Custom logistics software development
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, logistics companies face increasing pressure to optimize their operations, enhance efficiency, and gain a competitive edge. The right choice of software solutions plays a pivotal role in achieving these goals. However, when it comes to logistics software, there are two distinct paths to consider: custom-built solutions or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings.
Custom development vs. SaaS for logistics
Custom development and SaaS are the two alternatives for implementing new software solutions. It is common for small businesses to rely on SaaS as a lower-budget alternative. But as a business grows, so do its demands for software. For example, companies might need to manage more resources, and SaaS is unable to meet the increasing needs.
Custom development allows the implementation of solutions that match the very particular company’s needs. The decision to go with it can stem from the rising number of employees, new locations, or new markets. With SaaS, companies have to deal with the one-size-fits-all approach, facing limitations in different access levels, feature customization, etc.
Pros and cons of SaaS products
Cost efficiency is the first main advantage of SaaS. Companies don’t need to plan a large initial investment and can reap off the benefits pretty soon. It’s also usually reliable to use SaaS solutions, as vendors make timely improvements and bug fixes, as well as release new, upgraded versions. On top of that, SaaS offers protection against data loss by saving it in the cloud.
The weaknesses of SaaS reflect its limitations. Companies can customize SaaS only to a certain degree, they don’t have full control over the capabilities, and data security depends on the security protocols used by vendors. If their infrastructure gets exposed to vulnerabilities, it will pose additional risks for businesses.
Pros and cons of custom software development
Custom development allows for addressing the shortcomings of SaaS. However, it carries added risks and complexity of implementation.
Having a customized app addresses specific company needs. It allows businesses to create unique features based on their requirements and add all the integrations they need. Plus, such solutions can be more secure. For instance, a company may have an offline copy of data, protected from external attacks.
Large investment is the largest drawback of custom development. It’s not only the initial costs but also further spending on bug fixes, maintenance, scaling, adding new features, etc. On top of that, companies may be exposed to security risks if there are some gaps or errors in the development process. To avoid this, businesses should find a reliable development partner with proven expertise.
What are logistics issues related to custom software development?
Logistic enterprises often face many real-world business problems that can be solved with software solutions. Here is a list of key issues and challenges for logistics that are solved by integrated software development:
– Inventory Control. Financial losses resulting from a lack of a web /app for solving logistics issues, ineffective utilization of trained workers, and the human aspect.
– Supply Chain Management. Financial losses as a result of supply chain failures that lead to low quality, poor customer service, and insufficient client retention.
– Equipment/vehicle rentals. Loss of revenue due to slow and expensive communication channels for sales and customer service.
– Navigation. Lower delivery quality due to a lack of operational data on the location of the asset.
– Digital Ecosystems. Loss of clients as a result of an antiquated, decentralized payment system that did not support contactless payments. Insufficient client traffic as a result of pricey cold leads obtained from third parties and inappropriate lead creation methods. High costs brought on by mistakes in contracts, invoices, receipts, and other types of documentation.
All these key issues and challenges for logistics can be solved by development solutions. The ability to manage all aspects through the digital products for solving logistics issues not only opens up the possibility of simplifying work processes, but also the potential for better analytics and preventive strategies. Automated systems that record all details of successful deliveries and failures offer useful statistics and information in real time.
Types of custom enterprise logistics software solutions
When it comes to custom enterprise logistics development solutions, there are several types that cater to specific needs and requirements. Here are some common types of custom logistics software solutions:
1. Transportation Management System (TMS):
A Transportation Management System focuses on optimizing and managing the transportation processes within a logistics operation. It typically includes features such as route planning, load optimization, carrier selection, freight tracking, and performance analytics. Custom logistics management solutions can be designed to integrate seamlessly with existing systems, automate workflows, and provide real-time visibility into the transportation process.
2. Warehouse Management System (WMS):
A Warehouse Management System is designed to efficiently manage warehouse operations, including inventory control, order fulfillment, picking and packing, receiving, and shipping. Custom WMS solutions can be tailored to meet specific warehouse layouts, workflows, and inventory management requirements, improving overall efficiency, reducing errors, and enhancing inventory accuracy.
