Blog

IF your software isn’t Multi-Carrier… then it isn’t worth ship

LinkedIn
X
Email

Multi-Carrier Shipping

Let’s discuss all things multi-carrier shipping, what it means, why it’s of vital importance, and why, if your software doesn’t do it, it isn’t worth a ship!

In the following blog post, we’ll look at key terms, capabilities, and outcomes associated with multi-carrier shipping and answer some very important questions:

Multi-carrier shipping solutions

In its most basic form, multi-carrier shipping refers to shipping goods using more than one carrier.

A manufacturer who ships everything via Carrier A is a single-carrier shipper. A distributor using Carrier A and Carrier B utilizes multi-carrier shipping. Simple enough, right? Far from! Multi-carrier shipping comes in degrees, and is a direct result of how comprehensive a shipper’s carrier strategy really is.

It’s more than just “parcel goes UPS; LTL goes Old Dominion” and involves careful consideration of matching shipments, modes, services, and carrier options. There will often be a mix of parcel carriers & freight carriers; regional carriers & national carriers; and multiple carriers able to cover the most important supply chain needs.

Multi-carrier for all

Multi-carrier shipping, in its purest form, isn’t just for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, either.

Freight brokers and 3PLs need to be able to utilize as many carriers as possible in order to move customers’ freight in the most reliable, cost-effective way possible. Though they may interact with carriers in a different way, through different technology, the idea of a broad network is still important.

Multi-carrier shipping software

One of the reasons so many shippers stick with a single carrier is simplicity. Fewer contracts to manage. Better volume-based carrier rates (theoretically). Fewer things to coordinate in the warehouse. They tend to do this if and when they believe it will save time, reduce costs, make it easier to track shipments, and ease shipping processes overall.

There’s an element of truth to that, if your shipping software either isn’t a true multi-carrier shipping system, or there isn’t real shipping software in the first place. Either way, the beauty of multi-carrier shipping software is the ability to manage shipping via multiple carriers within one interface and set of workflows.

Multi-Carrier-ish

When it comes to what (sometimes) passes as multi-carrier shipping software, there are a few broad examples.

First, many ERP systems will have a shipping process built in. However, it usually only contains integrations to a handful of the largest parcel shipping carriers, and those are merely connections to the carriers’ own software. They won’t handle shipping labels (or return labels), track shipments, notify customers, or remove enough time consuming, manual processes when the fulfillment team goes to process orders. The ERP is a powerful supply chain tool, but shipping software is often needed.

In other words, forget about rate shopping across carriers or comparing options based on transit time. And don’t even think about pulling in carriers that use EDI, not API integration, to connect. In short, a real carrier network is required, as is the ability to cross-shop and compare carriers within a single platform.

Multi-Carrier-in-name-only

There are also numerous imposters out there, which appear to be multi-carrier shipping software, but don’t really have the network to back that claim up.

In order to actually execute within a system, the carriers you are using have to be part of its established network – otherwise you’ll end up needing individualized integrations.

Some which appear to have large networks also outsource a third-party network over which they have no real control. Besides the additional time it takes to communicate with carriers (due to the additional API call), these software platforms have no ability to address network connectivity issues themselves.

True multi-carrier shipping software has:

  • An expansive network of pre-integrated carriers
  • Access to the full breadth of capacity and services from each carrier
  • Multi-modal access for everything from high-volume small parcel to consolidated freight
  • Covers all connection types, including API, EDI, and even email
  • Un-siloed carrier access, where you can compare shipping rates, services, modes, and transit times across carriers
  • Ability to select special service and accessorial items at time of tendering
  • The ability to use purpose-built middleware to create your own carrier integrations
  • A distinct path to control over your shipping costs

Transportation Management Systems:

Multi-carrier shipping software doesn’t just apply to the needs of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

Freight brokers and 3PLs need a transportation management system (TMS) capable of connecting with the full range of freight and parcel carriers needed to fulfill customer needs. Otherwise, they will spend inordinate amounts of time attempting to coordinate transportation orders across too many carriers without a system to actually keep track of everything.

Not just for logistics services

Though used somewhat differently than shipping software, those manufacturers and distributors managing their own freight via a TMS will find this equally true. TMS can be considered another permutation of multi-carrier shipping, and one on which many run their entire businesses.

For the right types of businesses, a TMS offers many features beyond its carrier network that help enhance shipping operations, simplify shipping operations, and control shipping costs – all of which are important to the overall customer experience.

Why does all of this matter?

By now, perhaps you are wondering whether all of this really matters for your business and its shipping operations. Sure, it matters to some, but do you really need all that? Well, it matters to anyone whose business requires flexibility, is trying to control costs, wants to grow, or cares about customer experience.

The ultimate delivery

Once a purchase is complete, shipping is all that stands between your customers and delivery of their merchandise, and (in many cases) between you and their future business. Getting it right means being ready for anything, whether or not you can see it coming. For that reason, multi-carrier shipping software, or a multi-carrier TMS, is the ultimate tool for boosting confidence in your ability to deliver every shipment, every time.

Multi-carrier shipping software takes care of the requirements for redundancy and flexibility.

Just in case:

  • Carriers are unavailable due to capacity or labor constraints
  • Carriers go out of business entirely
  • Carriers adjust their rates at different levels relative to one another
  • Certain customers require use of specific carriers (with specific retail compliance requirements)
  • Carrier performance becomes an issue all of a sudden and customers have issues with delivery times or accuracy
  • Geographic expansion no longer covered by existing carrier partners

Multi-Carrier shipping and your business

With a better understanding of what multi-carrier shipping is, the right tools to manage it, and why it is so important, the question is: Are your current (and future) specific shipping needs, and those of your customers, being met? Can you start and end each day knowing that you have the carrier coverage your business needs, in a single, easy-to-access interface that will let you make the necessary on-the-fly shifts that are ever more common today?

If your answer isn’t a resounding “yes” then reach out to us! We’d be delighted to discuss your needs and walk you through 3G’s Transportation Management and Pacejet Shipping products, along with our complete Carrier Network, Logistics Marketplace, and Integration Hub.

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

September 18, 2023

Categories

3PLs
Brokers
Shippers

Subscribe to our blog

Blog

3G Reveals New Buyer Engagement Growth and Win Rate Increases as 2022 Momentum Continues

LinkedIn
X
Email

SHELTON, Conn., (August 23, 2022) – 3G, a leading modern-day transportation management system (TMS) and enterprise shipping software provider, today revealed continued strong results for the first half of 2022 exemplifying the company’s positioning in the industry as a high-value solution for brokers, shippers, and 3PLs combating today’s supply chain challenges.


In the first half of 2022, 3G increased its employee base, experienced strong revenue growth, and made sizable investments in both customer experience programs and market research. As a result, the company is seeing above industry average customer retention as well as increased win rates and engagement rates with both new and prospective customers. This continued company momentum speaks to the significant market opportunity and demand for mission critical solutions to seamlessly manage the movement of goods.

3G’s mission is to be the most trusted resource in transportation management and multi-carrier shipping. 3G Chief Marketing Officer, Jen Holtvluwer, worked with a leading third-party research firm, to help ensure 3G remains the foremost expert in the space by gaining a better understanding of new and ongoing demands in the supply chain marketplace. This was conducted to equip the organization with relevant broker, shipper, and 3PL needs and buying insights. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for the team to leverage customer insights to inform our collective efforts. When you listen and act on the voice of customer, you provide the best customer experience and the demand you create is narrowed and focused on who you can best serve,” said Holtvluwer. Better understanding our customers and buyer needs led to strong retention, a significant increase in buyer meetings, and new revenue business was up more than 30% in 1H 2022 vs 1H 2021.

“Our customer retention and increased win rate demonstrates the need for and value of 3G’s solutions in our current marketplace and global environment,” said Stephanie Richelieu Stagger, Chief Customer Officer, 3G. “Current and prospective customers understand and experience the mission critical nature of our solutions. They see and feel the need for an integrated, seamless, and efficient method to manage increased freight demand, find capacity, and continue scaling their business while overcoming the myriad of disruptions that have hit our industry over the past two years.”

Focusing on human capital and investing in employee’s growth and career progression has been the focus of 3G’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Shauna Coleman, who has overseen double digit promotions and placements and a projected 61% increase in close rate for open positions in 2022.

3G’s success in human capital was featured in a cover story in Women Achiever magazine, “Meet the Women Moving the Transportation Management Industry Forward.”

“In order to effectively overcome the disruptions that we see in our industry today, customers require an efficient human layer to partner with the advanced technology we offer,” said Coleman. “I’m truly thrilled about the momentum we are creating at 3G, as I not only believe 3G is a great place to work, but also believe in our solutions’ ability to make our customers’ lives easier.”

In addition, 3G was recognized as a ‘Top 100 Software and Technology Provider’ By Food Logistics. These types of honors are the result of investments in partnerships with industry influencers to showcase subject matter experts, build share of voice, and brand recognition.

