As a college-educated computer scientist, Bastian Späth understands how IT solutions are developed from the ground up. For more than 15 years, he has spent every workday collecting requirements, finding ideas, developing designs, setting up projects and getting them safely across the finish line.
Logistics as a Service: All services available on one platform
We are all familiar with online marketplaces. Whether it’s the favourite platform for second-hand goods or the digital department store where there’s nothing you can’t find – what they all have in common is that they unite various service providers and suppliers on just one platform and can thus offer a gigantic portfolio of products.
The all-rounder for logistics services
The all-rounder platform acts as a single point of truth for you and your partners. It is flexibly scalable for different solutions and quickly ready for use.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were something like that for logistics services, too? If other services could be added directly to the portfolio without an entry hurdle? Let’s talk about a “Logistics as a Service” platform.
What is Logistics as a Service?
A platform that offers solutions, services and software collected in one place and unites service providers and companies – that is the concept of Logistics as a Service, or LaaS for short. In this large logistics network, all services along the value chain are offered via cloud platforms or online marketplaces.
Similar to other “as a service” models, this allows companies to rent or subscribe to logistics services on an as-needed basis, rather than having to own specific software themselves or enter into long-term contracts with logistics companies.
Get started right away: Entry barriers are a thing of the past
No more hurdles to entry, say hello to quick implementation: The platform scores points for its rapid readiness for use. In a way, it is the pathfinder among logistics service providers and is always ready. Companies can purchase their own service promises along the supply chain ad hoc and without any entry hurdles. The advantage: The services offered have already been tried and tested by many customers. Lengthy IT onboarding or complicated synchronization processes for registering deliveries and processing orders are thus a thing of the past.
Such a platform is also enormously worthwhile for service providers. The smart linking of several services enables the provider to work more efficiently and increase the quality of its range of services. If more capacities are available than usual at a certain point in time, these services can be made available to other companies in an uncomplicated manner – a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Logistics on demand: Flexible purchasing of value propositions
Let’s imagine the whole thing: A small retailer who has grown rapidly via online sales platforms has a large quantity of bags to ship. However, he doesn’t have a shipping service to handle it, and lacks the means of transport and personnel to do so. This is where the Logistics as a Service platform comes in: there, the retailer can easily search for a provider that offers shipping services. Whether parcel service or freight forwarding – LaaS offers many options. Additional services can also be booked flexibly. In this way, retailers can easily expand their own range of services.
In line with the mix and match principle, companies can purchase exactly the services they need. Whether it’s warehousing, handling, transport, order picking, or notification via call center – companies can find exactly the support they need on the platform. This makes supply chain management much more efficient because additional services can be purchased on an ad hoc basis.
No software? No problem!
This concept is also the ideal solution for companies that do not use a particular software themselves – either because they have grown quickly or simply lack the resources. The individual services are controlled via API from the enterprise resource planning system, and the missing services can already be integrated into the company’s own supply chain.
Let’s take the example of notification. If such a tool from a Logistics as a Service platform is integrated into the company’s own system, then notifications are automatically generated and sent to the recipient. This is self-controlled and based on the current tracking information of the shipment. The company’s service offering is thus expanded in an uncomplicated manner.
What are 3PL and 4PL service providers?
LaaS platform: orchestration of services
As with a good composition, all the individual services can be combined to create a coherent whole. The platform makes it possible; it is, so to speak, the conductor. It acts as a 4PL service provider and orchestrates all logistics activities. 3PL providers such as carriers and other service providers are coordinated via the platform so that all processes are automated and optimized in the best possible way.
Logistics as a Service: Services on Demand
Why should every company have the full range of software, personnel, and resources when individual services can also be purchased and offered as LaaS? Whether it’s B2B, B2C or D2C, an integrated platform solution allows any company to get started right away and provide logistics services of all kinds without complicated onboarding and other barriers to entry. Fulfillment service becomes a breeze: problems such as lack of capacity or resources are solved in an instant.
Whether warehousing, packaging service, handling, invoicing, pickup or delivery: all these services can be flexibly rented with LaaS. The business model offers many advantages: The customer benefits from a broad digital and integrated range of offerings on a Logistics as a Service platform, while providers achieve greater revenue security and can plan their capacities in the best possible way. In this way, companies do not have to maintain a fixed infrastructure or resources for the entire logistics process. Thanks to the logistics network, they can still offer a wider range of services along the value chain and retain the ability to respond more quickly and easily to movements in the market.