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Is it Time To Upgrade to A Cloud-Based Transportation Management System

Is it Time To Upgrade to A Cloud-Based Transportation Management System (TMS)?

Many companies are still using the transportation management system (TMS) they installed 15 or even 20 years ago! Technology has changed and improved significantly over that time. So if you’re still using an outdated TMS to manage your logistics operation, it’s time to upgrade to a modern, cloud-based system.

Why Should I Replace My Old TMS?

The old mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t work when it comes to technology. Just because a system is functioning doesn’t mean that there aren’t more and better features to improve your shipping operations. A horse and cart are likely faster than walking up the road, but that doesn’t mean a car isn’t the better option to get to your destination efficiently. The same is true when it comes to technology, without exploring all the options, you may be missing out on valuable features.

Legacy TMS systems often don’t provide the transparency and visibility you need to monitor shipments, optimize routes, lower costs and improve efficiencies. What sufficed for customers in the past probably doesn’t cut it with your current customers. Customers have become accustomed to Amazon-like delivery options and visibility to their orders. It’s up to you to meet these heightened customer expectations with technology.

With legacy transportation management systems, there’s no way to tell if a delivery is going to be late so you can warn your customers. You don’t have the ability to collaborate in real time with your carriers and onboarding new carriers is a hassle. Your old TMS is simply not keeping up with consumers’ changing expectations and the increasing demands of the modern supply chain. A modern, cloud-based TMS can help.

How Can I Improve My Transportation Operations with Technology?

Upgrading an older system is rarely an option. To compete in the modern supply chain where visibility and flexibility are key, you need to implement a cloud-based TMS. A cloud-based TMS offers faster start-up, lower usage costs, greater flexibility and rapid return-on-investment (ROI). Lower maintenance and support costs are a big plus, too. With a cloud-based TMS, any size business is given a fair chance at competing with larger companies because of low start-up costs and easier upkeep.

Modern transportation management systems can do a whole lot more than they used to.

Scalability is something that most legacy, on-premise TMS solutions do not offer because of their rigid infrastructure. With scalability available in newer TMSs, you are able to add new features and functionality to your system without starting from scratch. Your TMS should be flexible to grow as your business grows. Start with just rating, booking, scheduling and tracking, then add modular features like freight bill pay and audit, ERP integrations, order consolidation, route optimization, and collaboration portals as needed to help you customize the technology to best fit your needs.

Complete supply chain visibility is another feature which only new, cloud-based TMSs can offer. From the loading dock to the final mile, a TMS should track and trace orders down to the SKU level, giving visibility to what is on each truck, how many items there are and where the truck is. A TMS should help you answer questions like whether the truck is delayed and if there are items missing from the order.

Most legacy TMSs do not integrate well with other systems. Today’s cloud-based transportation management systems have the ability to easily connect and share with customers, suppliers and carriers, on any device, wherever the stakeholder is. New systems integrate purchase orders directly from any ERP system to facilitate the rapid creation of shipments, avoiding the need to re-enter the order, which can lead to errors and increased admin time. Retailers with their own e-commerce engine should be able to connect directly to the TMS by using open APIs, adding shipment tracking and the ability to rate, book and schedule deliveries.

Your TMS Should Connect You To a Vast Network

If your TMS is not cloud-based, will not integrate with other systems and cannot provide end-to-end visibility, along with flexibility and scalability to easily add additional features, then it is time for a change. Not only that, your modern TMS should be connecting you with a vast network of carriers, suppliers, freight marketplaces, brokers, and 3PLs to streamline your operations. Being able to manage all of your shipping functions within a single system is essential. With a cloud-based transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, all of this is possible.

Become a Kuebix Free Shipper to see how a modern TMS can improve your transportation operations today!

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.

Kuebix TMS - Cargo Theft Claims Management

Cargo Thieves’ New Strategy Hitting Shippers Hard

Cargo theft continues to be a pain-point for shippers in every industry as metrics from Q1 of 2018 roll in. Though technically the overall total of cargo related thefts has decreased 23% year-over-year in North America (CargoNet), it is presumed that many more cargo thefts are going unreported by shippers. All cargo theft numbers are voluntarily reported, meaning operations and finance teams who are already scrambling to ascertain their losses may be neglecting to report the theft to the proper authorities. Potentially more worryingly, shippers may not be realizing the extent of their missing products because of inadequate claims management.

Thieves targeting trucks in transit are using a new strategy to carry out their crimes. As opposed to stealing entire loads or many pallets of product, thieves are being more selective in what they are taking and only lifting a small amount of product at a time. Besides the obvious benefit of increased speed to avoid detection, thieves may also be leaving shippers unaware that there was a theft at all. Pallets go missing all the time for perfectly legitimate reasons that can be tracked down, but shippers without a system to track their historical claims may not be aware to what extent they have been targeted by thieves.

