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How are Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Others Impacting Last-Mile Delivery?

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Last-mile delivery is the final step in shipping an order to its ultimate destination (e.g., a customer’s residence). Since it’s the section of the delivery process that most closely involves the end user, prioritizing it is essential for maintaining customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to get right. So much so that the phrase “last-mile problem” has become a sad staple in the industry, with X Delivery research noting that 56% of all abandoned baskets are left due to delivery concerns.

Customers’ standards are higher than ever — they don’t just want fast; they want fast and free. Meeting these ever-increasing demands is proving difficult for many. But companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash impact last-mile delivery in previously unseen ways, like improving delivery speed, enhancing driver flexibility, and providing advanced tracking.

Naturally, these businesses face their fair share of challenges, but the seven areas of the sector they’re influencing are proving transformational for employees and customers alike.

7 Ways Delivery Platforms are Reshaping Last-Mile Delivery

#1 Speed and Efficiency

The demand for faster, more efficient deliveries has been rising for years. However, the advent of DoorDash and similar platforms has accelerated, with customers consistently expecting same-day/instant delivery. 

From electronics to groceries to makeup to clothes, these providers leverage their extensive driver network to meet consumer demands effortlessly. With a mere click of a button, Americans can receive their order in as little as one hour, thanks to the platforms’ efficient process management. 

Of course, the various retailers’ inventory and warehousing management protocols can slow some delivery times. However, most big-name brands that’ve partnered with such platforms have managed to simplify proceedings accordingly.

#2 Cost Optimization

Traditionally, shippers employ drivers to pick up parcels and travel their pre-defined routes to satisfy last-mile delivery requirements. But Uber, Lyft, and other gig platforms flip that on its head, providing a cost-effective solution for small- and medium-sized businesses. 

All drivers are self-employed, meaning the company isn’t under any obligation to pay for vehicle maintenance, select routes, or pay wages when there isn’t work. Instead, drivers select the orders they can fulfill on the app, pick the packages up, and deliver the goods to the right customer. They receive payment for the work they’ve completed, keeping costs as low as possible. 

By saving last-mile delivery dollars, companies can charge less for shipping, satisfying customers who want delivery speed and cheapness when shopping online.

#3 Flexibility

Flexibility is perhaps gig economy platforms’ most prominent impact on last-mile delivery. They offer the ability to scale the workforce according to ever-changing demand — when there’s more work, more drivers can step in on demand; when there’s less work, fewer drivers take the reins. The same goes for sudden order spikes.

Drivers also have the freedom to take on as little or as much work as they want to, helping them achieve optimal work-life balances, regardless of their situation. 

#4 Technology Integration

The uptick in providers like Uber, DoorDash, and Lyft has rendered traditional track-and-trace technologies useless, leaving real-time visibility and on-demand communication in its place. The statistics speak for themselves:

 

    • 90% of customers prefer brands that offer tracking options.

    • 94% of customers are likelier to repeat purchases from brands exceeding delivery expectations.

    • At least 83% of customers track online orders.

These platforms integrate advanced technologies into their apps, enhancing overall customer experience during last-mile delivery by giving them an easy-to-access, on-the-go way to check and track their order status in real-time.

#5 Market Expansion

Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash boast particularly massive market presences, letting them fulfill last-mile delivery expansion needs quickly and efficiently — a feat traditional logistics networks do not have the facilities for.

Historically, stringent onboarding and weeks-long communication must occur before shippers can fill any gaps in their delivery processes. But today’s fast-paced world doesn’t have time to sit stagnant for this long, and gig economy platforms are proving that, especially Uber. The company’s drivers can be cross-dispatched, allowing their gig-based workforce to complete various activities on the same day.

#6 Competition and Innovation

It’s no secret that these platforms have shaken up the last-mile industry. And while those bogged down in traditional processes may disagree, these modern solutions have provided some much-needed competition, fueling innovation in the space. As a result, service quality, delivery models, and efficiency rates are improving unprecedentedly. 

Faster delivery offers a chance to build consumer loyalty. This rate of innovation could be the answer to increasing the percentage of firms offering two-hour delivery (currently sat at 19%) to do just that.

#7 Service Diversification

These platforms had relatively humble beginnings, offering ridesharing only. However, they have evolved into more than that, branching into delivery services and providing diverse last-mile solutions for businesses and consumers, like one-hour delivery, two-hour delivery, and pick, pack, and deliver.

Challenges Faced by Uber, Lyft, and Similar Providers

While Uber, Lyft, and similar platforms are undeniably revolutionary, they face a few challenges that could impact their abilities to have a prolonged impact on last-mile delivery:

 

    • Regulatory concerns — Regulatory speaking, the gig economy operates in pretty murky waters. It has raised many concerns among advocacy groups and policymakers regarding worker classification, labor rights, and benefits. Therefore, businesses using gig workers for last-mile deliveries may face scrutiny and legal challenges as time goes on.

    • Sustainability woes — Sustainability goals are hard to manage using a gig fulfillment process. Drivers may deliver packages separately, taking many trips to meet strict deadlines. While this ensures customers receive their packages quickly, it’s a sure-fire way to put environmental goals on the back burner. Since only 38% of consumers worldwide say they believe retailers are doing a good job using sustainable delivery protocols, according to Descartes data, maintaining eco-friendliness is more critical now than ever.

    • Labor disputes — Gig workers cannot take legal action against the contracted corporation during labor disputes. With Biden’s recent revision to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s definition of an employee, last-mile providers operating on a gig-based system may need to alter their business models.

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Publish date

April 22, 2024

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How the Right Transportation Management Software Can Reduce Labor Costs 

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As digital transformation continues to accelerate customer expectations for shipping speeds, inefficient, manual transportation management can be devastating to productivity. On top of slowing down processes, operations that rely on spreadsheets and cumbersome management methods quickly rack up unnecessary costs from inefficiency, especially when it comes to labor. That’s why transportation and shipping software is so important: it can provide frontline workers with the tools they need to work more efficiently, streamline operations, help optimize routes, automate processes, and even help small, medium-sized, and large operations function at the same level.

The right transportation and shipping software doesn’t just streamline operations and reduce different types of transport costs — it can generate significant savings on labor expenses at a time when profit margins need extra protection. Here’s what you need to know about reducing labor expenses and transportation costs with the right software.

