Software as a service (Saas) is currently an accepted route for business, education, and many others to access shared sector-specific software. Rather than purchasing, programming, and installing the actual software individually for a business, firms access relevant software through cloud-based web services or mobile applications. This method can improve efficiency, allowing access to industry specific software and apps, or (on the other hand) create delays and issues in your supply chain. It is something that you must therefore think through carefully. This article provides some insight.
How Saas Has Been Used In The Logistics & Trucking Industry?
Logistics is difficult and complex to manage. Software as a Service can provide an integrated and optimal solution that can address route planning, reduction in fuel costs and improvements in asset utilization. Other advantages of using Saas for your logistics business include accessibility and reliability. This cloud-based service means everything is done online and can be accessed from your smartphone, laptop, or tablet anywhere in the world. On top of this, you will not have to manage your own server which can improve its reliability. Putting the upkeep, management and day to day care of the server in the hands of professionals makes sure you do not have to worry about it and know it will be ready when you need it.
Trucking, delivery, and logistics firms have been at the forefront of the use of integrated software systems and Apps for route planning, load scheduling and driver bookings. Not all have been suited for purpose and the particular service or application must be carefully investigated before you spend any money for problems you do not need. There are certain things that you should insist on in your Saas offering, in order for it to be beneficial to your business.
What Must Be Part Of Your Saas Deal As A Trucking Company
- They must know the industry. The software provider or app developer that you choose to use must be familiar with the industry and your business. They should also be well known and widely used in the industry as this will allow for compatibility throughout your supply chain. Do your enquiries and find an application or software package that is widely used by others in the area of your operation. Load providers, other truckers and warehousing concerns must be on the app or know about it before you consider its use for your business.
- Compatibility and easy integration. The software that you choose to use must be used across your sector and by those you want to do business with. It must be easy to integrate the app or software into your current way of working and as such its design must be specific for a generic process that is followed in your specific sector as a whole.
- Ongoing support and office back up. Once the software or sector specific App is delivered, installed, tested and in use, you must have access to a 24/7 support and maintenance service. If your business is always on the go, you need to ensure the supporting software and applications can keep up. There are those who offer more than just the software and maintenance support. There are Saas providers who may offer to secure you loads and do route planning as well; Truckstop.com, is a great example of a small-town Idaho firm that manages to do just this. The possibilities exist out there, be sure to find them from a logistics specific Saas provider where you are.
- Ongoing communication. Regardless of whether it is just the software and not the added route management and load boards you can access from the logistics Saas providers, you will need to be in communication with your provider. Logistics in the US is a fast-moving sector and problems with your App or software not syncing can lead to huge losses. Having a clear line of communication with your software provider and support will save you a great deal of stress, time, and money.
- Mobile compatibility. The app and software must be usable on your mobile technology. Drivers, warehouse staff and management must all be able to access the relevant information on the go. This means that the software, application, or service must be built and designed for multi access. The functionality must be the same across all platforms and your data must be accessible in real time, from wherever you or your team have the internet.
- Security. Being able to receive 24/7 security for your data and customers is essential. This should not be something you have to worry about and should be central to any software service provided to you. Security breaches are a real threat and being able to guarantee the safety and security of your client’s information is a competitive advantage in the logistics business. The Applications you use and share with your supply chain, customers and drivers must be safe and secure and this is a feature of your Saas deal that you must confirm upfront, before you install and begin to use the system to book, deliver and monitor freight.
There are huge benefits of getting the right software and office support that is specifically designed for the particular sector for your business. There are however various aspects of the arrangement that you need to look out for when contracting any service provider. Be sure to do your research and look out for pit falls. Downtime and outages can happen when your Saas provider has too many clients and not enough capacity. Knowing you cannot afford any downtime should be enough encouragement to do your research thoroughly, see what other customers are saying and ask questions about their capacity.
Putting your business into the hands of a Saas provider means you will need to concede some control to the provider. Being able to rely on your provider completely can sometimes feel like you are losing control but remember that they are the professionals. The Saas provider will be completely responsible for the back end of your system so you need to be able to trust them. Part of this trust is finding a provider who fits your specific business needs and understands all your logistics processes and procedures.