Is an off the shelf TMS right for me?

Transportation management systems (like ShippersEdge TMS) are a common-sense investment for many companies. A fully features and customizable Enterprise Level ShippersEdge TMS is a considerable investment for most shippers and there are now options for entry level systems that can give you the basics on a budget, but are they right for your company. Here are things to know before investing in any TMS and a more advanced system like ShippersEdge TMS.

Is an off the shelf system enough for me?

An off the shelf TMS is better than nothing. A TMS of any sort is a powerful piece of software. Buying a budget system with limited customization may end up costing you more than having something tailored specifically for your needs.

ShippersEdge offer a basic economy version of its software that is easily upgradable

ShippersEdge Professional Edition

Here are questions to ask: 

What are your goals regarding adding an advanced TMS like ShippersEdge?

  • What cost are you trying to manage?
    • Soft (people) costs
    • Hard dollar transportation spend
    • Freight loss and damage claims
    • Customer late delivery penalties
    • Compliance issues
  • Are you trying to source lowest cost capacity?
    • Spot market or contract
    • Less-than-Truckload LTL
    • Transit time importance
    • Lowest cost provider
    • Exception visibility
  • Are your rates competitive?
    • Do you have lane intelligence
    • Price (cost) change visibility
    • Do certain customers or vendors cause higher than normal freight costs
  • Is too much time being spent on managing compliance?
    • Insurance compliance and monitoring
    • Contract expiration and compliance
    • Freight bill auditing
  • Do you need corporate visibility on decision-making?
    • Are freight provider selections being monitored 
    • Are certain constituents preventing use of low cost provider
    • Are low cost providers actually accepting tenders

What can a more advanced ShippersEdge TMS do that an off the shelf budget TMS cannot?

ShippersEdge TMS is a software tool that assists in the planning, execution and analysis of logistics. A more advanced ShippersEdge TMS can automate functions and decisions normally done by people and point out exceptions for further management.

  • Do you have a must deliver by date on your sales order?
    • A ShippersEdge TMS point out published transit times and compare requirements
    • If published transit time and required delivery date mismatch
    • Will your ShippersEdge TMS point the above out as an exception
    • Can your ShippersEdge TMS acquire advanced shipment tracking information
  • Is your freight damage sensitive
    • Does your ShippersEdge TMS monitor damage
    • Can your ShippersEdge TMS provide damage KPI information
    • Can your ShippersEdge TMS be set to avoid high damage carriers
    • Can your ShippersEdge TMS use business rules when determining carrier selection
  • What other special requirements do you shipments have
    • Are there special arrangements needed for delivery
    • Could those processes by automated or assisted
    • Do you need advanced tracking
    • Do you need dwell (delay/detention) time information on deliveries
  • How do you monitor and audit spot quotes?
    • Do you have a centralized methodology of getting spot quotes
    • Can you audit spot quote freight invoices automatically
    • Do you have a special place to retain all shipment notes
    • Can you message a carrier within your ShippersEdge TMS for messaging visibility
    • Can you monitor tender acceptance on spot quotes 
  • Do you need dock management?
    • Do you have a software enable dock scheduling tool
    • Can your system allow (if desired) carriers to set their own appointments
    • Do you need carrier on time arrival KPI metrics
    • Can you measure dock/shipment labor productivity
    • Can your carriers schedule appointments through a carrier portal
  • Do you need a carrier portal for truckload/volume LTL shipments?
    • Would you like to have automated auditing on sport quotes
    • Do you need provider uploaded invoices and other documents
    • Do you need in shipment in portal messaging
    • In portal bidding, tendering acceptance and tracking
    • Can your carriers schedule appointments through a carrier portal
  • Do you need EDI invoicing?
    • Most LTL carriers and large truckload carriers have EDI
    • Will you want advanced freight charge auditing of EDI invoices
    • Can you adjust tolerance levels of freight cost exception management
    • Do you want to go paperless
    • Are other documents (such as signed bills of lading) need to be stored
  • Do you need advanced and automated reporting and notification?
    • Do your customers require advance shipment notices (ASN)
    • Would automating the ASN reporting save time
    • Would non ASN customers want notification a shipment has been shipped
    • Would an email with a tracking link be helpful for customer satisfaction
    • Does your shipping manager need a tomorrow’s activity report
    • Do purchasing managers need enroute shipment reports or visibility
    • What weekly/monthly reports are now manually compiled

How much does ShippersEdge TMS Cost?