“Industry recognition like the ‘Top 100 Software and Technology Provider‘ award solidifies our stance as an industry leader,” added Holtvluwer. “We are dedicated to helping the transportation business grow and empowering our customers to make better shipping decisions while reducing freight costs and meeting service goals.”

About 3G
3G moves goods better. As a trusted leader in transportation and shipping software, 3G removes the obstacles that stand between our customers and their success. Our fully integrated solutions include 3GTMS, our multi-modal transportation system, and Pacejet, our advanced multi-carrier shipping software. By streamlining the movement of goods, 3G helps logistics companies, brokers, and manufacturers across industries ship more products and reach more people, with nothing in their way.

Media Contact
Tyler Thornton
LeadCoverage
[email protected]

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

September 9, 2022

Categories

3PLs
Brokers
Shippers

Subscribe to our blog

Blog

Freight Shipping – The Complete Guide on How Freight Works

LinkedIn
X
Email

Freight shipping can be a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about freight shipping, from terminology to rates and beyond.

We’ll also provide tips on finding the right freight shipping companies for you and getting the best rates for your freight shipping needs. This guide has everything you need, whether you’re just getting started in shipping freight or looking for ways to optimize your process.

What is Freight Shipping?

container, container port, port

Freight shipping is transporting a large shipment of goods from one place to another across a country or the globe via air, land, or sea. Shipping companies are put into employment to transport the goods across locations.

The goods are transported using one or more modes of transport after being palletized or placed into containers. The goods being moved are referred to as freight or cargo depending on the method of transport. Your freight might begin its journey on trucks, but it may also travel by railroad cars, large ships carrying containers, and planes.

We have simplified the entire freight shipping process to provide an overview of the movement of goods.

But to understand the process, first, you need to know some of the frequently used freight movement methods.

Freight Shipping – Key Methods

world, packages, transportation

Depending on the space required for a shipment, trucks move on the grounds by trucks, mostly. Loads with enough volume to require a full truck of dedicated space are called full truckload (FTL).

Usually, FTL shipments are between 24 – 26 pallets. These are usually the direct deliveries that originate from the pickup location and are delivered straight to the destination.

Freight that does not require a full truckload and is between 1 and 6 pallets is called LTL, less than truckload. These are relatively smaller shipments that get combined to make up a full truckload.

Partial truckload (PTL) shipments fit somewhere between 6 to 12 pallets. PTL shipments are less likely to be switched to another truck during transit.

When freight is transported using two or more modes, they are called intermodal shipments. Typically, intermodal refers to truck-rail-truck shipments. But if the cargo is moved overseas, that may also include truck to plane or truck to ship movements.

If you label a load as expedited, it means the shipment is time-critical and requires fitting to a strict time frame for delivery. Expedited shipments often involve air and truck.

Freight Shipping Process – simplified into six steps

#1 The start – “Export haulage”

The process begins with the load moved from the shipper’s location to the forwarder’s location. Most often, the payload is transferred to a warehouse, later to be transported by truck or rail or a combination of the two. If the shipper is responsible for this part of the process, a local transportation provider is most often to be arranged by the shipper.

#2 Clearing the outbound border – “Export customs clearance”

For the freight to leave a border, it must meet the customs regulations. Customs clearance is a declaration carried out with the relevant documents being submitted to authorities. A service provider must perform export customs clearance with a valid customs license known as a customs brokerage license.

#3 Origin handling and inspection and the voyage

This process includes physical handling and inspection of freight from a warehouse to a loading point. This loading point is often an airport, shipping port, or railway terminal.

The cargo inspection is carried out physically and document-wise when the shipment is received. Hereafter, if needed, the shipment is consolidated with other cargo, put into a container, and then moved for loading with other containers.

The next part of the transit is operated mainly through a plane, container ship, or rail car.

#4 Destination handling and inspection

Same as it was during the origin handling, relevant authorities must inspect the shipment before it is released to the receiver. You may call the receiver the consignee.

The process begins with transferring a container to the port and then to an entrepôt (port city location) or a warehouse. The payload preparation for the consignee to collect also includes the process of destination handling.

#5 Clearing the inbound border – “Import customs clearance”

This step often begins before the arrival of the freight shipment. The import customs clearance process must be fulfilled before cargo can leave a customs bonded area.

#6 Final leg of the journey – “Truck for haulage”

This is the final step of the freight shipping process, where arrangements are made for the final delivery of to the consignee. This is typically an LTL delivery. Here the movement of cargo tends to involve transportation to a specific address.

Although we simplified the freight shipping process in general, many complexities occur in the real world when different cargo types attempt to cross other borders, which have different laws and compliance requirements.

Based on the terms of the contract, responsibility for cargo changes hands between many stakeholders during a single transit. In addition to all these, freight shipping requires multiple document handling parallel to the cargo movement.

The benefits that freight shipping can provide for businesses outweigh its complexities. Freight shipping is one of the most common cargo movement methods, preserving business effort. Moreover, it provides the added advantages of safely transporting goods in large quantities at a reasonable cost made possible by economies of scale.

Benefits of Freight Shipping

#1 Saves time: A well-planned freight shipping process will assist you in moving shipments on time and conveniently, thus eliminating any worry about how the goods will be delivered and transported from one place to another. It helps you focus on growing your book of business.

#2 Increased safety and reliability: Shipping your goods on pallets aids you in their safe arrival, protecting them from the risk of damage or theft. Freight shipping services can provide you with all the details of the tracking, ensuring you know where your shipment is from the loading until it reaches the destination.

#3 Convenience of handling both large and small shipments: If you’re looking for freight shipping, there is a high chance you have large items that exceed the weight limits of regular delivery services. Many bulky items that need to go across the country or to another country are transported using freight shipping.

At the same time, freight shipping services can offer economical ways to transport small loads when a shipper does not have enough cargo to form an FTL or PTL. This avoids having to wait until you reach the vehicle’s capacity.

#4 Cost reduction: There is more than one way to ship goods and several ways to serve your budget and level of service required. For example, LTL and PTL methods assist you to pay only for the space that your goods consume and not for the whole load of the truck.

In most cases, the expense of goods is determined by the price of the dimensional weight. These methods benefit you by the cost-sharing with other shippers, significantly reducing costs not only for you but for all.

#5 Flexibility: Freight offers the flexibility of choosing a shipping method that works best for your budget and requirement. For example, expedited freight services use air at higher costs, whereas ocean shipping offers much cheaper options but is time-consuming.

The same goes for domestic shipping. If you choose to ship something by train, chances are you’ll spend less money than someone who prefers a plane or truck. Moreover, with freight shipping, you can schedule months in advance to make sure that you get the best option reserved for you. This is a huge benefit over regular shipping.

#6 Improved customer service: Unlike regular shipping, freight shipping service providers who handle the delivery of your cargo can quickly be contacted about the shipment’s status.

Moreover, businesses yield many more indirect benefits from freight shipping. Such benefits include improved sourcing and logistics, optimum inventory levels, lower costs for suppliers and customers, enhanced diversity of handled goods, etc.

Freight shipping has been around for decades, and it’s always proven to be the best shipping method. Millions of people and businesses trust it to move their goods. You can bet there’s a reason for that. The growth of the service providers specialized in freight shipping is the #1 reason.

Many freight service providers can lend you a hand in navigating through the complexities of freight shipping. Should you pick one? What to expect from a freight shipping company? How to choose the right freight forwarding company for you? Let’s continue.

Tips to Find the Right Freight Shipping Company for YOU?

Why choose a freight forwarding company?

If you look closely at your business operations, you may find the reasons for existing challenges related to logistics and freight shipping. These may likely be due to the growing numbers of customers and suppliers spread across varied geographical locations and their high Service Level Agreement expectancies and market uncertainties. With many businesses around the globe facing the same issues, millions rely on established freight forwarding companies specializing in freight shipping.

Difference between a freight forwarding company and a 3PL

You can choose from different types of shipping companies for freight shipping services. This includes both third-party logistics providers (3PL) and freight forwarders. A 3PL manages the entire logistics operation, while a freight forwarder is more specialized in moving freight from one location to another.

What do freight companies do?

Services provided by the freight shipping companies are primarily based on selling freight services without owning transportation equipment. But the function of a modern freight forwarder goes far broader than simple transport scheduling. They assist you in finding reliable contract carriers, negotiate competitive rates and help manage the process for you each step of the way. Your business might not have the time, specialized knowledge, or resources to independently carry out freight shipping operations. But freight companies do. And they are specialized in it too.

If you opt to let a freight forwarding company lend a hand in your freight handling process, then there are steps you can follow to select the right service provider for you at a fair fee.

Seven Steps to Finding the Right Freight Forwarding Company

container, container port, port

You should follow these steps to find a forwarding solution that can provide individualized, forward-thinking solutions to bring value to your businesses beyond simple transportation solutions.

