Posts

LTL and FTL Shipping: What’s the Difference?

The terms less-than-truckload (LTL) and full-truckload (FTL) get thrown around often within the shipping community. However, newcomers may find themselves at a loss for what these terms actually mean. To clear this up, we are breaking down each term individually before directly comparing them so that you can choose the best shipping modes for your freight.

Freight Shipping

First and foremost, it’s important to know what freight shipping actually is. The term freight shipping refers to the paid process of shipping goods by land, sea, or air. Freight is typically composed of goods that are being transported to another location in bulk. Two subcategories that fall under the umbrella of freight shipping are less than truckload (LTL) shipments and full truckload (FTL) shipments.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

Less than truckload freight shipments, commonly abbreviated as LTL, are shipments that exceed the size limit required to be able to ship as a single package through the mail (a parcel shipment). Despite being too big for a parcel carrier, less than truckload shipments are too small to fill an entire semi-truck trailer. In order for shipping to be mutually beneficial between the shippers and trucking companies, carriers often ship multiple LTL shipments together to make the trip economically sensible.

Benefits

• Lessen environmental impact

This method of ‘carpooling’ with LTL shipments from other companies reduces the impact transportation has on the environment.

• Decrease warehouse expenses

By adopting LTL shipping, companies relieve themselves of the stress that comes with having too much product built up in their warehouse. Through shipping consistently, companies are able to keep less in their warehouse and also keep a more accurate inventory as a result.

• Minimizes costs on smaller shipments

Traditionally, the lowest rates are reserved for shippers that can fill the entire semi-truck trailer. LTL shipping gives companies that aren’t able to fill an entire truck the opportunity to minimize costs by consolidating their freight with other company’s freight. With LTL shipping, companies only pay for the weight of their freight and the space it uses on the trailer.

Full Truckload (FTL or TL)

Conversely, full truckload shipments (abbreviated FTL or TL) are large enough to fill up an entire semi-truck trailer. Unlike LTL shipments which might ride alongside other shipments, FTL freight is contracted to one carrier and rides alone, meaning there don’t need to be extra stops along the way. This reduced the number of “touches” and reduces the likelihood of damages.

Benefits

• Save money on larger shipments

If you have enough freight to fill an entire trailer, a FTL shipment will be the most efficient mode. It’s less expensive to ship a single FTL shipment in comparison to splitting up the freight into multiple LTL shipments.

• Lower risk of damage

Shipping a full truckload means that from start to finish, your freight will remain in the same semi-truck trailer. This simplifies the transportation process and eliminates potential risk associated with LTL shipments being handed off to other trucks along their route.

• Ship products faster

When shipping FTL, the only factors considered in the truck’s route are the origin of the freight and its final destination. With LTL, there may be multiple origins and final destinations involved that can lengthen the travel time and impact delivery times as a result. FTL shipments ensure that freight is arriving as quickly as possible.

Which Should I Choose?

LTL and FTL shipping are both beneficial types of freight shipping. For smaller shipments that are too big to be shipped parcel, LTL shipping is often the best choice. For larger shipments that are able to completely fill or almost fill an entire truck, FTL is less expensive. Both are acceptable options when thinking about how to ship your freight, but each has specific scenarios in which they are most beneficial to the shipper.

It is always a good idea to compare the freight rates of multiple LTL or FTL carriers to choose the carrier with the best rate and service level for your shipment.

Why Should You Compare Your Freight Rates?

Comparing rates is the best method to avoid overpaying. Whether shipping LTL or FTL, different carriers will offer different freight rates and service levels and it’s important to shop around. Looking into what’s available often makes way for the discovery of less expensive rates or particular lanes that have the ability to speed up delivery. Prices constantly fluctuate and what initially seems like the better option may not be best in the end.

How Can a Transportation Management System Help?

