage and precise order fulfillment.

4. CRM

Track leads and coordinate advertisement and promotional campaigns with sound demand forecasting data.

You can also choose to integrate help desk software to assist your customers and improve engagement levels.

5. Demand Forecasting

Demand planning tools can help you analyze a product’s lifecycle and historical sales data to identify trends and predict future demand. Demand forecasting makes it easier to plan inventory and supply around increases and decreases in demand.

6. Third-party Logistics (3PL)

For most businesses with multiple warehouses spread out in different geographic locations, transportation and shipping can be a complicated process. It’s convenient and cost-effective to simply outsource logistics to specialized third-party companies.

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Managing 3PL

As a 3PL provider, managing an outsourced multi-warehousing operation can be difficult, but the right logistics management software can guide you to success. Of course, this is easier said than done, considering the huge selection of third-party logistics software tools on the market. Nevertheless, it‘s worth your consideration because a proper solution can turn a good operation into an optimal one.

The right third-party software can substantially reduce costs across the board. There are all kinds of different reasons for this, but the primary explanation is simply that things happen faster.

Supply chains are all about efficiency and real-time control because time is money. If you have a software solution that can pay rent, monitor machinery, conduct performance evaluations, send invoices and log incoming deliveries, your operational routines will get faster. There’s no need to remember key tasks or prepare to complete them manually.


In the time it takes you to identify and approach a task, a 3PL software will have already ticked it off the list. This is the beauty of automation; it makes your warehouse quicker, cheaper and more productive. This is not to say that finding the right software is always easy. With so many logistics tools on the market, it can be difficult to make the right choice.

Ultimately, all companies have different requirements, so they must prioritize different software aspects. This can be anything from scalability and stability to reputation and customer service.

3PL WMS software keeps multi-warehouse operations organized.

If this is your first 3PL software purchase or you haven’t changed your software in a long time, browsing through the different 3PL providers can be a little daunting. Fortunately, there are some core features and functions that you can prioritize during your search. Plus, to make things simpler, we developed our own list of important considerations:

Tech Specs

There are a few downsides to utilizing 3PL software, but one of them is the fact that you’re working with another business. Obviously, you can’t avoid this downside. Whatever provider you choose will have its own objectives. In fact, it’ll share processes across a large customer base rather than offering a bespoke service to all customers.

This isn’t a problem as long as your provider offers the best possible technology and invests in applications that are inherently customizable. Find out how much the vendor spends on technology in a year. Look at how much of the annual budget goes towards innovation projects. You want to be sure that their IT strategy and roadmap are in sync with your own.


In many ways, this is the most important consideration of all. Implementing a brand new logistics system isn’t a cheap affair. You need to pick scalable functionalities to get the maximum value out of your investment. In other words, even if your company starts to grow at a rate much faster than expected, your software should be able to adjust and adapt to changing environments.

Ideally, you want 3PL software with the capacity to incorporate new inventory almost instantly because efficient inventory management is an essential part of infiltrating new markets. Even in the short term, scalability is important because warehouses and distribution centers deal with fluctuating stock. From season to season, your inventory management might be very different. For these intents and purposes, it would be best if you had 3PL software that shrinks and expands on cue.

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Access To Vital Data

Now that many 3PL software providers are around, companies are looking for extra perks. They’re gravitating towards systems that offer something a little extra, whether it’s connections to other supply chain resources, access to industry research or peer-to-peer events. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if those perks and incentives are valuable.

It doesn’t make a provider unworthy if they don’t offer them, but it’s certainly helpful to have access to insider knowledge and further business intelligence. Again, this is about longevity. If you’re going to stick with 3PL software for several years, you should look at a 3PL provider that consistently offers great value to its customers.

Changing Face of Third-party Logistics

Traditionally, businesses have been reluctant to share too much information with third-party providers. This may soon have to change as customer demands become more complex and technology collects and collates more data. There are bound to be challenges and even risks, but close interactions with 3PL software providers can help your supply chain evolve.

Inclusion in long-term planning is empowering and offers a chance to cut costs, minimize waste and build distribution systems that are fit for the future. It could be time to look beyond core features and select agile, flexible solutions with the ability to grow and change. If you want to reach the top and stay there, you must invest in scalability.

While some enterprises have been reluctant to jump on the 3PL bandwagon, third-party logistics are quickly becoming integral to warehousing portions of supply chains. As demand for optimal supply chain performance rises to meet a growing client base, 3PL providers are taking matters into their own hands and releasing software suites with their needs in mind.

As 3PL companies step into the software ring with solutions that meet their requirements, their services become even more attractive than they have been in the past.

What Is Transportation and Logistics Software?

For companies dealing with the physical transportation of goods, standard logistics management software may not cut it. You might want to consider transportation and logistics software if you’re a freight forwarding company, trucking company or parcel service provider.