How Transportation and Shipping Software Reduces Labor Costs  

Implementing a transportation and shipping platform is essential for streamlining operations and reducing transportation costs amid record-setting inflation. However, making processes more efficient through digitalization doesn’t just make life easier for employees — each of these benefits plays a direct role in reducing labor costs as well:

Streamlined Route Planning and Carrier Consolidations 

Manual logistics planning requires employees to painstakingly track variables like delivery schedules, vehicle capacities, and traffic conditions to create the most efficient and cost-effective routes and shipments. With such an overwhelming amount of information to juggle, not only do workers make more mistakes in planning — but the menial work also eats up a lot of labor hours. 

Transportation and shipping software automates route planning, scheduling, and carrier consolidation by using algorithms to easily identify opportunities to optimize each delivery. This eliminates much of the most mentally taxing work involved in planning and scheduling, which is especially important for small operations where the workforce may already be overutilized, and saves time in addition to reducing errors. By deploying transportation software, companies can easily scale their shipping volume without straining or expanding labor resources to maximize profit margins. In fact, BarProducts.com was able to reduce their labor expenses by 75%, and even lowered their error rate in the process. 

Reduced Administrative Burden 

When using spreadsheets and paper-based systems, employees have to manually enter and manage order, shipment, and invoice data — all critical and time-consuming work that can take many labor hours. The time and effort involved in coordinating with carriers and managing compliance documents only exacerbates labor and different types of transport costs — especially as shipping volumes increase. 

Transportation and shipping software can automate a lot of the tedious administrative processes involved in these operations,  streamlining order entry, shipment tracking, and invoicing, and virtually eliminating manual data entry and paperwork. By automating these tasks, the software not only reduces the risk of errors — it helps employees get more done in less time.

Automated Invoicing, Auditing, and Settlement 

A key benefit of transportation and shipping software is that it helps streamline the entire order process, including invoicing, contract management, and other key financial processes, all the way from the initial order to final settlement. Many platforms feature built-in auditing so users can easily track the status of any transaction within a single user interface.    

The software can also automatically deliver updates about order status, enhancing customer service metrics. Automating these communication tasks doesn’t just improve customer satisfaction and collaboration — it also frees workers to use their time more efficiently and focus on more value-driven tasks that increase revenue.

Integrations

With manual transportation management processes, employees must painstakingly move or replicate information across the different systems they use for order tracking, route planning, and other critical tasks. Integrations enable users to automatically export or sync data with other systems, reducing the need for manual data entry and the risk of errors, unifying workflows, and even expanding the types of services available to customers. This capability reduces time wasted and improves overall productivity, dramatically reducing labor and transportation costs in the process. 

3G: The Right Transportation and Shipping Software for the Job 

Controlling labor and transportation costs is critical for shippers to remain competitive in today’s ultra-efficient logistics environment — regardless of the size of their operation. Leading-edge transportation software can be a game-changer for companies that have outgrown spreadsheets and other manual methods of tracking their shipment. 

3G offers a full suite of software solutions to help optimize routing, trailer packing, carrier selection, invoicing, and other critical business processes — all crucial to holistically reducing labor and transportation costs. Experience the 3G difference with a free product demo. 

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April 10, 2024

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Recurring Costs Associated With Legacy Transportation Management Software in Shipping 

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Supply chains are only becoming more complex in terms of scale and the speed with which they move goods. With each passing day, we also see more and more of how limiting it is to use manual systems and track shipments with multiple tools, making it difficult to handle the high volume of shipments necessary to compete in this landscape. This gap in performance is now leading to inefficiencies, a high number of errors, and a lack of real-time visibility into the supply chain. 

When you continue to rely on manual systems to manage your shipments, you’re not just slowing down processes and inconveniencing employees — you’re also incurring tangible and unnecessary expenses for your operations, eating into profit margins and long-term success. Digital transportation management solutions are key to breaking through to higher profit margins. 

The Cost of Legacy Transportation Management Solutions 

Software has evolved to streamline every aspect of transportation management, but many shippers still use paper-based logs, spreadsheets, email chains, and phone calls to get everything done. Even when operations utilize more advanced digital tools, capabilities can be spread out across multiple solutions, creating more manual touchpoints and data silos. These inefficient methods of managing shipments use a variety of techniques and tools, but have one thing in common: They’re time-consuming, labor-intensive, and much more costly than necessary. Using these systems not only hinders your company’s productivity but can also incur additional expenses. 

Increased Labor and Administrative Costs 

Using spreadsheets and manual paper systems to manage complex shipments, order processing, invoicing, and auditing is incredibly labor-intensive. All the extra time workers spend on basic processes adds up to higher labor and administrative costs. In addition, when shipping routes aren’t planned for maximum efficiency, workers may need to build out and process extra shipments to meet order requirements, potentially increasing shipping costs over time. As automation comes to define the industry more, the legacy methods lacking streamlining capabilities dramatically increase labor budgets. 

Higher Shipping Costs 

Because manual processes are so time-consuming and cumbersome, they often hinder decision-making and lead to suboptimal planning. Trying to keep track of so much data in different files, it can be easy to overlook the best routes or identify the best carrier rates, leading to missed opportunities for savings. As a result, shippers might select more expensive carriers or inefficient routes, ultimately increasing overall shipping costs for companies. 

Excessive Inventory Costs 

Across the board, a lack of real-time visibility into inventory levels and efficient routes can cause shippers to hold more inventory than necessary, leading to increased warehousing and other costs. It encourages shippers to maintain higher inventory levels to avoid delays, requiring more storage space to hold the excessive inventory, ultimately increasing storage costs and tying up cash in items they might not need. The inefficient routing associated with legacy systems also leads shippers to build up safety stock to avoid delays in customer orders. 

Unnecessary Fuel Spending 

In addition to keeping drivers out on the road longer than necessary, poor and inefficient route planning extends mileage, resulting in higher fuel costs. The poor route visibility associated with legacy systems can also make it easy to overlook retailers with better fuel rates, causing drivers to spend more at the pump on top of driving unnecessary miles. 

Surprise Fees and Charges 

When routes aren’t optimized, drivers are likely to face delays in loading and unloading, resulting in detention fees and other charges from carriers. Drivers must also follow strict regulations about the number of hours they spend on the road before needing a break. Poor route planning can increase the number of layovers they require, potentially incurring additional costs. These unexpected fees add up quickly and can have a substantial impact on transportation budgets. 

Higher Risk of Error 

Manual spreadsheet and paper log systems create a higher risk of human error in order processing (such as delivery address data and shipping piece counts), or in meeting regulatory compliance standards, such as documenting driver hours of service, emissions data, and vehicle maintenance. Small mistakes can result in costly fines and penalties from regulators. What’s more, compliance mistakes with carrier and partner contracts can jeopardize relationships and even leave shippers open to lawsuits or lost revenue. 

