How Does an FMS Solution Benefit Manufacturers?
Manufacturing is an industry that relies heavily on efficiency.
From the collection of raw materials to assembling the end product, those who create products must optimize each phase of the operation to keep up with consumer demand. Aside from all the usual hustle and bustle of building and testing products, manufacturers also spend a great deal of their time seeking out new supply chain partnerships. After all, what good are their products if they can’t even get them out to the people who want them?
So, manufacturers are constantly seeking out the best carrier rates and the like. There are plenty of great options out there, but they all vary in price. Because of the sometimes wild variations in rates, most manufacturers actively seek the best deals available.
However, choosing the most inexpensive option to save money is not always the best philosophy. To weigh shipping costs with service records, on-time delivery, and other vital criteria, many manufacturers use an FMS solution.
Freight management solutions are generally a form of Software as a Solution (SaaS) platform. These means that they are stored on highly secure cloud-based servers and offered up to users as a service. The company offering the system hosts it, maintains it, and pushes upgrades to it all from their end. Typically, the end-user never has to even touch most of the major settings.
Manufacturers use FMS systems to power their logistics networks in an effort to increase the potential of fine-tuning their operation for maximum efficiency, both in deliverables and cost-savings.
In this blog post, we outline 3 of the most popular FMS tools used by manufacturing companies to increase shipping efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer service.
FMS Solution… What’s That?
Imagine having the flexibility to manage all aspects of your freight logistics program from a single, easy-to-navigate platform. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, that’s exactly what an FMS solution can do for you.
This is the simplicity that manufacturers need, so they can focus the majority of their efforts on creating products for their customers. All from an easy to access dashboard, users can schedule parcel, LTL, FTL, Intermodal, or Multimodal shipments with just the push of a few buttons.
Aside from merely scheduling inbound and outbound deliveries, an FMS solution allows users to find new carriers. They can search, review and hire carriers based on the service commitment needed, negotiated rates, or special handling. And yes, all of those criteria can be filtered inside the platform.
Additionally, most FMS platforms are cloud-based. This means that there is no software to install on individual desktops or laptops. Best of all, users can access the platform from wireless devices such as smartphones. This flexibility of connectivity is a huge benefit to manufacturers. In fact, manufacturers spend a majority of their time on the warehouse floor, in business meetings, or on the road. So, anything that simplifies access is a win-win!
Furthermore, with the cloud, users can make changes to freight movement, access reports, or forward information about outbound deliveries to customers. All remotely!
There are several beneficial tools and applications that most freight management systems contain.
Let’s take a look at the top 3…
Receive Accurate Freight Rates
Manufacturers depend on their profit margins to stay in the green. In fact, one of the biggest expenses they incur is paying for inbound shipping.
Well, with a freight management system, the manufacturer can work with their suppliers to find a carrier that offers better rates. This allows the manufacturer to use carriers they prefer – not just the ones that their suppliers choose for them.
On the outbound side, the FMS solution can be configured to organize carriers based on service level, the areas they operate, and even by customer profile. In the end, the rating features for inbound or outbound logistics movement are accurate and customized to meet manufacturer needs.
Scheduling and Tracking
Arguably the worst thing a manufacturer can deal with is supplies arriving late. Not only does this impact the manufacturing schedule, but it impacts payroll and employee scheduling. Most importantly – it affects the ability to fulfill customer orders on time.
With a custom FMS, the manufacturer can both schedule and track their shipments from the same dashboard. Many FMS solutions connect directly to the carriers tracking system and can even be customized to send updates via text, email, or desktop notifications.
Document and Reporting Tools
Every manufacturer understands the values of metrics – especially when it comes to measuring performance. They can review the carriers on-time delivery levels, freight bill auditing, and customer service standards. Additionally, they can create, store, and print all shipping documents from any device connected to the cloud-based platform.
Today’s freight management systems improve the entire logistics process for all sorts of manufacturing operations. Manufacturers who are increasingly busy can get the help they need to configure an FMS to suit their shipping needs by working with a proven 3PL, like Redwood Logistics.
If you’re looking to update your shipping software, contact Redwood Logistics today!