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freight claims

Today’s freight industry runs at rapid speeds to meet customer delivery demands. One event that can disrupt the flow of your freight management operations and supply chain is damaged or lost cargo. The majority of shipments are picked-up and delivered on-time and intact, but knowing what to do and who to contact if you need to file a freight claim can be a key differentiator to minimizing downtime.

These 4 guidelines will help keep your supply chain operating efficiently:

  1. How to Avoid Freight Claims
  2. What to Do the Moment a Claim Occurs
  3. What Are the Common Reasons Carriers Decline Claims
  4. Tips for a Faster, More Efficient Freight Claims Experience

1. How to Avoid Freight Claims

Choose quality over price when selecting a carrier

Sourcing a carrier based on price over quality of service could result in a lot of headaches (as the saying goes, you get what you pay for). If you’re shipping products regularly, do your research and make sure the carriers you use have been thoroughly vetted with the highest level of safety and quality standards. Know the ratio of a carrier’s total shipment count versus their claims count, and find out what other shippers are saying about their experience with that carrier. Front-end research can eliminate potential disruptions.

Package your shipments properly

Proper packaging is critical to preventing cargo damage. If you’re packing items in boxes, make sure your commodity doesn’t exceed the weight limitations of the box. Select a proper box size that allows your item(s) to fit securely inside without excessive empty space. Ensure your product is protected by cushioning material on the inside of the box and stacked on proper pallets and shrink wrapped. If items are shipped loose, your cargo could experience a lot of turbulence, so make sure to package your items to withstand typical LTL shipping treatment. Freight claims can’t be filed on packaging damage alone. The purpose of packaging is to protect your goods from damage.

Label your shipments

To prevent cargo loss, make sure your delivery and return address information is listed clearly and accurately on your shipment. Labels and stickers should be positioned on top of the box, and all former labels need to be removed or covered. Make sure you place labels on an even surface of your package and not on the flap or seals.

2. What to Do the Moment a Claim Occurs

When receiving a shipment, be sure to take your time examining the delivery and paperwork. Using the Bill of Lading (BOL) and delivery receipt, verify delivery address, shipment information, count the items on the BOL compared to the quantity being delivered, and inspect the condition of the shipment. If you identify any damage or discrepancies, follow the below tips.

Record specific damage and/or loss details on the delivery receipt

The delivery receipt is a legally-binding document. You must notate all damages, shortages or evidence of pilferage to cartons and containers on the delivery receipt and Bill of Lading (BOL) prior to signing. If a shipment is accepted without exception (i.e., the receiver doesn’t note specific information about what is damaged and/or shorted on the delivery receipt at the time of delivery), then a freight claim will be considered “concealed,” and difficult to resolve in your favor. All damage and loss notation must be clear and specific. Phrases such as “subject to count/inspection,” “potential damage,” and “subject to review,” will not be considered an exception. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the damage for claim documentation.

Retain the freight at either the shipper or consignee location, not the carrier

Before the carrier resolves a freight claim, they will want the shipper or consignee to retain the goods. If the consignee cannot keep the products, then the shipper must ask the carrier to return the shipment. Keep in mind that the carrier will charge you storage fees if it holds the shipment. Do not dispose the goods prior to claim resolution or the carrier may decline your claim.

Ask the carrier to inspect the damaged freight

Once the shipper or consignee retains the freight, ask the carrier to inspect the goods. Most carriers will only investigate if the damage is greater than $1,000 or may waive their right to inspection. Nonetheless, still make the request. Having the shipment inspected before you submit the claim can help expedite resolution time.

Gather documentation to support your freight claim

By law, you must provide three pieces of evidence to support your claim:

  1. Prove the goods were in good condition when shipped.
  2. Prove the goods were damaged when delivered (or weren’t delivered at all).
  3. Support the value of what you are claiming as damaged/missing.

Ensure you complete the appropriate claim form, detailing every item you are claiming. Include quantity, weight, and value. Collect the invoice showing what your cost was (i.e., your vendor invoice or manufacturer invoice) and the sales invoice (i.e., indicating the amount for which you sold the goods). Also, provide pictures, packing list, signed BOL, and signed delivery receipt.

Pay your freight bill

If you don’t pay your freight bill, then the contract hasn’t been completed between the two parties. Throughout the claim process, the freight bill remains valid—the invoice is not put on hold and isn’t voided automatically. If the carrier provides a legitimate declination on the freight claim, they are still owed payment on the freight bill. If a claim is approved and carrier negligence is demonstrated, the carrier won’t pay if the freight bill remains outstanding. If shipping with a 3PL, note the 3PL isn’t the liable party unless otherwise stipulated in your contract.

