Carrier Portals

Custom Carrier Portals

ShippersEdge has off the shelf and customizable carrier portals. Typically, large volume truckload shippers use a carrier portal to have their carriers update status on the loads and to accept or reject shipment tender requests.

Some shippers like to use portals as load boards with fixed pricing or as bid boards. Whether you set the expected price or you’re requesting a price from a provider, a carrier portal is an excellent way to provide your carrier visibility into your available or upcoming shipments. Rates can also be extracted from established rate agreements with your providers.

Messaging that remains a permanent record in the shipment can also be accomplished through the portal and a flag can be set to denote a new message to ensure it is seen. In some cases, you may want to send an email to your provider notifying them of new messages or changes to a load.

When it comes to a portal, ShippersEdge can advise you of state of the art best practices and if appropriate, incorporate those practices along with your current practices if desired. Your portal will be done your way. Gone will be spreadsheets, hunting through emails and sticky notes to find particulars on a shipment.

Make your carrier portal the way you want it. Contact ShippersEdge timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com call 952-777-4421 or visit us on the web at www.shipperesedgetms.com

Custom Applications in a TMS

Custom Apps in a Transportation Management System

Many TMS platforms do a good job at their basic functional purpose of helping you manage and execute your transportation and provide good analytics to help you improve your game. But what about those things that are transportation related but not actually shipping functions?

Examples might be managing exceptions in produce or dwell time at construction sites. ShippersEdge has a built in custom app maker. By using client input and imaginative design we ca help clients streamline their non-ERP transportation related operations. Do you need to leave a trailer dropped at a jobsite and want to track and may invoice your client for excess demurrage time? What about counting blankets and in and out condition, for blanket wrap deliveries and inventorying them upon return?

More examples:

A complex receipt of goods form, i.e. condition and etc.

An evaluation form for exchange shipments like tanks, bottles, IBC and other similar goods.

A for that initiates invoicing based on delivery or exchange.

Anything that your ERP cannot do relating to a transaction result.

If your TMS provider is thinking only about shipping costs and not about overall logistics costs, you’ve got the wrong provider. If they’re telling you custom application modules are thousands and thousands of dollars, again rethink your provider. Speed is essential, accuracy even more so, ShippersEdge can help you achieve both.

ShippersEdge has developed specialty applications for large and small companies, put our expertise to work, we love challenging projects.

A TMS with a Built-in App for Managing Intermediate Bulk Containers

A TMS with a Built-in App for Managing Intermediate Bulk Containers

ShippersEdge an award-winning transportation management system is pleased to announce its available app to help you grade and count your returned IBC equipment. You would use ShippersEdge TMS to route and track your intermediate bulk container shipping both inbound and outbound. As the IBC equipment is returned to your facility a special tab will show you which containers need to be inventoried and graded.

The app is specifically designed to be operated from an iPad (or another tablet) to be graded. You can also activate the camera if wanted. You can add inventory units and finally export this data to your billing system or ERP.

Below is an example or a form we did for an IBC exchange company. It can be easily modified to fit your needs exactly.

Get your workflow managed and easier than ever to get the date you need sent to the right application. The add on app is only $250.00 per month so its highly affordable. ShippersEdge TMS base entry pricing is just under $500.00 per month and integrations are reasonably priced as is the setup fees.

Contact ShippersEdge at timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com or 952-777-4421 or visit us on the web at www.shippersedgetms.com

Shippers use technology to mitigate chargebacks

Jeff Bezos doesn’t need more money

A whole host of big box retailers, from Walmart to Walgreens, CVS to Amazon are assessing penalties for late deliveries. It sounds to me like Jeff Bezos doesn’t need more money so let’s help him out. Shippers need to use technology to mitigate these chargebacks. Since MAP 21, coercing drivers even through threats to withhold future business is not an answer at all. The ELD capacity tightening is only making things worse. There are a lot of whys in that but let’s start with an answer first.

Plan your shipping

Plan your shipping around expected transit times. We’ll go into this further but LTL carriers publish transit times and technology can help you monitor the accuracies of those times. Truckload transit times have to be geared toward driver hours, weather and congestion. There are now inexpensive ways to track truckload transit and do historical analysis in specific lanes.