The platform provides specialty mobility services for the physical distribution of products across the company’s network. It helps fleet managers minimize shipping costs, optimize delivery routes, streamline driver assignments, and speed up pickup and delivery operations.

Features and Services

Transport logistics solutions cater to a more niche market. There are a few industry-specific features and services common to software that can provide significant quality of life

1. Route Planning and Optimization

There are a million things you have to consider while optimizing your route planning. One human error or fact omission can lead to pronounced setbacks. A transport management system helps you communicate across multiple departments, measure field data and analyze historical trends to plan an optimal route.

You can use offline mapping, geofencing and GPS tracking to identify the fastest and most efficient route to your destination.

2. Delivery Planning and Scheduling

Find out the best way to plan your deliveries to make the most of them in the least amount of time. If you still have any doubts about switching to transportation and logistics software, this should put them to bed. You save money on fuel expenses, overtime payments and late deliveries.

3. Pickup Scheduling

You can automate the entire scheduling and pickup process for your shipments. This includes scheduling bulk deliveries.

4. Stop Optimization

Drivers are an integral part of your transportation system. Plan your stops to avoid overworking your drivers. An ideal stop optimization program can prevent burnout without compromising on delivery times.

5. Driver Assignments

With a transportation logistics solution, you can automate the process of driver scheduling and dispatch wherever possible. This includes a range of benefits such as real-time tracking, instantaneous communication and speedy planning.

6. Delivery Tracking

A transparent delivery procedure can greatly strengthen client relations. Allow your customers to track their shipments in real time and answer any queries via dedicated channels.

7. Financial Management

There are a lot of moving parts in a transportation company, both literally and figuratively. Transport logistics software can help you manage payments via secure portals. You can even figure out the optimal price for your services, accounting for shipping, handling and customs.

8. Fleet Maintenance

As the name suggests, this feature is all about tracking and scheduling maintenance for the company’s transportation fleet, including but not limited to trucks.

Needs Analysis

A transportation management system falls under the umbrella of supply chain management software. If chosen carefully, transport logistics software can help you improve visibility and significantly reduce operational costs.

Number of Transports Owned

If you’re a company operating a substantial number of delivery transports, we can’t stress the importance of transportation and logistics software enough. There are too many variables you’ll have to juggle on a daily basis — driver dispatch, truck maintenance, delivery schedules, order processing and more. With an extra hand, you can automate all these functions and focus on growing your service.

The Volume of Products Transported Daily

For companies handling a large volume of products daily, transportation logistics software can provide significant upgrades. Just imagine being able to automatically track shipments, handle claims, process orders and accept payments.

Delivery Range Across the Globe

Courier and freight selection plays a crucial role in global deliveries. For every individual order, you’ll have to consider freight charges, customs, operating costs and any additional charges. Why would you even consider doing all that manually if you can do it automatically?

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Solution Selection

As we mentioned earlier, the variety of logistics management solutions and the unique needs of businesses make decisions more difficult. However, this also increases the importance of choosing the right logistics management solution. In order to find the best logistics software suite, you need to know what you require from your logistics software and which type of solution to go for.

Defining Your Procurement Requirements

Before you dive headfirst into the sea of logistics management software, you need to know what issues a new solution should solve. Purchasing a brand new system without knowing what you need to fix is a great way to throw time and money out of the window.

Talk to users of your current system and find out what does and doesn’t work; you should include everyone that interacts with your software system when considering a new solution. Ask yourself and your team some probing questions to properly identify what needs improvement and if now is the time for a new system.

Here are a few sample questions you could ask to get started. If you need a better idea of how to identify your needs, take a look at our requirements template for some guidance:

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Does a new system fit into the budget?

Don’t be dazzled by a high price tag. It’s human nature to see an expensive product and immediately assume it has to be the best choice. This could not be farther from the truth when picking out a new procurement system. If you’re running a massive operation, the complexity of one of the more expensive logistics software systems may be a fit, but a smaller enterprise may find that the extra functionality only slows things down.

What are your pain points?

Before you start adding vendors to your shortlist, take a moment to identify where your operation could be performing better. If you know what you need to fix, you can quickly identify logistics management software that won’t work for you. This way, you can focus on a solution that caters to the aspects of your operation that need some work.

Is the acquisition of a new system time sensitive?

If your operation needs a logistics solution right now, then deployment and integration should be near the top of your list. A complicated on-premise integration may be too time intensive for an enterprise looking to get going with a logistics management system as soon as possible.

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Determining the Basics

Anyone running a warehousing operation is looking for ways to cut costs and increase speed while limiting errors; this is where a warehouse management system can step in. If you are considering a standalone solution that focuses on logistics, keep in mind that a full SCM-based suite can tackle all operations instead of just one.

