Managing a complex transportation logistics operation is a multifaceted, ongoing task that not only weighs heavily on a business’s operations team, but also on C-level executives who already have plenty on their plate. When logistics issues regularly seep from a vendor to your customer service team to you, the continued frustrations can upset the balance of your entire business and ultimately hinder your customer relationships. A true logistics partner coupled with a good transportation management system (TMS) can work to solve and even prevent everyday supply chain problems, but how can you address your business’s issues now? Begin by identifying them.
Tracking Shipments and Aiding Customers
Tracking shipments for your customers shouldn’t be a time-consuming process, but if this is your messiest problem, you need to take steps to relieve your customer service team of convoluted games of phone tag. The typical faulty tracking process involves a member of your team calling a carrier, who then has to make calls of their own, before you get your hands on the information your customer needs.
A consolidated TMS and proactive logistics tracking team to consistently monitor shipments and alert your team of issues and areas of concern.
An always-on service team working behind-the-scenes of a superior TMS allows customer service teams to handle customer inquiries directly and provide shipment statuses in a single interaction. You’ll also want a system that operates on internal reference numbers to further streamline the tracking process as well as a system automation feature that immediately notifies customers of updates. A strategic partner will allow you to further your tracking capabilities through proactive and detailed email or SMS notifications on missed pickups or late deliveries, weather delays, or customs delays.
Mitigating Claims and Resolving Disputes
Your financial team spends hours on the phone with carriers, struggling to mitigate claims and scrambling to gather the necessary materials to make their case. Effectively addressing this issue requires speeding up the claims process, but your internal logistics team does not maintain organized records for quick and easy data retrieval. You need to eliminate the number of steps your team takes to mitigate claims and resolve carrier disputes.
Partnering with a logistics solutions provider (LSP) that can file claims within 24 hours of receiving information and reduce the turnaround time for claim resolutions.
It’s important to work with an LSP that can easily retrieve and organize the information needed to resolve claims in a timely manner – which can mean the difference between a months-long process and a 30-day solution. It’s also essential that you receive 100% of settlements in return and that claims become less frequent so that your freight can become more enviable to carriers during times of bid. An attentive and proactive LSP will dig deeper than the carrier to find the root of shipment problems so they are resolved once and for all.
Implementing an Effective Audit Process
Incoming invoices are habitually incorrect, but many times it’s difficult to produce the corresponding quote, contract or data to confirm bills and work through discrepancies. Being unable to develop reliable financial reports for your logistics operation can lead to detrimental inaccuracies in your business records and an inability to make educated decisions throughout carrier relationships.
An LSP that contracts your less than truckload (LTL) shipping can implement a system to electronically tie each invoice to their respective quote and contract, scrub all invoices before you receive them and solve issues on your behalf.
Avoid the complications of overcharges, accessorials, reclassifications, duplicate billing, and an overall messy audit process with an LSP that manages what comes in, so your financial team can better manage what goes out. If you’re facing the issue of how to best class your shipments, a proactive provider will educate your team on the proper classification and provide on-site training, as necessary.
Invoices should be consolidated and sent to you on a weekly basis. Before sending, a superior LSP will manually spot-check each invoice before reaching your team with contract pricing agreements and shipment reference numbers that are captured on the front end of pickup. This method can save your company both time and money and will increase the overall efficiency of your logistics operation.
Negotiating Carriers and Measuring Performance
Operating without a contract, routing on vendor recommendations and fielding multiple quotes with little data can negatively impact your logistics operation. Contract negotiations sometimes save you money, but even if they do, carriers can still plague your business with shipment issues that often go unresolved. Great resources from your internal team go into responding to the consequences of these inadequacies.
A custom approach to identifying and securing the best carriers for your product and a method for regularly reporting carrier performance.
A typical third-party logistics provider (3PL) won’t be able to supply the complete data you need to choose ideal carriers for your particular logistics situation. A thorough process, however, can guarantee you get the least cost provider from vendors with well-negotiated contracts that take more than just monetary savings into account. Monitor the real performance of your carriers with historic data on missed pickups and on-time delivery rates, claims ratios and more. Use this information to forecast for annual budgeting and future carrier decisions.
Maintaining Visibility and Supply Chain Optimization
Transparency is not something your manual processes or current TMS provides and as a result, staff from various departments are slowed down by gaps in communication and a general lack of available logistics information. This leads to wasted time, efforts and resources when problems are not resolved and more employees need to be hired to reduce initial waste.
Logistics management software that offers accessible, timely data and easy-to-use tracking, scheduling, imaging and reporting modules.
Be proactive in managing all your logistics issues with a TMS that provides you with the necessary tools to maintain full visibility over your entire operation. With a support team of its own to continuously evaluate all aspects of your logistics, a fully-equipped TMS will deliver insight into the status of your logistics department and prevent internal and external communication disconnect. This software should also be accessible by multiple users in your business, so that more individuals are capable of fielding customer questions and solving problems.
These are only a few of the many common logistics challenges that, if unaddressed, risk shaking the very foundation of a business. Don’t let messy transportation management seep into the rest of your company’s operations. Clean up your logistics with an LSP and TMS that dig deep to solve everyday issues and take unnecessary transportation management off your to-do list, permanently.
Contact us today if you’d like help with your unique logistics challenges!
Looking to increase productivity, control costs and have all the proper tools for management of your logistics needs at your fingertips? Register now for a 30-minute demo!