CARRIERDIRECT BLOG

Our Blog provides insight on emerging industry trends and strategic and operational guidance for transportation leaders.

Technology Improves Logistics Industry Performance . . . When It’s Done Right. Part 6: Invoicing

Marc Andreessen, the serial tech entrepreneur and founder of Netscape, says, “software is swallowing the world.” Our ability to navigate our day is predicated on how effectively we use all the screens around us. Each new website, tech company or app automates some sort of process or procedure that previously relied on manual labor or pen and paper. What used to take days can now be done in minutes from anywhere in the world. Software is increasingly prevalent in the transportation industry. Gone are the days of hand written BOLs and fax machines; they have been replaced with full-service transportation management systems (TMS) that generate digital bills that instantly pop up on a driver’s smartphone. In this series, we highlight six more areas where the proper use of technology improves operating performance and profitability. Part 6: Invoicing Perhaps the slowest part of the business to embrace automation is invoicing. Many carriers continue to print paper invoices and send them through the mail. Teams of accounts payable personnel open envelopes and create big stacks of invoices sorted by carrier that they then must manually enter into their accounting systems and assign to individual orders. New technology to directly address this antiquated approach enables invoices to be scanned into your automated invoice capture software, which recognizes all key data fields in your invoices and returns easy to handle structured data. This data then auto-populates in both your TMS and accounts payable system under the related shipment ID. Staff time, errors, and financial losses are mitigated. When you automate invoicing: Do: Put spot check measures in place as re-bills and multiple invoices... read more

Technology Improves Logistics Industry Performance . . . When It’s Done Right. Part 5: Carrier Compliance & Onboarding

Marc Andreessen, the serial tech entrepreneur and founder of Netscape, says, “software is swallowing the world.”  Our ability to navigate our day is predicated on how effectively we use all the screens around us. Each new website, tech company or app automates some sort of process or procedure that previously relied on manual labor or pen and paper. What used to take days can now be done in minutes from anywhere in the world. Software is increasingly prevalent in the transportation industry. Gone are the days of hand written BOLs and fax machines; they have been replaced with full-service transportation management systems (TMS) that generate digital bills that instantly pop up on a driver’s smartphone.  In this series, we highlight six more areas where the proper use of technology improves operating performance and profitability. Part 5: Carrier Compliance & Onboarding Properly vetting potential vendors is commonplace in any industry to minimize risk. In logistics, knowing the quality of partners you choose not only solidifies your reputation as competent and trustworthy, but it protects you from litigation and fraud. You can integrate these capabilities into your TMS to keep a constant eye on your carrier partners. You can perform paperless onboarding of new carriers as well as automatically request updates to their insurance and authority when they approach expiration. These services analyze a carrier’s safety and compliance scores and can de-activate them from eligibility should they not meet your desired service requirements. Benefits of automating carrier compliance and onboarding include: Enhanced accuracy to ensure that only compliant carriers get onboarded and renewed Reduced cycle times spent on paperwork and monitoring... read more

Technology Improves Logistics Industry Performance . . . When It’s Done Right. Part 4: Routing Guide

Marc Andreessen, the serial tech entrepreneur and founder of Netscape, says, “software is swallowing the world.”  Our ability to navigate our day is predicated on how effectively we use all the screens around us. Each new website, tech company or app automates some sort of process or procedure that previously relied on manual labor or pen and paper. What used to take days can now be done in minutes from anywhere in the world. Software is increasingly prevalent in the transportation industry. Gone are the days of hand written BOLs and fax machines; they have been replaced with full-service transportation management systems (TMS) that generate digital bills that instantly pop up on a driver’s smartphone.  In this series, we highlight six more areas where the proper use of technology improves operating performance and profitability. Part 4: Routing Guide Managing a customer’s routing guide on their behalf is a great way to ensure consistent business and a sticky relationship, yet it is another arduous task that can involve many calls and e-mails. Today, most companies’ processes include the following steps: Rep receives an order from the customer, Rep identifies optimal carrier based on routing and estimates price, Rep calls that carrier to confirm capacity, rate, and availability If that carrier can’t fulfill trip, rep calls the next carrier listed Once a carrier accepts, rep assigns carrier to the load in the TMS and generates a rate confirmation that is emailed to carrier, Carrier prints out rate confirmation, signs it, scans it, and emails it back to rep Rep uploads signed rate confirmation to TMS image library for that shipment Carrier... read more

Technology Improves Logistics Industry Performance . . . When It’s Done Right. Part 3: Consolidation

Marc Andreessen, the serial tech entrepreneur and founder of Netscape, says, “software is swallowing the world.”  Our ability to navigate our day is predicated on how effectively we use all the screens around us. Each new website, tech company or app automates some sort of process or procedure that previously relied on manual labor or pen and paper. What used to take days can now be done in minutes from anywhere in the world. Software is increasingly prevalent in the transportation industry. Gone are the days of hand written BOLs and fax machines; they have been replaced with full-service transportation management systems (TMS) that generate digital bills that instantly pop up on a driver’s smartphone.  In this series, we highlight six more areas where the proper use of technology improves operating performance and profitability. Part 3: Consolidation For decades, carriers have consolidated shipments to improve utilization, enhance efficiency, lower costs, and improve margins. Load consolidation, or optimization, is performed by tools that analyze a group of shipments to recommend different combinations of the most efficient loads.  This can be done at either the micro (2-4 shipments) or macro level (up to 1000s of shipments) and transforms high volumes of smaller, less cost-effective shipments such as parcel, LTLs or partials into larger modes (truckload, intermodal) to provide cost-saving opportunities. Small orders can also be combined into multi-stop truckloads to see even greater opportunities for savings as well as a reduction in overall transit time. When you automate consolidation: Do: Look to utilize consolidation tools across multiple customer shipments. Don’t: Forget to utilize cost-savings data from shipment utilization. You are saving... read more

Technology Improves Logistics Industry Performance . . . When It’s Done Right. Part 2: Track & Trace

Marc Andreessen, the serial tech entrepreneur and founder of Netscape, says, “software is swallowing the world.” Our ability to navigate our day is predicated on how effectively we use all the screens around us. Each new website, tech company or app automates some sort of process or procedure that previously relied on manual labor or pen and paper. What used to take days can now be done in minutes from anywhere in the world. Software is increasingly prevalent in the transportation industry. Gone are the days of hand written BOLs and fax machines; they have been replaced with full-service transportation management systems (TMS) that generate digital bills that instantly pop up on a driver’s smartphone.  In this series, we highlight six more areas where the proper use of technology improves operating performance and profitability.  Part 2: Track & Trace Covering loads is easy compared to tracking shipments. This is so tedious because information is incomplete, processes are convoluted, and data is rarely timely. The broken process usually looks like this: Customer asks for update, Customer service rep (CSR) calls carrier’s dispatch, Dispatch puts CSR on hold and calls carrier to get whereabouts, Dispatcher gives CSR current update, CSR updates system and/or provides info to customer rep, Customer rep calls or e-mails customer with current tracking update. This represents a lot of effort and cost, and by the time the customer gets the data, it’s no longer current. Automation is available through a variety of different global positioning systems (GPS), the most prevalent being geofencing.  This is the use of GPS or radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to create a... read more

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