Many trucking businesses (many businesses in fact) are using Excel. Many of them are doing it out of habit, or because investing on specialized software seems too expensive. But the small cost of Excel is an illusion.
When you say “I’ll just build something simple in Excel”, you are solving today’s problem. Next day you’ll tweak your Excel, again solving that day’s problem. Fast forward two years later and you have a complicated home-grown Excel. It has taken a large amount of effort to create (albeit spread over two years, so it’s hidden) and it’s quite costly to replace. People who love labels and slogans would say that you’ve worked in a transactional way, solving each day’s problem as it appears.
But if you resist the urge to build something simple in Excel, and make a large, visible effort to do it with specialized software, in two years you are likely to be better off. Your business will have what it needs to scale better. Rather than struggling with your home-grown Excel, you may be working towards expanding your business or taking the existing automation to the next level. The label/slogan for this is that you’ve worked in a strategic way.
You may have noticed that I’m suspicious of labels and slogans (such as 2PL, 3PL, etc.), if not anything else because they become a fashion and everyone’s using them without really understanding them. Often each one means something different. The contrast of strategic vs. transactional is quite fashionable. Rather than talking about it, there’s one simple thing we can do: resist the urge to build something simple in Excel.