Logistics software are all those digital solutions that allow you to manage, control and optimize the different logistics processes from both a strategic and daily operational point of view. In order to be prepared for today's needs, it is important to know what software is used in logistics nowadays.
Logistics is complex as it integrates a multitude of activities with many actors involved. Likewise, logistics has a great connection with the rest of the company's activities and, therefore, is affected to a great extent by decisions and situations derived from other factors that are not properly logistical, such as sudden changes in demand, new products launch or expansion to new territories, among many other examples.
The digitization is currently a key aspect for the future of companies of all sizes. However, the complexity of logistics mentioned above is also visible in the variety of types of software for logistics, or that have a direct relationship with it, for example systems for supply chain management or company management (ERP).
In addition, each type of software also has notable differences from others that are in exactly the same category. Therefore, it is necessary to go beyond the category and see the functionalities that each system offers to know exactly whether or not it adjusts to the needs of each company.
This article has compiled the most relevant type of systems that exist in the market, highlighting in some cases the functionalities that, in some cases, we can find integrated into other systems or as standalone products.
Here you can find a list of global systems for any company that are somehow related to logistics:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): takes care of the internal operations of a company that can range from production to distribution. In an ERP, the processes are automated, different databases are integrated into a single program and all the information is centralized on the same platform. The most common functionalities of these systems are purchasing, sales, billing, accounting, inventory, human resources and CRM.
- E-commerce platform: with the rise of electronic commerce, this type of platform has become a very common tool to manage the online catalog of products, online sales and payments.
- Demand forecasting: software typically based on artificial intelligence that helps forecast demand and thus optimize supply. Obviously it is a fundamental aspect to design and estimate resources required for logistics operations.
- Contract management: allows you to digitally manage the creation, negotiation, signing and renewal of legal contracts. Although it is not strictly a logistics software, it is a very clear use case, since the legal documentation generated in logistics activities is very extensive.
If we focus on the supply chain, we can find the following programs:
Supply Chain software
- Supply Network Design: allow modeling all flows from manufacturing to final delivery. In general, it allows simulating variations in demand to see how the entire supply chain would behave, as well as in more advanced cases, the possibility of searching for new locations for factories or warehouses.
- Control tower: it offers a global vision of the supply chain in real time and, in turn, allows actions to be taken to modify or activate processes at the right time. The main difference with a dashboard is that in the case of a control tower, in addition to supervision, concrete actions can be taken to make changes in the operation.
- Digital Twin: this module provides a simulation of a physical asset, fully digitizing the resources and behavior of a physical process. This allows you to monitor the performance of the asset in real time and thus simulate the performance to be able to predict, for example, possible maintenance needs.
- Sales and operations planning (S&OP): solution that allows aligning sales plans with company operations. Typically for manufacturers, it allows to create a unified plan for forecasting sales and the needs derived in logistics.
Logistics software for transportation and distribution
Focusing on the most essential of logistics, here you have different solutions and functionalities para gestionar tanto el to manage both long-distance transport and last-mile distribution:
- Fleet Management (FMS): control and monitor the fleet of vehicles. In general, it allows you to track the location of each vehicle, manage documentation, fines and analyze driving efficiency.
- Tracking mobile app for drivers: complete traceability of the delivery process, incident management, digital proof of delivery and a series of functionalities that allow real-time information regarding the deliveries in progress.
- Last mile route optimizer: automatic route planning for the last mile. It helps to reduce the kilometers traveled, improve delivery capacity, reduce costs and increase margins.
- Delivery tracking for customers: allows the end customer to know the status of their delivery in real time such as the day and estimated time of delivery, check if there is any type of incident...
- Load planner and optimizer: planning of medium and long distance routes, taking into account the location of the carrier, information from the tachograph, type of vehicle and load, in order to assign each load to the most appropriate vehicle.
- Freight Forwarding: cargo management by air, sea or train. Allows you to manage legal documentation and assignments.
- Parcel shipping management: management of the assignment of deliveries to parcel companies. Very common in e-commerce.
- GPS and digital tachograph: real-time location via GPS and remote download of tachograph information.
- Vehicle and IOT sensorization: allows collecting more advanced and specific information about vehicles: some examples may be temperature control, or door opening.
Logistics software for warehouse management
Finally, a WMS helps manage the activities and operations of a warehouse. Here are some of the modules that can be found:
- Stock management: this module allows you to control and monitor the inventory, allowing you to know the available stocks at all times.
- Reception and dispatch: helps to manage and control the products that arrive and leave the warehouse.
- Storage location management: the use of spaces and the location of items according to their rotation and other characteristics is essential for the proper functioning of a warehouse.
- Labor management (LMS): allows collecting data on the activities carried out by operators and analyze productivity. In addition, it helps planning the necessary resources based on historical or desired productivity.
- Picking routes optimizer: this software allows you to find the best routes within your warehouse. Optimal routes are automatically generated in real time and assigned to specific warehouse operators. It allows you to compare the routes taken with the optimal ones and thus discover bottlenecks.
- Automatic assignment of activities: this module allows you to organize and optimize activities by time, distance or other existing restrictions. Avoid human planning and decision errors and predict and identify operational irregularities.