Food and Beverage remains the commodity with the highest losses, closely followed by Household Items and Electronics. In the first quarter of 2017, the average value of a reported cargo theft was $164,185. In the first quarter of 2018, the average value of reported goods stolen rested at $90,883. On first glance, this seems like a success story for law enforcement, but it could also paint the picture that pre-meditated theft sizes are actually dropping. Without ascertaining the accurate number of cargo thefts, it will be impossible to determine whether the number of individual events is rising correspondingly.

According to SensiGuard, 92% of large-scale incidents occur in unsecured parking areas. Other locations reported include warehouses and secured parking lots. Often, determining the exact location of the incident, if it is even noticed by the driver, is difficult. Drivers often travel hundreds of miles before unloading, and if they do not do a thorough walk-around of their vehicle at each stop, determining the exact location of the theft becomes more and more unlikely. The best way to catch a theft early is for drivers to remain vigilant about checking their trailer’s seal or lock.

3 Steps to Prevent Cargo Theft

  1. Check it – Drivers should thoroughly check their trailers’ seals and locks after leaving their truck even for a short period
  2. Report it – Notify the proper authorities if cargo has been stolen to encourage appropriate action be taken on thieves
  3. Track it – Make sure to track all historical claims to determine the scope and pattern of incidents, whether benign or malicious

Many shippers lack a process to track and manage their claims with carriers when items don’t arrive at their destinations as planned. This causes a lot of confusion and lost revenue if managed incorrectly, especially if those items have actually been stolen and their value can’t be recouped. By leveraging a Claims Management system like Kuebix TMS’s, shippers can tie claim information directly to the shipment to make tracking and research easy. By maintaining historical claim details no claim goes overlooked and patterns and totals can be discovered, making a real impact to a company’s bottom line.

Cloud-Based TMS Kuebix

Why a Cloud-Based TMS is Better

A decade ago, if you wanted a TMS, you had to buy the software and install it within your organization. Today that has changed as more TMSs are moving to the cloud. Transportation management systems (TMS) based in the cloud are being adopted at faster rates than ever before. Industry analyst firm Gartner sees a 15% growth in TMS usage within small- to mid-sized businesses with some vendors reporting more than 20% growth.

So why are cloud-based TMSs growing in popularity?

We can think of 10 good reasons:

  1. Lower Barriers to Entry – Upfront expenditures related to hardware and software are eliminated with a cloud-based TMS allowing businesses of any-size to gain access to the technology. No longer do companies have to fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars on installed software. Instead, with a cloud-based TMS, you pay subscription or usage fees.
  2. Enhancements Made Easy – The cloud-based TMS software provider is responsible for upgrades and enhancements to its solution, which includes maintaining the application and ensuring its availability and reliability. Most application upgrades can be easily deployed automatically, eliminating the need for internal IT staff involvement.
  3. Connectivity – Cloud-based computing enables the TMS to connect to a global group of supply chain trading partners. As more and more carriers, shippers and suppliers connect to this network of trading partners, the ability to collaborate and conduct business with more and more companies brings value to the participants. Under a cloud model, the TMS can become a central marketplace where you connect to a variety of supply chain stakeholders.
  4. Flexibility as You Grow – Cloud-based TMS systems offer lots of flexibility, starting with basic features that can be easily upgraded with additional functionality as your business needs change. Start with the ability to rate, book and track shipments, then add other features as needed – from predictive analytics to freight bill audit/payment and more.
  5. Level the Playing Field – Deploying a cloud-based TMS levels the playing field as businesses of any size have access to a larger variety of rates and carriers, allowing your business a greater chance to get better rates.
  6. Software Always Up & Running – Cloud-based TMS vendors deploy their systems across multiple data centers to ensure 24/7/365 operations. So, no matter if there is a widespread power outage or weather-related event, you will have access to the TMS and your data to ensure you can always get your products out the door.
  7. Fastest Route to Implementation – Cloud-based TMS systems are easy to deploy and easy to use with typical start-up within minutes or a few hours. Some systems offer online how-to videos to help new users begin.
  8. Faster ROI – Cloud-based TMS users get a faster return on investment (ROI) because of the low upfront investment and quicker start-up. You’ll be up and running quicker, making smarter decisions on rates and carriers.
  9. Smarter Shipping Decisions – Smarter decisions can be made by your transportation operations team by leveraging actionable reports and dashboards within a TMS housed on the cloud. Every transaction is captured and can be analyzed for improvements in service levels, freight spend, KPIs and more.
  10. Lower Freight Spend – Using a cloud-based TMS will lower your freight spend, reports say between 10 – 20% on average, because you have more choices of modes and access to more carriers and lanes.

A cloud-based transportation management system like Kuebix TMS offers a wide variety of benefits for shippers. Before you take the plunge with a new cloud-based TMS, use this Complete Buyer’s Guide to figure out exactly what your needs are!

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.

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