3. Common Reasons Carriers Decline Claims

When presented with a claim, a carrier must prove they were not negligent. The carrier may also decline liability by using one of these five defenses outlined in the Carmack Amendment, a law created for uniformity in rules governing interstate shipping.

  1. Act of God – Hurricane, weather, driver sustains injury outside of control (i.e., stroke)
  2. Public enemy – terrorism, armed robbery
  3. Act, or default of the shipper
  4. Public Authority – the Government, vehicle impound
  5. Inherent vice or nature of the goods transported

It’s not often we see claims declined for reasons one, two or four. If a carrier does reject a claim, it’s usually for reason three or five. The following are the principal reasons carriers deny claims:

Improper/Insufficient packaging

The carrier will deny the freight claim if the shipment wasn’t packaged according to industry standards, or if it couldn’t adequately protect the load.

Concealed claim

The carrier cannot decline a claim because the receiver didn’t notate damages/shortage on the delivery receipt, but if no additional evidence can be provided to prove the carrier caused damages during transit, they will decline the claim.

Carrier delivered precisely what they tendered

The only piece-count the carrier is liable for is the unitized pieces they pick up, not individual pieces found under shrink-wrap or within a crate. Regarding shortage claims, if the driver picks up one shrink-wrapped pallet and drops off one shrink-wrapped pallet, the contract is fulfilled. If the driver wasn’t present while the individual pieces under the shrink-wrap were counted and loaded, they aren’t liable for that piece count. Note: The driver will typically record the actual piece count when signing the BOL.

4. Tips for a Faster, More Efficient Freight Claim Experience

Give carriers time to investigate

Carriers have 30 days from the date of the claim submission to acknowledge receipt of the claim, then 120 days after that to investigate. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) also allots carriers additional 60-day blocks of time after the initial 150 days, if they haven’t reached a decision, as long as they provide written status updates. Create a calendar reminder every 15-20 business days to track the age and status of the claim.

Provide additional documentation or information if the carrier requests it

Throughout the process, there may be multiple people reviewing a claim, especially for high-value shipments. One person may spot something that another person missed and need information from you to properly investigate. These requests can come any time within the 150-day process, and the clock is paused when the carrier sends an inquiry. Sometimes, a phone call to the carrier is all that’s needed to clarify the inquiry.

Complete as much work as you can before submitting your claim

Because everything else in the freight industry moves so quickly, it’s easy to assume that if a claim isn’t submitted just as fast, it could slow down the process. This isn’t true. It’s better to collect all the necessary documentation, inspect the goods first, and make sure this shipment is in the hands of the consignee or shipper prior to submitting your claim. You’ll save time by anticipating what the carrier may need during its investigation. Legally, a shipper has nine months from the date of delivery (pickup, if lost) to provide a formal cargo claim to the carrier.

Mitigate the product or goods

This is a fancy way of saying the shipper must: salvage, discount, or repair the commodity. If you can fix a $10,000 machine for $100, it’s better to make the repairs and file a claim for the cost of the repairs. Remember to first ask the carrier to inspect the products and confirm with them that you may mitigate before proceeding with then claim. Carriers also have rights to the salvage if they pay a claim.

Purchase shippers Interest Insurance

Unless otherwise stated in your contract with a carrier and 3PL, every LTL shipment will fall under the carrier’s limits of liability. The liability limits may be based on class/weight (e.g., class 60 pays $1.50 per pound), products (e.g., furniture pays $2 per pound), and whether the product is new or used (i.e., used is typically $0.10 per pound). The carrier may pay per a general maximum liability (e.g., $15 per pound) or decline the claim entirely because the products are listed on their “restricted/excluded” list. Purchasing shippers interest insurance confirms your products are covered at the invoiced value, and not limited to carriers’ published tariffs.

Planning Eliminates Future Surprises

Navigating the freight claims process doesn’t need to be a daunting task. With the right amount of planning and following the above guidelines, you’ll avoid most of the “road hazards,” while saving time and cost in the process.

 

Looking for a partner that can manage your logistics operations so you can focus on growing your business? 

Call 866.275.1407 or Request A Consult.

2017 has been a busy year for the logistics industry. In the past 12 months, we’ve seen natural disasters, government mandates, and technology innovations impact supply chains. As the final week of the year comes to a close, we’re looking back at the top logistics stories and topics of 2017.

