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Over the years, technology has played an ever-increasing role in supply chain optimization efforts. Companies that regularly ship freight use these software solutions to strategically plan their routes, manage inventory, and issue invoices. Meanwhile, distribution companies use it to improve inventory performance and manufacturers use it to create better solutions and products for their customers.
One of the most important pieces of technology shippers utilize is that of CMS solutions.
CMS solutions are Carrier Management Software suites. Essentially, these platforms are what keeps goods moving in and out of warehouses every day. With CMS solutions, shippers are able to find and hire the best carriers for any haul. Furthermore, most of these CMS platforms feature tools that help shippers to manage, review, and monitor all the carriers that are moving their freight. Regardless of the transportation mode, all carrier management systems serve the same purpose. And that purpose is to help fine-tune supply chain operations.
All this new technology and innovation has permitted shippers the flexibility to keep carriers accountable for their performance. Needless to say, this ability allows them to provide better service and save money on shipping.
Not using CMS solutions yet? Need a reason to start?
If so, then this blog post is for you!
10 years ago, dedicated CMS solutions did not have a huge presence on the market. Companies involved in planning freight shipments were dependent upon using lackluster transportation management systems.
Sure, they could find the right carrier for specific modes of transportation and freight movement with these systems. However, they were extremely simplistic and restrictive to fulfill all their needs. In the end, many shippers would book carriers blindly, and hope that they would be able to deliver their product's on time.
Today, shippers have carrier management software platforms at their disposal. Platforms that feature customized dashboards, applications, and communication tools that permit shippers to find the perfect carrier for every piece of freight. The search parameters allow shippers to choose carriers based on very specific criteria including special handling functions, carrier capability, specific geographic services, and so much more.
Today's carrier management systems harness the power of cloud technology in a big way. The untethered concept of the cloud is perfect as it allows shippers access to every tool from virtually any location. This type of flexibility allows shippers to make changes to shipping plans, change carriers, schedule pick up times, or review a carrier's performance remotely.
The modern CMS is an extension to the traditional TMS system. They are compatible with multiple systems, ensuring a smooth integration for those who don’t want to compromise their daily activities. Ultimately, they afford shippers the flexibility to receive instant updates on rates, review multiple quotes, and compare carriers.
Lastly, the typical CMS used by shippers in 2019 allows them to monitor the performance of carriers. This is done by establishing key performance indicators (KPI). Below are some of the most crucial KPIs to keep an eye on...
Anytime a shipper is trying to find the best carrier to work with, one of the most important things to take notice of is their delivery commitment. So, if the carrier commits to delivering a product at a certain time and date, they need to be held accountable for those performance standards. In fact, no matter who the carrier is, if they are delivering freight to your customers, they are representing you and your brand. Any slip in commitment levels without some type of valid reason and communication about it can tarnish your reputation.
Furthermore, CMS solutions can be configured to automatically review the time and date of delivery and compare it with the initial rate estimate. This KPI lets the shipper know whether they are receiving the right service.
Delays happen, it is just a part of navigating the shipping world. But when a customer isn't there to receive the package, this is a missed delivery opportunity. Ultimately, these result in a delivery reattempt and additional charges to the shipper. And yes, customers contest these often!
However, CMS solutions can help determine the source of the missed delivery. With this data, you can verify whether the mistake was on the recipient's end or if it was caused by the carrier.
In the end, this is another area of accountability that is crucial for future shipments.
About 30% of all freight invoices have some sort of billing error.
Oftentimes, the problem is attributed to simple clerical mistakes. This includes documenting the wrong mileage, delivery rate, or ancillary costs or additional surcharges.
Most carrier management solutions feature freight bill auditing tools. These tools permit the shipper to verify freight bills on an individual shipment in carrier basis. However, while this does not eliminate the need for professional freight bill auditing services, it is quite helpful when reviewing mistakes made by the carrier.
Shippers have rights. In fact, one of the most important rights they have is choosing which carriers to work with. Shippers generally want to work with carriers who operate ethically, professionally, and provide exceptional customer service. In the end, these attributes are easily measured and monitored by today's advanced carrier management systems.
If you are looking to find better carriers to work with, contact Redwood Logistics to learn more about these powerful performance tools.