Leveraging technology is the easiest way to ensure that you are shipping your freight most efficiently. By utilizing a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, shippers are able to compare all of their negotiated and spot rates on a singular platform. With the ability to compare rates instantly, shippers have the power to book confidently and quickly.

Many companies also use optimization technology in their TMS to combine LTL shipments into FTL shipments for greater efficiencies and cost savings. Kuebix TMS offers a variety of advanced functionalities including Order and Route Optimizer, which optimizes shipments for maximum efficiency.

Kuebix Shipping Community

Shipper Adoption is the Key to a Successful Shipping Community [Infographic]

How Can Shipping Communities Gain Shipper Adoption?

For a shipping community to be successful it needs to be built upon a transportation management system (TMS). Shippers want to conduct all of their business through a single, connected platform. When they leverage a robust TMS to manage their logistics operations, they can rate, book, and track all of their shipments for every mode through a single window. When they are looking for additional capacity to supplement their negotiated rates, it makes sense that they’d want to use their main source of transportation management to find that capacity.

A TMS is the natural place to house a spot market where shippers can easily get spot quotes for their freight. That’s because users automatically form the basis of the shipping community that will use the spot market. When the shipper can’t get their freight covered as they need with a negotiated rate, they can seamlessly pivot to a built-in spot market where community members can collaborate to find efficiencies. Unlike a disconnected freight marketplace outside of their normal processes, their TMS joins disparate marketplaces, brokers, carriers, and fleets to make it easy for shippers to find additional capacity through the network.

 

Not Just Any TMS Will Do, Though.

Most transportation management systems aren’t designed to have a successful community built upon them. For a start, the TMS needs to be capable of handling its users’ every need. That means every mode needs to be covered by the platform and the TMS must integrate directly with any ERP system. Reporting and tracking functionality are also important along with many other features lower-level TMSs simply can’t provide. Simply put, the TMS must be built for small and enterprise sized customers and everyone in between. Features that can be modularly added as the company’s needs change also increase usership since shippers only pay for what they use. Users must to be able to complete all of their logistics operations inside the TMS to keep them engaged with the system and using it routinely.

On the other hand, the TMS needs to be accessible by the masses. Many small businesses can benefit from streamlining their operations with the help of technology. By offering both free and affordable subscription versions of the software, the TMS can rapidly gain more usership by tapping into a segment of shippers in the industry that would otherwise never be able to be connected to collaboration opportunities. When more users join the network, every other user benefits. This is known as the “Network Effect,” a phenomenon where each additional user of a tool increases the value of the tool for every other user.

Kuebix Community Load Match

Kuebix Community Load Match is the spot market built upon Kuebix TMS that any member of Kuebix’s shipping community can take advantage of and is just one of the benefits members receive by belonging to the network. This spot market connects shippers with available truckload capacity without making them leave the system. With Community Load Match, every shipper can discover additional savings on truckload freight by connecting with Kuebix’s vast ecosystem of dedicated truckload carriers.

Currently, Kuebix has over 16,000 companies using the TMS. This group is made up of companies of all sizes, some using Kuebix Free Shipper, some Business Pro users and some Enterprise users with extensive logistics operations. No matter what type of account a user has, however, they are part of Kuebix’s shipping community and can leverage Community Load Match. This makes Kuebix an ideal partner for carriers, brokers, fleet owners, and other freight marketplaces to expose their capacity through.

As the community grows, more opportunities are created and even more shippers and companies with capacity join the network! This is why shipper adoption is the key to growing and maintaining a successful shipping community.

What You Need to Know About Calculating Freight Rates

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, parcel, 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.

Modes Icons

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 TMSKuebix Community Load Match

If you’re looking for great freight rates on truckload shipments, the best place to look is a community with thousands of shippers, carriers, vendors and brokers collaborating to create the best loads. Kuebix Community Load Match is a truckload spot market where any shipper can easily connect to trucks with available capacity.  If you have freight to ship and are looking for additional capacity, you can request and receive truckload spot quotes through Community Load Match for free!

