Sustainable Supply Chain Kuebix

6 Ways to “Go Green” With Supply Chain Technology

Sustainability initiatives and efforts to “go green” are trending through every industry and many are focusing on the supply chain. There are innumerable reasons why companies are prioritizing sustainability. These reasons range from everything from worries about climate change, the need to save money and streamline operations, to increasingly eco-friendly customer bases and the need to please investors that are prioritizing sustainability.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported in January that global venture capital investment into startups focused on sustainability jumped 127% to $9.2 billion in 2018, which is the highest seen since 2010. If that increase in investments doesn’t show where the economy is headed, Forbes recently reported on a study which found that:

  •      •     68% of Millennials bought a product with a social or environmental benefit in the past 12 months.
  •      •     87% of consumers will have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues.
  •      •     88% will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues.
  •      •     87% would buy a product with a social and environmental benefit if given the opportunity.
  •      •     92% will be more likely to trust a company that supports social or environmental issues.

There is plenty of evidence that sustainability initiatives can improve companies’ bottom lines and strengthen customer loyalty and brand awareness. Finding the opportunities to implement these green initiatives, however, can be seen as a challenge for many organizations unfamiliar with this new terrain. For most companies selling physical products either B2B or B2C, the low-hanging fruit for environmental change lies within their supply chains.

The simplest and most effective way for companies to understand, streamline and make strategic changes to their supply chains is to leverage supply chain technology like transportation management systems (TMS). With the help of technology, companies can make environmentally friendly changes to their supply chains and add to their overall company sustainability initiatives.

Here are 5 ways supply chain technology can help companies can “go green”:

  1. Plan Routes More Effectively

According to the American Trucking Associations, 3 billion gallons of fuel was consumed for business purposes in 2016. That number has likely grown as gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States increased 2.3% from 2016 – 2017 as reported by the World Bank. Reducing fuel consumption should be a priority for businesses not only to benefit the environment but also to reduce transportation costs.

Technology can help logistics professionals choose the best route for every load, something that can be nearly impossible to do by hand. Instead of manually comparing routes and consolidating loads one by one, routers and warehouse employees can leverage optimization technology to automatically create the perfect load based on predetermined parameters. An algorithm in the technology will ensure the fewest number of miles are driven for the maximum number of orders per truck, reducing overall fuel consumption.

  1. Select the Best Mode

Selecting the best mode for every shipment is another way to ensure less fuel (and money) is used on a shipment. Many shippers don’t have time to compare LTL, FTL, ground freight pricing, and parcel for every order, however. With a transportation management system in place, every available mode type can be easily compared on a single screen. That means orders which would normally be shipped as LTL, for example, may be able to be shipped as parcel. By choosing the best mode type for every shipment, companies reduce wasted space on trucks and save money in the process.

  1. Fill Empty Miles

For companies with their own fleet assets, filling empty backhaul and deadhead miles can be a lofty goal. Finding and booking available backhaul freight can be nearly impossible to do manually. It can require one or more individuals to dedicate all of their time to find opportunities, and more often than not those opportunities aren’t repeatable. By connecting to a transportation management system with a large shipping community like Kuebix, fleet owners can be easily matched with available backhaul freight. This means that trucks drive empty less of the time and less fuel goes to waste.

  1. Waste Less Fuel Idling in the Yard

Idling is a large culprit of wasted fuel consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical long-haul truck “idles about 1,800 hours per year, using about 1,500 gallons of diesel.” That’s a shocking amount and most certainly cutting into companies bottom-lines, not to mention contributing to overall fuel emissions. While much of this time idling comes from regulated rest periods, some of it comes from long waits at gates and for available docks in yards. Not only are detention fees being racked up, fuel usage is as well.

Companies who want to reduce idling time in their yards can leverage supply chain technology like yard management systems (YMS) to streamline operations. Features like gate check, dock scheduling and hostler optimization can speed up operations in the yard and get drivers in and out quickly.

  1. Embrace the Circular Supply Chain

The circular supply chain is about taking apparent waste materials and returned goods and turning them into products which can be resold. Shippers can embrace this level of “reduce, reuse, recycle” by using a transportation management system to help track their orders and returns. Complete visibility to products down to the SKU level can help OS&D and customer service departments understand exactly where returns or damaged products are and turn apparent trash into revenue streams.

Circular Supply Chain

 

  1. Reduce the Paper Trail

At their core, supply chain technologies are helping move traditionally operating supply chains to the digital age. That means saying goodbye to the physical paper-trail associated with shipping and instead keeping track of all operations online. By leveraging cloud-based supply chain technology, companies save paper while also speeding up their operations.

Should My Company “Go Green?”

If you’re asking yourself if your company should try to improve their environmental footprint with a sustainability initiative, the simple answer is yes. No matter why you decide to “go green” there will likely be positive benefits for your company. You’re likely to save money, please customers and investors and make a positive impact on the environment. A large portion of companies’ carbon footprints stems from the supply chain, making it the obvious place for many companies to begin their green initiatives. With the help of supply chain technology like transportation and yard management systems, the overall environmental impact can be reduced in a smart and simple way.

Network Effect Kuebix

Enabling the Network Effect in Transportation Management [eBook]

According to Adrian Gonzalez, President of Adelante, SCM, Supply Chain Operating Networks are the business equivalent of LinkedIn and Facebook. These cloud-based networks can enable companies to embrace collaboration and realize huge efficiencies. But Supply Chain Operating Networks are few and far between. One of the reasons for this absence is because the majority of technology traditionally used by supply chains have been housed within the “four walls” of individual companies. New SaaS, cloud-based technologies like Kuebix TMS are changing this.