  1. ELDs

The ELD mandate went into effect on December 18, after several attempts to delay the initiative. The ELD mandate requires most motor carriers and drivers, who are currently required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records, to use electronic logging devices to record their time on and off-duty. The mandate went live with an enforcement grace period, which means vehicles not equipped with the required ELD device will not be placed out of service or receive points against their safety scores until April 2018. Many analysts predict ELDs will impact capacity and rates through 2018, and could result in a capacity decline of approximately 4-7 percent.

  1. Big Data, AI, and Machine Learning

According to Logistics Management, more data has been generated in the past two years than in the entire history of humans. This growing accessibility to thousands of data points has businesses looking for ways to translate numbers into actionable insights. In 2017, AI and machine learning technology received a lot of attention in the logistics industry for their ability to process massive amounts of data, analyze trends, predict scenarios, and provide shippers with real-time knowledge to make faster and better business decisions.

  1. Drones

In 2017, retailers, e-commerce, transport and tech companies worldwide tested drone deliveries of various products from medical supplies to fast-food orders. While current regulations prevent wide-scale implementation of drones, these pilot programs are helping companies gain experience with drone technology, which could be the key to meeting delivery demands in rural, urban, rugged and remote areas.

  1. Warehouse Automation

Consumer pressure to fulfill and ship orders same day is pushing warehouses to automate more processes. In 2017, robotics, voice picking, and mobile scanners made waves as innovations that are increasingly helping warehouses drive down order cycle time and meet delivery demands of consumers.

  1. Autonomous Trucks

The driver shortage was named the number one critical issue facing the transportation industry by the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) annual list. Many are hopeful that autonomous trucks will help solve the growing driver shortage in the trucking industry. While we’re still a long way from autonomous trucks being mainstream, in 2017, several companies made investments and developed pilot programs to help move the technology forward. In November, the start-up, Embark, began delivering refrigerators in Southern California via self-driving “robo-trucks,” while major players like Volvo, Daimler and Tesla are working on their own autonomous trucks.

  1. Digital Freight Matching

Digital freight matching, or the “Uberization” of freight, generated a lot of attention this year as Uber officially launched its Uber Freight app in May. The concept of matching available capacity to demand is not new in the logistics space, and many 3PLs, like GlobalTranz, have been doing it for years using proprietary technology. While Uber has a track record of success in connecting passengers with drivers, commercial trucking and large freight movement is much more complex. Uberization and digital freight matching will continue to evolve in 2018. At GlobalTranz, we look forward to working alongside or in partnership with on-demand freight options as we continue to grow our full-service freight management solutions.

  1. E-commerce

2017 e-commerce holiday sales hit record numbers, and online buying continues to trend upward in both B2C and B2B markets. E-commerce has transformed supply chains by emphasizing the importance of final-mile deliveries and automating warehouse and fulfillment operations. As more retailers boost their omni-channel capabilities to compete with Amazon and other e-commerce giants, the logistics industry will be called upon to develop solutions to help businesses meet customer delivery demands and create competitive advantages.

  1. Final Mile

As consumer delivery expectations increase and companies compete with Amazon’s delivery promises, final mile delivery solutions are becoming critical to the success of retailers, grocers and e-commerce businesses. Final mile deliveries are a difficult piece of the supply chain because they require individualized shipping to unreliable destinations due to consumer availability. Full-service logistics companies are becoming strategic partners for businesses in the final mile space because they provide access to a broad range of carrier types and services that can be combined into custom solutions to meet the growing consumer delivery expectations.

  1. Natural Disasters

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused nearly $200 billion in damages to Texas and Florida. The storms put an incredible strain on the supply chain as flooding and power outages closed ports and prevented trucks from entering affected areas. Hurricanes took about 5-10% of capacity from the market and significantly impacted rates. Many industry experts predict that we’ll continue to see tight capacity into 2018 from hurricane rebuilding efforts, the ELD mandate and a healthy GDP producing high freight demand.

  1. Blockchain

Everyone is talking about blockchain, including the logistics industry. Blockchain can create a more connected and efficient supply chain by enabling real-time, secure, and inalterable information sharing between shippers, carriers, brokers, and more. In 2017, GlobalTranz became one of the first 3PLs to join BiTA (Blockchain in Trucking Alliance), to develop industry-specific standards and help grow and educate the logistics industry about this promising technology. Eventually, blockchain technology will impact logistics, but today we’re in the infancy stages.

2017 has been an influential year for supply chain and logistics management. The industry is evolving and technology continues to be at the forefront.  As a technology-driven 3PL, we look forward to continuing to develop innovative solutions that help businesses drive supply chain efficiencies and deliver overall cost savings in 2018 and beyond.

From everyone at GlobalTranz, Happy New Year!

