General questions

Logistics is used more broadly to refer to the process of coordinating and moving resources – people, materials, inventory, and equipment – from one location to storage at the desired destination. The term logistics originated in the military, referring to the movement of equipment and supplies to troops in the field.

Logistics and supply chain management are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two aspects of the process. Logistics refers to what happens within one company, including the purchase and delivery of raw materials, packaging, shipment, and transportation of goods to distributors. While supply chain management refers to a larger network of outside organizations that work together to deliver products to customers, including vendors, transportation providers, call centers, warehouse providers, and others.

Although many small businesses focus on the design and production of their products and services to best meet customer needs, if those products cannot reach customers, the business will fail. That’s the major role that logistics plays.

But logistics also impacts other aspects of the business, too.

The more efficiently raw materials can be purchased, transported, and stored until used, the more profitable the business can be. Coordinating resources to allow for timely delivery and use of materials can make or break a company.

And on the customer side, if products cannot be produced and shipped in a timely manner, customer satisfaction can decline, also negatively impacting a company’s profitability and long-term viability.

The freight forwarding process can be broken up into 7 key stages, including:

  1. Export haulage – The movement of items from a shipper’s location to the freight forwarders warehouse is called export haulage. This usually requires the help of a truck or train to move the them. How long it takes depends on the distance, geographical location and what the items are. This first stage can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
  2. Items Checkpoint - Immediately following the export haulage stage, freight forwarders receiving the goods will check to see and ensure everything was transported without incidents.
  3. Export customs clearance – the goods receive clearance to leave its country of origin. Before items can be shipped off it requires clearance from the country of origin. This process is performed by customs brokers. They are required to submit details about the cargo and any supporting documents that are needed. Usually, an agreement is established between the shipper and consignee who is responsible for this process. If a freight forwarding company does not offer this service, it is required to find a third-party customs broker service.
  4. Origin handling – the unloading, inspection and validation of the cargo against its booking documents.
  5. Import customs clearance – the customs paperwork for your cargo will be checked by the authorities. Once the shipment arrives, authorities in the destination country are required to check import customs documents. The secret to this stage is that it can begin before the cargo even arrives. It is the responsibility of the freight forwarder or nominated customs broker to perform this clearance by the time the cargo arrives.
  6. Destination handling – the handling of cargo once it reaches the destination office, including transfer to the import warehouse. This stage involves a number of different processes once the cargo arrives. At this point, freight forwarders will receive all documents for the cargo, including outstanding documentation, carrier bills and more. This process is always taken care of by the freight forwarder.
  7. Import haulage – the transfer of cargo from the import warehouse to its final destination. Almost identical to export haulage, this process transports the cargo from the warehouse to the final destination of the intended receiver. This process can be facilitated by freight forwarders or the consignee can choose to collect the cargo themselves.

With freight forwarding comes a lot of paperwork, especially when shipping overseas. freight forwarder should provide you with all of the relevant documents, including.

  1. Commercial invoice
  2. Bill of Lading contract
  3. Certificate of origin statement
  4. Inspection certificate
  5. Export license
  6. Export packing list
  7. Shippers export declaration document

Freight forwarding companies adhere to strict regulations and will not carry certain goods and substances, particularly by air or sea freight. Although the list of prohibited items varies from country to country, freight forwarders are generally restricted on:

  1. Dangerous Goods (including flammable liquid and toxic items)
  2. Drugs (prescription and recreational)
  3. Alcohol
  4. Batteries
  5. Perishable items (except for those on special express delivery)
  6. Sharp objects

Many freight forwarding companies offer extra services. These extra services include warehouse storage, cargo insurance, cargo tracking and dangerous goods handling.

A Logistics management software simplifies operations by refining the production cycle and making it easier to access important information quickly. What a logistics management software does is help businesses manage the multifarious process that goes into the production cycle from the delivery of raw materials to shipping the finished products to the consumers.

Logistics software has become wider in its scope and functionality to deal with a wider array of operations and processes. It shares similarities with supply chain management softwares, which contains a set of tools that help deal with transactions, processes, and suppliers. The functionality of a logistics management software extends to areas such as:

  • Inbound and outbound transportation management
  • Warehouse management
  • Fleet management
  • Processing orders
  • Inventory management
  • Managing thirdparty logistics service providers

A logistics management software gets rid of all the conventional approaches like paperwork and spreadsheets to simplify management. It comes in three variations such as warehouse management systems, enterprise resource planning systems, and integrated supply chain management suites.

Companies that have an in-house logistics or supply chain division and third-party logistics providers utilize any of these different versions according to their own requirement to manage their logistical and supply chain operations efficiently.

Logistics is on a forward growth and several trends have changed it remarkably. The demand for logistics has peaked with the widespread popularity of e-commerce.  As a result, logistics is constantly evolving to accommodate the rising demands of each industry that depends on it. One area where logistics clearly transformed is in the digitization of its processes and resources.

With the introduction of logistics management software, the entire nature of logistics changed allowing a business owner to supervise the operations across different levels. Digitization combined physical devices and software solutions to streamline the entire cycle of logistics by putting the owner at the center.

Software as a service (SaaS) is clearly gaining the upper hand as this model continue to find widespread acceptance in logistics management and supply chain. It is a reliable model since it offers the security and convenience that logistics managers can depend upon along with the benefits of cloud computing.

The use of AI is another significant trend in logistics and supply chain. It holds the most potential to disrupt the field of logistics in the near future. Some of it is already a reality now such as in the automation of specific tasks and is slated to advance further with gesture recognition and autonomous delivery via self-driving vehicles.