Step 1 – Look within: Before looking into what a forwarding company can do for you, first, you must identify your current business processes and future requirements. Be very clear about what your storage and shipping needs are. You will only know the type of services your business will need and the volumes you plan to ship.

Step 2 – Search and discuss: Do your homework and research a few viable companies in detail, checking whether they offer the type of services at the needed quality and quantity that you require.

You should discuss all aspects of your supply chain with possible forwarders to ensure they provide all the services you require. Don’t be focused only on receiving a lower price. It is worth having an excellent long-term relationship with your freight forwarder at a fair price.

Step 3 – Consider industry experience and credentials: A freight forwarder who is generally able to move cargo well might neither have the knowledge nor the expertise to handle cargo in “your industry.” So, ask this question yourself; “Does this freight forwarder have experience in the industry where my business operates?” You need to be sure they have the know-how, so requiring references is a good idea.

Step 4 – Inquire about the forwarder’s reach and network: If the freight forwarder is not well connected with other transportation companies, they will not be able to deliver the promised services. The more diverse and numerous carrier contracts a forwarder have, the safer your operations are. When crossing borders, you must also inquire about their network of agents, carriers, and partners within the countries and regions where you move freight.

Step 5 – Ensure risk management: Your freight forwarder must be financially stable. To check their financial stability, inquire about their freight broker bond. It guarantees you compensation if the forwarder runs into financial trouble.

After making sure your forwarder is financially stable, next, you might want to consider both natural and manufactured adversities affecting transport operations. One way to mitigate the risk is cargo insurance. Inquire what types of insurance the forwarder offers and their pros and cons against the cost and value of your cargo.

Look for transparency in your forwarder in contract terms and conditions. You want a partner during times of crisis.

Step 6 – Check licenses, certifications, and permits: Forwarders require different credentials, certificates, and licenses to handle different types of cargo. Ensure that your freight forwarder has met all the related compliance requirements relating to your freight type.

Step 7: Test the customer service, communication, and technology – Technology is vital in a tricky business like logistics, where a network of people work in tandem to ship items from one place to another.

Your forwarder will require information and data from you to deliver real-time updates on your freight shipments. Your logistics provider should offer online tracking, timely notifications, and personal calls when you have questions or concerns.

Following these steps will help guide you in your search for the right freight forwarder. A good forwarder will go beyond your expectations and often play an advisory role to offer support in areas such as foreign affairs, data and technology, insurance, customs, and more. This is a win-win scenario as it affords you more confidence and them to save time.

After choosing the right forwarder for you, you must learn how to prepare your loads correctly for shipping. If you fail to do so, you’ll not only have to deal with the damages, but your freight claim probably won’t go through.

Follow the following tips on freight preparation and packing to avoid the hassle of claims and to make your business more efficient.

Tips for Preparing Freight for Shipment

parcels, packages, delivery

#1 Use suitable packing supplies: You can use boxes, crates, or pallets to ship your freight. There is no unique solution. It all depends on the characteristics of your cargo. You may need to distribute the weight evenly if there are several packages. Taking time to ensure proper packing is used will save a lot of time and money in potential damages.

#2 Palletize and to-dos: Crates reserved for smaller packages and pallets are for heavy-duty use. However, pallets are the go-to solution for shippers for handling convenience, space optimization, and safety.

Ask your freight forwarding company about the pallet’s size, weight distribution, sound practices, and other requirements they need you to comply with because they are handling your cargo. Help them help you. But keep in mind that the packaging and palletizing requirements might change from the norms based on the industry you are operating.

#3 Label carefully: Your freight is handled on numerous occasions in one transit. Handlers cannot read your mind; without a label and proper instruction sheet, they may mishandle your shipment. This may lead to damages and an inability to properly track a package. Ensure sufficient labeling is applied to your cargo with appropriate signs and phrases. For example, simple signages of “this side up” and “fragile” stickers can be beneficial.

#4 Choose the suitable freight class: Freight class is a standardized pricing classification. The detriments of freight class include different types of tangible and intangible factors of the shipment like dimension, weight, density, the convenience of handling, value, liability, etc.

Choosing the correct freight class for your cargo might save you money as lower freight classes are more economical. If freight class sounds like a big headache, discuss freight classes and their pallet pricing with your freight forwarding company to choose the right one.

#5 Prepare an accurate Bill of Lading: A Bill of Lading (BOL) is a legal document containing the details of the type, quantity, and destination of the freight you ship or receive. It is the most crucial document you’ll need for your freight movement as it must accompany the shipment from its origin to its end. A BOL can vary for domestic and international shipments.

BOLs are signed by the shipper, carrier, and receiver. If you are the shipper of the freight, you must provide all the required details depending on the freight class. This shall enable your forwarder to process your shipment efficiently.

Even after following these tips, damages can occur for reasons beyond your control.

Be prepared! You need to know what actions you can and need to take if your freight is reported to be damaged or lost during the transit. Here is a guide that can help you.

How to Handle Freight Damage and Loss 

yemin ship, cargo, transport

To avoid the damages or loss of cargo, you can take precautions before the incident by opting for freight insurance and negotiating incoterms with the freight forwarder. Incoterms are pre-defined rules and terms used in trade contracts. These agreements can vary based on the value and type of your freight shipment.

If damages or losses ever happen to your freight shipment, then here are steps you can take to apply for a financial claim.

Steps to follow if your freight is lost or damaged

Step 1: Inspect all the details regarding the status when receiving or sending the shipment and ask your supplier or consignee to do the same.

Step 2: Document every detail, including photographic evidence. Make a note in BOL about the damages and shortages. Keep all the necessary documents. The more information you can gather to present as evidence, the better your chance of claiming your loss.

Step 3: Communicate immediately with your freight forwarding company about the damage, loss, or even a delay. When shipments are delayed, your forwarder must be able to reach the carrier for inquiry. Availability of live tracking from the origin to the final mile delivery avoids any confusion.

Step 4: Store the damaged cargo or advise your consignee to do the same. This is important since you might not get compensated for the total shipment. If possible, keep the load intact until the claim is finalized.

Step 5: In the next step, complete the paperwork required legally for the financial reimbursement from whomever was liable for the damage or loss. Based on the Incoterms and freight class, the liability and paperwork might change for different instances.

Freight claims usually recover the existing cost of the load but not its future profit. Determine a reasonable value for the lost/damaged cargo. Get assistance from your freight forwarder for the claim.

Step 6: If you are a responsible party for the payment of shipping, pay the bill as soon as possible. Legally speaking, lost or damaged or not, you need to abide by your contractual obligations for a successful freight claim.

Step 7: You or your forwarder should hand over a legal request to the liable party. The responsible party decides on the stakeholders’ behavior or obligation according to the trade contract. You must specify the list of damaged or missing items and their value, including invoices.

In a case of claim rejection, the liable party must inform you of the reasons for their decision. Depending on the outcome of the damage or loss claim, further legal proceedings can take place.

Freight forwarders will never be able to avoid all damaged or lost cargo instances. But at least they can ensure that you are compensated for the loss and provided while reporting the information regarding the incident to avoid future incidents.

It is always recommended to partner with a reliable freight forwarding company in the first place to eliminate the hassle of dealing with lost or damaged freight. Prevention is always better than the cure.

As we simplified a complete guide on freight shipping from its terms to filing a claim for damages, there might still be questions in your head that need to be answered. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding freight shipping by businesses who want to use their services.

FAQs on Freight Shipping

How does freight shipping work, and what are the different types of services offered?

The process of moving cargo in bulk by land, air, or sea can simply be called freight shipping. But freight shipping today is far broader than mere transport scheduling. Initially, the process begins with accumulating shipment information like dimensions, weight, quantity, and freight class to determine the shipping mode (land, air, sea, or combined) and services offered.

This is followed by proper packaging and labeling of the shipment. Including all the required details in a Bill of Lading is of paramount importance. Finally, you need to hand over the shipment to a reliable and experienced freight forwarding service provider after matching their services with your requirements.

Different types of services offered by freight forwarders include full truckload (FTL), less than truckload (LTL), partial truckload (PTL), and intermodal and expedited shipping.

What factors should businesses consider when choosing a freight service company?

  1. Business requirements (both qualitative and quantitative)
  2. Expertise and experience in the industry your business is operating
  3. Reliability and transparency
  4. Cost of operations
  5. Credentials from the industry
  6. Technological advancement and streamlined process
  7. Network with other stakeholders in the transport industry
  8. Reach across the geographical areas you operate
  9. Compliance requirements related to the cargo you are handling (licenses, certifications, and permits)
  10. Customer service

How can businesses save money on freight costs without compromising on quality or service level agreements (SLAs)?