The logistics industry has been preparing for the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate rollout since the FMCSA announced the initiative in 2015. We’ve heard from shippers wanting to know how the mandate will affect their freight. Will prices go up? Will transit times be impacted? With the ELD mandate less than one week away from going into effect—December 18—we’re answering the top questions shippers are asking.

About the ELD Mandate:

The ELD mandate requires most motor carriers and drivers, who are currently required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records, to use electronic logging devices to record their time on and off-duty. The mandate goes into effect on December 18 with an enforcement grace period. During this time, vehicles not equipped with the required ELD device will not be placed out of service or receive points against their safety scores until April 2018, but they could receive fines for each violation cited.

Top 5 ELD Mandate Questions Shippers are Asking

1. What Impact will ELDs have on transit times?

ELDs are intended to electronically record the number of hours a driver is behind the wheel. They will replace the majority of paper logbooks, which are easier to alter, enabling operators to drive more hours than legally allowed. This change could have an impact on transit times, especially in the range of 450 to 800 miles. According to Transport Topics, one carrier reported many 400 to 600-mile jobs went from a one-day haul using paper logbooks to a shift-and-a-half using electronic logging devices. If ELD requirements push trips to a second day, this creates a loss of revenue, from the carrier’s perspective, because they are delaying their opportunity for a reload.

2. What impact will ELDs have on capacity?

Trucking capacity across the country is already running close to 95 percent, reports Transport Topics, mainly due to high demand, a strong GDP, recent hurricanes, and the increasing driver shortage. Analysts predict the ELD mandate could result in a capacity decline of approximately 7 percent in the for-hire carrier sector, and American Trucking Associations (ATA) is reporting a projected loss of 50,000 trucks from the market. There’s a chance that some owner-operators could choose to leave the industry to avoid spending money on ELDs and learning a new technology, particularly those drivers or owners who are nearing retirement or have other vocational opportunities.

3. How will ELDs affect shipping rates?

Nothing is definite until shippers can analyze and compare invoices or quotes before and after the date of official ELD implementation. However, most industry analysts foresee average shipping rate increases of 3 to 5 percent, in some cases, even higher. These rate changes come at the expense of lost productivity and attempt to cover any additional costs associated with implementing ELDs. Many drivers believe the ELD implementation will limit their flexibility in transit time, which may force carriers to negotiate higher load prices.

4. How will you manage ELD compliance?

As a non-asset 3PL, we don’t own trucks that need ELDs installed, but we have a compliance department dedicated to vetting and managing our 17,000+ carrier network. We require all carriers be in full compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. These regulatory requirements are documented in our broker-carrier contracts.

5. What can shippers do to prepare for the ELD mandate?

  1. First and foremost, have conversations with your logistics partners. Ask questions about how ELDs may impact your lanes. Understand the fundamental HOS limitations for drivers and how it can impact transit times. You can obtain further information around HOS regulations by visiting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.
  2. Review lanes between 450-800 miles. Those are line hauls where carriers may have previously delivered in 1-day with paper logs, but when ELDs are in place, those lanes may become a 2-day transit time with inherent rate increases. A 3PL like GlobalTranz can help analyze your lanes and identify areas of vulnerability to provide you predictable shipping times, rates, and help you meet your customer requirements.
  3. Increase your lead time on shipments. The more time your logistics partner has to book a shipment, the more leverage they have to secure the best carrier for your lane, identify efficiency improvements, and negotiate rates.
  4. Work towards driver accommodation by being flexible and allowing for carriers to drop trailers at your facilities when applicable. This will give the drivers a higher chance of controlling their HOS limitations and remain within legal parameters.
  5. Consider multimodal or intermodal shipping. Combining rail and truck transportation for loads going 700+ miles can drive consistency, fuel savings and reduced emissions into your supply chain. One railcar can hold the equivalent of roughly four trucks, so shipping by train can help relieve truck capacity constraints. Discuss intermodal options with your logistics service provider to understand if it makes sense for your shipments.

Planning is Everything

As the ELD mandate rolls-out, shippers and logistics providers will likely see changes, but until we’ve lived in this new reality for several months, we can’t be sure of the full impact. The more information you have in advance of the change, the better off you’ll be to effectively plan and budget. As more questions arise about ELDs, and the FMCSA provides guidance on these issues, we will be here to help you adapt as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

Learn more about how GlobalTranz can help you mitigate the impact of the ELD mandate. Contact 866.275.1407 or info@globaltranz.com

FedEx and UPS combined are expected to ship over a billion packages this holiday season between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve, according to the Journal of Commerce (JOC.com). This massive number of shipments reflects the anticipated record holiday sales from retailers and e-commerce businesses this season.