As traditional, on-premises transportation management systems become replaced by SaaS, cloud-based ones, companies have the opportunity to digitally connect with one another via new Supply Chain Operating Networks. Kuebix is the first TMS to fully embrace this concept, with Kuebix’s technology acting as the backbone for a rapidly growing community.

The swift growth of Kuebix’s shipping community is proving the idea that the Network Effect can be used to great advantage in the supply chain industry. With over 16,000 companies in the Kuebix’s shipping network, thousands of suppliers, shippers, carriers, brokers, and other supply chain players are able to connect with one another for new collaboration opportunities.

These opportunities can lessen the impact of tightening capacity, help fill empty backhaul miles and ensure that shippers are always aware of the most cost-effective and customer-friendly options to ship.

Read an excerpt of Gonzalez’s eBook, Putting Community in TMS: Enabling the Network Effect in Transportation Management, to learn more about the Network Effect in transportation and supply chain operations.

Transportation management is inherently a network-based business process. It involves an ecosystem of different parties — a community, if you will, of shippers, carriers, consignees, brokers, and others that need to communicate and collaborate with each other in order to transport products and utilize assets and labor as efficiently as possible.

This transportation community is analogous to the connections and relationships enabled by social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. A big difference, however, is that unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, which are powered by network native software, the transportation community has historically been powered by enterprise-centric software — that is, transportation management systems (TMS) that were designed for, and used primarily by, the transportation function within the four walls of a company.

This fragmented, “inside the four walls” approach makes it challenging to quickly and efficiently match transportation demand with available capacity, as companies of all sizes experienced in 2018. This growing need in the market for better matching of supply and demand, coupled with the rise of cloud computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS), application programming interfaces (APIs), and other emerging technologies, is driving the next evolution of transportation management systems.

Simply put, transportation management systems are transitioning from being “inside the four walls” applications to becoming operating systems that power transportation communities and enable network effects.

Click here to download the full eBook!

 

What is a Transportation Management System TMS?

What is a Transportation Management System (TMS)?

The term ‘Transportation Management System’ or TMS has become more common in the supply chain industry as companies turn to technology to stay competitive in a changing marketplace. Technology has revolutionized everything from how we watch TV, to how we buy our groceries, and even how we meet each other. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that a key component of the American economy (the movement of goods, materials and other freight) would eventually turn to technology to keep pace. Transportation management systems are the logical next step. Now, companies of all sizes are researching transportation management systems to learn more about how technology can save them money, streamline logistics operations and improve customer satisfaction.

But What Exactly is A TMS?

Definition – According to Gartner, an analyst firm providing companies with insight, advice and tools to evaluate technology:

“A TMS (transportation management system) is used to plan freight movements, do freight rating and shopping across all modes, select the appropriate route and carrier, and manage freight bills and payments.”

Simply put, a TMS is a system that companies can use to digitally manage their freight operations instead of calling and emailing internal and external partners. Transportation management systems often sit between a company’s ERP system and a warehouse management system (WMS) and connect the two for increased supply chain efficiency. Orders flowing between these systems create continuity and speed up the time from customer order to final delivery.

At their core, most transportation management systems have rating, booking and tracking functionality. Others have advanced reporting and dashboards, freight pay and audit, and other modular features that can be added as needed. Transportation management systems come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some of the potential benefits companies can gain by implementing a TMS:

  •      •     Save money and grow your bottom-line
  •      •     Save time and repurpose labor to value-added projects instead of “firefighting”
  •      •     Improve customer satisfaction
  •      •     Get insight into your operations to make strategic changes
  •      •     Grow your business!

Step-by-Step Guide on What You Need to Know About Transportation Management Systems (TMS)

Types of Transportation Management Software – Transportation management systems have been around since the 1980s, but they’ve come a long way from the clunky, monolithic machines of the past. Now there are many varieties which cater to companies from every industry and of any size. Some TMSs focus on small – to – medium-sized businesses (SMB) and only offer very basic functionality including rating and booking. Many TMSs that cater to a smaller market don’t offer customization or advanced features like reporting and analytics or integrations. Instead, they focus on being low total cost to own (TCO).

Other TMSs focus on the high end of the market and cater to enterprise-size companies. These TMSs often only have a few customers and their price-points make it nearly impossible for smaller companies to benefit from them. According to Adrian Gonzalez, President of Adelante SCM, “In the case of shippers, large enterprises (over $1 billion in revenues) were the early adopters of transportation management systems (TMS), due in large part to the high cost of buying and implementing on-premise applications (typically over $1 million).”

Kuebix IntegrationsEnterprise-class TMSs usually offer advanced functionality like integrations, freight pay and audit, order and route optimization, and many other features. Unfortunately, most of these legacy systems come as a complete (and pricey) set, leaving companies who don’t need certain features with a bill for technology they won’t use.

The solution to this is to find a TMS that will expand and contract along-side your business so that you always have the features you need and aren’t paying for the ones you don’t. Transportation management systems like Kuebix TMS are built to serve companies of all sizes and needs.

Kuebix Free Shipper was the industry’s first truly free TMS and has removed all barriers to entry to SMB customers looking for rating, booking and tracking functionality. Companies looking for financial management, advanced analytics and other premium features can upgrade to Kuebix Business Pro and Kuebix Enterprise and then seamlessly add additional features.

What’s the Difference Between Cloud-based / SaaS, and On-Premise TMS?

