Freight Management: Automation, tips and tricks from our last 17 years in the business!

Hey, this is Jeremy with Easy Logistics Management. One of the other terms that we’ve been seeing recently that’s getting a lot of queries is the term freight management. I wanted to explore what freight management is, what it means to me, given my 16 or 17 years of logistics and logistics management experience and maybe some tips and tricks, and ways to automate the logistics management process to make your lives easier, save you money, and economize the overall shipping process for freight management.

 

Here are some of my… I think I came up with eight ideas as far as tips and tricks to better organize the freight management process.

Hey, this is Jeremy with Easy Logistics Management. One of the other terms that we’ve been seeing recently that’s getting a lot of queries is the term freight management. I wanted to explore what freight management is, what it means to me, given my 16 or 17 years of logistics and logistics management experience and maybe some tips and tricks, and ways to automate the logistics management process to make your lives easier, save you money, and economize the overall shipping process for freight management.

 

Here are some of my… I think I came up with eight ideas as far as tips and tricks to better organize the freight management process.

Make Sure your Logistics Team is WELL Trained!

Number one, if you’re going to have a team, make sure they’re well-trained, or train them. We do a lot of video training, where we shoot the videos of the process, put them in the shared server so that our employees can watch them over and over again. We can actually do this for you if you work with us. We manage a lot of the logistical process for our clients, almost like a concierging service. We can even handle the process for you, and then help train your staff if they need to get up to speed as part of the value add. But if you’re going to have a team, just make sure they’re well trained, because that’ll avoid mistakes, save you money, headache, down the line, and just wasted time, obviously.

Use a Freight Management Software System!

Number two, I would probably suggest that you have an easy-to-use freight management system, or FMS system software. We offer a system called GTC Ship for the freight side of things. An easy-to-use freight management system is going to make the work faster, it’s going to make it easier for your team or whoever you work with, and it’s going to save you money because generally, these systems can plug in multiple carriers or brokers. Just make the tracking, the labeling creation and tracking to your customer ultimately a whole lot easier, because they’re going to get email and text pings off the software.

 

It’ll just be a one-stop shop. A lot of these systems now, like our system, Freight Desk Online, and a few others, you can actually import broker pricing, and carrier direct tariffs, so that it allows you a lot of flexibility. You’re not really necessarily tied to one company or the other if you want to. That would be my second suggestion.

Leverage API Automation for your freight management needs!

Number three, explore API automation, which is just a universal communication language for computers, but it allows you to connect these freight management software systems to your e-commerce platform, your ERP back-end business software platforms, like NetSuite, or SAP. There are a lot of them, accounting software sometimes too, or any type of order management system that you may use so that the orders connect directly with your freight management software system, and it can read, book, dispatch and track.

 

Our system does this as well. We have an open API that you can pretty much connect to anything. But if you’re dealing in a freight management system, you should definitely make sure that it can communicate an API, because that seems like the most flexible and universal way to connect these software systems to most of the platforms that you would be using anyways.

Have an organized Item Master or Sku master for your freight shipping needs!

Number four, have an Organized Item Master or SKU master, depending on what you want to call it for better freight management. This just means it’s a list of all the products that you would be selling, and the dimensions and weights, as they’re packaged and would ship. If you have palletized configurations that are standard, you should probably include those as well, usually in an Excel document. It probably should be posted on your website or somewhere on the internet so it looks official.

 

Again, you would include the freight class and NMFC codes, or density calculation of the packages, because when you’re quoting, you’re going to need that information. If the carrier reweighs or reclasses, or provides an additional charge, and you want to dispute it, this Organized Item Master is what’s going to help you in conjunction with your packing slip to quickly dispute those charges and get them reversed, and we do this all day long.

 

The more organized you are… If you don’t have one of these, I can give you a copy of a bulletproof Item Master that we’ve historically used, and emulate it from a lot of our clients, that might help you.

Packaging of Your Products for Freight Shipping

The packaging of the products, number five, obviously, is going to save you time and energy in the freight management process. The better the package, the less they’re going to get damaged, the better their palletized shrink wrap, corner protected, strapped, whatever needs to be done, the less claims and damages, and headache, and loss items you’re going to have, which is going to save you time and ultimately money, headcount and frustration. So package your items really well.

