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Driving Cost out of the Supply Chain; Speaking at the UW E-Business Consortium

Recently, I received an email from Wayne Thompson, Practice Director, Supply Chain Management, of UW E-Business Consortium. He was looking for a speaker for their May 2nd event Driving Cost out of the Supply Chain. After talking on the phone, we knew it was a perfect fit. The focus of the event was around data and that’s what we do at RateLinx. We help our customers leverage their shipment data to reduce freight costs.

I was pleased to speak with this group. Since 1998 the UW E-Business Consortium (UWEBC) has brought together executives, managers and senior practitioners from leading Wisconsin companies to learn from each other. The UWEBC focuses on areas critical to a diverse range of businesses including information technology and supply chain management. The organization is invaluable to the Wisconsin business community.

Finding Credible Data

Driving out costs requires analyzing freight data to understand where costs are too high. Many companies struggle with this as they try to solve their logistics problems, but it is not from lack of analysis skills. After spending the morning at the UWEBC, it was clear that the problem lies with a lack of credible data. Once the company has the data, they know what to do. The biggest challenge is pulling that data, which typically requires IT, then cleaning the data to ensure it is accurate. Even after all of this work, companies are still using data that is a few weeks to a few months old because of how long it takes to get through this process.

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Standardized Data within 24 Hours

At RateLinx we help our customers by creating standardized, actionable data using readily available sources without requiring internal IT support. Our Intelligent Invoice ManagementSM (IIM) software matches, cleanses, and standardizes data from four available sources into one standardized data set – within 24 hours This includes the carrier invoice (EDI 210), Track & Trace (EDI 214), Shipment information (EDI 204) and order data. Most companies we talk to are a bit skeptical when they hear “without IT” but once we explain how we are able to do it, they are eager to get started.

Because many of RateLinx’ standard features are used for most solutions, we only develop custom code for specific sections and only deploy the pieces that are needed to solve the problem. This approach has a smaller footprint and allows us to quickly deploy the solution to start providing clean, actionable data which ultimately drives value.

Logistics in 3D

Having clean, standardized data is key to having the visibility to solving logistics problems and driving out costs. We call this Logistics in 3D: Diagnose, Develop and Deploy.

Diagnose: IIM is the first step in this process because it provides the standardized, actionable data needed to easily diagnose underlying problems. It allows you to dig deeper into how you’re performing and provides answers to the how and why.

Develop: With this actionable data in hand, you can now identify the specific actions to take. It provides the answer of where to begin to develop strategies and gain visibility.

Deploy: Then without IT support, customers can deploy the strategies and expand beyond how you are doing things today. This creates a competitive advantage for logistics management. Most importantly, it creates long-term value, because you can measure and monitor the success of the strategies to ensure compliance and make necessary adjustments.

If you would like to discuss further how you can gain the visibility to manage logistics in 3D,  please reach out to me.

Blog Author

Shannon Vaillancourt
Shannon Vaillancourt is president and founder of RateLinx. Since launching in 2002, Shannon has led Ratelinx software implementation initiatives with more than 300 integrations in 10,000 locations customized for individual customer needs. He designs the unique predictive modeling engine that allows businesses of all sizes to experience freight savings faster in real-time and at a much higher level than ever before through Integrated Shipping Intelligence℠.

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