Besides being geared toward specific audiences, transportation management systems are housed and accessed in two different ways. The traditional way which many early adopters of transportation technology used was on-premise software.

On-premise software is installed and run directly on local computers. This requires a representative from the TMS provider to physically install the TMS “on-premise” at the user’s headquarters so that the company can gain access to it. This can cause difficulties whenever a problem arises or a new version needs to be updated, not to mention the customer’s inability to take their TMS on the road with them.

Cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) TMS are becoming strongly preferred over on-premise software. They are much more agile and easier to install, maintain, and upgrade, leading to a faster return on investment (ROI) and less hassle. With software that is housed on the “cloud” (online), users can access it from anywhere, even from mobile devices, and aren’t constrained to “the four walls” of their office building.

Most cloud-based transportation management systems are sold as software-as-a-service (SaaS). This means that users subscribe to the technology on a monthly or annual basis instead of purchasing the technology outright. Not only is this more cost-effective, it also means that users are always on the most recent version of the software.

What is the Core Functionality of a TMS?

As mentioned above, most transportation management systems provide these three core features:

  1. Rating
  2. Booking
  3. Tracking

This means that any logistics professional with a TMS can easily find rates for their customers’ orders and book those orders for delivery. Instead of needing to call individual carriers or visit each carrier’s website, the user can simply access the TMS to see all of their negotiated rates laid out side-by-side. Then they can quickly choose the rate with the best price and service level and book it directly through the system and track it through delivery.

Common TMS Upgrades

Though most TMSs provide the standard rating, booking and tracking, other more advanced TMSs also offer additional features. These can sometimes be added on in a modular fashion so that the user only pays for what they need, or may come as a package deal with the TMS. Here are some of the common capabilities of more advanced transportation management systems:

  •      •     Freight Pay and Audit – This feature helps companies automatically audit each carrier invoice. TMSs like Kuebix indicate which bills are within the predetermined threshold and can be paid and calls-out others which do not fall within the limit. This makes it much faster for financial teams to pay carriers and helps them avoid overpaying on accident.
  •      •     Order Integrations – An integration between the TMS and an ERP or a financial system like NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, or QuickBooks can vastly improve the speed and accuracy or booking. Order information flows directly from the ERP system and automatically populates within the TMS so that users never need to re-key information. This eliminated user-error which can lead to endless firefighting and incorrect deliveries.
  •      •     Order and Route Optimization – Some TMSs offer load and route consolidation and optimization through algorithms within their technology. The system can suggest the most efficient and cost-effective method of shipping a group of orders and the user can book the load quickly and easily.
  •      •     Reports and Dashboards – Analytics are a major draw for many companies interested in improving their logistics processes. Actionable reports and dashboards let users understand every detail of their freight spend and make strategic decisions on the basis of data. They can be used to evaluate carrier KPIs, total freight spend by item, and to provide insight to leadership.

Order and Route Optimization Infographic What is a Transportation Management System TMS?

How Can a TMS Save Me Money on Freight Spend?

Compare Rates: Transportation management systems let users automatically access all their negotiated carrier rates side-by-side for easy viewing and comparing. TMS users save time by no longer switching between individual carrier websites but instead have all their tariff information contained in one, user-friendly screen. Often, logistics professionals don’t have time to check the rate with every carrier, so inevitably end up missing out on quality rates. With a TMS users can choose the most attractive rate out of all their carriers for each shipment, saving them money on every load.

Pay Bills Correctly: Invoice audit is another way many companies use a TMS to save on total freight spend. Often, accidental or incorrect charges can be added to a shipment. Things like lift-gate fees and incorrect detention charges can increase the final amount on an invoice. These miscellaneous accessorial fees are easy to overlook when manually auditing invoices and are often even intentionally ignored because they waste too much time to rectify. These fees add up quickly, however, so having a system to automatically audit every carrier invoice can save huge amounts each year.

Understand Freight Spend: With a TMS that isn’t tied to a certain carrier or 3PL, users can access all of their rates side-by-side in an unbiased way. And with the addition or reports and analytics, users know exactly how well each carrier is performing on each lane. With this knowledge and understanding of the market rate, TMS users are positioned to negotiate for better rates and service levels with their partner carriers. This saves money overall and helps to improve relationships and customer service all at once.

Gain Visibility: Shippers leveraging a TMS like Kuebix also gain benefits from improved visibility to their supply chain operations.  All stakeholders can use the common platform to plan their moves, receive alerts to changes as they occur, see every status update made, and make real-time adjustments to keep the supply chain moving smoothly and the customer happy. By sharing a single common system, suppliers can plan inventory levels more effectively to offer better customer service. Carriers can move shipments in and out more efficiently, making their operations more cost effective and the customer can improve the management of their inbound operations and warehouse.

Optimization: For companies with large or complex supply chains, features like order and route optimization can also save significant money. This is because manually building the perfect load is a challenge, and more often than not too time-consuming to bother with. There are countless factors a logistics professional needs to take into consideration such as delivery date, location, class, weight and size. Weighing all of these factors without the help of technology usually results in missed opportunities and wasted resources. Instead of pouring through spreadsheets and manually grouping orders onto a single truck, Load Builders and Optimizers can be leveraged to help logistics teams build and optimize the perfect load every time to save significant money.

Click here to see how one company saved $2.2 million dollars in cost-avoidance within one year by leveraging a TMS!

Will a TMS Save Me Time?