“According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales in the United States during November and December are forecast to increase 3.6 to 4 percent, reaching between $679 billion and $682 billion, beating the five-year average of 3.5 percent,” reports JOC. Fast-growing holiday sales throughout the economy translate into increased demand for shipping assets and the tightening of capacity.

For a freight industry already operating at levels near 95 percent capacity, businesses are turning to 3PLs for their expedited shipping services, like air freight, ground expedite, and other guaranteed options, to meet their customer delivery demands and mitigate capacity challenges.

Expedited Shipping Services

As freight demand increases this holiday season in an already tight marketplace, standard shipping methods may not get the job done, as delays often manifest. When you have urgent, emergency, or time critical shipments, GlobalTranz offers a wide range of expedited shipping services to accommodate freight of all weights, dimensions, origins, destinations, and timelines. Our strategic alliances with the nation’s best carriers, dedicated team of expedite shipping experts, and technology that matches your freight with available capacity will ensure your cargo is delivered with the utmost speed, efficiency, visibility, and security.

Air Freight
Shipping by air is typically the fastest way to get your freight to its destination. JOC reports businesses have been increasingly using air freight this peak season because of its speed and reliability. Air freight also helps businesses be more agile in reacting to last-minute upswings in consumer demand. GlobalTranz offers Next Flight Out (NFO), Next Day by 10:30 a.m., Next Day by Noon, Next Day by 5 pm, Second Day Air, and Charter or dedicated aircraft services.

Ground Expedite
We understand the opportunities and consequences facing businesses based on the promptness of pick-up and delivery of your goods. GlobalTranz provides cargo van, sprinter, straight truck, hot shot, courier, team drive, flatbed, temp-controlled, LTL guaranteed, and full truckload (48’or 53’) expedite services to ensure on-time delivery of all cargo types. Ground expedite also provides additional security benefits over standard ground transport. In a cross-country standard LTL shipment, your cargo might be transferred off a truck 5-7 times. Expedite ground shipments generally stay on the same truck, or only get touched 1-2 times, and get securely stored and monitored.

LTL Guaranteed Services
When you need peace of mind and a guarantee that your shipment will arrive on a specific day, choose one of our many LTL guaranteed options. Shippers have the flexibility to rate, book and track Guaranteed LTL shipments directly in our GlobalTranz LTL management platform, and choose LTL providers based on arrival dates.

LTL Rescues
Let’s say you have a shipment at an LTL terminal, but it isn’t scheduled to be delivered until tomorrow. You receive a call from your customer with a change of plans – they need the shipment delivered today. We can arrange for your freight to be picked-up or “rescued” from the LTL terminal and delivered to the consignee immediately.

Why GlobalTranz Expedite

24/7/365 Service & Support
Our dedicated expedite team is here days, nights, weekends, and holidays to ensure customers receive exceptional support.

Real-Time Tracking & Updates
Stay in the know from start to finish. We’ll track your shipment every step of the way and provide updates online via GlobalTranz TMS platform.

Experience You Can Trust
Thanks to 30+ years of outstanding service and reliability, GlobalTranz is a trusted logistics provider for time-sensitive and critical shipment needs.

Fulfill Your Delivery Promise
In today’s business environment, it’s essential that your supply chain provides operational efficiencies to achieve satisfaction for your customers. Expedited shipping services help meet your customers’ just-in-time delivery expectations, support lean inventory strategies, and mitigate capacity challenges during peak shipping seasons.

 

Meet just-in-time delivery needs by receiving your expedited shipping quote today! 866.275.1407

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to express our gratitude for the many wonderful things in our lives. At GlobalTranz, we have a lot to be thankful for…

Customers

We work with over 25,000 shippers to transport goods of all commodities and sizes around the world. Learning about their products and developing logistics solutions that grow their business and our economy is what drives us. To all our customers, thank you for choosing GlobalTranz, we truly appreciate our partnership with you.

Employees

Our talented employees go above and beyond to support our customers, agents, and carriers while making a positive impact in their local communities. Their outstanding commitment to service and collaboration enables us to provide award-winning logistics solutions and technology. We are thankful to have the best team in the industry.

Agents

Our network of independent agents solves supply chain challenges and delivers innovative logistics solutions to a wide array of shippers. They take pride in doing the heavy lifting of freight management so companies can focus on growing their businesses. We are grateful for their expertise and dedication to helping shippers drive efficiencies in their supply chains.