Depends on what you want it to do. There are free TMS systems out there but when the service is free, you are the product. The answer lies in the number of shipments managed, advanced functionality requested and any customization. The range is about $2.00 per shipment on small installations to less than $0.50 per shipment on very large installations. 

The budget should be set on your expectations of savings. Those savings are 

  • What savings should I expect?
    • Hard dollar savings against a well-run operation 1%-5%
    • Soft dollar savings typically exceed hard dollar savings
    • Freeing up management time can lead to additional hard dollar savings
    • Having visibility, both historic and real-time improves decision making
    • Improving constituent satisfaction is priceless
    • Prevention of small problems becoming big problems; incalculable

What Systems can ShippersEdge TMS integrate with?

A cloud-based ShippersEdge TMS can connect systems from providers – carriers, brokers, warehouse operators, vendors and receivers in one location. Custom and stock dashboards keep you informed of exceptions and other data. 

Can ShippersEdge TMS integrate with a WMS?

ShippersEdge TMS can be integrated with your warehouse management system to manage inbound and and outbound inventory flow. If your warehouses are being supplied by disparate vendors, ShippersEdge TMS can alert shipment delays thus preventing shortage of product. 

Can ShippersEdge TMS be customized?

Entry level, off-the-shelf systems come with limited functionality and customization is probably not be possible. An advanced ShippersEdge TMS offers near unlimited customization and can be further customized as a need is seen. An advanced ShippersEdge TMS is also modular so you don’t pay for functionality you don’t need. 

A commitment to keeping your ShippersEdge TMS up-to-date

Since our ShippersEdge TMS is clouded, enhancements to our technology are constantly being rolled out. When out ShippersEdge TMS was first available on the web in 2002, the database contained 32 million rate pairs. Today, most of that is replaced by API technology but we still support rate tables for the providers that have not evolved their technology and we support non-standard rating, like unit prices or pallet rates. 

As new technologies come on the market our ShippersEdge TMS is ready to integrate and communicate with them. 

What other features does advanced ShippersEdge TMS have?

Safety monitoring, carrier score-carding, ELD tracking, vendor compliance monitoring, business rule effectuation of complex or simple routine execution. Probably almost anything you want but can’t get out of your ERP. Vendor Portals, Customer Portals, Yard Management, Carrier Portals, Optimization Basic and Advanced, ASN connectivity

Strategy Leads Tactics

Ready, Fire, Aim is not a good strategy

In logistics management as in all things having a strategy leads to tactics. Getting cheapest freight rate is a tactic, it may be part of a strategy but if it leads to freight claims, customer dissatisfaction with delivery expectation or a failure in your supply chain that shuts down a line, it wasn’t really a great strategy.

Having a goal leads to strategy

How does one go about creating a strategy? Goals is first and foremost. Goals in and of themselves are strategies of a sort. A plan to attain those goals is developed through analytics and the harnessing of data. Acquiring data is paramount to developing strategies to achieve goals.

This is where a TMS helps dramatically, first in acquiring, reporting and analyzing data. If the goals are to smooth out bumps in the supply chain, having the data to know specifically and empirically where the bumps are, who are the players (vendor/transportation provider/purchasing agent) you get a statistical analysis that will show a developing pattern. 

Likewise, in deliveries to customers, patterns emerge, typically with the transportation provider but sometimes they are confined to a specific region or locality of a transportation providers. A couple of years ago a major transportation provider had a hub in Denver that service any western states. They also sustained an acute reduction in available labor due to newly legalized recreational marijuana. Many of our client suspended them until things settled down. 

Patterns emerge

Over a given period of time, patterns emerge and then tactics can be deployed to mitigate the problem. You may want better visibility on your retail deliveries to avoid penalties. Maybe the problem is lack of visibility on incoming shipments leading to uncertain labor planning. Vendor compliance and vendor timeliness is also important and can be managed, if seen and historically evaluated. 