Many people are concerned that a TMS won’t actually save them time because they’ve been doing their job for years and know how to do it like the back of their hand. While “tribal” knowledge and relationships gained over a career aren’t easily replaced, a TMS can speed up even the most seasoned logistics professional. Instead of managing an inbox and voicemail of hundreds of loads, every load and stop on a route is tracked in one place. Spreadsheets are no longer required to transfer order information back and forth and users can spend more of their valuable time working on strategic projects instead of troubleshooting errors.

From shippers with only a few loads a week to enterprises with hundreds of complex orders to sort through each day, leveraging technology can save countless hours. ERP integrations to automatically flow order information back and forth between systems not only improves accuracy but also makes the process of rating and booking much faster. Auditing and optimization features remove previously tedious processes and result in a faster speed from order to delivery. A few minutes saved per order adds up quickly no matter what size company is doing the shipping.

Inmod Furniture Case Study

Not all TMSs are created equal. Make sure to be aware of these common TMS challenges and if you’re thinking of implementing a TMS within your organization:

  •      •     Not every TMS supports all modes of transportation

What to ask: Ask the TMS provider what modes of transportation they do support and whether support is included in all of their purchase levels. Find out if they support full truckload (FTL), less-than-load (LTL), ground freight, air, intermodal, and ocean.

  •      •     The technology wasn’t built on the cloud

What to ask: Find out whether the technology is/ has always been housed on the cloud. If it hasn’t been, make sure that customer reviews reflect the provider’s ability to support a cloud-based technology. Many legacy transportation management systems have not had smooth transitions to a SaaS cloud-based model.

  •      •     Biased in favor of one carrier or 3PL

What to ask: Ask whether the technology is owned by a carrier or 3PL. If it is, determine whether you will be able to add all of your negotiated carrier rates to be viewed side-by-side in the technology. Many TMSs owned by a carrier or 3PL have preferred rates which could detract from your savings. Remember, a TMS should give you an agnostic way to find the best carrier rates.

  •      •     Bad customer reviews

What to ask: Ask to see some customer references before deciding on a TMS. If the TMS provider cannot show you any customer case studies or videos, that should be a red flag. Check out technology review sites like Capterra and Gartner Peer Insights for unbiased reviews from real customers.

So, what is a TMS?

A TMS is a tool that any size company can use to improve the efficiency of their shipping processes. TMSs like Kuebix TMS help companies capitalize on supply chain opportunities through visibility, control and the use of predictive analytics. And since Kuebix is built on the latest cloud technology, it can be implemented quickly so that any company can begin seeing rapid ROI.

benefit flow kuebix tms medium

The Benefit Flow of Using a Transportation Management System [TMS] *Infographic*

Transportation management systems (TMS) are becoming more and more common throughout the supply chain. TMSs used to be reserved only for the largest shippers and cost exorbitant amounts of money, making them inaccessible for shippers with smaller freight spends. With the dawn of Software as a Service (SaaS) technology and cloud-based systems, any size company that ships freight can implement a TMS to improve their logistics operations without breaking the bank.

Take a look at our infographic to learn more about how a TMS can bring improvements from initial customer order to post-delivery.

Kuebix - Benefits of Using a TMS

Centralize Information

A TMS will centralize all information so that every stakeholder in the supply chain can easily view and access the same data as their peers. Working off of the same set of information reduces the risk of error and makes processes flow more smoothly.

Minimize Manual Entry

With the addition of an ERP integration, orders flow automatically into the TMS for easy rating and booking. Instead of rekeying orders, logistics professionals have all the order information at their fingertips!

Save Money – Add to Your Bottom Line

One of the basic, and most potentially lucrative, functions of a TMS is the ability to compare multiple rates from different carriers side by side. Instead of navigating to dozens of different carrier websites (or worse of all, not comparing rates), logistics professionals can quickly select the rate and service type for each shipment that saves the most money and delivers the best customer satisfaction.

Optimize Loads and Routes

Optimization tools built into a TMS help logistics professionals build the optimal load and route with the help of algorithms. Parameters can be inputted ahead of time to specify how the load needs to be built, and the technology suggests the optimal consolidated shipment and lane. This helps to cube out every truck, save money on fuel expense, and reduce the number of touches an order undergoes.

Track & Trace Orders – Gain Visibility

Being able to track and trace orders down to the SKU level improves Customer Service teams’ ability to inform customers of changes to their orders and troubleshoot issues as they arise. It also means that teams can proactively make changes and maintain a complete understanding of their supply chain. With all of this data housed in one place, reports and dashboards can also be access directly from the TMS.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

All of the aforementioned benefits contribute to improving customer satisfaction. Orders can be processed more quickly, booked for cheaper rates, and remain visible throughout every node of the supply chain. This helps shippers meet rising expectations around shipping costs and times. Knowing when an order will be late and proactively communicating that with the customer will go a long way to building strong customer relations.

Leverage Actionable Analytics

Even after an order has been delivered to the end customer, a TMS doesn’t stop providing benefits. All shipment data is stored within the TMS and can be viewed in customizable reports and dashboards. Shippers can analyze overall carrier performance, make changes to their standard processes, and proactively leverage the analytics to improve customer satisfaction and lower costs.

breaking down tms transportation management system jargon kuebix

Breaking Down Transportation Management System (TMS) Jargon

There is a lot of jargon associated with transportation management systems (TMS) that many people find hard to navigate at first. You may never have come across some terms if you don’t have a history of working with TMSs or other forms of tech. The saying “it’s all Greek to me!” might spring to mind.

If you find yourself lost in TMS jargon, take a look at this list of some of the most common phrases and terms used when talking about transportation management systems.

