Technology helps make things run faster, better, and easier. This is especially true when shipping products across the supply chain.
It doesn't matter if you’re a small retailer or a Fortune 500 company. Regardless of your size or industry, the most important aspect of your business is the final shipment process. To build a scaleable brand or even just keep the lights on, your products need to arrive at their destinations safely and in a timely manner.
In this blog post, we’re going to talk a bit about what freight management software is. Additionally, we are going to let you in on 4 ways that an FMS benefits retailers.
What is Freight Management Software?
Freight management software (FMS) is an all-in-one software solution for managing the entirety of the freight shipment process. This type of software works with just about any shipping mode. Even better, most of these platforms, much like a lot of newer technology, is cloud-based.
However, it generally works best with LTL or parcel shipping modes that need to be somewhat micro-managed.
While most FMS platforms can be customized, here are the four general functions of FMS solutions for retailers...
Rating LTL Shipments
The first step for a retailer looking to move freight moved is to ask for a rate estimate from their carrier(s).
FMS solutions make this super-fast and convenient, as it can provide a rate estimate based on a few simple parameters such as weight, destination, and time. This criteria matches with specific carriers and shows you the results from each.
Once a carrier and rate estimate is selected, the shipment can be scheduled right from the FMS. This saves the shipper time, as they don’t need to call the carrier directly to schedule the shipment.
Create Shipping Documents
After scheduling a shipment, you manually fill out shipping documents.
Well, an FMS handles this task automatically. The FMS automatically fills a shipping document template with the necessary details such as carrier instructions, bills of lading, and more.
Once freight gets picked up and routed, an FMS will give shippers multiple options for tracking their shipment. This could be via SMS text, desktop alerts, or email notifications. This can also be used to allow customers to track their orders, as well.
Customized FMS is a Smart Idea for Retailers
Shipping needs vary from retailer to retailer.
Sometimes, a product is sent directly to a retailer directly through an automated platform.
Other retailers have individual shipments set up for everything they sell or use in day-to-day operations. Because of this, many shippers find working with a 3PL to set up a custom FMS to be the best solution for ensuring all shipments are done properly and efficiently.
Here are the four biggest benefits of FMS solutions:
Reduces the need for large capital investment
TMS solutions, unlike FMS, require a huge upfront capital investment to fund the creation, and integration of the system into the company’s computer network. Also, A TMS system requires computer upgrades, extensive bandwidth, and overall large time investment.
FMS solutions easily integrate with current TMS or ERP systems typically used by retailers. By opting for an FMS, you can count on a simple, secure, and cost-effective integration.
One of the best aspects of an FMS is the customization it offers since different individuals have different preferences for methods or tools used for accessing information. FMS solutions can be built with simple, at-a-glance dashboards, or custom apps and portals that can be accessed from different devices.
Robust Reporting & Analytics
Another big benefit of incorporating an FMS into your business is that you’ll gain access to advanced cloud-based reporting tools that can provide valuable insights about a company’s supply chain.
A well-built FMS benefits retailers in a multitude of ways.
With a few simple clicks, you’ll be able to see and accurately track metrics that could previously have never been measured. With the ease and convenience of an FMS, a business can quite easily streamline supply chain operations, maximizing both profit and customer satisfaction.
For retailers with many tasks to manage, a custom-designed FMS can significantly help to simplify today’s increasingly complex supply chain.