Escape Recurring Costs With Transportation Management Solutions 

Spreadsheets, paper logs, and other manual transportation management methods may be cheap to implement, but the inefficiencies and errors cost shippers dearly in the long run. And unfortunately, upgrading to multiple digital solutions can leave your workflow just as scattered and cumbersome. What shippers really need is a unified transportation management solution that allows users to implement more automation, consolidate data for reporting, and integrate more effectively with other systems. 

A unified platform streamlines route planning, order management, carrier selection, freight payment, and more, allowing users to cut labor costs, reduce shipping fees, avoid accessorial charges, and more. Want to enter a new era of transportation management? Schedule a demo with 3G, today. 

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April 10, 2024

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The ROI Potential of High-Quality Transportation Suites

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The logistics landscape is rapidly changing amid growing supply chain complexity, evolving customer demands, and global inflation. Shippers are caught in the middle of this upheaval, required to adapt quickly while maintaining profits. In this environment, embracing digital transformation is essential for shippers to remain competitive.

Transportation suites can help shippers overcome many of these challenges but come with a higher upfront price tag than spreadsheet systems. Are they worth the investment? Here’s a look at how users have benefitted from implementation, and what advantages you can expect for your own operation.

The Pillars of High-Quality Transportation Suites

What is a transportation suite?

A transportation suite is a comprehensive software solution designed to optimize and manage various aspects of transportation and logistics operations within a business or organization and integrates multiple modules and features to provide a holistic approach to transportation management.

In general, a transportation suite enables businesses to automate processes, streamline workflows, reduce costs, improve visibility, and enhance customer service.

What do transportation suites do?

 

  • Improve Planning: Helps users optimize every shipment, including finding lower rates and consolidating loads to improve efficiency and reduce costs
  • Streamline Execution: Enables fast, reliable, and custom logistics plans while utilizing fewer resources
  • Build Stronger Connections: Facilitates deeper and more efficient collaboration with customers, carriers, vendors, and partners at-scale, and without error
  • Quote & Rate Shop: Rate shop across modes and carriers in a single place, to pick the right service level for the right price on each shipment
  • Improve Shipment Accuracy: Ensure the correct number of pieces are in a shipment or make sure the address is correct before sending to avoid delays and unnecessary fees
  • Shipment Compliance: Helps shippers meet the requirements of trading partners, customs authorities, and the U.S. Department of Transportation when shipping goods
  • Automate Manual Workflows: Streamline operational processes and enhance shipping efficiency by automating manual tasks within the suite

Reaping the Rewards of a Transportation Suite

A transportation suite will likely require a larger upfront investment than manual systems — both in terms of capital and resources for implementation — but it can quickly and dramatically pay itself off once it is in place. What’s more, by automating transportation processes, shippers can transform operations and realize significant cost savings and operational efficiencies that continuously improve profit margins over time.

The suites with the best ROI achieve results across a number of key performance areas — just look at what these companies were able to achieve:

Route Planning

Transportation suites can utilize a wide variety of variables and data points like distance, real-time traffic patterns, delivery windows, and carrier rates to quickly identify the most efficient routes for each shipment, minimizing mileage and reducing fuel costs. What’s more, the software tracks traffic and changing conditions in real time so users can make routing adjustments on the fly. Bemis Manufacturing Company leveraged 3G’s routing capabilities to consolidate and streamline their line haul planning, dramatically reducing the price points for their distribution network below both competition and the industry standard.

Easy Optimization

Transportation suites allow users to quickly and effortlessly optimize multi-stop, less-than-truckload (LTL), and other complex shipments, not only reducing fuel and labor costs, but also increasing shipping volume and generating more revenue. These efficiency gains lead to significant cost savings while helping shippers quickly scale operations without utilizing additional resources. In one case, after implementing TMS, Green Circle Growers was able to generate over $600,000 in savings by better optimizing their multi-stop full truckloads.

Cost Effectiveness

In addition to utilizing map data to optimize routes, a transportation suite integrates directly with carriers for real-time rate visibility, allowing users to make more cost-effective carrier selections. Since transportation suites can track and organize so much on-the-ground data about each shipment, it’s easy for users to assess the performance of different carriers and how each vendor compares in terms of speed and value. Koch Foods was able to reduce freight spending by a double-digit percentage thanks to deeper carrier visibility provided by TMS.

Maximize ROI With 3G

It’s important to choose a solution with a proven track record of helping users achieve results.

3G offers a full suite of solutions including shipping management platforms, a best-in-class carrier network, and robust ERP integrations, all designed to streamline transportation operations and maximize ROI. Since its inception, 3G has become a top choice for shippers seeking to streamline and scale their operations. Read other customer success stories to learn more about what our platform can do for you.

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April 4, 2024

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Optimizing LTL Freight Shipping With A Transportation Management System (TMS)

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Third-party logistics providers offering less-than-truckload (LTL) freight and shipping options are subject to several challenges. From insufficient consolidation to poor pricing and cost management to unsatisfying transit time variability, shippers become bogged down by the weight of these burdens. But the right transportation management system (TMS) can change that.

Implementing a TMS solution can automate documentation creation, provide effective route planning, fill trailers to the safe maximum weight, and enhance all aspects of the operation. With such newfound efficiency, companies can stay ahead of the always-advancing competitive curve, exceed client expectations, and overcome obstacles with relative ease and speed.

The world is only set to become increasingly digitized. Still, with a high-quality transportation management system, 3PL LTL and other shippers, won’t need to worry about being kicked to the side.

Understanding LTL Freight Shipping

Less-than-truckload shipping is a transportation type used when the shipment’s size or weight doesn’t require a full truckload. In this industry, multiple customer shipments are consolidated into one truckload, spreading the cost and sharing the space for more efficient fuel and resource usage. 

Unlike FTL (full truckload) shipping, which fills whole trucks, LTL shipments are smaller quantities and use only a fraction of trailer space. So, shippers with smaller volumes share transportation costs with another shipper, benefitting from lower prices, competitive rates and boosted flexibility.

Despite the benefits of LTL freight services, a few common challenges create significant pain points unless sufficient systems are in place.

Common LTL Freight Logistics Challenges

Difficulties exist in all industries. However, those in the less-than-truckload sector are particularly grueling, covering everything from competitive pricing, and cost management to communication, compliance, visibility to transit time variability, and insufficient consolidation. Discovering the details of each challenge ensures leaders are ready to manage them, proactively preventing profit-losing downtimes in the future.