Giant data warehouse

A solid Transportation Management System is a giant data warehouse, one you don’t have to ask IT for access to. Custom dashboards, alerts, reports should be easy. ShippersEdge TMS is affordable high technology that assists you in your execution of strategies and gives you the analytical tools to identify opportunities and execute the tactical moves that follow. 

ShippersEdge adds International to Its Product Offerings

Now you can manage your international shipping through ShippersEdge.

Use our system to create all international documents

Communicate with your providers via EDI

Store all documents within ShippersEdge

Conveniently transmit documents to your trading partners

Supplier portal supports International Shipping

Provide constituents with easy to find tracking information

Alerting of delays or timely arrivals may be automated

Compare rates from your providers

Request rate quotes from your providers

All rate quoting information is captured within ShippersEdge

Display analytics by provider, lane or vendor/receiver

ShippersEdge can even communicate with customs in many countries 

3PL Logistics Management From ShippersEdge

ShippersEdge has completed our 3PL management version of our award winning TMS. 

Features include:

Fixed or variable markup

Integration with any accounting system

Customer Vendor Portal for managing incoming freight

Consolidations one customer or many

Consolidation cost allocation by business rules or manual override

Invoicing (batch or individual) 

EDI invoicing or file transfer

Settlement Module including proper paperwork check

Czar-Lite Support

Non-standard rating (pallet, lineal or cubic feet or rate tables)

Cost change (while enroute) visibility

Accept carrier EDI 

Transmit Carrier EDI

LTL carrier API integration

Freight bill auditing

Exception management and notification

Truckload Tracking cell phone or direct connection

Geofencing

LTL tracking 

Scalability for multiple accounts

Highly affordable monthly costs

Ability to customize for you or your clients

Client/Customer Portal

Carrier Portal with or without bid boards

Electronic load tendering through system email or portal

Service Confirmations through portal or system email

Carriers can upload their freight invoices and documents through the portal or via system email

Instant messaging through portal retained in shipment record

Lane histories

Shipment history logging

Ability to import orders or integrate with your client’s ERP

These are the basic features. We can customize for you. 

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

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

 

 

 

Using Ancient Technology to Manage Freight Is No Way to Run a Railroad

The old days

This was how we used ancient technology to move freight. You may be aware that in the old days, we used machines like the one above to communicate with railroad computers. A Telex machine could transmit at 66 words per minute and Telex network time was expensive. To keep the cost down, you preset your message by using a paper punch tape. Once complete you snapped the tape into the reader dialed up the receiver and pushed send. Later we got TWX machines that could transmit 120 words per minute.

This was the technology until about 1980 when fax arrived to the masses and we could transmit pages at the remarkable speed of 2 or 4 minutes (higher quality at 4 minutes). Plain paper fax arrived in the early and mid-eighties. Fax cards for PCs came about in about 1990. They were expensive. New technology breakthroughs are generally expensive.

Mid-Eighties

TMS or Transportation Management Systems mainly originated in the mid-eighties written languages like COBOL and Fortran. They ran on mainframes and cost millions. Prices on technology always fall over time to innovators. New computer languages and modern cloud computing servers have dropped the prices on next generation TMS platforms to level affordable by companies of any size. Starter out of the box systems start at about $200.00 per month.

Today

ShippersEdge TMS offers a starter system called our Professional Edition which borrows most of the technology of our Enterprise Edition. It is a highly capable TMS and has advanced features you won’t find on Freightview and Kuebix. It does offer customization and advanced reporting. It offers shipment and document storage and you can receive electronic invoicing. (Yes we do EDI where needed) It offers file uploading to capture shipment information so your orders are in the system quickly and accurately. You can use the reporting features to export data to your other software platforms.

And Tomorrow

As your company grows we can add extremely advanced functionality, customized for you and fully integrate with any software platform for real time updating. Plus, you’ll be able to use the same interface you’ve been using and add the “I wish I had a button that does that does this and another one that does that” plus add functionality for all of your departments.

ShippersEdge is the most affordable full featured TMS on the market today.