Begin Calculating Your Rates Now with Kuebix Free Shipper.

Strategic Partnerships Expand Opportunities in Cloud-Based Transportation Communities

Cloud-based transportation communities are digital networks where companies connect to find opportunities for efficiency and cost savings. These networks are comprised of shippers, carriers, suppliers, brokers, freight forwarders and every other type of company involved in the shipping of freight. On these digital networks, members connect to leverage efficiencies such as finding additional truckload capacity and filling empty fleet miles.

A new eBook, Putting Community in TMS: Enabling the Network Effect in Transportation Management by industry analyst and President of Adelante, SCM, Adrian Gonzalez breaks down how the network effect can be enabled in transportation management. He discusses how network-based transportation management systems (TMS) act as a conduit for shippers to maintain thousands of relationships without needing to manually forge relationships one-by-one with other companies.

“Instead of establishing and maintaining hundreds or even thousands of one-to-one connections, companies make a single connection to the network to communicate and collaborate with their existing trading partners.”

In order to attract the most users and keep them engaged on a routine basis, network-based transportation management systems serve as the operating system for these communities. Shippers are already accessing the TMS for their daily logistics needs and can therefore easily pivot to community-specific features like truckload spot markets and load matching services.

To make these community-specific services enticing and valuable for shippers leveraging the TMS, there need to be a multitude of opportunities flowing into the network-based TMS from the other end. That’s to say, there needs to be extensive available capacity exposed to the community of shippers for opportunities to be found. That’s where partnerships come in.

Kuebix, as the first and only network-based transportation management system, is pioneering this concept. By partnering with external communities and thousands of individual brokers and carriers, Kuebix is able to expose available capacity from all over the supply chain industry to its TMS users.

Partnering with Emerge Private Freight Marketplace

A new partnership with Emerge has enabled Kuebix to rapidly expand the number of opportunities available to its customers in Kuebix Community Load Match, a truckload spot marketplace. Through this partnership, members of the community can tap into Emerge’s Private Freight Marketplace and seamlessly book with thousands of verified carriers without needing to maintain individual relationships.

Partnerships like that with Emerge quickly grow the shipping community and provide users with more opportunities for collaboration. The key is to connect every transportation player through a single system where it is easy to find opportunities for collaboration while simultaneously keeping users engaged with the community, even when they aren’t actively looking for additional capacity.Kuebix and Emerge

 

Kuebix TMS and the Network Effect in Transportation Management

Kuebix TMS was built around the concept of the network effect and is proving the theory in conjunction with transportation management as described by Gonzalez in Putting Community in TMS. As more users join Kuebix’s logistics community by becoming users of the TMS, more carriers, brokers, freight forwarders and other supply chain players can be partnered with to expose available capacity. This creates a snowball effect where when more shippers join to leverage the new opportunities, new partnerships with carriers and brokers can be established to take advantage of more shippers seeking capacity. It’s a win-win for all supply chain players and grows the cloud-based community exponentially.

Currently, there are over 16,000 members of Kuebix’s shipping community and that number continues to grow. The new collaboration with Emerge and other strategic partnerships will continue to drive shippers to the technology, encouraging more partners with available capacity to expose their assets through the technology, and so on and so forth, creating the industry’s largest cloud-based shipping community.

Kuebix Freight Pay and Audit

Are You Still Manually Auditing Your Freight Bills?

Freight pay and audit can be a very tedious and expensive function. Money is wasted when companies pay outside firms by the invoice while the company may still be left dealing with difficult exceptions directly with the carrier. With the help of technology, the entire process can be streamlined and automated. This makes auditing invoices and handling exceptions highly efficient.

Automation means never accidentally overpaying for freight

Did you know that 15% of carrier invoices are incorrect and, more often than not, those erroneous bills are not in the shipper’s favor? Manually using carriers’ paper or email invoices to validate billed amounts can result in errors or even approvals without proper research. Overcharges can occur when all invoices are generically approved for remittance simply because the effort involved to research discrepancies is too time-consuming.

