Logistics software has been used in the transportation industry and has several meanings which can be distilled down to a few decisive definitions:
- The literal definition of Logistics is the complex movement of many components coming together to complete the intended result, whether that be a manufacturing process or a retail process or any process needing multiple components of service, labor, hard goods, management, and transportation.
- Third-party Logistics (3PL) is a term used for companies providing services usually in warehousing of hard goods and the transportation associated with either inbound or outbound functions. A 3PL company can also be referred to as a freight forwarder that moves goods across international borders and handles all of the multi-leg shipments and compliance documentation associated with getting the goods to its intended destination.
- Logistic software then usually refers to software that has been designed and built for the purpose of organizing, planning, executing, tracking, and analyzing the movement of hard goods and the associated services required to move the goods through multiple modes of processing and transportation.
Both Warehouse management (WMS) and Transportation management systems (TMS) could be considered as logistics software. Companies considered to be leaders in using automation to run their businesses will couple both WMS and TMS together to optimize the flow of products in the fulfillment or manufacturing process.
- ClearView has interfaced to WMS systems in the past and will continue to promote this synergy as a way to accelerate higher levels of productivity with logistics software.
- The execution of transportation can follow several different processes when coupled with a WMS, and all these processes have their place dependent on the most efficient method for that environment. Some examples:
- TMS as a black box, where the WMS will be the user interface for all shipping operations and the TMS will just respond to requests, like rate shopping, label creation, Pro number generation, and more.
- The WMS can push every shipment to the TMS for processing, and the TMS will be the user interface for all shipping. This is the usual process for businesses that utilize multiple mode of shipping and will need some additional functions that are better handled in the TMS, like international documents or HAZ shipping.
- In highly automated environments where material handling is used for executing parcel shipping like print and apply automation, a TMS will respond to requests from the WMS or the WCS to send the shipping label to the robotic printer in real time.
- Logistic software may apply to the third party logistic (3PL) provider, which will usually involve both the WMS and the TMS on a common platform. Since most 3PL companies also provide warehousing and fulfillment, they will provide EDI connections for their clients so that they can communicate common business documents, like sales orders, electronically.
ClearView can address and implement logistics software for any transportation operation.