Transportation Management System (TMS)

This one might seem obvious, but actually understanding what a TMS does is crucial before you can understand how the other terms relate. A TMS is a collection of tools housed under a single umbrella technology that help supply chain professionals manage transportation operations. These systems usually sit in between ordering systems (ERPs) and warehouse management systems (WMS) and help streamline rating, booking, and visibility to orders, among other things.

Integration

The term Integration in regards to a TMS means to digitally connect the TMS with another, external system. Intuitively, an integration is a pairing or merging of two entities, ie two pieces of software. Common integrations to a TMS include ERP integrations, API integrations and e-Commerce integrations. Information flows between the TMS and the external system that is integrated.

Software as a Service

Software as a Service, more commonly known as SaaS, is a method of delivering software to users. The software is accessed via a subscription model as opposed to being paid for and owned by the end-customer. This makes implementation, managing issues and getting updates much easier.

Cloud-based

This term is used to refer to a piece of software that was built to be accessed from the internet or “cloud.” Cloud-based applications or services are available on demand via a provider’s cloud computing servers. Cloud-based TMSs are becoming more common as supply chain professionals increasingly need to access their systems remotely.

On-premise

On-premise is the opposite of cloud-based software. Instead of the software being housed online, the software is installed and runs on local computers. This was the first method of selling software and has become an outdated model as the benefits of cloud-based software become even more apparent. On-premise TMSs are becoming obsolete as cloud-based ones are implemented quicker, return faster ROI, and are generally easier to manage.

Managed Services

Transportation-related managed services are programs provided to companies wishing to partially or fully outsource management of their logistics operations. Some companies choose to outsource certain processes to experts to gain efficiencies and dedicate more time to other areas of their business. These programs are often run in tandem with transportation management systems.

Logistics Community

A logistics community is a collaborative group of shippers and carriers around the world. Members of the community benefit from opportunities to collaborate and community-specific functions like truckload spot markets. Communities can be built around a TMS and foster an environment where freight savings and efficiencies can be gained.

Optimization

When someone talks about optimization and TMS together, they are usually talking about load and route optimization capabilities. Advanced TMSs offer optimization tools to their users to build perfect loads based on a variety of parameters. Instead of manually pouring over spreadsheets, TMS users with Optimization functionality can automatically build consolidated loads and route them efficiently.

compare freight rates kuebix

Why You Should Be Comparing Your Full Truckload (FTL) & Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Freight Rates

Logistics professionals have their work cut out for them just to get their freight to the customer on time without the added pressure to shop around to find the best deal. At least, that’s the case for folks who are still managing their freight operations in the old-fashioned way, with phone calls to carriers and spreadsheets to track loads. Companies that have already turned to transportation technology to help them optimize their supply chains can easily compare freight rates without wasting extra time.

Technology lets companies automatically pull in all their negotiated carrier rates side by side for easy viewing and comparing. Instead of needing to switch between vendor portals, logistics professionals have all their tariff information contained in one, user-friendly location. This means that they can choose the most attractive rate at the service level they need for every shipment.

Why Should You Compare Your Freight Rates?

Many shippers have carriers that they partner with over and over again, and those relationships can be crucial for the success of the delivery. But if you never get a feel for the market price on a particular lane, you could be vastly overpaying. By comparing rates, you can go back to your carriers to negotiate better terms. You may also discover cheaper capacity is available, helping you save money on total freight spend if you alter your processes for certain lanes.

By shopping around for different freight rates, you could also discover opportunities to deliver faster to your customers. Trends like the “Amazon Effect” are increasing customer expectations, namely the speed at which they can expect their deliveries. Even if you don’t discover freight savings when you shop around, you may discover ways to improve your customer satisfaction.

Another reason to constantly be comparing your freight rates is that prices are continuously changing. Diesel prices fluctuate, the driver shortage and capacity crunch alter carriers’ ability to service their customer base, and competition for capacity grows worse. What may have been the best price one day could suddenly be outperformed by another rate the next. Instead of doing a monthly or quarterly audit of tariffs, companies should be comparing their freight rates each and every time.

Comparing freight rates also allows logistics professionals to determine what mode they want to ship their product. This is particularly important for orders that could be either a parcel shipment of an LTL load. Many people wouldn’t consider shipping what they assumed to be an LTL load as a parcel shipment, or vice versa, though there could be significant savings. By using technology to display multiple mode options all on one screen, companies can be sure to pick the best price, no matter what mode is selected.

Using Technology to Rate Shop

Technology is the answer to this problem for most shippers. By leveraging a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, companies can quickly view all their options and select the best one. This is like booking a flight online were each and every price and timeline is viewable. At Kuebix, we believe that logistics should be just as easy as booking a flight online. And by comparing multiple modes side by side, users get even more opportunities to save money and provide superior service to their customers.

kuebix 10 reasons to get a tms

10 Reasons Every Shipper Should Get a Transportation Management System (TMS)

Transportation management systems (TMS) are becoming more widely adopted throughout the industry as these systems become cheaper (or free like Kuebix Free Shipper) and easier to use and implement. But some companies are still on the fence about whether to manage their logistics operations the old-fashioned way with phone calls and spreadsheets or to leverage technology to help streamline the process.

According to Bart De Muynck, Gartner’s research vice president, transportation technology, “Last year was a great year for TMS. In fact, in 2018 we saw investments go up across the entire supply chain technology spectrum.”

Companies are implementing TMSs at record numbers to achieve many different benefits. Here are 10 ways getting a TMS can help your business:

Everything in one place

By using a TMS, companies can manage their entire transportation operations all from a single place. This means they can rate, book, track and interact with their orders no matter whether they’re full truckload, LTL, parcel, air, intermodal or ocean. It also means that they don’t need to bounce between different carrier websites to rate shop.