  1. Better truck utilization in both FTL truckload freight shipping and LTL freight shipping
  2. Negotiating attractive freight shipping rates and more appealing terms on your freight shipping quotes
  3. Building long-term partnerships with forwarders (contract steady lane volumes) and re-negotiation
  4. Scheduling freight pickup on off-peak days
  5. Consolidation into truckload freight whenever possible
  6. Advance shipping notices to allow forwarders to handle cargo within increased lead times
  7. Using the right packaging option with the minimum damage
  8. Plan to load and unload quickly
  9. Optimizing space available to minimize the number of pallet spaces required
  10. Hiring a freight forwarding company or a 3PL specialized in the industry your business operates who can provide you the benefits of economies of scale

How much does freight shipping cost, and what factors influence the price tag?

There is no freight shipping cost standard because the cost depends on many factors. One of the main factors is if you are in need of international freight shipping or if it will be transported domestically.

Other determinants include the type of shipped freight items, inventory requirements (reefer or dry van), mode of transport, transit times, dimensions, weight, distance, freight class, lead times, destination type, number of handlings, fuel costs, and freight demand, etc. Based on these factors plus the selected shipping option, the rates may vary.

For example, LTL rates are mainly dependent on the freight class. Other fees are typically applied for additional services and actions. For the rates of FTL and PTL, the joint determination is the standard mileage rate. Further charges may be added for services like detention and driver assistance.

How can you make the freight shipping process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you and your partners?

  1. Be transparent during the negotiation and look for long-term partnerships.
  2. Automate compliance, documentation, and reporting: Your freight shipments must adhere to the border crossing’s global trade policies and regulations. Manual submission requires hours of labor.Moreover, freight shipping requires many customers and export reporting and documentation. To avoid lengthy delays in shipments due to incomplete documentation or license errors, you can automate these processes, which shall eliminate missteps and integration compliance parallel to the transportation execution.
  3. Use real-time tracking software or opt for forwarding services with up-to-date technologies.
  4. Preparing the Bill of Lading (BOL) with all the required details and inspecting cargo against the BOL right before loading and unloading.
  5. Using suitable packaging and palletizing methods with high priority for safety.

Final Thoughts

If you’re getting in the shipping business to ship freight, you’ll quickly understand that there are a lot of complexities and processes to sort through while learning the ropes. The ability to ship freight successfully lies in overcoming the learning curve and then leveraging the proper systems and software to ensure full comprehension of the freight shipments landscape.

Freight services are different than other types of shipping and involve a vast network of multiple carriers, with competing priorities, pricing, and shipping options. Knowing the ins and outs of your shipment details and the nuances of what your shipment requires will help you feel confident when getting shipment pricing and help you receive a more accurate quote.

Ultimately, freight shipping companies are there to help you as a partner in your business. Having freight experts on staff or in a strategic partnership can help your businesses logistics operations run smoothly.

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

September 8, 2022

Categories

3PLs
Brokers
Shippers

Subscribe to our blog

Blog

5 Reasons Why Shipping Management Software Is Getting So Popular

LinkedIn
X
Email

If you’re like most business owners, you’re always looking for ways to make your business more efficient. One way to achieve this is through the use of shipping management software.

The world is constantly evolving and eCommerce platforms are supporting new online stores to come to life on a daily basis. The need for shipping software solutions increases in concert with each new store. The popularity is easy to discover but the reasons why are what is most valuable to understand. Let’s review five important reasons why shipping software is so popular.

What Is Shipping Management Software?

Shipping software assists both online and offline organizations in streamlining their logistical processes. Shipping management software can offer complete shipping services in addition to fundamental shipment management services including order management, inventory management, warehousing, and fulfillment services. Pickup and drop-off (PUDO), packing, label printing, bundling, kitting, etc.

Ecommerce businesses can swiftly print shipping labels using shipping software, interface with many shipping providers at once, manage all shipments from a single dashboard, and more using tech-enabled solutions. The performance of eCommerce as a whole can be enhanced by shipping software in this way.

Types of Shipping Management Software and Their Uses

business, idea, strategy

Software for Freight Brokers

Freight broker software is necessary for brokers who need assistance with managing the freight of their clients, billing clients, and paying carriers. Software for freight brokers is created to make it simple for them to enter loads, find and qualify carriers, assign drivers, invoice clients, and pay carriers.

Shipping Software for eCommerce

eCommerce shipping software aids businesses in the organization of their eCommerce data, the integration of cloud services, the configuration of business processes, and the consideration of crucial elements such as customer purchasing patterns and shipping options.

With extensive inventory management features and import/export possibilities, it is meant to assist eCommerce enterprises in lowering overall costs and increasing efficiency. eCommerce business owners who ship internationally and domestically can use eCommerce shipping software.

Software in this category typically has other tangible benefits for its users like the ability to print shipping labels, streamline shipping processes, access shipping rates, estimate shipping costs, and provide greater visibility into the entire process.

Software for Tracking Shipments

With the use of this software, exporters and shippers may track their cargo at every stage of the shipping process. Depending on the needs of the shippers, there are various types of shipment tracking software packages, including land, air, and sea (or any combination thereof).

Software for tracking supply chain shipping containers is available, and some of it enables exporters and shippers to find a specific voyage, reserve containers, send shipping instructions, follow the movement of containers, control ocean freight rates, assess container rates, and perform other tasks.

Both shippers and exporters who want a clear picture of where their freight is at every stage of their trip can benefit from shipment tracking software.

Software for Freight Management Systems

A freight management system also referred to as a transportation management system, aids shippers in streamlining supply chain operations, streamlining the shipping process, and improving logistical efficiency. Planning, carrying out, and optimizing the physical movements of items are dealt with in this branch of supply chain management.

It can be described as a logistics platform that gives users the ability to oversee and improve the everyday activities of their transportation fleets. This kind of software is used by shippers and logistics service providers, such as manufacturers, distributors, eCommerce businesses, wholesalers, retailers, and third-party logistics firms.

Shipping Software Advantages

Measures for pre-audit

The shipping procedures of every transportation company must be audited. The work is made significantly easier with the aid of a well integrated shipping platform where someone can combine the information from the freight operation tools with the carrier’s invoice. To more efficiently conduct an audit, a person merely needs to match the invoice attributes with the associated assessments for each consignment.

Tools for visibility and communication

When an order is given to the shipper’s vendors using integrated software, the shipper can have greater visibility into the shipping operations as a whole. The shipping solution becomes more robust and the extensibility of the software grows with each integration.

Execution of the shipment

Shippers may now manage all shipments using a single, shared system, regardless of the mode. Freight shipping, Free shipping, shipping via multiple carriers, and more is all available at the click of a button.

The best shipping software solutions also allow for easy calculation of discounted shipping rates across multiple carriers to allow customer expectations to be met on both cost and delivery time.

Additional shipping software benefits depending on the price point of the purchased system include:

  • Shipping rules creation and automation
  • Batch shipping and shipping presets
  • Shipping dashboard
  • Packing slips
  • Vendor portal
  • Real-time shipping information updates
  • Rate shopping and discounted shipping rates
  • Real-time electronic proof

How Much Does Shipping Management Software Cost?

savings, budget, investment

The price of shipping management software ranges from $100-$1,000 per user/per month on average. Prices change in response to features and options, user volume, updates, and promotional codes. To evaluate the software, the majority of providers offer a free trial anywhere from 14-60 days.

Who Uses Shipping Management Software

Since the bulk of sales is now made online, shipping management software is no longer a choice. Every eCommerce firm that wants to compete and flourish must have access to the best shipping software available.

Shipping software might be hardware-based, cloud-based, flexible plug-in-based, or, as with many larger firms, an enterprise configuration. Going with a subscription service with adaptable plug-ins is a very good option for younger businesses with a lot of other start-up costs. Or for companies that are not sure exactly what they will need in the long-term but know they’ll need to have enough flexibility to be able to grow the business.

Enterprise shipping software is typically more complicated and specialized in comparison to the requirements of those just starting out and is intended for more established organizations, such as corporations, high-volume retailers, or government entities.

The majority of high-quality corporate software solutions provide automated documentation creation during the shipping process in addition to scalable, adaptive, and adjustable shipping. Order fulfillment is streamlined as a result, and your company is better equipped to handle multi-carrier orders and shipments in one location.

5 Ways Shipping Software Is Effective

It Expands Management’s View

The expanded use of shipping software tied to other systems like a transportation management system, order management system, inventory fulfillment system, or warehouse management system allows an organization to better satisfy a customer’s needs. The real-time visibility it provides to managers and upper-level stakeholders helps with strategic planning and future execution.

The software solution can be evolved to satisfy special delivery needs, such as freight-specific import-export, warehousing, and transportation regulations. With specially created, bespoke shipping software, your workflows across multiple sales channels will undoubtedly improve.

Control of speed

When it comes to completion speed, the software is an outstanding assistant. Most LTL systems offer carriers the ability to control the delivery process, from the request for a tariff to the offer of a contract. The procedure is made simpler and more effective by eliminating the need for human data entry using a dependable shipping software.

Dealing with operational difficulties

Individual or corporate freight forwarders may encounter difficulties when dealing with international connections. Consider how much simpler it would be if everything could be done with shipping software, a highly automated system.