Not all standalone suites are completely isolated; some come with functionality that supports transportation management and warehousing. Most of the time, these extra functions included in standalone products are limited. If you’re looking for a software solution that can handle the full range of supply chain management, an SCM package is what you are looking for. This type of package covers all of your bases and handles everything from planning to executing processes across your entire chain.

While standalone products don’t come packed with as much functionality, they can still handle some processes like picking, packing and inventory control. On the other hand, a full ERP system solution helps boost data visibility, which can help managing users find out where their supply chains are underperforming.

Valuable Features and Functions

Before picking out software for your operation, you have to decide if it solves your unique needs. If you take a look at some functionalities specially crafted for 3PL providers, you can find some great examples of solutions that can boost your productivity and strengthen your supply chain.

Supply chain management software provides a helpful bird’s eye view of an operation

Services That Add Value

If your operation includes processes like kitting or product assembly, you might benefit from a product that focuses on cutting costs for these processes. Here, a standalone logistics solution shines, but keep in mind that a very complex operation would work better with a full SCM suite. If your clients require special labeling practices, a robust ERP suite may be more your speed.

Architecture Support for Multiple Clients

A warehousing operation commonly takes care of more than one client at a time. Considering this, your logistics or SCM software must handle the purchase, shipping and inventory processes needed to satisfy multiple clients. Cloud-based models can be attractive with their low cost of entry and ability to safely store data but be warned. You’ll need more than the ability to handle a multi-client situation, so make sure that isn’t all you are getting.

Cost Control

Regardless of your choice between a full SCM suite or a standalone product, you’ll need accurate tracking abilities. Whatever you choose needs to be able to invoice customers and create service contracts quickly. 3PL providers often leverage invoicing tools to help give a clear view of what is being received and stored in an operation.

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Parcel Carriers

It isn’t exactly news that 3PL providers have to work in tandem with a variety of parcel carriers. Warehousing requires relationships with carriers like FedEx; the easier these interactions happen, the better your supply chain will function. Finding a solution that automates the sending and receiving of shipping data should be a priority, as the time saved from automating these tasks is very valuable. Not only that, but automation helps reduce the number of errors generated in this type of process.

Web Portals Access for Clients

Web portals for clients are very valuable as they give 3PL providers the ability to control inventory off-site. In this way, a 3PL provider can provide stock figures and important shipping records via remote access.

Inventory Management Through Vendors

If your operation offers inventory that vendors can manage, looking into a logistics solution that can automate stock replenishment requests and recording processes is a good investment. This way, the speed of your deliveries grows as clients can skip the long-form order process required for unique packages when they are repeating a shipment. Luckily, you can find this sort of functionality in many SCM-based packages.

Demand Forecasting

One of the biggest benefits of logistics software is real-time access to shared data. With 3PL providers servicing multiple organizations simultaneously, you’ll have the information necessary to predict future demands. And that’s not even the best part. Your SCM software will automatically communicate historical sales data and trends across multiple departments to streamline production.

Choosing a Solution

Now that we have gone over some common features, we can decide which route is the best to choose. When it comes down to it, a standalone logistics solution or integrated SCM suite both work very well depending on the operations that use them.

A standalone logistics management system is a better choice when the complex functionality of an integrated SCM solution is not necessary. Overpaying for advanced functions that go unused doesn’t help anyone out and only wastes resources. If you are looking to optimize more of your supply chain than just your warehousing portion, an integrated SCM suite is the better choice.

Complexity in a solution isn’t a bad thing in the world of logistics; what matters is how these complex functions strengthen your supply chain. If efficiency is suffering across the entirety of your operation or your clients require specialized shipping methods, an integrated SCM package has your bases covered. Don’t undersell your needs; if you require a larger, more complex solution, go all the way.

If you take the time to pick a solution that fits your operation perfectly, you will see an upturn in efficiency almost immediately. Find out what ails your supply chain and focus on resolving those issues with a software solution that scales with your operation.

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Final Thoughts

The right logistics software can make all the difference for your supply chain. Identify what your operation’s must-have requirements are and select a program that gives you a boost where you need it. You can turn a sluggish supply chain into a well-oiled machine with proper planning and execution.

How has your supply chain grown after incorporating a logistics solution? Let us know with a comment down below!

Shauvik RoyLogistics Management Software Solutions and How to Leverage Them


Join the conversation
  • Abhinav Utpal - March 12, 2021 reply

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    Hunter Lowe - March 25, 2021 reply

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    Hunter Lowe - December 3, 2019 reply

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    Hunter Lowe - October 22, 2019 reply

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  • Mike Jones - September 18, 2019 reply

    Highly informative post and explained in a precise manner that anyone can easily understand. Thanks for sharing. Indeed, a GPS tracking in a logistics software like InstaDispatch is highly required to moniter the movements of a logistics vehicle. This article covers all the major aspects of a GPS tracking module in a logistics software.

    Hunter Lowe - September 18, 2019 reply

    Hi Mike, I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for leaving a comment!

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