  • Insufficient consolidation — Consolidation is the bread and butter of the less-than-truckload freight logistics. It’s the ticket to effective route planning, optimally utilizing trailer space, and adequately planning loads. Insufficient consolidation leads to improper routing, poor LTL shipment load planning, and nonsensical trailer space utilization. Ultimately, these factors can reduce provider reputation, damage present client relationships, reduce cash flow, cause resource loss, and cause many more unfortunate happenings.
  • Pricing and cost management — Controlling costs and managing the pricing side of LTL shipping presents a considerable challenge for business leaders. Everything from weight to accessorial charges to distance to shipment dimensions contributes to the pricing of a particular order. Providers work tirelessly to provide accurate prices to their customers. Still, they fail to offer a consistent scale without the proper technological installations, as cost management is a near-impossible task. 
  • Transit time variability — Customers don’t want unreliable shipping times, especially since providers like Amazon provide exceptionally speedy and dependable shipping dates. However, variability in LTL freight shipping is a common occurrence. The “hub-and-spoke” business model is crucial to this type of shipping, meaning shipments can pass through several legs and get transloaded a few times at terminals before hitting their final-mile delivery section. And the more complex a provider’s network, the more opportunities for missed pick-ups and delays. Thus, delivery days or times in less-than-truckload shipping aren’t typically guaranteed.
  • Communication and visibility — Real-time shipment tracking is a must-have, but it’s incredibly challenging for LTL shippers. There’s very little visibility and minimal communication during the LTL lifecycle, creating difficulties in tracking and managing shipments. Whether it’s adverse conditions, capacity issues, or limited technological infrastructure, this part of the industry is plagued with visibility tribulations.
  • Compliance — Non-compliance with regulations can bring about hefty fines, lengthy delays, and considerable reputational damage for LTL freight shipping providers. However, standards are constantly changing, meaning leaders must spend a significant portion of their working lives remaining abreast of evolving regulatory additions or adaptations. Plus, professionals must ensure documentation, such as bills of lading, shipping labels, and customs forms, are completed accurately, presenting even more challenges.

The Role of a Transportation Management System (TMS) in Optimizing LTL Freight

Sometimes called a transportation management solution or transportation management software, a TMS provides LTL freight shippers with the technologies they need to plan, execute, and optimize the movement of goods. Whether ingoing or outgoing, the system ensures proper documentation is available, the shipment is compliant, and loads are effectively managed. 

Businesses can rely on the platform for unparalleled visibility in day-to-day operations, trade compliance data, and documentation. This increases the likelihood of shipments arriving on time, regardless of destination locations and of the innate complexities seen in less-than-truckload consolidation.

Transportation management systems are the backbone of the modern LTL freight world, giving professionals the technological power to optimize almost every facet of their operations.

Key Features of TMS for LTL Freight Shipping

Transportation management systems come with seemingly endless lists of features. However, LTL freight shippers will benefit most from the six below:

#1 Remote Access

The most critical feature of transportation management systems for LTL carriers and freight shipping providers is that it gives them the much-needed power of on-the-go knowledge. Remote access allows businesses to know how, when, and where their freight is handled through real-time system access, offering shippers peace of mind through the availability of important information.

Enhanced visibility promotes accountability, too. Boasting consistent, to-the-minute shipment updates, TMSs reduce the time needed to pinpoint issue sources. Leaders know when and where their chains become tangled, helping them rectify the problem quickly and seamlessly.

#2 Load Optimization

Every logistics provider understands the importance of load optimization. However, it becomes even more crucial in the less-than-truckload shipping world. Since no singular shipment fills an entire trailer, professionals must expertly coordinate a plethora of shipments into one truck, multiplying the complexity of the operation. 

Many years ago, this tricky process was an extensive, manual procedure. However, transportation management systems allow LTL freight shipping companies to harness the power of its technology for this purpose, streamlining and accelerating the ordeal.

A TMS has the tools to optimize every load by regulatory requirements and vehicle specifics. Input the truck’s dimensions, save them for later dates, and automatically assign the day’s shipments. Depending on the particular TMS, the load planner may have a 3D feature, allowing professionals to see cargo distributions onscreen.

#3 Route Planning

Route planning is just as vital as load optimization for LTL freight shippers. They may be able to fill a truck, but how it gets to its many destinations is the next most significant hurdle. And yet again, the tools TMS solutions provide can automate the process. 

The best TMSs come with built-in mileage and routing features that consider all aspects of the truck’s journey and automatically produce the most cost-effective, fuel-efficient route, improving operations from the bottom line.

#4 Integration

Creators of transportation management systems understand the cruciality of their products and their ability to work synergistically with current systems. Connectivity across a wide range of platforms is the name of the game in today’s LTL freight shipping world, so TMSs come with innovative features that allow for precisely that.

Whether businesses have a warehouse or order management systems, they can rest easy knowing that their new implementation will slip seamlessly into their workflows. There’s no place for information silos in 2024, and TMS solutions ensure companies can say goodbye to them once and for all.

#5 Payment and Audit

Freight bills can be incredibly complex, mainly where less-than-truckload freight is concerned. Thankfully, transportation management systems remove the headaches from the process. 

Various tools within the accounting features of the program automate invoicing and payments, completing duties like correct application of LTL shipping rates, invoice validation, discrepancy reconciliation, and so much more. By automating the process, companies can ensure they comply with auditing needs, save time, and decrease errors throughout the supply chain.

#6 Reporting and Analytics

Alongside the real-time tracking feature mentioned earlier, TMS software provides real-time analytics and a variety of custom reports for professionals to generate. Generally speaking, businesses use them to monitor predetermined performance indicators to make informed decisions that improve intrinsic workflows and boost profit margins.

That said, such reports are also critical for compliance with various industry standards. By taking advantage of the included analytics, less-than-truckload shippers can stay more appropriately aligned with the regulations set by policymakers.

Addressing LTL Freight Challenges Through TMS Implementation

The features discussed above work in unison to optimize the less-than-truckload freight shipping operations, addressing the challenges mentioned in a previous section as it does so.

Following proper implementation, transportation management software for LTL service providers makes capturing and analyzing data from across the business a breeze. Generating comprehensive reports becomes a non-issue, giving profound insights into potential opportunities for further optimization and value-adding decisions.

That said, TMS truly comes into its own when preventing the difficulty of insufficient consolidation. Its automation allows professionals to rapidly and accurately fill trailers with appropriate shipments, even when picked up at different points.