As a result, communication would be easier, quicker, and more precise. From the time of booking until the invoice and final delivery, there would be many flexible alternatives available to you.

Cost management

Any business’s main objective is to lower expenses and boost revenue. One major benefit is the ability of a software system to automatically generate a variety of operational data. Shipping industry data helps to create new efficiencies, learn about changing policies, and work with major carriers to sharpen pricing to control costs.

Owners and managers can exert continuous control since they always have access to the inventory costs and key accounting data they require. This leads to greater insight into how to lower overall costs as well as a more open and effective management system.

Real-time observation

A shipping dashboard that enables businesses to oversee and track shipping activity in real-time can aid eCommerce retailers in becoming more efficient users of their eCommerce software.

By hosting their own business rules and pre-audit information to get a better understanding of each shipment’s characteristics, online sellers can be assured that they are maximizing the features of the platform. The data provided by the shipping software makes it possible to do this analysis and monitoring.

5 Reasons Shipping Software Will Grow in Popularity

sapling, plant, growing

It provides customers with different delivery options

This not only enables customers to select the delivery mode of their choice but also frees up enterprises from having to fulfill high demand. The best shipping software can eliminate all shipping worries, including those related to cost, delivery time, and location.

It enables online sellers to consider alternative shipping options like same-day delivery, local delivery, international delivery, economical delivery, and custom delivery without adding overhead.

It enables clients to follow deliveries

Many consumers had not yet tried placing an online order and were unaware of how deliveries worked before the pandemic. It’s crucial for people in this group to feel in control and in charge of the situation, especially older consumers who might be less tech-savvy.

Being able to track their deliveries is a key component of this. They feel like they are a part of the process because they can follow a product’s path and keep tabs on it. Powerful delivery management software is built specifically to allow multiple levels of visibility to meet customer expectations.

Allows clients to select the delivery day and time

You can divide each day into multiple time windows using the best shipping software, after which consumers can select the preferred delivery time. Additionally, the program works with order management systems to label each new delivery in accordance with the preferences of the consumer.

It notifies customers of deliveries via email

Customer notifications about the delivery are sent out in advance by shipping software so that customers are aware of it and don’t miss it. Customers might be alerted to the approaching delivery via an email or SMS sent out 24 hours beforehand. To achieve this, online shipping software solutions make use of cloud technology.

Allows drivers the freedom to interact with customers directly

Shipping software gives drivers the freedom to interact with customers directly through dashboards and mobile apps. Because even something as straightforward as a customized SMS message can enhance a customer’s experience, this builds trust between a business and its customers.

Any shipping solution that empowers the customer is worth the cost. Exceeding customer expectations at every turn is the most powerful mechanism for ensuring business success and longevity. The customer-facing features of shipping software are vital and should never be left out of a purchase.

Final Thoughts

Shipping management software can do wonders for your business. It makes the process of shipping much more efficient and streamlined. As a business, you want your shipping operations to be as efficient as the rest of your company. You need to be able to ship your products as fast and as efficiently as possible, while not compromising on the integrity of the delivery or customer experience.

The best shipping software will allow you to do this and more with ease. Shipping software for use with other key systems should always be considered to ensure a shipping platform can scale with your business to meet the growing and ever-changing demands. Selling online isn’t easy but can be made a bit easier when you have strong shipping software as a key piece of infrastructure.

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

September 8, 2022

Categories

3PLs
Brokers
Shippers

Subscribe to our blog

Blog

Logistics Resource Management – 3 Tips to Maximize Efficiency

LinkedIn
X
Email

If you’re like most business owners, you’re always looking for ways to increase efficiency and optimize operations. Logistics resource management is a great way to do just that.

When it comes to logistics management, there are a few key things you can do to streamline your process, eliminate waste, reduce costs and make the most of your resources.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what logistics resource management is and how you can use it to optimize your supply chain.

By following these tips, you can improve your bottom line and become more competitive in today’s market.

What is Logistics Resource Management?

mark, marker, hand

Logistics Resource Management is a subset of logistics management that focuses on making sure that internal resources are used efficiently.

This includes areas like:

  • Inventory Planning
  • Inbound / Outbound Logistics
  • Warehousing
  • Fleet Management
  • Delivery Fulfillment

Logistics resource management aims to minimize waste and maximize efficiency throughout the supply chains.

Logistics Resource Management (LRM) is optimizing your entire supply chain to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Many factors need to be considered when designing a successful LRM strategy.

The multidisciplinary nature of logistics makes resources a core component at all levels. Understanding and addressing it is an essential step toward increasing the efficiency of logistics processes.

Modern and efficient LRM, enabled by technologies such as cloud-based logistics management software, predictive analytics and machine learning, allows businesses to discover new areas of revenue, increase delivery profitability, invest in higher levels of strategic planning, and provide better customer experiences.

Why Logistics Resource Management is Important

container, container port, port

LRM is important because it directly contributes to an organization’s success. Studies show that optimizing your logistics transportation can increase revenue and help achieve greater profitability.

In today’s competitive marketplace, businesses need to be efficient in order to survive. With the right LRM strategy in place, companies can save time and money by reducing waste and improving their capital efficiency.

The increasing complexity of the movement of goods has made logistics management critical in keeping up with evolving customer needs, increased competition, and market dynamics.

Logistics management is critical to planning and controlling the flow and storage of goods and services to meet customer demand. Both inbound logistics and outbound logistics are part of the planning process.

Optimized logistics provides clear visibility into transportation activities to ensure smooth supply chain management. For instance, by analyzing transportation data, companies can improve route optimization to avoid disruptions and save on operational and fuel costs.

Effective logistics execution can help businesses improve end customer satisfaction by ensuring that products are delivered to meet customer requirements.

How to Optimize LRM

business, search, engine

Customer satisfaction is the end goal of any logistics chain since it impacts your brand image and ability to earn more business. Effective logistics management is the key to success.

To optimize your LRM strategy, you must understand how to use your resources effectively and efficiently.

There are five key tactics you can employ to optimize your logistics strategy, including:

  1. Analyze your data and company strategy
  2. Implement contingency planning
  3. Leverage business automation and software
  4. Employ just in time (JIT) implementation
  5. Leverage market research and historical data

Analyze your data and define a strategy

The first step is to analyze your data to understand where you can improve efficiency. This includes looking at things like transportation costs, delivery times, inventory levels, fulfillment, and customer satisfaction levels.

By understanding where your weaknesses are, you can make changes to improve your operations and reduce potential disruptions.

Defining goals for your transportation and logistics operations is the next step. As you are goal setting, you must define measures linked to the overall objectives of the organization.

One way to successfully complete this is by examining every link in your supply chains and planning from that perspective. One potential output from this assessment could be the decision to outsource part of your operations or management controls to a third-party provider to create efficiencies.

Implement contingency planning

A logistics resource management strategy is not complete without a contingency plan. This is essential to have in place in case of any unforeseen problems that may disrupt your supply chain.

Your contingency plan should cover things like supplier disruptions, quality control issues, transportation delays, IT system failures, and natural disasters. Having a plan in place can minimize these events’ impact and keep your operation running smoothly.

Instead of handling significant issues as they arise, try preparing your operations by acting proactively. Contingency plans are helpful in decision-making ahead of time. Having one in place can help you address issues in real-time.

Leverage business automation and software

Business automation is a game-changer for the modern-day supply chain management. It provides businesses with logistics data collection and analysis from multiple sources, perspectives, or applications, allowing more informed decisions about their operations.

There are many business applications and software solutions that can help you to optimize your operations and resource capabilities.

By automating tasks like transportation, order, and warehouse management, you can free up to focus on other areas of your business.

Not only will this improve efficiency, but it will also help to improve accuracy and reduce human error. The next evolution of autonomy will be artificial intelligence. RPA is becoming more critical as companies rely on greater levels of robotic process automation to complete administrative tasks.

Systems that can significantly help you include:

  • TMS – Transport Management System
  • WMS – Warehouse Management System
  • OMS – Order Management System

Transport Management Systems

A TMS provides coordination and management of transportation to move goods from origin to destination. TMS is a comprehensive software that supports companies in managing logistics activities and improving shipping processes. It enables streamlined communication using one platform with real-time updates available.

Warehouse Management System

A WMS provides efficient control over stock levels, inventory movements, and warehouse operations. WMS is software that automates and streamlines warehouse tasks and processes. As a result, it increases accuracy and efficiency while reducing operational costs.

Order Management System

An OMS ensures the timely and accurate processing of customer orders. OMS is software streamlining the order management process by automating tasks, such as order entry, pricing, and invoicing. It also provides visibility into the status of orders, inventory levels, and customer data.

TMS and WMS or OMS are systems that can help you streamline operations and manage your logistics resources effectively.

The best logistics and supply chain planning software can be integrated, bringing huge value and more efficiency to your operations.