Understand the difference between LTL freight and Truckload Freight

Number six, knowing and training your team on the less-than-truckload versus full truckload cut-off. LTL or less-than-truckload is generally up to 12 linear feet, or six standard pallet positions, maybe 12 if they’re half tall and can be stacked. Then anything over that is either full truckload if it’s going to fill the whole truck, or there are some new options like shared truckload, where you can commingle your loads with other people’s loads, and still get those economies of scale of full truckload. Or there’s partial truckload and volume.

 

The only difference is partial truckload is basically part of a full truckload company’s 53-foot truck, and volume would travel with more of a traditional LTL carrier, just with more space attached to it for whatever your load needs. There’s a lot of economies of scale of all these options, it’s just what works best, and what we can get better pricing on at the time, depending on your load and where it needs to go, and where it needs to pick up.

 

A lot of moving variables, but definitely by using full truckload, and shared truckload, and some of these other options, if you can cobble together bigger orders, you can save a lot of money in an excessive 50% to 60% versus shipping a fully loaded LTL power.

Understand your products Freight Shipping Accessorial Needs!

Number seven, have your accessorials well defined; Liftgates, residential deliveries, when are those needed? Appointments, set for delivery if you’re going direct consumer. Being firm with your clients when you’re talking to them and selling the items so that you’re inputting and quoting the correct accessoriales you need so that you don’t later get an adjustment when the carrier goes to deliver and it’s a 400-pound electric motorcycle, and the consumer doesn’t have any way to get it off the truck and the driver is forced to put it on a liftgate and charge you 80 bucks or 100 bucks or whatever it is.

 

Ruins your day, ruins your customer’s day, and you feel like you’ve maybe been cheated, but really just being well defined on the front end as far as what equipment you need because we’re dealing with heavier, palletized goods that can’t be lifted by one or two men generally. You need mechanized equipment in some cases, liftgates, things like that. Just thinking ahead and planning ahead so that you know which items need those accessoriales will save you a lot of time, headache, and energy.

 

Understand your Freight Shipping Class and NMFC codes!

Number eight, finally, is just having a well-defined freight class and an NMFC code set up. This would be part of your Item Master, really, or scheme master that we had covered earlier. In many cases, the freight management systems like ours, we can input them, all your products, and the dimensions, weights, freight classes in an NMFC code, so that it’s just a simple drop-down menu. It makes it really easy for your team to properly quote, book, and build those loads to your clients if you’re doing that, so that there’s no surprises after the fact. It will save you a lot of time, energy, and headache, obviously.

How to use this Freight Management Knowledge to Further Economize your freight shipping costs!

1) Use a Freight Management Software

Moving on to maybe my top picks for just economizing the process of your freight management as a whole, I would probably pick a freight management system. The software just streamlines the whole process from book, quote, to track. It allows you to work with less people organizing the whole process. Probably most good brokerages, maybe like ours, can offer you the software for free, and better-discounted rates based off of our aggregate volume for all the carriers. So you get a good piece of software, better pricing.

2) Develop a Local Carrier Relationship

Number two, probably having a local carrier direct relationship. In many cases, I find that if things are traveling very local, especially bigger loads, these local carriers can be worth their weight in gold. In many cases, especially if it’s a zarlight tariff, you can import it into the freight management system to better your freight management as a whole.

3) Automate as much of your Freight Management Process as possible

Number three, just to automate as much of the process as you can. There’s a lot of software out there. It’s going to make your life and your team’s life way easier, less desk work, just full automation as far as tracking and all that’s concerned. Just a lot less headache and less headcount honestly, to run the whole team. So take advantage of it.

4) Get your freight team trained and well organized to avoid mistakes!

Then just number four, being… Probably goes without saying, but being organized and avoiding mistakes. We see a lot of new shipping managers coming into the job that maybe didn’t have experience, don’t really know what they’re doing, and just aren’t really well trained. It causes a lot of confusion both for our team and your team. Let us help you train that team, let us help you avoid those mistakes, let’s be organized with Item Masters, using software to make the whole process easier, and kick some ass, and save some money, and not pull all our hair out at the end of the day.

 

 

We can help you streamline your freight management process faster if you like!

If you’re grappling with freight management and how to manage your freight and logistical process better, we’ve been working at this a long time, it’s my company, we’d be honored to work with you, or at least drill into your current process, see if we can find some efficiencies or automation that will help you, and hopefully save you some money along the way.

 

I can be reached at 866-854-5341, extension 3, or jeremy@easylogisticsmanagement. I hope you’re having a great week, and if you need me help with the regard to this, feel free to give me a call, and we’d be happy to meet with you anytime. Make it a great week. Talk to you soon.

 

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