Moreover, the trends also clearly hint at an improved collaboration in the processes that govern the logistics and supply chain. Emphasis is also given on managing risks and promoting resilience in the supply chain, which increases the dependence on logistics software for dealing with the processes more effective than before.

With the trends shifting logistics management in a progressive direction, the need for software solutions in the field has become indispensable. Businesses, whether focusing on e-commerce or delivering services, can benefit from having a logistics management software. However, the real question is finding the right kind of logistics software since the requirements vary for each business.

Prior to settling on software for logistics management, it is vital to understand the requirements and challenges that a business face on a daily basis. Carrying out a detailed analysis can help identify weaknesses in the existing logistical operations of a business. Besides that, it can suggest measures to redeem any discovered weaknesses in the cycle.

When deciding on logistics management software, there are several essential factors to consider. Firstly, it should contain a basic set of functions that can aid in simple logistical management operations. Besides that numerous other things should also be present in the software to tackle the wide base of logistical operations and processes that each business undertake. Some of the key features to look for in a potential Logistics software are:

 

  1. Compatible Multi-Client Architecture – A logistics software that comes with multi-client architecture support is necessary if a business handles multiple customers. Software with inventory and purchase orders have more emphasis since the process deals with several customers simultaneously or in different phases.
  2. Forecasting – The ability to forecast is a needed trait in a logistics and supply chain management software since it can bridge gaps in supply and demand by enhancing the business processes. Demand, supply and price forecasting can help supply chain management with proper scheduling of production, improve customer satisfaction, minimizing stocking out of inventory, etc. 
  3. Finance Integration – Having tools that integrate the financial side of the supply chain is another key requirement in the software. Key financial aspects like general ledger, account payables, and receivables, when included in a logistics software can guide manage the bookkeeping and records of transactions conveniently.
  4. Inventory Tracking – Having an inbuilt inventory tracking feature can make a logistics management software more dependable. Since logistics involves transactions of various kinds, an inventory control feature enables easier processing while making sure that the customer gets the invoice on time.
  5. Customizable and Streamlined Interface– A good logistics management software should contain a streamlined interface that allows for effortless navigation across its chief functions. A customizable logistics software can easily accommodate the unique infrastructure and methods implemented by a business.
  6. CRM – A proper logistics software should also cover the customer side. A CRM embedded logistics software allows the customers to know the status of their deliveries. For both inbound and outbound logistics, CRM can answer the queries of the customer and supply them with relevant information along with adjustments to the delivery. 
  7. Bill of Lading Creation – As a key document in shipping and freight chain, it is recommended to look for a software that can generate bill of ladin This can make it easier for creating bill of lading receipts to facilitate the seamless transaction of goods under the consignee of the shipper and the logistics company. 

With logistics pushed to the forefront of business operations, leveraging the right technology can make your business compatible with the changing environment.

Outsourcing to a software development vendor will help deploy a scalable software for logistics management into your entire supply chain operations. A global software solutions provider like Stellosys can give you the advantage of custom logistics solutions built solely with your requirements in mind.

In the area of logistics, handing over the process to a Logipulse has its own advantages. With Logipulse, a freight forwarder, NVOCC or 3PL could avail the following benefits.

  1. Refine Transportation – Transportation being a pivotal area of logistics incurs the most charges in the form of fuel, energy, labor, tolls and shipping fees. Relying on Logipulse software can help manage the various transportation means and leverage the data to automate the process. This allows for easy analysis, which a company can utilize to make relevant decisions for maximizing efficiency and reducing costs.
  2. Faster Delivery – Logistics being a linear flow of goods and services come across several issues that affect delivery and cause delays. By incorporating Logipulse, a singular benefit that businesses derive is in the faster delivery of products to the customers. A logistics management software can improve the speeds in delivery by interfering in the production cycle and selecting the right shipping service, which cuts short any delays to a large extent.
  3. Minimize Human Errors – The other notable advantage of having a logistics management software is in reducing human error. Analysis of transportation data results in huge quantities of data that is difficult, time-consuming and prone to errors when processed manually. A logistics software can process these data without any errors in less time, which will seamlessly push forward the operations with zero chances of delays.
  4. Automates Functions – Automation is another boon to integrating a logistics software to deal with the processes. Certain functions like creating shipment routes, load planning, and tendering of load to carriers are easily automated and managed by using a logistics software. Moreover, it eliminates paperwork, which helps deal with the processes in a more efficient and timely manner.
  5. Reduce Costs – Savings is the other end result as the Logipulse helps to compare different shipping services, delivery agents and transportation methods to find ones with the least pricing. The other way by which Logipulse reduces costs is by lowering the expedited shipments through improved planning of the shipments.

A well-designed enterprise resource planning (ERP) system connects all the areas of your organization – including those related to indirect tax.

The challenge is to understand all the available options and make decisions that best support your business, invoicing and indirect tax reporting obligations.

Your challenges

  • Put in place a new ERP system.
  • Identify hidden VAT risks in your company’s ERP system.
  • Test the VAT reporting component of your ERP system for its efficiency from VAT risk management and administrative points of view.
  • Use your ERP system to develop strategies that will reduce VAT costs and facilitate revenue growth.
  • Develop an ERP framework that will help your company manage VAT better.

How Stellosys can help you.

  • Help you implement a new ERP system by mapping out indirect tax systems and processes.
  • Make sure that all VAT-related functionalities in your ERP system are being used optimally.
  • Train your staff to analyze and assess the entire range of your business transactions, determine your system requirements and develop the appropriate tax calculations.
  • Carry out a post-implementation review to make sure the system meets your invoicing and indirect tax reporting obligations.
  • Check automatic tax calculations and make any necessary modifications.
  • Evaluate the data in your ERP system to make certain that it is VAT-relevant and easy to access.