If you’ve been in this business long enough, there’s no way you haven’t noticed this one trend. Consumers are becoming more and more exigent towards delivery times.
A recent 2021 survey revealed that almost half of shoppers (46%) expect their orders to be at their doorstep within two to three days. A third more (30%) want to receive their order within as little as 24 hours (source: Statista).
And businesses have to oblige. Just take a look at Amazon and its shipping policy. Amazon Prime shoppers can choose from free one-day, same-day, or even two-hour (!) delivery, depending on the business and items.
Obviously, if you want to survive in this competition, you have to make your delivery time as short as possible. And this is where custom logistics software development usually comes in. But is it truly the best way to optimize the shipping processes? And can it cut your delivery times?
The short answer to both of those questions is “yes.” And if you’re interested in the long answer, keep reading to see five ways how it succeeds at doing that.
It Streamlines Order Management
Without logistics software, every order that comes in has to be processed by a human. So, that person would have to
- monitor your website for incoming orders;
- process the details of each one of them;
- determine the best warehouse, vehicle, driver, and route for every order.
And they’d have to do all of that manually! Of course, it might be fine if you’re running a small operation – a DIY jewelry shop with one or two orders a day, for example. But it’s a living nightmare if you have dozens of orders coming in daily (or worse, hundreds or thousands).
How would logistics planning software make a difference? Well, it’s designed to automate every process listed above. And, obviously, code will always be faster at completing algorithmic tasks than a human.
It Facilitates Inventory Management
How long does it take your workers to locate the right item in the warehouse? If it takes more than a minute, it’s an unnecessary waste of time. The same goes for updating the item’s status, too, by the way.
Combined with a scanning feature, logistics software can make finding items a matter of seconds. (You’d have to assign a unique QR code RFID chip or barcode to every item to make it work, of course.) All your workers would need to do is tap a few buttons to find anything they might need to retrieve.
What’s more, this type of software can plan the route for picking up multiple items in the most efficient way possible. Your workers wouldn’t have to walk across the whole warehouse the size of two football fields to take one item just to return to their original position for the next one.
The bottom line is that your trucks will be ready to get going in less time than without a system in place. Lastly, your workers won’t have to do much more than scan the item to update its status, which is a time-saver in and of itself, too.
It Automates Truck Load Planning
Your trucks are guaranteed to have to make multiple stops on the route, at least during the last-mile delivery. And how they’re loaded can make all the difference.
When the loading is done chaotically or planned poorly, the driver will have to waste their time to get to the right package stuck behind others when they’re on the spot. That might happen multiple times throughout the day, unnecessarily stretching out the delivery.
To avoid that, the items have to be assigned their place in the truck based on the “Last-In, First-Out” rule. But if a human has to make a loading chart for every single truck that’ll make 10 or more stops on the route, it’ll take hours.
An application created by a transportation software development company, however, can have those charts ready in a matter of seconds. You just need to feed it the right data.
It Speeds Up All the Paperwork
Digital document management – these three words have the power to streamline all the paperwork that is an integral part of delivery. Old-fashioned document management may seem to take only a few more minutes per order, but those minutes amount to hours lost every month.
Let’s take e-signature as an example; any decent logistics planning software has to support it. If you still use paper proof of delivery receipts, someone has to organize, store, and process all of them. Someone will also have to scan them if it’s your policy to digitize them, too.
With e-signature, all a customer has to do is sign on a tablet or smartphone. The proof of delivery is generated and added to the order automatically, without any intervention required. The customer gets a copy of it to their email, too. The process itself takes mere seconds.
It Chooses the Best Route Possible
Let’s say the orders are processed, the paperwork is handled, and the trucks are loaded. Now, it’s time to get on the road. And this is where logistics and transportation software can make the delivery as prompt as it could ever be, too.
How much time your drivers spend on the road depends on three major variables:
- current traffic situation;
- speed limits;
- weather conditions.
Besides, you need to make sure that all stops on every route are placed in the shortest sequence possible. That’s not even to mention that traffic jams can appear in a matter of minutes, with no warning signs whatsoever.
A logistics planning system can take all of these variables into account and send out the optimal routes. The calculations take seconds, while even the most experienced dispatcher would need minutes. And the best part is that this software can analyze traffic and other factors and optimize the route in real-time.
Bonus: It Mitigates the Risk of Human Error
When the application is well-thought-out and the code written by a transportation software development company is bug-free, the software doesn’t make mistakes. It follows its instructions to a T every single time, no matter how much workload you throw at it or how long it’s been operating.
Humans, unfortunately, will never be as error-free as software. They can be tired or feel under the weather. They can be forgetful or inattentive due to dozens of factors.
What does it have to do with delivery times? Well, the price for most mistakes can be measured not just in dollars but in minutes or hours, too.
If a wrong item gets loaded onto the truck, for example, your customer will have to wait until you rectify the situation. Or, if the loading chart hasn’t been updated to include a new order, your customer will have to wait longer for their item, again.
As you can see, there’s more than one way how logistics and transportation software can cut your delivery times. But it’s not the only benefit it has to offer. You can rely on it to increase your employees’ productivity and cut fuel and labor costs, among other expenses, too.
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On top of that, you can’t achieve maximum efficiency in your business operations without software. And it’s not just manual task automation you’d have to thank for that. Software is great at aggregating data, analyzing it, and, ultimately, giving you the ammunition to make the right long-term decisions.