For years, logistics professionals and shippers have had to rely on manual freight rate calculations, phone calls to carriers, and — most recently with the advent of the internet — carrier websites to retrieve freight rates. Logistics coordinators are often faced with internal policies requiring three freight rate quotes at minimum to ensure objective selection processes and, most important, to select the lowest-cost carrier each time.
The way of the past
In many shipping offices, the use of post-it notes is still common, upon which shippers write multiple passwords, as are color-coordinated maps to help facilitate the freight rate shopping process and allow shippers to make educated decisions on which carriers to use. These old-fashioned tactics have carried on as a way of doing business. Because of this, the process consumes a lot of time and multiple resources and, after a while, breaks down when shippers find themselves with one-size-fits-all carriers or select only a carrier or two for all their shipments. The result is typically a nice Christmas gift from carriers at the end of the year — and higher freight costs.
In this day and age, it is critical that shippers negotiate good contracts as well as compare rates and service levels among their carriers to remain competitive. Ensuring their carriers deliver goods as quickly and efficiently as possible for the lowest cost while being on time is imperative.
The new age of technology
Technology adoption has typically been slow for those in the transportation industry as a whole. However, the need for technological innovation is ramping up at a swift pace for carriers and shippers alike. Modern-day shippers demand smarter and simpler ways to move goods through their supply chains and stay connected.
Leveraging freight rate shopping platforms and state-of-the-art technologies such as application programming interfaces (APIs) designed to optimize the carrier connection process and enable multiple carrier connections through a single integration point are here — and are the wave of the future. Users who adopt freight rate shopping platforms can expect to receive instant rate quotes via real-time communication among all their carriers as well as automatic progressive rotating order (PRO) number generation and freight booking capabilities.
The speed at which business is now conducted is incredible, and access to information is spontaneous. That means no more manual calculations, rate sheet uploads or downloads, phone calls, or logging into multiple carrier websites, therefore saving time. Freight rate shopping platforms allow multiple users to access their carrier rates and receive real-time quotes from any smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
- Access to all carrier rates in a single platform
- Cost and transit time comparisons
- Real-time rate lookup and carrier connectivity
- The ability to save time and money.
Take a step back and evaluate how you obtain freight rates. If you find those within your company are spending time shopping the “old-fashioned way,” look to using a transportation management software (TMS) platform to save time and improve your shipping process.