Benefits of Optimizing LTL Freight Shipping with TMS

Beyond its ability to address the challenges mentioned earlier, TMS offers several benefits, including:

Improved Operational Efficiency

Efficiency is the answer to longevity, but freight operations are complex processes. So, how can the LTL industry and freight services providers overcome the complexities and offer seamlessness within their operations? By using a transportation management system to:

  • Track shipping lifecycles;
  • Optimize routes based on fuel efficiency;
  • Plan loads to utilize trailer space effectively; 
  • Reduce human error through label and documentation automation;
  • Improve resource allocation and planning.

Less-than-truckload freight shippers who firmly rely on a high-quality, integrated TMS are more likely to reap overall efficiency-improving benefits.

Enhanced Visibility and Tracking

LTL freight class shippers need complete transparency with their clients in this day and age. As such, they require all information at their fingertips — a near-impossible feat without the technological prowess of transportation management systems. 

Providing to-the-minute tracking updates to clients is one of the primary ways to exceed expectations in 2024 and beyond. TMS uses the ever-advancing Internet of Things to monitor trucks at all times, offering perfect visibility to users and their customers.

Beyond automatic shipping notifications, less-than-truckload shippers can use the information to track shipments, detect delays and communicate transit times and durations to suppliers. Ultimately, this keeps accountability and reliability high, a must-have for LTL freight shipping providers.

Cost Savings and Effective Resource Utilization

Using a TMS as an LTL freight shipper brings excellent cost savings into an otherwise expensive process. System users can reduce shipping costs, administration expenses, and inventory charges as the integrated platform decreases paper usage, automates cost calculation, and uses resources effectively.

Through complex algorithms, the platform generates the best (i.e., most cost-effective) routes for drivers to take and fills each truck to maximum capacity. Saving money and utilizing resources properly in freight movement allows businesses to improve processes in other areas.

Improved Informed Decision-Making

Transportation management systems also give business leaders extensive opportunities to make split-second decisions that will benefit the company in the short- and long-term. Choices need no longer be made without access to in-depth analytics. TMS integration bridges gaps to offer a complete picture of the company before finalizing a decision. That way, leaders can be assured they are making a valuable addition. 

Today’s competition for special services is exceptionally fierce. Thus, only those who can stay adequately ahead of the curve will remain afloat, boosting the necessity of transportation management systems.

How to Implement a Transportation Management System

Implementing a transportation management system is essential for proper uptake, decreased resistance, and meeting goals. Companies should heed the following steps when integrating a new TMS:

#1 Define Goals

As mentioned above, TMSs can benefit LTL freight shipping businesses in many ways, including automated invoices, improved communications, route optimization, enhanced visibility, efficiency optimization, and more. However, the only way to reap such rewards is by understanding how the system will integrate into an existing process. 

Thus, companies should ask themselves the following questions:

  • What does success look like after implementation?
  • What achievements are desired?

Businesses should have a clear picture of what their operations look like post-implementation. This proves much easier with a strategic business plan in place. It helps leaders figure out the potential ROI of the transportation management system.

#2 Find the Best TMS

TMS options are plentiful, but they aren’t all the same. Since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, the wrong TMS can result in lost resources, money, and time. So, choosing the perfect one is essential. To do that, consider the following:

  • Interface — It should be easy to use. After all, everybody throughout the business needs to use the system, so an unnecessarily complex design can sully the implementation. The interface should be intuitive and streamlined, with sensical processes and workflows.
  • Flexibility — Business needs change. Thus, any TMS should be easy to modify based on ever-evolving requirements. As mentioned previously, one size does not fit all.
  • Updates — Transportation management systems must keep up with quick industry changes. Therefore, companies should consider how often the platform updates and its updating processing. Cloud-based provisions are usually the best, offering more frequent and accessible system updates than those housed on servers.
  • Integration — Businesses should consider how the new system will integrate with current ones. For best results, they need to work synergistically. 
  • Accessibility — Whether the TMS is cloud- or server-based affects how easily users can access the information remotely. As the IoT becomes more apparent, having a transportation management system in the cloud will be crucial for successful integration.

#3 Get Staff On Side

Some employees may be resistant to change. After all, it’s a ubiquitous part of human nature. However, leaders need to break through this resistance. Why? Staff members are the key to successful implementation. If they’re happy and willing to use the system, transitioning to new working methods won’t be difficult.

Companies should focus on clear communication and change management to get staff on the side before going live. Following the first two steps, getting people onboard should be more accessible.

#4 Prepare for Success

Intricate preparations can begin once everyone agrees that the change will help the business meet its goals. People should be excited about the new implementation, and this feeling needs to continue. To help it do so, leaders can:

  • Dedicate extra resources to the project.
  • Create a committee to organize and oversee implementation efforts.
  • Acknowledge and create a plan for potential setbacks or challenges.
  • Communicate transparently to ensure people are updated and involved at every stage.
  • Assign a project manager to run the implementation.
  • Meet with relevant stakeholders to talk about integrations with other systems.

#5 Create and Follow a Plan

Depending on what LTL freight shipping businesses want the system to do, implementation can take several days, weeks, or even years. Therefore, having a clear plan (and sticking to said plan) will ensure that teams keep momentum throughout the process. 

Leaders must set a realistic timeframe, alongside budgeting and action points, to guarantee they stay on track. Plus, thorough documentation is necessary to keep moving forward, regardless of the process length.

Statistical Insights into LTL Freight Shipping

Daily necessities, electronic products, medicine and chemistry, and industrial parts are just a few factors driving growth within the LTL freight shipping market between now and 2030. As the demand for such products increases, so will the sector’s expansion. Air, ocean, land, and LTL freight shipments are expected to witness significant growth in the coming years, paving the way for more providers to enter (and stay) on the scene.

However, LTL shippers can’t do it alone — they need the help of a reliable, high-quality TMS to skyrocket them to the dizzying heights of success. It’s already working its magic in several areas, with companies witnessing profound efficiency and cost improvements, as proven by the following statistics:

  • TMS can reduce costs by 5% to 15%.
  • TMS-provided automation saves five to ten minutes per order, reducing labor costs by 3% to 4%.
  • In some cases, TMS reduces lead times by two days.

Integrating TMS with Other Freight Management Systems

A TMS is only as good as its integration capabilities. If it doesn’t work with an LTL provider’s current shipping systems, they won’t find much luck with their latest addition. 

Thankfully, most TMSs work seamlessly with other freight management platforms, ensuring unified workflows in all aspects of the business. Two of the most essential integrations are as follows:

WMS Integration for Streamlined Warehouse Operations

When integrating warehouse management systems and TMSs, the goal is to create a single source of operational truth for providers’ warehouse operators. The dashboard/platform must offer the most accurate, to-the-minute information to the entire organization. 