JIT implementation

Just-in-time (JIT) implementation can be a very effective way to reduce costs and increase efficiency. JIT is a system in which supplies are only acquired or used as they are needed, rather than being stockpiled.

This can help to reduce waste, as well as the cost of stored materials and excess inventory. In addition, JIT can help to improve communication and coordination between different parts of the supply chain.

Market research and historical data

Looking at the past to help decision making in the future is critical. Different stages of the logistics management process will reveal opportunities to improve your strategic planning. From equipment, to scheduling to customers, there is a no stone left unturned mentality to mining this type of data.

How to measure success?

Measure Success with 3Gtms

Resource optimization is incomplete without integrating measurement, output analysis, and feedback.

You need to measure the results when deploying a new strategy or system. This is important as it shows the success or failure of the plan and defines potential areas for further improvement.

LRM software and applications should be able to show you where your company’s strengths and weaknesses are. From warehousing unused products to avoiding last mile delivery hiccups, you’ll find areas to improve.

You need to analyze metrics related to different types of operations, including:

  • Cycle time metrics
  • Cost metrics
  • Service metrics

By tracking and measuring your company’s performance, you can make changes and adjustments to your strategy as needed to improve efficiency and optimize your operations.

Final Thoughts

A company’s logistics management must evolve and adapt to the latest technological innovations to meet rising customer expectations, generate profits, and allow for growth.

Companies must implement the best logistics management practices in-house to enhance operational performance by emphasizing process coordination and information sharing.

Logistics resource management is a critical part of any business. You can stay ahead of the competition by managing your systems better. Companies need to understand and address logistics management because it directly contributes to an organization’s success.

As competition increases and market dynamics evolve, logistics resource management will become even more critical for keeping up with changing customer needs.

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

September 4, 2022

Categories

3PLs
Brokers
Shippers

Subscribe to our blog

Blog

3G’s Leadership team recognized as Top Women Moving the Transportation Industry Forward

LinkedIn
X
Email

Featured: The Women Achiever Magazine, August 2022 Issue

According to a recent Forbes article, organizations with women holding at least 30% of leadership roles are 1.4 times more likely to have sustained, profitable growth.

Jen Holtvluwer serves as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Shauna Coleman as Chief Human Resource Office (CHRO), and Stephanie Richelieu Stagger, is our Chief Customer Officer (CCO).

3G’s 50% female, officer led leadership team was featured in The Women Achiever magazine, as the Top Women Moving the Industry Forward. Keep reading for a quick overview, or to access the full editorial, click here.

The feature highlights Jen Holtvluwer (CMO), as a Passionate Leader Who Never Stops Building. Whether that be building teams she knew could do great things, or building a foundation of trust, and empowerment, Jen shared her passion for building and growing tomorrow’s leaders. As the team grows, so does the business.

Shauna Coleman (CHRO), A Servant Leader Using Pivotal Lessons to Lead Human Capital, shared that starting in the Marine Corps. has played a significant role in the people strategy she uses to lead the team at 3G: never letting the person next to you fail.

Stephanie Richelieu Stagger (CCO), A Logistics Pioneer Showcasing Passionate Work and Leadership, explains that her comfort with uncertainty, paired with her keen sense of empathy, has greatly influenced her ability to approach customers, decide what products to offer to them, and how they should be presented.

“Transportation is the lifeblood of our economy, and it is only becoming more complex. We intend to meet the challenges head-on by continually innovating to meet the new digital future of transportation.”
– Jen Holtvluwer, Chief Marketing Officer, 3G

“To become a successful leader, always ask questions, seek information, be decisive, be organized, have great communication skills, and most importantly be self-aware.”
– Shauna Coleman, Chief Human Resources Officer, 3G

“Be open to opportunity, you don’t have to know everything you just have to be open to working hard and knowing when to seek out guidance. Find a variety of mentors from within and outside your industry. Learn something every day – build your industry knowledge and develop your general business acumen. Transportation and supply chain, heck the world in general, is going through continuous change, keep thinking ahead.”
– Stephanie Richelieu Stagger, Chief Customer Officer, 3G

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

August 25, 2022

Categories

3PLs
Brokers
Shippers

Subscribe to our blog

Blog

Parcel: A Worthwhile Conversation for 3PLs and Their Customers

LinkedIn
X
Email
Part 3 of 3

In Part 2 of our series about the benefits of a parcel-capable TMS, we discussed the growth opportunities available to 3PLs around parcel. But what about their shipper customers? What about their growth? There are several ways that actively supporting customers’ parcel operations can positively impact their growth, in addition to yours.

Operational Efficiency:

There is a reason shippers turn to 3PLs to manage freight transportation: it’s hard! Parcel may be easier to self-manage than freight, so many shippers keep those fulfillment operations in-house. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way. Manufacturers and distributors consolidate operations and systems all the time because it makes their businesses run more efficiently. Now, they can do the same with their parcel and freight management. With a parcel-enabled TMS, experts in transportation can manage the entire shipping lifecycle, from the tiniest packages to the heaviest pallets, in a single system. No more toggling back and forth from one system to another, which saves time and greatly minimizes user frustration.

Cost Savings:

Many shippers still manage parcel the same way they always have: via a few large carriers’ disparate portals. However, that deprives them of the opportunity to shop across rates and modes, because doing so may well require manual comparisons which takes too much time. By combining all shipping into a single TMS, a 3PL managing a shipper’s freight can make rapid, automated determinations about what mode to use, and, for those shipments going parcel, what carrier and service level. The carrier network and negotiated rates available to a sophisticated 3PL ensure that shippers aren’t just saving money on freight, but parcel, too. This increases the value the 3PL brings to their shipper customers.

Growth:

For a shipper, growth requires a combination of developing, making, and selling more products. That requires resources, which are typically limited. That’s where focus on one’s core business becomes imperative, and the ability to bring in external subject matter experts pays substantial dividends. We’ve already established that, just because parcel can be managed internally, doesn’t make it the best use of resources. By extension, shippers could be redeploying those resources to other areas where they can make a real difference. Having a parcel-capable TMS to serve shippers with can make all the difference. By allowing shippers to focus on core competencies, while increasing their capacities to fulfill orders, a 3PL can play a meaningful role in shippers growing their businesses.

We hope you’ve found this three-part series about the benefits of a parcel-capable TMS informative. If it has sparked questions about how parcel can be a source of 3PL growth, how to approach customers about managing their parcel, or the benefits they will see from it, we hope you will reach out. We can help you craft the right message and provide your shippers with a business case, along with any other supporting materials you need to have a productive discussion.

If you haven’t seen 3G’s Parcel Management Support Solution in action, get a sneak preview here.

Other Parcel Information Resources:

Part 1: Growth in Parcel = Growth for 3PLs

Part 2: 3PL Growth Opportunities in Parcel Management

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

August 19, 2022

Categories

3PLs

Subscribe to our blog

Blog

What Carriers Must Know to Maximize TMS Freight System Profits

LinkedIn
X
Email

The trucking industry is a critical component of the U.S. economy, responsible for transporting billions of dollars in goods each year. Despite this importance, the industry has been hit hard in recent years by a combination of factors including high fuel prices and regulatory changes.

In order to remain competitive and thrive in this challenging environment, carriers must embrace new technologies and practices that will enable them to operate more efficiently and profitably. One such technology is the transportation management system (TMS), which is a software application that helps carriers manage their freight shipments.

What is a TMS Freight System?

TMS freight is a software application that helps carriers manage their freight shipments. Transportation management systems can provide a number of benefits to carriers, including reducing shipping costs, improving customer service, and increasing operational efficiency. In order to realize these benefits, however, carriers must choose the right transportation management system for their needs and use it effectively.

How does a Transportation Management System for Freight work?

automobile, highway, road

A TMS freight system works by providing carriers with a centralized platform from which they can manage all aspects of their shipping operations. This includes booking shipments, tracking shipments, and invoicing customers. Transportation management systems can also provide visibility into the supply chain, allowing carriers to optimize their routes and schedules.

What Industries Benefit from Transportation Management System?

store, stacks, shelves

TMS freight systems can benefit any industry that ships goods, but they are particularly well-suited for the trucking industry. This is because transportation management systems can track freight efficiently, which helps carriers reduce shipping costs, improve customer service, and increase operational efficiency.

Some of the other industries that can benefit from TMS freight systems include:

  • Retail: Using transportation management systems, retailers can ship orders more quickly and efficiently, resulting in improved customer satisfaction. From the retail perspective, a TMS can also help to reduce shipping costs.
  • Manufacturing: A TMS can help manufacturers ship products more quickly and efficiently, which can lead to improved customer satisfaction. In addition, a TMS can help manufacturers reduce shipping costs.
  • Distribution: When used in conjunction with a warehouse management system (WMS), a TMS can help distributors improve their inventory management and order fulfillment processes. This can lead to improved transportation operations.
  • 3PL: A TMS can help third-party logistics providers (3PLs) improve their shipping operations to better meet the needs of their clients. They can also help provide better visibility into the overall supply chain to help logistics management.