Lower freight costs

Transportation management systems almost always help to lower overall freight costs for companies. By being able to rate shop within a single screen, logistics professionals can choose the least expensive option at the service type they need every time. It also means that companies have easier access to more carriers, creating beneficial competition and providing more options.

Reduce manual entry

With a TMS, especially one that is integrated with an ERP or ordering system, manual entry is greatly reduced. Information like PRO numbers, pallet weights, and destinations can be automatically populated to reduce human error. And instead of making notes on stickies or disjointed spreadsheets, all the order and route information is in one place, meaning reliable information can be transferred between stakeholders.

Optimize routing and load consolidation

With many TMS systems, you can build more efficient loads and routes with the help of an optimizer. Optimization tools allow the user to specify different parameters for the load and then suggest or even build the optimal load and route for easy tendering. Users can even view the route on a map to have a visual of where the order is planned so that they can make changes as necessary.

Get meaningful analytics

Since all of a company’s logistics information will pass through the TMS, that data can be transformed into actionable reports and dashboards. With a TMS companies can see freight cost per item right down to the SKU level to make strategic changes that impact their bottom line. They can also see things like carrier KPIs, real-time tracking data and vendor scorecards. These reports and dashboards help logistics professionals stay on top of key metrics affecting their company’s profits.

Gain visibility

With real-time tracking and analytics, you can provide your customers with the visibility to their orders that they expect. You can even add features like Dock Scheduler, RFID and ELD integrations, and Gate Check to make it easy to tell exactly where each truck is on the route.

Make paperwork easier

Transportation management systems make the little paperwork that is still necessary way easier. BOLs, PODs and other paperwork can be printed directly out of the system to make processing easy, efficient, and most importantly correct every time. This not only puts time back into the day, but it also speeds up pickup/drop-off times when drivers have accurate information with them.

Scalability

With a TMS, a company is free to grow or change their business without having to worry about how they will handle their transportation operations. When new facilities or more products are added to the business, the TMS will scale right along-side it. TMSs with modular features offer companies extra customizability. For example, if the company begins to sell products online, they can add an e-commerce integration to improve shipping options for their customers.

Meet rising customer expectations

Speaking of e-commerce, the growth in popularity of online shopping is changing customer expectations and making shipping more difficult for supply chains. Companies need to get orders to their destinations faster, cheaper, and with complete visibility. With a TMS, all three of these things are made possible and companies can provide exceptional customer service while meeting rising customer expectations.

Integrate external processes

Another benefit many companies take advantage of once they implement a TMS is to integrate it with their other systems. As mentioned above, some choose to integrate with their e-commerce platforms or their ERP and ordering systems. These and other integrations help to smooth processes across different teams and departments to help keep the flow of information clean and consistent, not to mention speed up the entire operation and improve overall visibility.

All-in-all, there are plenty of reasons a company should consider implementing a TMS to manage its transportation operations. These span from cost to time savings and improve data accuracy and visibility. As put by Logistics Management in their 2019 Transportation Management Systems (TMS) Market Update, “As the true workhorses of the supply chain management software cluster, transportation management systems (TMS) have become the “must have” for companies that—working under the pressures of e-commerce and omni-channel—need to move beyond clipboards, spreadsheets, and phone calls to manage their increasingly sophisticated transportation networks.”

How Breaking Away from a 3PL Helped One Company Save 30% on their Freight Spend

Hyperline Cabling Systems, a company continuously striving to remain ahead of the curve, was dissatisfied with their third-party logistics provider (3PL) and recognized the need to regain control of their logistics operations by implementing a transportation management system (TMS).

In May of 2017, Hyperline made the switch to Kuebix TMS, making the Kuebix technology their logistics system of choice for their national distribution center in Buford, GA. Since implementation, Hyperline has been able to take control of their own supply chain and benefit from tremendous savings, increased flexibility and visibility, saving about 30% on their freight spend.

Hear what Otis Johnson, Warehouse Manager at Hyperline, has to say in the video below:

Kuebix TMS

How to Buy a TMS

The combination of the capacity crunch and new government regulations are causing transportation costs to soar – and are expected to continue this trend into the future. In today’s market, shipping is one of the biggest expenses for any shipper, growing at a rate of over 5% per year, depending on the lane. Implementing a TMS solution can bring a business the freight savings and intelligence they need to keep transport costs as low as possible.

A broad range of TMSs exist, ranging from cloud-based to on-premise, automating freight bill audit and pay, streamlining execution and optimization, integrating with disparate systems, analyzing data for performance monitoring, and on and on. With all these features and options, how does a company go about buying a TMS system?

First of all, the goals for deploying a TMS need to be determined – is the goal to cut shipping costs, improve customer service, become a preferred shipper, consolidate loads, etc.? Do these goals align with the corporate strategy? They should!

Next, make sure that the TMS is easily scalable to meet current business needs and those of the future. Additional features and functions should be able to be easily added without having to start from scratch. A spot market should be accessible for volume quotes and the system should also easily integrate with other software to extend the value of the technology.

