How Load Planning Software Can Conquer LTL Shipping Challenges

Managing LTL services has become increasingly challenging and complex for today’s carriers. As customer demands grow and costs escalate, the key to success is finding new and better ways to drive efficiencies into delivery cycles.

Descartes offers a suite of logistics management solutions that are offered as an on-demand, pay-as-you go model, or as traditional, installed applications. With Descartes, customers can realize the benefits of applications providing real-time delivery data in order to improve routing, optimization and overall customer service.

Descartes has been delivering a variety of solutions to LTL carriers for more than a decade – from basic messaging services to complete inbound planning and optimization capabilities. Customers rely on Descartes as their single source provider of visibility, optimization and compliance capabilities across multiple operational areas.

Load Planning Software Reduces LTL Shipping Complexities


LTL carriers face a growing barrage of requirements from and interactions with many sources – from shippers to government agencies to receivers. Many also work with multiple other LTL carriers to address different operational areas. Managing shipments across carriers becomes increasingly complex and as a result overall efficiency may suffer.


The complexity of juggling multiple shipments and routes is hampered by the inability to access real-time information on fleet activities. Few operators have the level of insight needed to optimize resources, maximize truck utilization and monitor overall performance.

Customs Clearance

LTL carriers must keep pace with ever-changing cross-border filing requirements. Any errors or omissions can delay shipments, increase transportation costs, and affect quality of service.


Escalating labor, fuel and maintenance costs continue to have a significant impact on bottom line results for LTL carriers. Many carriers are finding themselves hard pressed to maintain margins without sacrificing quality of service.

Features and Benefits of Descartes LTL Software


  • Order management and address verification
  • Route optimization
  • Dispatch management and planning
  • Order notification and confirmation
  • Real-time tracking and field data capture
  • Business analysis and reporting
  • Geocoding and routing
  • On-demand, Web-based access to data


  • Inbound/outbound planning
  • Freight forwarding and logistics planning
  • Tracking, tracing and monitoring of regional and geographically dispersed shipments
  • Fleet management - routing, scheduling, optimization and dispatch
  • Real-time event management
  • Messaging via Descartes Global Logistics Network (GLN) to connect the carrier’s customers and partners to exchange Load Tenders, Bills of Lading, status messages and invoices in any electronic format
  • Customs compliance and forms processing
  • GPS-enabled tracking and reporting of shipments
  • Hosted TMS (Transportation Management System)

Manage LTL Shipments while Increasing Customer Service

Lower Operation Costs and Financial Risk

With the option to utilize the service using an on-demand model, Descartes can reduce the capital costs associated with in-house systems, including hardware, software, maintenance, network, and database management. Descartes services can also be scaled up or down according to delivery volumes/cycles.

Improve Delivery Accuracy and Speed

Descartes’ geocoding capabilities accurately pinpoint locations, and provide maps and turn-by-turn driving instructions for your drivers.

Improve Scheduling and Routing

Descartes enables your dispatchers to more accurately plan and optimize scheduling and routing to ensure that deliveries are made in the shortest possible time using the most efficient routes.

Optimize Capacity Planning

Descartes enables you to better manage time windows and improve service by aggregating deliveries within similar regions throughout the day. This not only reduces time and distance per vehicle, it also ensures that trucks are not under or over capacity.

Perform Proactive Exception Management

Because driver activity data is updated and accessible in real-time, your dispatchers can proactively respond to any service disruptions or delays and immediately adjust a driver’s schedule to accommodate the change.

Improve Customer Service

With ongoing visibility into the delivery cycle, the Descartes solution is an effective tool for determining optimal delivery times for customers. This information can also be used to perform automated call-outs to customers in the morning to advise them on the time of that day’s delivery, reducing staffing needs and costs. Your help desk personnel can also provide incoming callers with up-to-date information on their delivery status and timing.

Track Accountability and Driver Performance

Descartes’ analytical functions can help your managers assess planned versus actual drive and service times to increase driver productivity and maximize the number of stops per hour.

Enhance Planning Based on Historical Data

Descartes provides a variety of customized reporting features that enable you to review delivery history and assess activities by driver, by area, by customer, or by other groupings for improved planning and deployment of resources.

Reduce Complexity and Overhead

Descartes allows for centralized control over distributed operations, including central and/or local dispatch, customer service desk and IT support among others. LTL carriers can also help you reduce overall vehicle and driver requirements and costs.

Improve Compliance

Descartes offers an array of customs compliance capabilities that can help you expedite cross-border deliveries and improve accuracy