Benefits of TMS Software

economy, profit, stock exchange

As anyone in the logistics industry knows, there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of. A good transportation management system (TMS) can make all the difference in keeping your business organized and efficient.

But what exactly are the benefits of using a TMS? Here’s a rundown:

Fleet tracking

A TMS will give you real-time visibility of your transportation services as a whole, including your fleet; location, performance, transit time, and maintenance records. This information is vital for route optimization, freight planning and simply keeping your business running smoothly.

Improve communication

Transportation management systems can help improve communication between dispatchers and drivers throughout your entire transportation network. Drivers can get updates on route changes or delays, and dispatchers can see where drivers are and how they’re doing.

Improved carrier communication can in turn supply business insights that help to improve carrier performance thus improving on-time shipments and order management.

Cost savings

When you have transportation management software, you can take advantage of features like real-time pricing to get the best deals on shipping. You can also avoid costly mistakes like overbooking or booking with the wrong carrier.

Not all shipments can save time and money but by avoiding manual processes and using machine learning, the opportunity improves.

Increase efficiency

It’s easy to see how TMS software can make your business more efficient. With all of your information in one centralized location, TMS technology allows primary users access to detailed information and actionable reporting to improve upon the entire shipping process.

Stay compliant

TMS software can help you stay compliant with regulations like Hours of Service (HOS). By keeping track of your drivers’ hours and rest times, you can avoid costly violations. And with emerging technologies, additional benefits with new compliance regulations are always covered.

Reduce emissions

During route planning, the transportation management system takes into account things like traffic and weather to find the most efficient route. This can save fuel and reduce emissions from your fleet.

Higher customer satisfaction

Whether you’re shipping orders or delivering goods, a TMS can help you get them to your customers on time. Order management is critical for customer success and using a transportation management system provides additional value in terms of extending the capability to offer expedited shipping.

Choosing the Best Carrier for Your Needs

container, container port, port

Once you’ve decided to use a TMS, the next step is finding the right carrier for your needs. There are a few things to consider:

  • Services offered: Does the carrier offer the services you need, like refrigerated shipping or cross-border shipping? It’s important to make sure they can meet your requirements.
  • Pricing: Compare rates between carriers to find the best deal. Don’t forget to factor in things like fuel surcharges and accessorial fees.
  • Network coverage: Does the carrier have a good network, with coverage in the areas you ship to? You’ll want to make sure they can get your shipments where they need to go.
  • Technology: Is the carrier using the latest technology, like GPS tracking and real-time updates? This can make a big difference in the level of service you receive.
  • Customer service: When you have an issue, you want to be able to reach someone who can help. Make sure the carrier you choose has good customer service.

Tips for Optimizing Your TMS Freight System

business, search, engine

Once you’ve chosen a carrier and set up your TMS, there are a few things you can do to optimize it for maximum efficiency:

Automate where possible

Transportation solutions will have features like automated booking and tracking that can save you time. For instance, if you know what days and times your shipments are typically delivered, you can set up your system to automatically book them for those days and times. This way, you don’t have to manually input the data each time.

Use real-time data

When it comes to your TMS, data is your best friend. A good system will provide you with real-time data on everything within the shipping process, from ship times and locations to ETAs and tracking numbers.

This information can be invaluable in helping you plan and optimize your shipping process and manage transportation services across your entire operation.

Stay organized

A well-organized TMS freight system can make a world of difference. Make sure to keep track of all your shipments, bookings, and tracking information in one central location. This will help you stay on top of things and avoid any potential shipping disasters.

Communicate with your carrier

A good relationship with your carrier is essential for a smooth-running TMS freight system. Be sure to communicate your needs and expectations to them, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re having trouble with anything.

Keep an eye on your system

Like any piece of complex machinery, a TMS freight system needs to be monitored and maintained. Be sure to keep an eye on your system and make sure it’s running smoothly. If you notice any problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to your carrier for help.

Be flexible

Things change, and when they do, your TMS freight system needs to be able to adapt. Be flexible in your planning and be prepared to adjust on the fly if necessary. This will help you avoid any potential shipping disruptions.

Take advantage of features

A good TMS provider will have a variety of features that can save you time and money. Be sure to take advantage of all the features your system has to offer, and don’t be afraid to ask your carrier for help in getting the most out of them.

Plan for the future

A good TMS freight system is an investment in your business. Be sure to plan for the future and choose a system that can grow with your business. This will help you avoid any potential shipping headaches down the road.

Following these tips, you can be sure that your TMS freight system is running as efficiently as possible. By taking the time to optimize your system, you’ll save yourself time and money in the long run.

Best Practices for Maintaining a TMS Freight System

spanner, tools, wrench

If you’re using a freight management system (TMS), it’s important to keep it running smoothly in order to avoid disruptions and delays in your supply chain. Here are the best practices for maintaining your TMS.

1. Keep your system updated with the latest software releases. This will ensure that you have the latest features and security patches. Since cloud-based TMS software is constantly evolving, it’s important to keep up with the latest changes.

2. Perform regular system backups. This will help you recover from any unforeseen problems that may occur. Your backups should be stored in a safe and secure location.

3. Test your system regularly. Testing helps you to identify any potential problems that could occur. Testing should be done on a regular basis, especially after any changes or updates have been made to the system.

4. Monitor your system closely. The TMS should be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that it is functioning properly. Any problems that are identified should be addressed immediately.

5. Keep your documentation up to date. When changes are made to the system, be sure to update your documentation accordingly. This will help you and others understand the system better and avoid any confusion.

6. Seek help from experts when needed. If you’re having problems with your TMS, don’t hesitate to seek out help from those who are more experienced. There are many resources available that can help you troubleshoot and resolve any issues you may be having.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the entire process and how a TMS freight system can help ensure that your entire operation is running smoothly and efficiently. The system plays a central role in your organization’s ability to track shipments and retain critical shipment information.

By taking the time to care for your system, you can avoid disruptions in your supply chain and keep your business running smoothly. TMS vendors can provide vital insights and support in maintaining and effectively using a system to grow your business.

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

August 16, 2022

Categories

3PLs
Brokers
Shippers

Subscribe to our blog

Blog

Are 3PL Logistics Services Any Good? 10 Ways You Can Be Certain

LinkedIn
X
Email

To understand if 3PL logistics services are good, we first need to better understand the process and management of logistics. Let’s break it down into its parts so we can better understand the whole.

Logistics can be explained as the entire process of coordinating all related activities from resource acquisition, warehousing and storing, and providing transportation services to the destination.

Logistics operations is a complex network that includes different types of functional components. Demand planning, inventory management, transportation management, fulfillment services, storage and materials, and complete control are the main components highlighted in logistics.

When it comes to functions, designing logistic networks, procurement, ordering, and reverse logistics are all important. The success of logistics is directly linked with the efficiency of the supply chain and increased reliability in delivery and quality.

It is obvious that logistics operations are quite complex as well as quite important for any business. Therefore, most companies outsource some of their logistics activities to a 3PL provider. There are mainly 5 types of logistics providers as 1PL, 2PL, 3PL, 4PL, and 5PL. Our focus here is Third-party logistics services (3PL).

3PL Logistics Services

Outsourced logistics services are provided by a 3PL provider, and include anything that includes administration of one or more aspects of procurement and/or fulfillment. This could be warehouse space, fulfillment centers, freight management, or other areas of supply chain operations.

In the commercial world, 3PL refers to any service contract that involves storing or moving goods. A 3PL service might be a single provider, like transportation or warehouse storage, or a systemwide bundle of services capable of managing supply chains.

For example, think about a toy manufacturer. It employs a fulfillment center to handle online orders, and to transport its freight services, it engages a trucking company. Both the fulfillment center and the carrier are 3PL suppliers.

Industries benefitting from third-party logistics

gears, cogs, machine

It’s also conceivable for a single third-party logistics supplier to complete and deliver toy orders. The toy manufacturer may employ supply or distribution services only when they are needed by contracting with a single 3PL provider, allowing it to better control expenses while focusing on its core business of manufacturing.

If we observe the industries which employ the 3PL services more often, the answer is all types of businesses use 3PL, from a small eCommerce stores to medium-sized businesses to major corporations. Manufacturers and distributors, cosmetics makers, pharmaceutical companies, trade show transportation, retail, machinery, restaurant equipment, and supplies, and the aerospace industry are just some of the major industries which have benefitted from using 3PLs.

Services offered by third-party logistics providers

 

    • Warehousing

    • Distribution services

    • Inventory management

    • Shipping and receiving

    • Picking and packing

    • Kitting and customization

    • Reverse logistics (returns)

Ensuring a third-party logistics provider suits your company

web, network, points

There are lots of logistics service providers in the world. As a business, you are best served by selecting the most suitable logistics services for your company.

Here are 10 factors to help source a suitable third-party logistics service for your business.