By combining TMSs and WMSs, LTL freight shipping companies create a one-stop-shop solution that details inventory and shipping data in one easy-to-use location, ensuring greater accuracy, better decision-making, and more effective predictions of shipping needs.

Fleet Tracking System Integration for Enhanced Shipment Visibility

Enmeshing TMS and fleet tracking systems allow businesses to make the most cost-effective decisions. With all the information they need on one screen, leaders can weigh service versus cost in real time without flipping between systems for enhanced accuracy and efficiency.

Integrating fleet tracking with TMS positively impacts ROI on optimization and automation technologies. It’s a win-win!

Experts anticipate these future TMS trends will have a positive impact on LTL freight rates for shippers:

  • The ever-advancing intelligence of IoT devices
  • A more widespread uptake of real-time GPS tracking
  • Automated customer service and support
  • Blockchain technology for supply chain transparency
  • Enhanced machine learning

Final Thoughts

LTL freight shipping companies have plenty to gain from a TMS, including improved reporting and analytics, boosted operational efficiency, ideal visibility and tracking, and effective resource utilization. With a full-spec transportation management system by their side, the sky is the limit.

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How To Use TMS Software To Revolutionize Your Freight Operations

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Alongside warehousing and manufacturing, transportation plays a significant role in the supply chain. Many processes must be appropriately handled, from delivery planning to shipment tracking to carrier management, to ensure efficient, money-making freight operations. And that’s where TMS software comes into play.

TMS software (otherwise known as transportation management software) assists in the planning and execution of the physical movement of goods. Its features are designed to automate and streamline essential workflows to increase profit margins, improve working relationships, and optimize infrastructure.

Today’s freight operations landscape is mired with challenges, including shipment coordination, ever-rising customer service demands, and tracking problems. Still, the right TMS software can minimize or eliminate these difficulties.

Understanding TMS Software

A transportation management system’s primary function is planning, ensuring operational efficiency, and seamlessness for freight operations. Utilized by all supply chain members and vendors, including manufacturers, distributors, and 3PLs, it’s the backbone of shipment coordination and execution in the modern world. With it, companies can stay within the competitive curve.

In other words, TMS software is a control tower that oversees the entire shipment process. It does everything, from capturing data in real-time using EDI and API technology to automatically generating bills of lading, creating shipping labels, sorting tendering, and more.

Key Features and Functionalities

As the above would suggest, this software category boasts many features and functions worth exploring to understand the full extent of its power. Some of the core qualities are as follows:

  • Order management — There are two primary functions in order management: order entry and order overview. The former can be manual or automatic and includes filling in essential details, such as commodity, weight, location, and destination. The system then generates a route, assigns transport, and sets ETA. The latter shows created orders to planners and drivers on a seamless dashboard, allowing them to manage their day’s workload.
  • Tendering — Most high-quality TMS software tenders shipments automatically. Carrier lists are organized so users can access the vendor according to predetermined parameters or let the system assign carriers. The majority boast many tendering methods, commonly status, broadcast, and waterfall. Some offer auto-award, least-cost, service-based allocations, and other tendering strategies.
  • Shipment rate management — This is unarguably one of the most crucial elements of a TMS. A rate engine calculates the transportation rates for the truckload, parcel, intermodal, or LTL shipping based on specific rules (i.e., base rates, contract agreements, and discounts). The best transportation management systems craft custom pricing rules to allow for complex tariffs and the automatic sending of client quotes.
  • Load planning — The load planner lets freight companies plan the loading space inside containers, trucks, and trailers. The software considers the maximum loads and weight, instantly calculating the free loading space. Users must input vehicle measurements once and save them for future reference. Some systems come with a 3D load plan feature, allowing professionals to see the cargo distribution in the space.
  • Fleet management — TMSs let fleet managers see all their assets in one place. Not all transportation management systems come with advanced fleet management features, but even the most basic boasts the ability to assign drivers, select equipment, manage dispatch, and deal with financial settlements for drivers. Those with dedicated fleet management integrations offer fuel consumption control, environmental impact, and tracking maintenance activity.
  • Dock scheduling/yard operations — Shippers typically spend their days scheduling dock appointments, while drivers waste time sitting in a queue. However, integrating a TMS with a yard management system or WMS ensures automated dock scheduling and load sequencing for boosted efficiency and workflow. It collates all warehouse and transportation constraints in one place, affording workers more accurate schedules. This key feature proves particularly beneficial for freight companies looking to boost their customer service, as load statuses are always available.
  • Documentation management — Transportation is a paperwork-heavy process. However, TMSs let companies automate many aspects, including invoice creation, digital bills of lading generation, shipment label production, and freight auditing conduct. Streamlining billing and invoicing is a significant pain point for many freight businesses, but modern transportation management systems eradicate it through automation.
  • Connectivity portals — Most TMS software connects customers and partners via email. However, higher-end solutions go a few steps further, allowing users to customize self-service portals. In other words, companies can allow their customers to create and view their order statuses while they publish tender offers and review/submit invoices.
  • Tracking and tracing management — The latest track and trace tech lets companies track the movement of items in real-time, eliminating the need to contact the driver to discover the truck’s location. This feature typically gives customers accurate information on their shipment location and for scheduling and security purposes. For the function to work, a telematics device inside the truck/on the driver’s smartphone links to the TMS via GSM, UMTS, or GPRS. 
  • Analytics and business intelligence — Alongside real-time tracking, TMS software offers real-time analytics and a range of custom reports for management professionals to generate. Professionals tend to use them to monitor various performance indicators and make informed decisions that improve operational workflows and enhance profit margins. Providing businesses utilize a top-notch TMS provider; the BI capabilities are limitless.

Addressing Common Challenges in Freight Management

When TMS software is implemented effectively, the features mentioned above work wonders to address the top four common challenges experienced in freight management: 

#1 Coordinating Shipments

The supply chain is more globalized than ever, necessitating cross-border international shipment coordination. However, this is easier said than achieved due to the ever-changing local regulations, language barriers, and complex international customs procedures.

Advanced carrier TMS software applications automatically consider the above, smoothing the otherwise arduous carrier coordination task and ensuring freight is moved on time and within budget.

#2 Visibility and Tracking

Companies are increasingly struggling to keep up with shipments due to the need for accurate tracking information and visibility throughout the supply chain.

Tackling the issue requires a high-quality transportation management system that utilizes IoT telematics to allow users to see the progress of their shipments in real-time. With this to-the-minute information, they can make decisions to prevent delays or other problems.