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

Why Transportation Management Software is so Important

Essential to cut workload and drive down spend

Why transportation management software is so important. In today’s rapid fire work environment, a TMS, often referred to as a Transportation Management System or Transportation Management Software, is essential to cut workload and drive down the transportation spend. A good TMS will give visibility on the freight rates and transit times of all of your providers allowing you to select the provider based on either cost or transit time. This is just the beginning.

Outbound shipping and making the system make you money

Managing outbound shipping is what most TMS applications were built for. It is a given they will to some extent or another handle them. Some starter TMS software will not accept rate table uploads. Some don’t handle consolidations and some weren’t built for truckload. Specialty rates are often not able to be applied by low end systems. A TMS should also alert you if your shipment violates lineal foot or other carrier specified restrictions and penalties. It should also alert and solicit custom rate quotes when shipments meet a particular criteria. That’s making you money.

Manage incoming shipments

In most applications, your TMS will also be tasked to manage incoming shipments. This may mean preparing and transmitting a bill of lading to your suppliers or simply being able to scan carrier EDI feeds for your purchase orders. ShippersEdge can also inform you of inbound shipments which were not imported from your purchase order system.

Provide stakeholders tracking and other information

As TMS software modernized and gained full connectivity to the transportation providers the best systems will now, notify the provider of a needed pickup, confirm their acceptance or more importantly notify of an exception (unable to pick up) and track the shipment through to destination. While tracking, the system should be able to provide stakeholders tracking links similar to what you get when you order online.

Record keeping and logging

Record keeping and logging. Accountability and source error recognition are important for training and error prevention. Having empirical data available assists in quantifying and monetizing error prevention and recovery. A TMS will also provide carrier scorecards for late deliveries, reweight and other anomalies because it should be logging those events.

A word about interfacing with accounting

A word about interfacing with accounting here; some finance departments want to import approved freight invoices into a company’s accounting system, some want payable vouchers and some want paperless. Any of these should be available in an advanced TMS. There is other reporting as well. Appending a freight cost to a sales order is one and another is a freight accrual report. Auditing is yet another important function and advanced TMS software can often time replace third party contracted services for freight bill audit and payment.

Notice if an anticipated charge changes

Exceptional systems also now provide notice if an anticipated charge from the transportation provider changes and provide an audit path to rectify the discrepancy. If you’re finding out about reweighs when the freight bills arrive, you have no way of having them checked while still in possession of the carrier and thus no chance to rectify an obvious mistake.

Connectivity to your in-house software systems

Enterprise Class Systems now offer complete connectivity to your in-house software systems eliminating time consuming and error-prone hand keying of anything that is already in a data format when captured. Integration can be complete or partial depending on client needs. Enterprise logistics software also has reporting capability not often contained in in-house software.

Specialty applications

Specialty applications such as jobsite equipment monitoring or stowage handling unit location and retrieval can be built and monitored far easier in a custom TMS application than trying to modify an ERP or having yet another standalone software solution. If you need it, we’ll build it.

A mid-range TMS with a meaningful ROI

ShippersEdge is a mid-range TMS with an outstanding return on investment. Most TMS installations generate about a 7% reduction in freight costs due to increase use of preferred carriers, visibility on the lowest cost providers and better data for procurement. Couple that with soft cost saving due to efficiencies gained in operations, you’ve achieved a meaningful ROI without breaking the bank.

Without a TMS, you’re losing money and productivity

If your company is doing without a TMS, you’re losing productivity and probably leaving money on the table. If you can see it, it is darn near impossible to manage except in the most rudimentary way. Mid-range TMS Software was even around 10 years ago. It is now not only around, its developed, mature and capable. Monthly subscriptions are very low and setup costs can be extremely cost effective.

ShippersEdge was at the forefront

ShippersEdge was at the forefront of this TMS revolution back in 2002 when it introduced the first web-based (now referred to as hosted or cloud based) TMS in the country. Big companies had Transportation Management Systems with 7 figure price tags and 6 figure annual maintenance spend. We thought there was a better way.

More information at www.shippersedge.com/info or call 952-777-4421