This is all presuming you can schedule production to a ship date generated by technology. Let’s say we have an LTL shipment, where stated transit time is 4 days (business days) and data shows 85% on time deliveries. The rate is $560.00. The best on time percentage is 98% but the rate is $20.00 more. Amazon charges 3% of the cost of goods (invoice value). On a $8,000 order saving $20.00 could cost you $240.00.

The math

Assuming you ship monthly to all 122 Amazon Fulfillment centers in the US:
 

Total Shipments

15% Late Order Value 3% Chargeback Total of all charge backs
1464 220 $18,000  $540.00  $118,584.00
Total Shipments 2% Late Order Value 3% Chargeback Total of all charge backs
1464 29 $18,000  $540.00  $15,811.20
Total Shipments Additional Freight Charges @ $20.00 each Savings with on time carrier
1464  $29,280.00  $73,492.80
However, Amazon only assesses the outside delivery window charge if your trailing four week average is below 90% so in effect you could save the entire $118,584.00 by using a more reliable carrier.

 

So how do you get reliability percentages easily

So how do you get reliability percentages easily and automatically? ShippersEdge TMS will give them to you and they can be viewed manually or incorporated into business rules f and used with automated tendering.

All the major retailing chains have added late delivery chargebacks to their arsenal. Just having an easy way to create delivery reports that show the delivery date vs. the delivery window requested can aid in dispute resolution. Getting carrier information into your ASNs is another thing a TMS can assist you with. By knowing transit times and reliability metrics, a TMS can tell you when to ship, with whom to ship and give you the data to make informed objective decisions.

A TMS can also record weather related delays, track full truckloads and create alerts for situations where an appointment can’t be met. Some missed appointment charges can run $350.00. Integrating with cell phone tracking is made for a TMS to point out problems before they become bottom line events.

Contact ShippersEdge at 952-777-4421 or visit us on the web at www.shippersedgetms.com

 

 

 

Why your ERP’s TMS is not Always the Best Choice

Why your ERP’s TMS is not Always the Best Choice

Many of the large ERP platforms have a TMS module available for install. There are many reasons to consider using the ERP module of your TMS and also there are reasons to choose a different TMS.

Two Distinct Advantages

There are two distinct advantages of using an independent TMS. The first is time, speed and ease of deployment. Delays and hiccups in ERP deployment are legendary. So bad are some implementations that they’ve cratered earning and market value, sometimes for years after the implementation. An independent TMS is used to interacting with many different ERPs, knows the pitfalls and idiosyncrasies of different ERP platforms and is adept at overcoming their shortfalls.

The second distinct advantage of an independent TMS over an ERP’s TMS module is the ease of use and ease of customization. Typically, large ERP platforms have acquired TMS modules and bolted them onto the platform. This is fine but many of those TMS programs were written for mega companies many years ago. The operation of those TMS programs is generally extreme overkill for mid-sized companies and consequently the operation is often complex and cumbersome.

Some other advantages of using an independent TMS include:

Speed of deployment, ERPs can take years to deploy successfully in some cases. The TMS module is usually one of the last things to be deployed.

Price can be a factor. Independent TMS platforms are built with small to midsized companies in mind and are priced accordingly. The ERP TMS modules by comparison were built for very large enterprises.

Customization is usually faster, better and less expensive. The mega TMS modules in large ERP platforms were written when man-years of programming were the norm. Unwinding that programming to create any custom application is often very time consuming.

Cloud deployment is not always available with your ERP’s TMS module, therefore upgrades and scalable deployment may tax your IT departments schedule and be delayed or deferred.

ShippersEdge is a tier II SaaS deployed TMS specially tailored to the SMB market. We interface seamlessly with any ERP and offer an easy to learn, easy to use user interface. ShippersEdge is affordable logistics software.