Automation makes auditing faster

By integrating carrier invoices directly with a TMS, carrier bills can be automatically audited against the approved rate quote for each shipment. If an invoice doesn’t match the agreed upon rate or falls outside an acceptable threshold, a rate exception claim can be created. Rate exception claims should include details of the actual discrepancy to make it easy to dispute. Then, the ERP system can be automatically updated with the new invoice information and payments can be made with confidence. When manual freight pay and audit functions are replaced with automatic ones, shippers only spend time looking at the invoices that are incorrect and always know where the discrepancies lay for easy disputing.

Automation helps to better manage cash flow

Paying invoices too early can reduce cash flow for the company. Kuebix keeps track of the payment terms with carriers and helps ERP systems pay carrier invoices on time, ensuring that invoices are not paid too early. The Kuebix platform automatically alerts the user which invoices to process for payment and on what date, ensuring cash-flow is managed correctly.

Automation provides more accurate financials

With technology, shippers have the ability to add important GL codes to the invoice so that their accounting teams can properly class the financial information for every line item on every shipment.  Enabling the smooth exchange of all associated financial data helps the company keep track of specific expenses by various product lines and business functions. By leveraging automation technology, opportunities to squeeze savings from shipping operations can be identified and implemented as well.

Kuebix TMS offers out-of-the box solutions to automate Freight Pay and Audit functions. This means that detailed rate exceptions can be viewed in one place instead of painstakingly researching discrepancies on each mis-matching invoice. By collaborating with Kuebix’s experienced team of implementation experts, a customized carrier invoice auditing integration can be created to fit any company’s specific needs.

Inbound Freight Management Kuebix

Building a Successful Inbound Freight Management Program

Managing inbound freight is one of the most crucial parts of managing a successful supply chain, but the fact is… it’s hard!

Kuebix Founder and President Dan Clark discusses in a recent video how a company can better manage their inbound freight by following a detailed process that ensures their product is delivered to the distribution center with the optimal carrier, at the optimal price.

Frequently overlooked and often pushed to the bottom of a shipper’s supply chain agenda, good inbound freight management can help companies improve shipment visibility, save money, and enhance customer service—all of which add to the bottom line and boost profitability.

With outbound freight management, shippers are in control of the operation, managing their own picking orders and delivering to their own customers. With inbound freight, shippers are dependent on suppliers to pick orders, load and deliver to a distribution center. This takes collaboration and accountability among participants, and visibility into operations to know what is happening.

A successful inbound program must follow a detailed process for all freight delivered to the distribution center. The program needs to ensure that freight is delivered by the optimal carrier at the optimal price. It requires an infrastructure that creates a win-win relationship with suppliers and carriers that leverages available capacity to ensure freight will be delivered on time, claims free to the distribution center.

With real-time alerts and a real-time collaborative infrastructure, shippers can track shipment delivery times and better organize their docks so carriers aren’t left idling in the yard. A well-planned inbound freight management program uses LTL consolidations to make fuller trucks to reduce the number of deliveries arriving at the same time and utilizes backhaul opportunities to reduce shipping costs and improve efficiencies.

A well-orchestrated inbound freight management processes establishes a win-win program with suppliers to keep costs in check. It helps with managing supplier allowance programs for LTL and TL, streamlines the unloading process, establishes vendor inbound compliance and fosters dynamic capacity-based selections, where whoever has the capacity is the one selected to deliver the orders.

A superior inbound management program must be built on compliance and accountability. It requires a comprehensive routing guide that details the requirements for each stakeholder and each process. Everyone needs to understand the program and their responsibilities for its success. Enforcing these new compliance policies ensures cost reduction objectives will be met.

This will create an environment that makes it efficient and cost effective for all stakeholders involved in the process.

 

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.

Portfolio Items