We are noticing a trend of shipper frustration with LTL transportation. Several recent blog posts and online discussions have centered around issues that companies face each day with shipping their goods out to distributors and clients. We see it in discussions with clients and industry folks as well.
Some common issues we see out there with LTL shipping:
A couple of points to note before we start:
1) as you know if you have read our blog before, we highly recommend outsourcing transportation and logistics functions to a 3PL (Building a Smarter Supply Chain and How Do You Spell Logistics-S.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.S).
2) we have a convenient, online Transportation Management Solution that can help alleviate much of the pain we are seeing out there. We also have some additional helpful info on TMS that gives you an idea of what functionality is important.
That said, we can now proceed…
It is All about the Process
A professor once told me that structure drives behavior. I believe it. Building structure into a shipping operation means integrating efficient processes with capable information management systems. We recently worked with a shipping supervisor who had to use three different systems to compile orders, check stock levels, and generate an LTL shipment. That doesn’t even include the various carrier websites she had to go to in order to get a reasonable freight quote, generate the required shipping documentation, and track the shipment. There is an easier way…
Within a couple of meetings and some basic system setup, we had refined her shipping operation with a much more streamlined overall process, cut data entry requirements in half, removed excess system touch points, provided automated shipment tracking notifications and tightened up the freight bill audit process. We also saved her around 15% on raw freight costs. We have plans in the near term to integrate further with her ERP and web order management systems, and tie in some new transportation management functionality including managing her pre-pay & add with her end customers. We believe in integrating systems, we believe in building efficient processes, we believe in leveraging these two things to provide SOLUTIONS to ease the pain of shippers out there. It’s LTL made easy.
Integrate, Integrate, Integrate
No one system does everything well that is needed to run a business. At least not the ones with less than a 7 figure price tag, and even then it’s debatable. Order management, Inventory management, Transportation management, Accounting, ERP and even CRM – all of these distinct systems potentially need transportation-related data. The successful companies are able to integrate these different platforms and have the information needed to effectively and proactively run their business. Integration is the key.
Transportation data feeds inventory and order management functions- leading to better forecasting and asset management. Transportation data shows performance KPIs for internal process evaluation, vendor scorecard evaluations, and allows clients to measure performance. Transportation management programs drive down costs and improve cash flow. At the end of the day, transportation data “drives” (no pun intended), how a business runs. Why not have a Transportation Management Solution in place that allows this data to be made available across platforms, and become useful information for decision making?
To help alleviate some of the problems we see shippers and companies facing each day, we can say that there are solutions. Best-in-class TMS capability does not have to be a huge capital investment. There are systems and outsourcing solutions out there that make sense for companies of all sizes and across all industries.
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