In this dynamic and ever-evolving world of shipping and logistics, freight shipping plays an important role in ensuring goods reach the customer’s location on time, safely, and cost effectively. However, shippers often face several challenges that can disrupt their freight shipping processes leading to increased costs and delivery delays. To address these challenges, a few companies are implementing integrated shipping solutions to streamline global shipping operations and overall customer experience.
Major challenges faced by organizations/shippers with freight shipping.
Freight shipping, whether LTL or FTL, presents unique challenges. Shippers face difficulties in selecting the right carrier from numerous options like FedEx Freight, TForce, Expeditors, CH Robinson, Schenker, ABF, XPO Logistics, and others, making decision-making overwhelming.
- Carrier Selection:For Shippers, finding the most suitable freight carrier from an extensive number of options can be a daunting task.
- Shipping Rates: Obtaining shipping rates from multiple LTL carrier websites including surcharges and accessorial fees can be time consuming.
- Transit Time: On-time deliveries are essential for customer satisfaction, but it can be difficult to precisely estimate transit times across several carriers.
- Freight Classifications: It’s important to list the correct freight class for each type of good, as incorrect classification can lead to unforeseen costs and delays.
- Tracking and Visibility: Tracking and real-time visibility of shipments, especially when using multiple freight carriers, can be challenging, potentially causing difficulties in managing customer expectations when there is an increased number of customer service requests.
- Shipping Documents: Generating and printing various freight documents such as carrier shipping labels, bills of lading, and customs documents like commercial invoices and certificates of origin, is complex and requires shippers to navigate through multiple systems.
- Customs Compliance: For cross-border shipments, complying with several customs regulations and documentation requirements can be complex and time-consuming.
- Freight Coordination: Scheduling pickup and delivery with carriers while aligning with customers’ schedules and preferences necessitates efficient communication and coordination with carriers.
- Carrier Performance: Monitoring carrier performance and evaluating their reliability, on-time delivery rates and customer service levels requires ongoing effort.
Benefits/Value of implementing a Multi-carrier shipping software
An innovative software will facilitate seamless data comparison between multiple carriers for rate, transit time, and services offered, allowing businesses to select the most cost-effective option for each shipment from one screen. Furthermore, it should simplify paperwork and automate essential documents like packing slips, shipping labels, and bills of lading. If the software has integration with ERP systems like Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle ERP Cloud (Fusion Applications), NetSuite, and JD Edwards it further improves operational efficiency. Furthermore, the electronic signing of BOL’s via mobile devices can eliminate manual paperwork, and integrated analytics/reports enable shippers to make informed decisions that optimize their shipping strategies.
One of the biggest benefits of multi-carrier shipping software is the ability to get instant freight quotes from multiple carriers with a click of a button. In one platform, shippers can compare rates from various carriers which simplifies the decision-making process, and they can choose the most cost-effective option for each shipment. This eliminates users going to each individual carrier website to check the rates manually.
Efficiency improvements by shipping software integration with ERPs
Integrating multi-carrier shipping software with ERP systems like Oracle EBS, Oracle ERP Cloud, NetSuite, and JD Edwards can considerably improve operational efficiency. Out-of-box integration eliminates redundant manual data entry reducing potential human mistakes. Benefits include faster shipping transactions, reduced costs, and an overall boost in productivity.
Automatic documents generation like packing slips, shipping labels, bills of lading
Multi-carrier shipping software streamlines the document generation process by automatically printing all shipping documents like packing slips, shipping labels, and bills of lading (Standard or master BOL). This eliminates manual processes and reduces administrative burdens and shipping errors. It offers Shippers the assurance that all documents are generated and printed accurately and instantaneously, resulting in a successful shipping process.
Electronic signing of BOL using a mobile device
Shipping Software retrieves all the data that you need on a BOL document automatically from your ERP and allows users to go completely paperless. Users can e-sign BOLs on a mobile device. The documents can be stored in a central repository for compliance purposes and can be easily retrieved when required. All documents part of the order cycle such as customer PO, order info, pack slip, EDI, BOL, supporting shipping pictures, invoices, export compliance, and more can be linked together and retrieved on demand.
Integration Type – Options
- Direct API Integration: API (Application Programming Interface) integration is real-time and directly enables connectivity between the multi-carrier shipping software and carrier system to retrieve shipping rates, transit times, and tracking information, as well as submit shipping requests.
- Rate table based: The rate table-based approach involves the loading of rate tables in SMC3 format into the shipping software and these rates and pro numbers can be fetched automatically into the software for users during the shipping process.
Analytics/reports for better decision making
Multi-carrier shipping software offers shipping analytics and reports with insights into shipper performance, carrier performance, and transportation spend. With access to real-time shipping data, shippers can make informed decisions, optimize their shipping strategies, and identify areas for improvement. These data-driven insights enable organizations to significantly enhance their overall shipping operations and improve customer service.
The right shipping software can provide centralized data management with real-time shipping analytics. Reports/dashboards can be configured in a custom manner to analyze freight spend, delivery delays, and other KPIs.
Some Popular Shipping Analytics Reports are:
- Shipments per carrier/service level
- Transportation spend per carrier/service
- Freight audit report
- On-time deliverability report
The implementation of multi-carrier shipping software can have a powerful impact on operations. It is a strategic investment that drives success in the highly competitive shipping and logistics space. By partnering with a reliable and experienced multi-carrier shipping software provider, such as ShipConsole, organizations can unlock a world of possibilities and enhance their freight shipping capabilities like never before. ShipConsole is committed to offering cutting-edge TMS software that empowers organizations to streamline their shipping processes, optimize costs, and provide exceptional customer experiences. Learn more at ShipConsole
Pavan Telluru works as a Product Manager at ShipConsole. He brings over a decade of experience to his current role where he’s dedicated to conducting product demos to prospects and partners about how to organizations can efficiently manage their shipping execution process. He also leads marketing efforts at ShipConsole.