For more information, timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com or visit us on the web at www.shippersedgetms.com

13 Things Shippers Need to Know if They’re Going to Play in the Spot Market Without a Broker

Things Shippers Need to Know if They’re Going to Play in the Spot Market

 

  1. It’s the wild, wild west in the spot market. Be prepared to sift through the chaff to find your gems. There are a lot of scam artists in the spot market. Be very wary of 1 truck operations.
  2. Inspections matter one. If you’re seeing a trucker take a number of your loads check their inspections and make sure their being inspected. A low number of inspections per vehicle can indicate that trucker is double brokering your loads.
  3. Inspections matter two. You do need to look at https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/ and dive into inspections. Why? Because excessive equipment problems are a sign of financial instability. You can fix driver HOS violations but only money can fix equipment problems.
  4. Once you’ve entered the market your rates will fall. You should expect 15-20% reductions. A look at the largest publicly held freight broker’s publicly filed financial statements will validate this fact.
  5. You should hire an experienced freight broker to run your program and they don’t come cheap. Good brokers make high five figures and many reach into six figures. You will get what you pay for.
  6. When you’re talking to a dispatcher of a trucker, ask the question, are you unloaded now? Where are you? Where are your hours at? Listen very carefully to the answers. If there’s uncertainty in their voice, hang up.
  7. Get the license plate number of the truck, Google that plate number. By Googling the plate, the inspections for that truck should show up. No inspections, don’t load them Send the plate number to your loading dock for validation upon arrival.
  8. Take a photo copy of the driver’s ID. Walk around the truck. Make sure plate number matches. It is a good idea to take a picture of the placard on the side of the door and send it to the file. Get the drivers cell phone number.
  9. Be prepared for factors to call you validating the load and the amount. Better yet set up your own quick pay and advancing for further discounted freight charges. Factors charge 2-7% it’s well worth while to save this money yourself and knock out factors.
  10. You’ll need software to manage your spot market activities. Software that automatically does the inspection searching. Software that produces a trip contract. Software that assists in onboarding by checking insurance. shippersedgetms.com
  11. You need to keep track of lane histories. Truckers typically run the same lanes over and over. If you can book a reliable trucker while he’s still headed into your town, you are time and money ahead of the competition.
  12. Fuel surcharge goes to the owner operators be generous with your fuel surcharge. Drivers have a say in who and what they load. Giving the drivers a larger share of the load pay will make you a preferred shipper in the eyes of the driver.
  13. Watch out for crooks. The trucking world like any industry has their share of them and one crook can ruin your day pretty quickly. Double brokering, load theft are just two of the numerous problems facing the industry.

About the author. Tim Taylor is a recovering freight broker now marketing transportation management software for ShippersEdgeTMS.com he can be reached at timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com or by phone at 952-777-4421

TMS Solutions

Create new capacity in a tight market

Capacity in a tight market

Down below I talk about how to create capacity in a tight market, but first a little backstory. For thirty years I was a freight broker. I also trained at least a hundred more. This trick is in every broker’s book and could raise your freight rates. Here is a link (below) to the full LinkedIn article on it.

Summary of how to not use the spot market

Here is a summary but by far not the complete story. Essentially when you go to get a quote from multiple brokers, they are immediately posting that load to the load boards causing near outrageous load to truck ratios. 10 to 1 or 20 to 1 load ratios are not realistic and in fact are not true except for posting. The truckers see this and jump from broker to broker to see who will pay them the most. The net effect is freight rates go up.

Your intentions are good but your tactics need brushing up

While your intentions, to get the best rate are good in normal circumstances they actually hurt you when taking your freight to the spot market. Doing all your business with contracted carriers is probably also not realistic as they too see these tall rates in the  spot market and dedicate ever growing capacity to the spot maret while telling you no trucks available. They are not dummies.

All carriers are short of drivers due to electronic logs and an economy on the upswing. We do have tactics deployed through software, that can help you manage through this capacity shortage but they’re proprietary and you have to talk to me to get them. Remember I was a broker for 30 years, I know all the tricks.

 A link to the whole story

Here is a link to Confessions of a (Freight) Broker https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/confessions-broker-tim-taylor/

To get my advice on how to create new capacity in a tight market, write me at timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com or call me at 952-777-4421 also visit us on the web at www.shippersedgetms.com

Why having your vendors ship to you collect is a best practice

Why having your vendors ship to you collect is a best practice.

Many vendors ship prepaid or prepay and add and most markup freight charges. That in and of itself is a good reason to have your vendors ship to you collect on your account. There are more reasons one of the most important is visibility of your incoming shipments in transit. By having visibility, you can spot possible supply chain disruptions before they have a downstream bad affect.

Visibility is key

Using the capability of a transportation management system to track incoming shipments you can instantly see when and even if your materials shipped. By importing your purchase orders with a required in-house date, a TMS can be configured to issue a warning if a required shipment has not entered the system in time to meet your requirements and avoid a line shut down or disappointing customer with a back order.

