Last week we attended the NASSTRAC Shippers Conference & Transportation Expo in Orlando, FL. Founded 65 years ago, NASSTRAC’s primary focus is to protect the interests of shippers of small shipments. A small shipment was defined as a shipment that weighed less than 10,000 lbs. which we now call LTL shipments. As a member-based conference, the event focuses on issues at hand, such as how legislation is going to affect the shipping industry and what we can do to help influence change. Now more than ever, there are many issues that need to be discussed and resolved. NASSTRAC is the perfect forum to address such challenges.
I love attending NASSTRAC for the education it provides. The CEO roundtable discussions were great opportunities to hear from major LTL and Truckload carriers. It helps us understand what direction they are heading in and how such changes will affect shippers. A lot of the discussion also centered around data. How can carriers provide the data to their customers (shippers), and how can shippers leverage the data to make more informed decisions?
RateLinx Cleanses the Source of Data
Every attendee that we talked to was trying to get better visibility to their data so they could use it to make decisions. Some thought in order to do this they needed a solution that was using the carrier’s APIs to collect data instead of using EDI, or they needed a direct connection to the carrier. What most people overlook is that it isn’t the way they’re receiving the data, API or direct connection; it’s the source of the data that needs to be cleaned.
This is where our Intelligent Invoice ManagementSM (IIM) solution is needed and that’s exactly what it does. IIM collects, cleanses and standardizes the data. RateLinx team then helps to collaborate with both the shipper and the carrier to get the source fixed, and to help maintain its accuracy over the years as things continue to change.
Solving Shipping Payment Problems without IT
With IIM, RateLinx is able to provide clean, standardized, actionable data with no involvement required from a shipper’s internal IT department. This is particularly valuable for shippers as oftentimes their IT departments are stretched thin and unavailable to assist logistics managers.
A good example of how RateLinx can help without IT involvement is this situation. Our customer was receiving the freight invoice directly for payment, and then using the data to understand how they could be more accurate on their freight budgets. They were having problems paying the invoices because the charges were off, so they added a rate tolerance to pay the invoices. This solved one problem but created another one: the data was now wrong, so how could it be used to accurately budget freight?
By using IIM, we found that carriers were adding 2-5 miles for intra-zip moves, so every multi-stop move where there were stops within the same zip code had wrong miles. This in turn created a wrong rate. When this data was used to create the budget for the upcoming year, their TMS calculated zero miles for intra-zip moves (correctly), but that’s not what they ended up paying. The RateLinx team collaborated with the carrier and the shipper to create the best way to provide a permanent solution to ensure the carrier is paid promptly with no short-paid invoices, and the shipper has accurate miles with correct dollar amounts. Not only is this solution working flawlessly, it was accomplished with zero internal IT support.
Actionable Data without IT
What I wrote in last year’s NASSTRAC blog, about overcoming IT challenges in shipping and logistics management still holds true. The biggest barrier to adopting crucial technology is often the shipper’s own IT staff. Having a little fun during the panel discussion, I said, “IT often stands for ‘I Tried to get something done,’ ‘I’m Tired of waiting to get something done’ or ‘I’m Terrified to make a change.'” What RateLinx does is to help shippers by providing a clean integrated actionable data-set with NO IT. It’s really that easy.
We are already looking forward to NASSTRAC 2018 and the valuable insights that conference is certain to provide. The next conference we will be attending is the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, May 23-25. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss how you can get better visibility and actionable data without internal IT support, please reach out to me here.