4 Ways Freight Management Software Can Improve a Retail Operation
Navigating the supply chain is much easier when you utilize the best technology. For retailers from ‘mom & pop’ small stores to Fortune 500 industries, shipping products to and from their locations is a vital component of their daily operations. To accomplish this task efficiently, retailers often reach out to 3PL’s or third-party logistics companies to help them create freight management software solutions that arm them with an all-in-one freight solution.
In the next few paragraphs, let’s dig into 4 ways that freight management software can significantly improve the supply chain for those who operate in the retail marketplace.
What is Freight Management Software?
For those not aware, a freight management system or FMS is an all-inclusive software solution that permits its users to handle each aspect of the LTL shipment process from start to finish. These software solutions are commonly cloud-based, meaning they can be accessed via remote locations and from different devices including laptops, tablets, mobile devices, and more. While they are typically customized for each, individual customer, there are four general tasks that most FMS solutions provide a shipper:
- Rating LTL Shipments: When a retailer needs to move freight from one point to another, the first task is gaining a rate estimate. A robust FMS solution permits a user to rate their shipments based on the destination, weight, time commitments, and more.
- Schedule the LTL Shipment: Once the right rate and carrier has been found, the FMS permits the user to schedule the shipment directly. There is no need to call the carrier to schedule the shipment – as all details can be handled via the software.
- Create Shipping Documents: When the shipment has been scheduled, the automated paperwork and shipping document templates will populate required nomenclature including bills of lading, carrier instructions, and other required shipping docs.
- Tracking Shipments: As the freight is picked up and routed, the FMS provides the shipper or their customers with multiple methods of tracking, from email notifications to SMS text or desktop alerts. They can be customized for individual customers, shipment classifications, or communication preferences.
What are 4 Benefits to Integrating Custom FMS Solutions?
Every retailer has unique shipping needs. Some of them operate on a depot basis, where product is sent directly to them on an automated platform, while other retailers have to set up individual shipments for everything they sell or use their day-to-day operations. Due to this fact, many shippers find it beneficial to work with a 3PL to set up customized freight management software solutions. A custom FMS offers retail operations multiple benefits including:
- Reduces the need for large capital investment: Most TMS or transportation management software solutions can cost an arm and a leg to create and integrate into a company’s computer network. This is mainly due to the fact that they are all robust solutions that require extensive bandwidth, computer upgrades, and are time intensive to build. A custom FMS solution provided by a third-party logistics company removes this large capital expense.
- Seamless integration: The FMS solutions offered should easily integrate with current TMS or ERP systems that retailers typically utilize. This makes crossover and integration simple, cost-effective, and secure.
- True Customization: Individuals usually prefer different methods or tools for accessing information. Some like dashboards that provide a simple, at-a-glance look into their shipping platform, while others prefer custom apps or portals that can be accessed through different devices. A top 3PL can customize your FMS solution to fit your taste and personal settings, which improves efficiency and reduces frustration.
- Robust Reporting & Analytics: Having the flexibility to access industry leading, cloud-based reporting tools can provide valuable insights into a company’s supply chain. Metrics that have never previously been measured can be tracked accurately with a few simple mouse clicks, that can streamline their supply chain operations and permit them to fine-tune LTL shipping for maximum profitability and customer satisfaction.
Today’s supply chain is becoming increasingly complex – especially for retailers that have multiple tasks to manage. By entrusting a proven 3PL like Redwood Logistics create customized freight management software solutions, or to handle their complete supply chain operations, the retailer can focus on managing people, driving sales, and improving bottom profits.