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The world of the supply chain is changing rapidly.
The logistics industry is probably one of the most innovative and inventive areas of business. It seems as if with every passing year, new technologies centered around improving the experience of shipping and receiving goods emerge. Of course, this really comes as no surprise as we live in an age in which online sales are beating out retail numbers left and right.
Can you guess what this means? That's right, it means that more businesses are looking for solutions to improve their shipping operations and get an edge over the competition. And the tech companies are more than happy to oblige!
Probably one of the most useful platforms out there for shippers right now is carrier management software (CMS).
The purpose of this software is to monitor the performance and quality of service of each carrier a shipper employs. However, the beauty of carrier management software is that it can be used for so much more. With a well-built CMS, shippers can perform some internal controls such as additional reporting tasks, and give a big-picture perspective on general operations.
In this blog post, we are going to look at the top 3 reasons why investing in carrier management software is a brilliant idea.
Anytime you are able to begin a fiscal year with a bang, you do it! In the logistics industry, if you don't keep up with the Jones' so to speak, you will get left behind.
And one of the best ways to start off a new year is by reviewing your current logistics network. More importantly, you need to review the performance of your carriers. The people carrying your products from one location to the next are the lifeblood of your company. They are a large part of making or breaking that last-mile of the customer experience a memorable one. So, ensuring that they are consistently delivering the performance your company needs in order to thrive is absolutely critical.
Of course, this is a task that shouldn't only be relegated to yearly review. In fact, you need a way to monitor your carriers on a regular basis. Honestly, we recommend that shippers do this every 3 to 6 months, or anytime that an issue arises with a carrier.
Luckily, carrier management software does both, and then some!
Anytime a company invests in software upgrades, it takes time. It must be installed (if not cloud-based) and then customized to meet specific needs. Finally, staff must be fully trained on how to use it.
It is no different with carrier management software.
Yes, this sounds tedious, we know. However, it is wildly beneficial for two reasons.
First, it allows you to get acclimated to this type of system. This is great because there may be times when you are working with a new partner and need to utilize their system instead. While not all CMS solutions are built the same, they do share a lot in common. Having installed your own and the time to play around with all the neat tools and features, you already have a pretty good understanding of how to navigate something similar. This in of itself can save you a lot of time when working with partners or upgrading your own platform to something different.
Secondly, if you are proactive and invest before the beginning of a new year, you have more time to train your employees. Not to mention that you can go into the new year with a complete annual carrier review.
When configured correctly, a carrier management system can provide instant updates on delivery statuses.
For example, if a customer is asking about the status of their delivery, the CMS user can quickly review updated notifications. This even includes any delays that have been entered by the carrier on their end. Better yet, all of this happens in near-realtime with most CMS platforms.
This information can also be automatically forwarded to the customer. This not only keeps them in the loop but provides a better experience for the customer and serves to build more resiliency into your supply chain.
When it comes time to review shipping rates offered by various carriers, it can get a little hectic.
For starters, you must determine what type of freight class your shipment falls into. Once you know what mode of transport you need, you have to generate a list of competing carriers who offer that mode of transport within your budget. Then comes the fun part... you must compare them and then decide which best meets your criteria!
Needless to say, this all so much easier when performed with the help a solid CMS platform at the ready. The faster you can get freight out the warehouse doors, the faster you can kick the year off in proper fashion.
Of course, the best resource for integrating a CMS solution is an experienced 3PL like Redwood Logistics. We have the technology, the experience, and the support of a powerful shipping network to get you up and running quickly.
If you would like to learn more about how you can implement your own CMS, contact the experts at Redwood Logistics today.