A TMS should offer the following:

  • ·       Automatic rating, booking and tracking of shipments, managing carriers and communicating with shippers and customers in real-time
  • ·       A network of carriers incorporating all modes with the ability to consolidate and optimize shipments
  • ·       A wide variety of reports and dashboards to monitor cost, shipping status and service levels
  • ·       Management of the carrier bid process from initial set up to tendering of shipments
  • ·       Extensive analytics to manage performance in real-time
  • ·       A quick implementation time and return-on-investment (ROI)
  • ·       Integration with enterprise systems and 3rd party applications
  • ·       The ability to track and trace any shipment in real-time, anywhere in the supply chain
  • ·       The ability to easily add functionality as needed such as order and route optimization, dock scheduling, yard management and container tracking

Some TMS providers like Kuebix offer a free version of their technology to help shippers better understand how to use the system and see real results from their operations risk free. Unlike a demo, Kuebix Free Shippergets shippers managing their freight and gaining true ROI even before adding modular features and capabilities.

When looking for a new TMS, check out The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Transportation Management Systems to get answers to questions like what to look for and how much a TMS should cost before committing to a system.

Rate Calculator Weigh Station

What You Need to Know About Calculating Freight Rates

For shippers, calculating freight costs can be one of the hardest expenses to predict and can seriously impact the bottom line. Using a transportation management system (TMS) can help optimize your shipping process and cut freight costs for LTL, truckload, intermodal, and other shipping modes. There are a variety of factors that impact how freight rates are calculated. It is helpful to understand these when making strategic shipping decisions on freight.  Below are a few of the top factors impacting your freight costs.

Mode of Transportation – The mode you choose to ship your freight will have a large impact on the cost of goods. Shipping a product by air is generally more expensive than driving a truck from point A to point B in the United States. Air can of course increase the speed of delivery, making it an important factor to weigh when comparing customer expectations and cost. Full TL is another example of a cost saving mode when compared with LTL loads. If consolidation of several LTL shipments into one FTL shipment is possible, money can be saved in unloading costs, fuel charges and labor. Consolidation into FTL is often not an option however, and the best shipping mode remains LTL.

Weight – The shipping industry uses the hundredweight pricing model, which means that freight costs are calculated per hundredweight (CWT). Carriers consult a pricing chart that lists these costs and weight brackets. Under this model, the more your shipment weighs, the less you pay per hundred pounds. Many carriers will offer more competitive prices on volume shipments. Using Kuebix TMS, volume spot quotes can be leveraged directly through the technology.

Distance – The further your freight needs to travel, the higher the freight rate will be. This is due to wear-and-tear on assets, fuel utilization and driving time. It is important to always optimize each load so that the truck takes the most direct route to all stops and fewer trucks are utilized.

Kuebix is taking some of the guess-work out of calculating LTL freight rates through its free Kuebix Freight Rate Calculator. By simply entering in the basic freight specifications such as origin, destination and weight, any logistics professional can instantly receive a freight rate estimate on their LTL shipment.

Begin Calculating Your Rates Now with Kuebix Freight Rate Calculator

Kuebix SupplierMAX

The Recipe for an Unbeatable Inbound Freight Management Strategy

Managing inbound freight operations is an ongoing challenge for businesses with large numbers of suppliers. Companies are impacted by the inefficiencies, low levels of visibility and lack of standardization associated with the management of their inbound freight. These problems are exacerbated when companies lack comprehensive strategies for obtaining the lowest possible shipping and unloading costs or a plan to improve the behavior of their suppliers. A complete strategy for inbound freight management needs to encompass the following three aspects; visibility, collaboration and accountability.

Visibility  Although companies control their own destinies on the outbound side of the equation, that level of control dwindles when it comes to inbound freight. In the end, the receiving company does not have full planning and visibility for shipment arrivals and dock reservations. To optimize their inbound, stakeholders can benefit from better visibility of information (e.g., knowing what carrier is being used, exact timing of deliveries, how much manpower is in the DC to load/unload shipments, etc.), real-time data sharing and the knowledge that everyone is working toward a common goal.

Collaboration  By using a comprehensive inbound freight plan based on a collaborative ecosystem of shippers, suppliers and carriers, companies can effectively establish a dynamic rating and unloading allowance program. As companies work in partnership with their suppliers to determine the most cost-effective method to handle each shipment – customer pick-up (CPU) or vendor controlled (VDS), the goal should be to reduce overall shipping costs. By giving suppliers choices, they’ll be able to pick the most effective service and billing procedure. Convert inbound shipments from VDS to CPU shipments only when it’s feasible, and then establish preferred rates with a select group of carriers to handle those inbound shipments at the lowest possible cost and best service type. Use a standard routing guide to establish a set of mandatory carriers that will be used for all VDS and CPU shipments. This will enable LTL pricing improvements, superior service levels and maximize opportunities for LTL consolidation.

Accountability  While companies can’t always control what their suppliers do or the efficiency of suppliers’ systems, they can implement Vendor Inbound Compliance Standards (VICS) to help improve supplier behavior. A comprehensive set of compliance procedures will establish rules and processes that must be followed by suppliers when making deliveries. These accountability levels should also extend to the company’s own supply chain/logistics department and procurement group, both of which play a role in ensuring that products get quickly from their origin to the distribution center (DC). The goal? Improve supplier behavior so that their inefficiencies are not wasting time and money at the DC. It’s also important that a company’s inbound strategy includes leveraging detailed analytics to measure the results of the program and take action where necessary to improve service with suppliers and carriers.

By following this general recipe, companies can work with specialists in inbound freight to develop an unbeatable inbound freight management strategy. But knowing what to do and being able to do it effectively are two entirely different hurdles companies need to jump. It’s for that reason Kuebix has developed SupplierMAX, a program where companies can leverage Kuebix’s technology and logistics experts to manage all or a portion of their inbound freight program. SupplierMAX improves supplier behavior and increases the efficiency of warehouses and distribution centers by incorporating a series of comprehensive strategies to improve inbound operations. To learn more about this program, click HERE to read the SupplierMAX press release in full.