#3 Customer Service

Titans like Amazon have made people incredibly impatient when waiting for deliveries — if it isn’t fast, they aren’t happy. As such, freight operators are under even more pressure to provide timely, responsive services, regardless of where their customers are located. And with that, the need for a reliable technological solution like TMS software becomes obvious.

#4 Documentation

Depending on customs and the type of goods, a slew of documentation may be needed. Whether it’s permits, clearances, pro forma invoices, certifications of compliance, or something else entirely, the manual creation of such paperwork needs to be revised and more manageable. Luckily, TMSs shine in this situation, automating the generation of necessary documents.

Benefits of Implementing TMS Software

The benefits of implementing TMS software are plentiful due to the innate breadth of the platform. However, the top three are easy to discern. They are as follows:

Improved Operational Efficiency

It’s no secret that freight operations are complex processes. Thus, efficiency is the ticket to long-term success — and TMS software helps carriers achieve that by:

  • tracking shipping lifecycles
  • optimizing routing
  • aligning dock scheduling
  • reducing human error through documentation, label, and fulfillment automation
  • improving warehouse productivity

The more businesses take advantage of all the features provided by TMS solutions, the greater the efficiency-improving benefits become.

Enhanced Visibility and Tracking

TMS software makes transparency across the entire supply chain a reality. It combines all process data into one place, giving companies previously unachievable levels of real-time access, thus allowing them to recognize and act upon possible pain points promptly and effectively.

Likewise, the solution provides to-the-minute shipment tracking, allowing organizations to make necessary adjustments to avoid service outages. The software automatically calculates the route time, developing more realistic schedules.

Real-Time Data Insights for Informed Decision-Making

Similarly to the above, transportation management systems give companies real-time data insights about every supply chain section. No stone is left unturned, giving leaders the best chance of making value-adding organizational decisions. Today’s industry competition is fierce, and only those who can stay ahead of the curve will remain afloat. 

How to Select the Right TMS Software

Deciding on the perfect TMS software is essential to achieve the desired effect. As such, leaders should pay close attention to the steps set out below to increase the likelihood of making the best choice:

  1. Consider current technology environment — TMS software must integrate with current technological capabilities to be effective. Assessing present capabilities and future needs ensures that companies know the features they should look for in their TMS. For example, companies already invested in a CRM may not need a one-stop-shop-esque transportation management system. Helpful questions to ask at this stage include:
    1. How old is the current system?
    2. Are they sustainable?
    3. Does the current system already include reporting platforms or CRMs?
    4. What are the positive and negative sides of the current system?
  2. Decide the budget — TMS platforms can be costly, especially when custom solutions integrate with standard features. While the improvements gained are worth the price, it’s still important to consider the maximum investment to avoid going over budget. This should include the total cost of ownership.
  3. Define goals — Outlining goals for the new transportation management system creates a checklist by which companies can evaluate each vendor. Plus, it ensures budgets aren’t wasted on less-than-satisfactory software. Some benefits or goals may include:
    1. boosted visibility
    2. bottom-line savings
    3. time savings
    4. transaction automation
    5. top-line growth
    6. efficiency improvements
  4. Ask questions — When evaluating providers, companies should ask as many questions as possible to ensure their needs are met. The easiest way to do this? Create a list of queries in advance. While the specifics may vary from business to business, the most crucial include:
    1. Will the TMS work for the type of freight moved?
    2. How much time can the system save?
    3. What systems does it integrate with?
    4. How are updates handled?
    5. What ROI can be expected?
    6. What sets the provider apart from the rest?

8 Factors to Consider

A comprehensive checklist of all the features/functions desired is essential to ensure the right software is purchased. Companies should use the following as a guide for everything high-quality applications offer:

#1 Custom Options

There’s rarely a one-size-fits-all option where freight operations are concerned, and TMS software is no different. Companies should examine the customization options of their preferred logistics service providers to ensure the platform will genuinely enhance workflows and operations rather than hinder them. In other words, it must be flexible to support and improve business requirements.

#2 Automation

Without automation, TMS software becomes nothing more than a cumbersome spreadsheet collector. Therefore, an automated solution is essential for efficiency and workflow optimization. 

Many elements of freight operations can be automated with the right logistics platform, including:

  • alerts
  • document generation
  • ELDs
  • geofencing
  • tracking
  • load board integrations
  • emails
  • settlements
  • and more

Some advanced options provide point-and-click facilities to build workflows on the go — no coding required!

#3 Centralized Communication

TMSs must facilitate team collaboration by gathering all communications in one easy-to-use place. Integrated messaging must be involved in every workflow, ensuring visibility for teams and customers.

The integrated messaging platform should offer supreme functionality, making it the “record of truth” for all business communication. In-use email servers should easily integrate with the software for best results.

#4 Mobile Access

The chosen TMS should offer role-based profiles to provide every staff member with the system and data they need to conduct and execute their core responsibilities. Setting up permissions and access hierarchies is an integral but easily overlooked part of a transportation management system. It is one of the most crucial aspects to consider when choosing the best transportation services vendor.

#5 Billing Capabilities

Companies don’t have the same billing methods or types. Therefore, the TMS software must have fully functioning billing capabilities to suit the company’s specific transactions. Most platforms offer a wide range, but checking before committing to a single solution is always best.

#6 Flexibility and Scalability

Some providers have gated models with limited functionality and a set user number, forcing businesses to move to the next bundle for full functionality. To avoid this, businesses should look for comprehensive TMS solutions with unlimited users at zero extra cost and immediate access to all the features.

#7 User-Friendliness

Transportation management system software must be easy to navigate, boasting an intuitive user interface. After all, it’s a near-useless addition if those who need to utilize it can’t get to grips with the platform!

Additionally, the interface should be customizable to the needs of the business, with various built-in features that simplify daily operations.

#8 Vendor Reliability and Support

A TMS is only as good as its development team, so reliability and support are significant factors to consider when choosing the perfect solution. The software deserves high marks if the developers offer more than code customizations.

Customer service teams should be responsive to comments and concerns, incorporating relevant improvements into their system upgrades. 

Implementation and Integration

Choosing the software is only part of the deal. Companies must also implement and integrate the desired TMS solution appropriately. Follow the recommended steps to ensure businesses avoid poor adoption and reap the system’s full benefits.

7 Steps for Implementing and Integrating TMS Software

  1. Create an implementation team comprised of employees from wide-ranging backgrounds. 
  2. Make a plan with clear objectives and goals to ensure the investment pays off.
  3. Use the factors above as a checklist to evaluate the various TMS platforms on the market.
  4. Spend time demoing the platforms to analyze the various functionalities each offers.
  5. Carefully plan the transition, offering sufficient training to combat the poor adoption potential. 
  6. Prioritize integration requirements.
  7. Allocate staff before going live to offer users plenty of support during the initial rollout. 