Carriers and Drivers

There are 3.5 million trucking professionals across the country whose work is some of the most personally demanding and economically significant in the United States. We appreciate our network of carriers and truck drivers who work long hours, sacrificing personal time with family and friends, to safely move more than 10 billion tons of freight across 432 billion miles each year. They are the lifeblood of the supply chain.

Technology

Our technology enables our employees, agents, and carriers to intelligently optimize shipping operations and provide a strategic advantage. Automation and customization allow our teams to focus their time creating new ways to drive efficiencies and cost savings for shippers. The GlobalTranz TMS platform provides visibility to big data and, using machine learning systems, creates actionable intelligence that helps businesses forecast, plan, and execute their supply chain activities. We’re grateful that technology is at the forefront of our organization, and we’re proud to provide innovative solutions that are paving the future of supply chain management.

Community

As Hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated parts of Houston, Florida, the Southeast United States, and Puerto Rico, communities came together to support those in need. The GlobalTranz CORE corporate responsibility team hosted a Hurricane Relief Drive to deliver food, water, toiletries, and supplies to the Houston Food Bank. We received donations from several businesses and partners in the logistics industry – a true display of community coming together to make a positive impact.

We’re also thankful for our logistics community and organizations like TIABiTA, and CSCMP. They connect supply chain and logistics industry professionals to develop collaborative solutions, standards, and technology that moves the industry forward.

On behalf of everyone at GlobalTranz, Happy Thanksgiving.

For many companies, a TMS (Transportation Management System) is the backbone of your logistics and transportation operations. Whether you’re a $10 million or $10 billion business, a TMS can help streamline processes, reduce overall transportation costs, and provide full supply chain visibility. According to Logistics Management Magazine, businesses who implement a TMS save 5% to 10% on their freight costs.

To help navigate the process of choosing a TMS that’s right for your company, consider these key features, recently discussed in an Inbound Logistics article:

8 TMS Features to Consider

  1. Open architecture to accelerate adoption of new technology and standards—An open architecture design makes it easier to implement new or improved applications, components, and standards.
  2. Supports multiple integration options: XML, EDI and Web Services—The full potential of a TMS is realized when you integrate with other platforms to automate processes and improve your customer service levels. Choose a TMS that enables your systems to talk to one another.
  3. Integration with multi-modal carrier network—Choose a TMS that taps into a large network of local, regional, and national multi-modal carriers, so you can rate, book, track, and analyze all your shipments, in one place.
  4. Integration with leading ERP, WMS, and OMS systems—There are scores of enterprise resource planning, warehouse management, and order management systems. Make sure the TMS you choose has a history of out of the box integration with your back-office systems.
  5. Actionable, real-time reporting—Big data is only useful if you can gain actionable insights from it. Choose a TMS that can generate a range of reports and interactive dashboards that track important KPIs and help you make decisions that grow your business. GlobalTranz’ advanced TMS platform creates predictive analytics and business intelligence by combining big data with machine learning and artificial intelligence technology.
  6. Universally accessible—A cloud-based TMS reduces the need and cost associated with storing equipment, servers, and software in your building. Users can access a cloud-based system from anywhere and providers can manage and deploy updates without interrupting user experience.
  7. Secure, reliable, and scalable—Downtime is not an option for your business. Be sure the TMS you choose provides layers of security to protect your business from data breaches, has adequate backup procedures, and can meet increasing performance demands as your needs evolve.
  8. Supports applicable modes of transportation—Choose a TMS that works well with all your existing modes – like LTL and truckload – but is also capable of supporting modes you may want to add in the future.

TMS solutions are an important component of today’s supply chain management. When you choose the right platform for your business, your TMS will help you drive process efficiency, gain visibility into your supply chain, and reduce overall transportation costs.

Drive efficiency into your supply chain. Get a Demo of the GTZ TMS Platform.

90% of Fortune 500 companies operating within the U.S. sought assistance from third-party logistics providers (3PLs), according to a 2017 study by supply chain consultancy Armstrong & Associates. Rising complexity of freight management and technology-driven logistics has businesses of all sizes turning to 3PLs to help them drive efficiency, cost savings, and visibility into their supply chains.

A successful relationship with a 3PL comes down to choosing the right provider and creating a partnership. Inbound Logistics Magazine published an article with tips for “Getting the Most From Your 3PL”, and we’re sharing the key takeaways to help shippers navigate a successful 3PL partnership.

