(Graphics created by Emily Ricks)
The shipper tech stack is continuously expanding, and according to Transportation Impact, “Key to all these new capabilities is data interoperability. Companies need their business-critical data to be able to flow seamlessly among their internal systems, as well as between their systems and those of their customers and suppliers.” The right blend of systems and services will empower shippers with more informed decision-making and proactive load execution. For that reason, shippers must know which systems and types of shipping technology form the foundation of their tech stacks’ transportation management capabilities.
No system reaches maximum potential when operating from old and outdated data. Having access to real-time data and having shipping technology systems that allow for fast analysis is vital. Old systems leave shipping chains vulnerable to deviations, errors and customer complaints. Using a real-time collaborative management system that helps to find capacity and autonomously notify drivers of available loads will improve performance across the board.
Embracing technological advances within the shipping and transportation industry is key to surviving the year ahead. Cloud-based systems, automated processes, machine-backed performances, and advanced tool integration will all help shippers improve and keep ahead of the competition. Traditional management systems are often outdated and end up slowing things down and causing more problems than they fix. And in that realm, a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) will become an even more integral part of an effective shipping technology tech stack.
One area of shipping logistics often overlooked is the need for a strong and reliable warehouse management system (WMS). Knowing what is coming in and going out every day is critical to managing inventory, shipping lanes, employee scheduling, load-outs, and more. Advanced shipping technology allows for real-time tracking and reporting to keep managers and third parties in the know at all times. And an advanced WMS can use preconfigured tools and resources to introduce robotic picking systems, proactive replenishment strategies, and faster pick-to-carton processes with embedded warehouse KPIs too.
Most freight managers in the industry have at least some of the shipments, tasks and processes outsourced to third parties and other carriers. Communication within the supply chain is critical for smooth operations. But it is just as important to maintain strong contact with 3PLs and other platforms as well. Embracing communication platforms and systems will greatly strengthen the shipping technology stacks and improve performance. Plus, proactive scheduling via API and EDI will help to lower barriers to efficiency, avoiding empty dock slots, and moving more freight.
Concerns about updating shipping technology stacks are common. However, it is essential to note that by forming partnerships and embracing modern innovations, shippers gain access and insights they never had before. Working with 3PLs allows for more understanding and experience to come into play and gives the supply chain access to new resources to proactively manage accessorials and all expenses. It essentially extends the knowledge and reaches of the chain without changing the in-house setup.
Being able to collect, analyze, share and respond to fresh and up-to-date data gives shipping tech stacks power and flexibility. This is critical in any area of the shipping supply chain but is of particular importance in auditing and invoicing. Having an up-to-date and modernized shipper tech stack is critical to ensuring orders are received, invoiced and paid on time. It also helps eliminate issues that can cause delays in the payment process.
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. For freight managers and logistic advisors, keeping customers happy is more critical now than ever before. Modern shipping technology stacks give managers and personnel access to the best tools for customer relationship management to benefit from swivel-chair functionality. From open lines of communication to shared data and real-time tracking, there are features customers want and need that are possible with the right freight technology in hand.
Searching through piles of papers and drawers or records for a single document is an old and outdated way of managing documents. Shipping technology upgrades often focus on better tracking, recording and filing systems. Knowing where papers are, what documents can be found where, and being able to easily share them electronically is one of the biggest time-savers shippers can enjoy with a digital system in place. And it also helps to increase eligibility for shipper-of-choice status as well.
The final benefit that shippers stand to gain with an updated shipping technology stack is customizing processes throughout the chain. Custom data tracking and reporting allow managers to see only the data they want and need. And a system that does just that is critical to success.
Personalized reports can be tailored to each department or party for fast and easy communications. The ability to see what needs to be seen and remove extra data and distractions from reports will go a long way to improve communications, response times, decision-making, and problem-solving within the supply chain.
Freight management is amazingly complex, and global supply chains are full of shippers that want to deploy the next-generation shipping technology that will add the most value. However, it all lacks value without a single source of truth for freight data forecasting to benchmark, analyze, monitor and forecast expectations. Learn more about how your company can take advantage of a robust shipper tech stack by tapping a marketwide data resource, FreightWaves SONAR, for more insight. Request your FreightWaves SONAR demo here or by clicking the button below.