Security and Compliance Considerations

Both data security and industry compliance are imperative in the logistics industry. As the sector becomes increasingly complex, businesses can only remain abreast of all the information if they employ a technological solution.

Ensuring Data Security

Cybersecurity is an increasingly important aspect of any software adoption. As such, the best TMS platforms offer a wealth of security-enhancing facilities, including:

  • Data encryption during transit and at rest
  • Intricate access control and authentication
  • Data anonymization and pseudonymization
  • Data and activity auditing and monitoring

Complying with Industry Standards and Regulations

Compliance is critical. Businesses must comply with regulations and laws surrounding vehicle maintenance, driver hours, documentation, and qualifications. TMS software helps companies remain compliant by automating the process of document generation and driver hour tracking.

Overcoming Challenges in TMS Adoption

Even the best-laid plans can go awry — and adopting TMS software is no different. Thankfully, those who realize the potential for things to go wrong can take proactive measures to prevent the struggles from happening.

TMS Software Hurdles and Solutions

Challenge Solution
Limited/No integration with current systems Ensure the TMS software is compatible with other systems used in the company. Custom integrations may be necessary.
Employees are resistance to change Involve employees in the implementation process. Demonstrate benefits of utilizing the new system. Offer incentives/rewards for system utilization.
Users don’t understand the new system Provide sufficient training and support through online tutorials, helpdesks, and in-person training sessions.
Initial investment cost Look at scalable solutions for gradual implementation.

The Growing TMS Use Trend

TMS software use has seen exceptional growth since 2013. However, during the pandemic, things really kicked up a gear, as cloud-based transportation management system solutions made it possible for people to transition to remote work without noticeable disruptions. And this is only set to continue as the popularity of autonomous and connected vehicles keeps booming.

The World Economic Forum noted that digitalization in logistics could unlock a whopping $1.5 trillion by 2025, spurring an ever-growing 35% of businesses to use the platform for transportation network management. 

Those who’ve implemented the software have reported shipping cost savings of 5% to 15%, thanks to the automation and optimization of loads, rates, and modes. Plus, teams have spent 75% to 85% less time managing loads and assigning loads after implementing a TMS.

TMS Software Success Stories

It’s no wonder TMS software is witnessing supreme growth — industry titans have nothing but praise for the application!

The finance director at AW Jenkinson Transport notes, “The facility is leading to definite benefits in improved load allocation,” and the managing director at TWE Haulage says, “We can now invoice straight away, increasing cashflow by four or five days.”

Likewise, Jenny Hill from Jentone Freight mentions they’ve ” achieved many things we could never have achieved with paper-based systems.”

Today’s TMS software is already brilliant, but the advancement is only set to gain pace, with a few of the following trends expected to appear in the near future:

  • Optimized visibility advancements will bring even more accuracy to real-time shipping information. Couple that with IoT telematics. This trend will help reduce delays, boost supply chain efficiency, and detect inefficiencies early.
  • Unprecedented security is set to come to such applications thanks to the increased use of end-to-end data protection, transparency measures, and role-based access controls.
  • Inter-management collaboration is a fast-approaching trend for the industry, with TMSs boosting communication to achieve higher ROIs and lower shipping rates.

Transportation management software can transform freight operations and future-proof businesses of all shapes and sizes. Whether companies desire basic features or the most advanced capabilities, there is a carrier TMS software solution to suit them.

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February 8, 2024

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What Does A Post-Kuebix World Look Like?

And other frequently asked questions about the pending sunsetting

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If you are one of the many businesses about to lose access to the Kuebix TMS – either due to its 2025 shutdown or current contract nonrenewal – many unanswered questions likely remain. And you certainly aren’t alone. For that reason, we thought we’d share the most frequently asked questions we hear when speaking with manufacturers and distributors facing this exact predicament, as well as our answers to them: 

Q: How does the 3G system compare to Kuebix in terms of features and usability?  

A: The short answer is: 3G provides a TMS matching the features of the Kuebix system and provides comprehensive implementation support to get users up, running, and acclimated quickly.  

The longer answer is: The 3G suite goes well beyond Kuebix in terms of available features, but the majority remain optional, and can be added at any time. The system will not be overwhelming for anyone satisfied with Kuebix, but will also provide runway for those already concerned about the ability to grow with their current system (prior to the shutdown announcement). 

Q: What does implementation look like, in terms of cost and time commitment?  

A: Every implementation is different. But, with that disclaimer out of the way, we can confidently say that we’ve gotten Kuebix customers up and running in as little as four weeks! We are also currently offering an implementation special for any customers migrating onto 3G, which we’d love to tell you about.  

Q: What about ERP connectivity, can 3G do that, and if so, for what systems? 

A: 3G can integrate its TMS with virtually any ERP. The level of integration will largely depend on the specific needs. However, within the realm of our pack-and-ship software (for those specifically looking for this functionality), pre-built integrations already exist for leading ERP platforms (including NetSuite, Acumatica, Dynamics F&O, Sage X3, IFS, and InforCSI).  

Q: You mentioned packing and shipping software, how does that fit with a TMS? 

A: For some businesses, this is an extension of a TMS being used for planning, routing, optimization, contract management, and spot market procurement. For others, it is the TMS due to their specific shipping patterns. In either case, it automates additional shipment workflows within the warehouse around rate shopping, label & document creation, retail compliance, and parcel shipping. For anyone shipping goods it is an option available on its own or as part of a larger suite. 

Q: What does support look like, and will it (and the system!) always be there? 

A: Our in-house, US-based support team has one reason for existing: our customers’ current and future success with our software. Some skepticism is understandable, given the circumstances, but we will never let customers fail. With centuries of combined experience across our teams, and over 1,000 unique customers, we’ll gladly repeat that obvious, groan-inducing industry cliché: “We’re here for the long haul!” 

Got other questions about the pending Kuebix shutdown and your options? Not sure how one solution really compares to another? Let’s discuss!

Dedication to customers begins well before they ever sign with us, and we’ll happily answer all of your questions, whether or not 3G is ultimately the right fit for your business. Check out our resources for customers migrating off of Kuebix for more information. 

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October 16, 2023

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

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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.

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September 18, 2023

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

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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.

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Tyler Thornton
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September 9, 2022

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Freight Shipping – The Complete Guide on How Freight Works

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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

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#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 

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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.

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September 8, 2022

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