  1. Set goals and KPIs: Spend time establishing KPIs that make the most sense for your company and communicate them to your 3PL partner. On-time pickup, on-time delivery, tender acceptance or rejection percentages, and EDI compliance are a few examples of typical KPIs.
  2. Do your research: Thoroughly vet the 3PL before choosing. Ask about their experience and make sure they have a track record of success in your industry.
  3. Know what you want: To make a good decision, you need to establish your objectives for working with a 3PL and take the time to create a list of “must haves” from company stakeholders.
  4. Ensure your 3PL uses the latest technology: Freight management is evolving into a technology-driven practice. A good 3PL should be using and creating state-of-the-art TMS technology platforms. Make sure your 3PL’s technology can integrate with your business systems, provides real-time visibility, and predictive analytics to help you make strategic decisions. Request a demo of their technology so you can see all the capabilities and how it works.
  5. Treat your 3PL as a business partner: Consider your 3PL an extension of your team, and make sure they can scale their operations to enable your growth plans.
  6. Know their financial status: Align with a 3PL who has significant growth histories and plans. Make sure any business you partner with has staying power and the resources to support you.
  7. Make certain the 3PL meets your needs: Use a checklist to confirm that your 3PL offers what you need now and in the future. Ensure they provide the modes of transportation you need, technology that will help you gain operational efficiency, and support teams that will be accountable to your business objectives.
  8. Plan for new markets: Choose a 3PL robust enough to support your growth plans. Make sure their capabilities can expand with you into new geographic regions and/or product lines.
  9. Create accountability: It’s important to not only establish realistic KPIs, but also hold meetings with your 3PL to ensure you’re on track to meet your business goals. A good 3PL will provide quarterly business reviews and updates on KPI tracking.
  10. Know your support team: You’ll be working closely day-in and day-out with your 3PL. Make sure you have a dedicated team that’s easy to work with and has depth and expertise. Get to know their process and how you will interact with them.

 

Connect with an expert to see how GlobalTranz fares against your 3PL checklist.

For today’s logistics professionals, machine learning is more than a buzzword. If you’re shipping goods anywhere in the world, there’s a chance you’re already the beneficiary of machine learning technology – an innovation that is helping reshape the logistics and supply chain industry.

But you don’t have to be in the industry to experience machine learning. Every time you order from Amazon or watch a series on Netflix, you experience machine learning. Algorithms passively monitor your habits and serve up similar products and content with now familiar suggestions like “You might like this,” and “Recommended for you.”

“Machine learning uses massive computing power to recognize patterns in data that humans could never see, and then learns from every new piece of data it receives to get smarter and more accurate in real time,” says JOC.com. Machine learning is just one specialty within the broader universe of artificial intelligence.

Machine Learning Helps Shippers Make Better Decisions

In the logistics industry, we are using machine learning to make quicker and better decisions that help shippers optimize carrier selection, rating, routing, and quality control processes that save costs and improve efficiencies. With its ability to gather and analyze thousands of disparate data points, machine learning can help you solve a problem you don’t know is there. For example, if you’re looking at lane planning, a traditional analytical model would look at a fixed set of assumptions. Analytics based on machine learning can consider dynamic attributes like weather or traffic and self-evolve over time to recognize patterns that humans would not see.

The power of machine learning comes from leveraging data across multiple systems and data sets. We can combine all the data we have in our carrier network with outside data sources like GPS systems, historical pricing performance and FMCSA to help shippers more accurately predict demand, analyze trends in supply chains, monitor seasonal calendars, and track daily patterns within lanes.

To analyze multiple carriers and lane variations for thousands of companies, we use machine learning to create simulations that help determine the best combinations of carriers and lanes for delivering loads. Simulations tap into raw data and extract valuable information in near real-time, helping to improve operational efficiency, conflict avoidance and improved service levels.

Overall, this intelligence can help shippers lower risk, optimize routes and even learn new lanes at lightning speeds. No longer does it take six months to optimize a lane and work out all the kinks.

Natural Language Processing Saves Shippers Time

Natural language processing (NLP), another form of machine learning, is also drastically improving the efficiency of supply chains by speeding up data entry and auto-populating form fields.

When integrated with a transportation management system (TMS) and email, chat, text and voice communication, NLP systems monitor and learn from these exchanges. Over time, the system recognizes the behaviors of specific users and begins to anticipate what they want by auto-populating shipping orders, bills of lading, and other transactions, which saves the shipper valuable time.

The benefit of using natural language processing technology is that it’s always learning. This “unsupervised learning” also improves the classification accuracy of tracking status by analyzing inputs such as weather conditions and traffic patterns.

How Machine Learning is Helping the Manufacturing Industry

In an example of how you can apply sophisticated analytics through machine learning, at GlobalTranz we are helping a large manufacturing company, with multiple locations, track financial forecasts, pace and flow of production, and order processing. These data points, combined with deep insights into carrier capacity, results in a flexible plan optimized for both time and cost.