Define your needs

It is not a good idea to enter into a contract without first determining what you require. This is a stumbling block for many companies. Make sure you’re not one of them. Have a set of expectations that are well-defined.

 

    • What exactly do you require?

    • When do you think you’ll be able to see the results?

    • And, more importantly, in what sequence will this be done?

You’ll avoid the crowd of business owners who have had bad luck with 3PL services if you do your homework ahead of time. A third-party logistics company will want this from you.

Consider multiple providers

You’re not going to choose just one 3PL and call it a day. You need to do your due diligence. On the flip side of the coin, don’t review too many third-party logistics suppliers because it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of options available.

Remember that the bulk of 3PLs will use the same carrier pool and that all third-party logistics providers have all the services that are considered essential. Those are not differentiators nor should they be examined closely. The intangibles are where you want to dig deep.

Stability

In terms of finances, that is. Because the operations of your firm will be dependent on the operations of another; good financial standing is essential. Consider what would happen if your chosen 3PL company suddenly went out of business.

You’ll have to put your business on hold while you look for a replacement. The loss of business here will be noticeable, even if it is just temporary. The loss of customer satisfaction downstream could be catastrophic.

Technology capabilities

Robust technology will make the entire process seamless, not just between you and your partner, but also in terms of delivering customer satisfaction. Even if you aren’t at the point where you require the technology now, you may need it later when your operations have progressed.

Opinions & reviews

Every business claims to be the best (even if they aren’t). The distinction may be seen by looking at their previous or current clients. You should have a look around and see how you can figure out how the third-party logistics company is referred to by others.

 

    • What do past consumers have to say about their adaptability?

    • How trustworthy are they?

    • Are you confident in your safety?

    • Do they provide efficient delivery?

    • What shipping methods do they employ?

    • What tracking technology do they use?

These are some of the indicators you might use to determine whether or not a firm is worth a deeper look.

Customer service

Most of the time, you want a third-party logistics provider to have customer service that aligns with that of your company — at least from the viewpoint of your clients. The service provider should be considered a branch of your company.

What they do will likely impact you and your brand. You’ll want to take this into consideration as cost savings don’t add up to much when bad customer service is chipping away on the other end.

Scalability

Scalability is important along the entire supply chain. If your chosen partner doesn’t have the capacity to scale, you won’t be able to either use their services. Logistics companies are truly only as good as their ability to scale with the needs of the businesses they partner with.

Pricing

The emphasis is on transparency in pricing rather than pricing in and of itself. You want to employ a third-party logistics company that is always upfront in terms of its pricing. No hidden fees, no gotchas and few if any nickel and dime scenarios.

You might be tempted to choose the provider based solely on cost savings. Resist this urge. As previously stated, price should not be considered in isolation. You might miss out on the bigger picture.

The cheapest option is not necessarily the best one. Before making a decision, you must consider all of the services and benefits that come with the price and run an apples-to-apples comparison with your option B to ensure you’re selecting based on a full suite of features.

Geographical location

It is advantageous to select a provider that offers a variety of location-based services. You likely won’t need all of them but you won’t have to settle for what’s available if you do need more. Furthermore, a supplier that supports multiple locations might have strategies that they will share to your benefit as you expand into new territory.

Cultural fit

To some extent, this is the most vital. Keep in mind that you’re largely turning over a piece of your company to be handled by someone else. As a result, you must guarantee that your partner that will handle your third-party logistics for potentially years to come embraces the same (or similar) culture as you.

There is nothing worse than finding out later on that a company on which you rely for critical services has some scandal, offputting views, or some other controversy put on public display.

Selecting a 3PL service provider

mark, marker, hand

The above-discussed points will help to identify whether a particular 3PL service provider suits you. In there you should be careful about the following concerns.

Lack of responsibility leads to irregularities- When a courier firm employs a third-party logistics provider to handle its logistics distribution, it relinquishes partial control over the whole shipping process. When there is a full absence of control over a process, there is always the possibility of a problem arising. And if it does, the company’s reputation may suffer as a result.

Communication issues- Two very different firms are working toward the same objective, and communication is critical in this situation. However, because the message must go from one organization to another, difficulties may emerge, leading to factual errors or utter misunderstanding. When this happens, the delivery is almost always deemed a failure.

You are required to asses how to overcome these issues when selecting a 3PL service provider.

Questions to ask when selecting a 3PL service provider

question mark, sign, problem

As a businessman, you can get an idea about 3PL service providers’ culture, capabilities, their technology by having a discussion with them. Following are some questions you can include in your conversation

What’s Your Business Model? – If the 3PL service providers are open to discussing their business model, it will give you an idea about whether to trust or not.

What are the technologies you are currently using? – This will give an idea about the technological capabilities of them

Can You Outline All Potential Accessorial Charges? – This will help to get an idea about the cost associated with them. This is quite important as there may be hidden cost factors.

Further, Do You Require Contracts?, Can you explain a bit more about the freight carriers? and What Carrier Liability Limits Are Applicable? Are some other questions which help you to get an understanding of a particular 3PL service provider?

Benefits of a third-party logistics 3PL provider

business, economy, profit

In the logistics world, there is a tremendous demand for 3PL services. The following are just some benefits of having a 3PL service provider.

Access to required facilities

It’s difficult for a corporation to have access to the total supply chain, their own warehouse or warehouses that are strategically positioned, and the transportation services needed to move a large volume or quantity of items consistently. 3PL firms, on the other hand, nearly always have access to such resources.

Enormous Capacity

Using third-party logistics 3PL services allows firms to serve a large number of customers at once. It’s conceivable since these logistics firms often have a significant capacity as well as a high level of efficiency and industry knowledge.

Specialization

3PL firms are extremely specialized as they typically run with a single goal in mind: to provide logistical support across a variety of industries. Specialization improves the effectiveness of these firms, which helps the courier companies that use them.

They are built to understand shipping strategy and have core competencies in logistics management and supply chain management.

Final Thoughts

The role of third-party logistics is evolving but the core competencies have remained intact for years. Managing the supply chain has never been more time-consuming and complex than it is today. And tomorrow it will take another step in the same direction.

For a business to succeed in a world of increasing consumer demand, leveraging the assets of a third-party logistics provider is essential. Most 3PLs provide the same services but it is the intangibles that truly separate one from another.

Properly vetting your final options during the selection process will ensure that your business objectives will be properly observed and your goals become a reality.

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

August 15, 2022

Categories

3PLs
Shippers

Subscribe to our blog

Blog

3PL Growth Opportunities in Parcel Management

LinkedIn
X
Email
Part 2 of 3

In the first part of this three-part series, we discussed the growth of the parcel shipping market, and the size of the opportunity it presents to 3PLs. For this second installment, we are going to focus on what form those growth opportunities take. There are two ways for parcel to figure into a 3PL’s growth strategy: volume increase and service expansion.

Volume Increase:

The more reliant shippers become on parcel, the more volume they will have, and the more complex management will become. The sheer volume alone, along with the need to source necessary capacity, and potentially expand the carrier network could be handled in-house, but perhaps should be handled by a trusted partner. When it comes to current customers, the trust has already been built, but perhaps the shipper has not yet seen that it would make sense to expand the relationship. During the COVID pandemic, and associated shift to e-commerce, shipping patterns fundamentally changed. Many goods traveled to their final destination by parcel, not TL/LTL, and many shippers are likely still perfecting their fulfillment operations. The 3PLs handling those shippers’ TL/LTL accounts are in the best position to help generate efficiencies for those relatively new to doing higher volumes of parcel. In doing so, 3PLs create a new value-add for shippers – helping to navigate a somewhat unfamiliar situation – and therefore a competitive differentiation for themselves.

In-Warehouse Execution:

The more parcel a shipper takes on, the more their warehouse operations will change. This presents a sizable opportunity for a 3PL to not only capture that parcel business, but to expand into warehouse operations, too. Increasing complexity will drive many shippers to outsource more and more of their supply chain operations, including fulfillment management in the warehouse. Many 3PLs are already equipped to do warehouse management (in fact, some focus primarily on it). However, for those not in this niche, increased parcel volume presents an ideal opportunity to raise the subject with current customers. The result may well be parcel and warehouse business – a formula that can be repeated with other customers, too. 

It’s obvious to any experienced 3PL that supply chain operations have changed over the past three years and have done so dramatically. What is sometimes less obvious are the places in which 3PLs themselves can turn this change into a growth opportunity (especially when some areas traditionally covered by 3PLs, like TL and LTL, contracted during the pandemic). Parcel is a perfect example of somewhere to capture additional business and volume from current customers. The trick is recognizing when and where they may need that help even before they do and initiating the right conversation with them.

In Part 3 of the series, we will cover shipper benefits 3PLs can speak to when proactively approaching customers about parcel management. In case you missed Part 1, check it out here.

LinkedIn
X
Email

Author

3G

Publish date

August 3, 2022

Categories

3PLs

Subscribe to our blog