3. Inventory Management System:
An Inventory Management System helps logistics companies effectively manage their inventory levels, monitor stock movements, and optimize inventory replenishment. Custom inventory management solutions can provide real-time visibility into stock levels, automate stock tracking and alerts, integrate with suppliers and customers, and facilitate demand forecasting and planning.
4. Supply Chain Visibility Solutions:
Supply Chain Visibility Solutions enable logistics companies to gain real-time insights and visibility into their entire supply chain, from procurement to delivery. Custom supply chain visibility solutions can integrate data from multiple systems and partners, providing a centralized platform for monitoring and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs), identifying bottlenecks, and making data-driven decisions to optimize the supply chain.
5. Last Mile Delivery Solutions:
Last Mile Delivery Solutions focus on optimizing the final leg of the delivery process, ensuring efficient and timely deliveries to end customers. Custom last mile delivery solutions can incorporate features such as route optimization, real-time tracking, proof of delivery, customer communication, and driver management, helping logistics companies improve customer satisfaction and streamline last mile operations.
6. Freight Management Solutions:
Freight Management Solutions assist logistics companies in managing and optimizing the movement of freight across various modes of transportation. Custom freight management solutions can automate freight booking, track shipments, manage documentation, handle freight billing and settlement, and provide analytics and reporting capabilities, enabling companies to streamline freight operations and improve visibility.
Stages of logistics software development
Building logistics software has its peculiarities and consists of the following stages
Stage 1: Choosing the Type of Logistics Management Software
Before embarking on the development process, it is crucial to determine the specific needs of your business and choose the appropriate type of logistics management software. There are several options to consider:
– Fleet Management System: If your business relies heavily on managing a vehicle fleet, a fleet management system can provide valuable insights and optimization opportunities. These systems track driving speed, stops, locations, and fuel consumption, enabling managers to save resources, choose optimal routes, and predict vehicle maintenance. Such systems typically include a mobile app for drivers and an administrator’s website for task management, driver monitoring, maintenance scheduling, and more.
– Web/Mobile Application for Logistics Companies: If you operate a logistics company, a web or mobile application can streamline operations and optimize transportation efficiency. These applications connect freight forwarders, carriers, sea lines, consignors, and consignees, facilitating the search for optimal logistics solutions. Freight forwarders can list their cargo details and receive the best offers from nearby carriers, while customers can track delivery status and receive invoices upon completion.
– Warehouse Management System: For efficient warehouse management, consider implementing a warehouse management system. These systems utilize IT tools such as barcode scanning applications, IoT devices, and inventory management software to track goods, monitor stock levels, and streamline warehouse processes. By optimizing inventory and shipment preparation, warehouses can enhance operational efficiency and ensure timely deliveries.
Stage 2: Choosing a Development Team for Logistics Management Software
Selecting the right development team is crucial for successful software development. Consider partnering with an experienced outsourcing company that can provide a range of specialists tailored to your project needs. Companies like Andersen have expertise in various technologies and can assemble a skilled team, from business analysts to technical support professionals.
Stage 3: Preparing Business Requirements
During the Discovery phase, communicate your business idea and vision to the development team. A Business Analyst will work closely with you to gather requirements and prepare software specifications. This step ensures a comprehensive understanding of your objectives, allowing the development team to proceed with accurate estimations and planning.
Stage 4: Approving Terms and Project Costs
Based on the defined requirements, the development team will present project costs and terms for your approval. Factors such as pricing models, team composition, and technology stack will influence the final cost estimation. This stage ensures transparency and alignment between the customer and the development team.
Stage 5: Launching a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The development process begins with the creation of a minimum viable product (MVP). This initial version of the software includes essential functionalities and can be launched to the market while subsequent refinements and updates are implemented. This approach allows for early user feedback and iterative improvements.
Stage 6: Implementing Extended Functions
Based on user feedback and evolving requirements, the development team will continue refining and enhancing the software. Additional features can be added to improve convenience and usability. Examples include a chat platform, GPS tracking for trucks, shipment archives, order status updates, and digitization of documentation. Regular communication with the development team ensures that the software meets evolving business needs and provides maximum value.