This information allows the company to answer real-time questions like “Are we operating within budget? “How much can we increase manufacturing without going over our freight budget?” or “How many more orders can we service within budget for a given set of lanes?” The company uses our GTZ Technology platform to access analytical tools, custom dashboards, and easy-to-understand data visualizations that help them make faster and better business decisions.

Machine Learning Creates Predictive Analytics

With so much data within reach, it’s much easier to predict what in the past has been unpredictable. As JOC.com said, “You can’t drive true efficiency unless you can predict every event and foresee every contingency.” These cutting-edge machine learning systems give us the tools and intelligence to make faster and more effective business decisions.

 

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According to one survey, weather-related shipping challenges cost trucking companies between $2 billion and $3.5 billion on average. In fact, overall weather-related shipping challenges add up to close to 3.5% of the U.S. GDP. Unless you have a plan for managing risks due to weather, just one hurricane or devastating snowstorm could upend your business.

Weather-Related Shipping Challenges Add Up to Big Bucks

Every business is vulnerable to weather variances – but freight brokerages are particularly vulnerable. While most delays caused by weather happen on the ground for trucking companies, freight agents can experience challenges even when operating a multi-modal transportation business.

Say your ground carriers are unable to fulfill a shipment because of a weather-related challenge. If your alternate is air transportation, those same challenges may impact air transportation, too. Almost three quarters of all flight delays are due to weather and nearly 85% of weather delays prevent planes from ever taking off.

Recent weather models show the increasing erratic nature of weather patterns are creating daily weather variances that make predicting weather-related challenges harder.  Not to mention the practically annual unprecedented natural disasters recently:

It’s clear that no matter what region, what state, or what country you operate in, every freight agent needs several alternatives for managing weather-related challenges.

Understanding the Risks to Your Supply Chain Due to Weather

Did you know that last year, at least three ocean vessels sank because of hurricanes and tropical storms? Weather will affect or disrupt every mode of transportation. Evidence shows that these extreme weather events are going to grow increasingly more severe and happen more and more routinely for the foreseeable future.

If the roads are closed, planes are grounded, and you can’t get your cargo out of port, what do you do? As a freight agent how can you safeguard your deliveries against delays, cancellations, and mass transportation disruptions due to weather?

Here are 6 safeguards to mitigate your damages and avoid being caught without a viable alternate when disasters strike.

#1: Strategically Placed Warehouses and Distribution Centers

Many industries from retailers to pharmaceutical companies maintain an excess of goods in different locations to prepare for typical business fluctuations. If a retailer’s sale leaves shelves bare, they can access additional goods from nearby warehouses.

This concept is called “nearshoring” when it applies to freight logistics. Instead of having to ship a load cross-country, you have distribution centers strategically located so that if part of your supply chain is shutdown, your operations can still move forward.

#2: Broad Carrier Network Including Ground, Air, and Ocean

One of the best ways for a freight brokerage to avoid weather-related challenges is by having a broad carrier network across multiple modes of transportation. If the roads are shut down, do you have an air carrier in your network?

If flights are grounded, can you still ship via ocean? The broader and more diverse your carrier network, the easier it is to manage weather disruptions.

#3: Partner with Other 3PLs

Competition between third-party logistics providers (3PLs) for the same accounts prevents many freight agents from forming smart partnerships with other 3PLs. However, partnering with other 3PLs in regions where you don’t normally operate can save your bottom line if a disaster or weather-related event closes down your normal routes.

#4: Involve a 4PL Provider

What is a 4PL provider? A 4PL provider is an integrator that has the resources, capabilities and technologies to run complete supply chain solutions. They can provide reports on historical and predicted weather patterns and take over portions of your supply chain operations in the event of an outage. 

#5: Utilize Data Analysis to Anticipate Weather-Related Challenges

If you are only analyzing data where you have historically shipped but you have since expanded to new territories, you are not getting a full picture of the challenges you face. Data analysis helps you proactively analyze weather-related risks wherever you operate so that you can predict disruptions.

#6: Optional Weather Insurance for Shipments

Offering weather insurance can protect the freight agent’s bottom line while giving customers a chance to protect themselves against weather-related challenges. There are global and national areas where weather challenges are highest. Offering weather insurance for those shipments is another way to safeguard against losses due to weather events.

With years of transportation industry experience, GlobalTranz is a valuable 3PL partner that empowers its freight agents with innovative technology, near real-time data and a team of logistics specialists who help mitigate risk from numerous supply chain challenges, including weather-related issues. Contact us now for more information.