Do you charge back your vendors for the additional freight charges on your order when they back order you? With a TMS you can track the additional freight charges when a vendor does not ship a full order. Back orders could be costing you more, in freight charges, than you think but who has time to track those costs using manual methods?

Trapped shipments

Are you a large distributor or manufacturer? Freight carriers often trap or hold shipments in a trailer to reduce deliveries. That could have significant savings for them and unstable delivery times for you. By using a TMS that tracks statuses like “arrived at terminal” and comparing to “out for delivery” date/time, you can work with your transportation providers to avoid having your freight held at the carrier’s yard and not delivering the same day it arrived.

ShippersEdge is a mid-tier transportation management system that can make you money, save you money and avoid delays on your incoming shipments. You can learn more at www.shippersedge.com/info or by writing to timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com 952-777-4421.

 

 

 

Visibility isn’t the Problem

Visibility isn’t the Problem

Visibility isn’t the problem, it’s having visibility of the problem, that’s the problem

Visibility of your supply chain is good, right? Having visibility isn’t the problem, it’s having visibility of the problem, that’s the problem. Let’s face it, you need answers to questions, questions like, has my supplier shipped or is the transportation provider on time. How about before it’s shipped, is the mode of transport selected adequate to get the shipment to your facility at the right time.

It could be about saving your production line.

When loading your TMS, you need data from your production facility and your sourcing department and then when your vendor ships, you choose the most economical mode for the circumstance. It’s not always about saving money, it could be about saving your production line.

ShippersEdge can be taught to present the question or even alarm you if your vendor is late in shipping. We know the transit times, we can present a solution. If your vendor hasn’t logged on to the vendor portal to ship the shipment or we don’t see it in your account at your transportation provider, we can tell you.

Advanced transportation management systems have this capability but most don’t present the problems and the possible solutions very well. There’s endless data presented but not in an organized or easily interpreted fashion. Mind boggling and mind numbing gridded presentation screens hidden by layers of menus that seek more to present the sophistication of the software than help you identify and solve problems. ShippersEdge took a different view, literally, based on simplicity of operation and presentation.

ShippersEdge is a mid-tier TMS with outstanding power and customizable functionality. We built it with an eye for simplicity of training and use. We use business rules we develop together and apply them to your supply chain management software.

ShippersEdge, we’ll keep you running.

Contact ShippersEdge at www.shippersedge.com/info or call us at 952-777-4421 or email me directly at timothy.taylor@shippersedge.com

Can a 3PL use ShippersEdge?

Can a 3PL use ShippersEdge?

Yes. ShippersEdge can allow your client a direct portal to rate and book shipments. ShippersEdge would be branded to your company’s logo. We can work with shipper specific pricing or blanket pricing. We also work with rate tables if needed and can accommodate specialty rating such as pallet rates, dimensional rating (dim rates) and lineal foot rates.

One of the best parts of ShippersEdge is its ease of use. People can be operational in minutes rather than days. Training replacement workers is a snap. Clients and you are both alerted if a shipment price goes up due to weight, class or accessorial charges.

Paperless invoicing to your clients and from your carriers is available. Invoices are automatically audited against expected estimated charges. Exceptions are placed in their own tab for easy visibility. Original rating criteria, including rate quote number are saved. Easily link to the carrier’s website to review documentation.

Transit issue are flagged to get ahead of problems with minimal impact to your clients and their customers. An audit trail is created on transit time exceptions for use if ordering expedited services. Your customers can choose to send email alerts to others when an order is shipped complete with a tracking link for easy live tracing on the carrier’s websites.

Full reporting modules available for both you and your clients. Most reporting is into an Excel spreadsheet. The user can specify selection criteria(s) and which fields to export. Templates of common reports can be saved. Custom and automated reports can be set up by ShippersEdge. A handy dashboard can be customized for your clients and your firm.

Your clients can also use ShippersEdge to book their truckload shipments. You choose whether they can also communicate with other truckload providers through the system. You will always have visibility into the system on any client.

Integrations are common for us and we can integrate into almost anything. Integration can be as simple as file uploads in batch or API integrations if the software to be integrated with is capable. We also support OBDC.

Contact ShippersEdge today at 952-777-4451 or visit us on the web at www.shippersedge.com/info