What Should You Pay For Your Freight?

Calculating freight rates is a critical step for any business with product to ship. Freight rates may be for a variety of destinations, multiple classes and different weights, but how much it costs to ship product will always be a key driver of your total cost of goods. Getting all the information is necessary to positively impact your bottom line by lowering your cost of goods and getting your product shipped on your terms.

Enter the Kuebix Freight Rate Calculator – a new free tool for all transportation and logistics professionals to research and get instant estimates on their LTL freight.

Here are 3 Reasons to Use the Kuebix Freight Rate Calculator:

  1. Do you have freight to ship but no negotiated carrier rates?
  2. Are you working with a 3pl and have no idea what your freight should actually cost?
  3. Are you just curious if the rate you are currently using is a good rate?

Using the Freight Rate Calculator is simple and only requires the basic information on your freight. Simply visit the calculator by following this link and type in your shipment information. You will need the postal code (zip code) for the origin of the freight as well as the destination postal code. The origin city and state will automatically populate below. Then simply enter your freight’s quantity, weight and dimensions and instantly receive an LTL freight rate.

After receiving your LTL freight rate estimates, you can explore even better rates on LTL, TL and Parcel shipments plus book and manage all your freight by signing up for Kuebix Free Shipper, the free multimodal TMS for unlimited rating, booking and tracking. Kuebix Free Shipper allows you to view all of your carrier rates side by side, empowering you to book the best rate for every shipment.

Begin Calculating Your Rates Now

Kuebix Global Logistics Community

Global Online Logistics Community: If You Build It They Will Come, Sometimes

Over the past decade, there has been a focus in the transportation industry on creating new avenues for finding capacity, getting better rates and improving customer service. To this end, a number of online communities have popped up with the promise of freight savings through matching carrier capacity to shipper demand.

However, over the years many of these communities have failed. Here are 5 reasons:

  1. A focus on spot rates only
  2. No support of negotiated carrier rates
  3. No direct connection to carriers
  4. No sticky factor to keep the shippers coming back
  5. High barrier of entry to get shippers on boarded

Many online logistics communities were originally established as a marketplace for volume spot transactions. A major reason these communities failed was because they focused on just a small piece of the way companies ship freight. On average, 90%+ of freight is booked via negotiated carrier rates, leaving just 10% or less for volume spot rates. Most communities built around volume spot rates alone failed because they didn’t offer access to the negotiated carrier rates that companies use to ship their freight the vast majority of the time.

Many communities also underestimated the importance of long-standing carrier relationships. However, direct connection to carriers was not possible until just a few years ago when carriers began exposing their APIs for rating, booking and tracking on their websites. Now technologies like Kuebix can build direct connections to carriers, allowing companies to view all their carrier rates, book shipments and track freight on one platform.

Communities also need a “sticky factor” to entice members to join and keep them “glued.”  An online logistics community must offer a tool that logistics professionals use every day, like a transportation management system.

Finally, a community must have a very low barrier to entry. Free versions of technology are very appealing for this reason. Think about what would have happened if, when Facebook was started, people were charged to connect to the network and use its features. Because Facebook is free, millions of people were able to join the community without any barriers.

The idea of building a community that offers dramatics savings by matching carrier capacity to shipping demand is appealing, but communities that are not built with shippers’ day to day needs in mind are destined to fail.

Learn more about Kuebix’s Free TMS and the Global Logistics Community. Try our new Freight Rate Calculator.

Gaining Supply Chain Visibility Doesn’t Have to be a Daunting Task

Supply chain visibility (SCV) is at the forefront of supply chain leaders’ minds in 2018. Today’s businesses need to know where their product is, when it is going to be delivered, and every detail regarding the contents of their freight. It’s also essential to provide this level of visibility to all the stakeholders in the supply chain. Silos between procurement, warehouse ops, finance and the customer cause breakdowns in the system, resulting in wasted time and lost revenue. Imagine connecting all the logistics professionals who are working to ship your freight from point A to point B on one seamless interface. Giving stakeholders access to the same actionable information in real-time sets them up for better communication and the ability to remove roadblocks.

For many companies working diligently to compete in the new landscape, the prospect of enhancing visibility to their supply chains is daunting. The expected time commitment and resources required to integrate legacy systems with a transportation management system (TMS) is often seen as too costly and inefficient; outweighing the benefits of such a system. These barriers to service are hindering many companies’ ability to gather data on their supply chains and compete at the high-level Amazon has made the industry standard.

Kuebix is revolutionizing logistics management with its intelligent TMS. By seamlessly connecting legacy ERP systems with Kuebix and bolstering the direct customer-carrier relationship, Kuebix enables shippers to see every node of their supply chains. Stakeholders can use one solution to view and manage their freight, saving time and breaking down silos. And depending on the scope of the integration needed, Kuebix TMS can be ready to use in a few weeks to a few months. This modular, scalable solution gives companies previously unable to cope with the commitment of old-fashioned TMS systems the ability to make data collected across the supply chain available to all users and gives them greater control and visibility into what is happening across their enterprises.

Supply chain visibility will be a weighty topic in 2018, as the industry acclimatizes itself to new levels of supply chain control. The question is no longer whether visibility is essential for shipping companies, but how long customers are willing to patronize suppliers without it. The competition will become fiercer and the bar continue to be pushed higher. Here are Kuebix we are excited to see how the demand for increased visibility will continue to evolve the supply chain.