Supply Chain Digital Transformation One Step At A Time

Justin Dickson, CRO, FreightPOPJustin Dickson, CRO
Everyone is talking about digitizing logistics and integrating systems, but the terms are bandied about without consensus. Loose definitions lead to confusion for logistics managers determining what solution to invest in.

There are so many different tools on the market, and they range dramatically in pricing and capabilities.

So, where do you start?

This article explores four digital transformation stages, from infancy to top-of-the-line adoption, to demonstrate how you can scale the process for your business's specific requirements.

Step 1 - Toe-Deep

✔ You are beginning to automate processes through shipping software/TMS.
✔You are taking steps to remove the complexity of navigating between carriers.
✔You are starting to capture shipping data and use it to make basic strategic decisions in the freight booking process.

What does this accomplish?

You can now do more with less. By cutting down on the amount of time it takes to process shipments, you can reduce or reallocate personnel.

Basic automation helps you obtain and secure carrier quotes faster. It also connects carriers to customers with tracking updates, helping to manage expectations and reducing unhappy customers.

Additionally, now you can consider more carriers and broaden your search for the best rates, no longer only relying on the biggest carriers.

How you get here:

You access software that allows you to:

● Integrate with carriers for all modes (parcel, LTL and truckload) through standard and custom connections

● Book shipments from a central location—a huge time and money saver!

● Aggregate tracking for all carriers into a dashboard view—benefits include streamlined tracking, improved customer communication, reduced customer issue calls

FreightPOP gives you One-Click logistics to speed up quoting and booking by bringing carrier data into one dashboard—no more logging in and out of carrier websites!

Step 2 - Knee-Deep

✔You are integrating your technology stack. You are connecting your ERP, WMS, and ordering systems to your shipping software.
✔You may be replacing legacy systems as compatibility issues arise.
✔You are starting to integrate both inbound and outbound orders.
✔You are starting to integrate across modes and shipment types.

What does this accomplish?
The best result here is that you are pulling siloed data from across your supply chain into a central hub, improving inter-departmental visibility and limiting entry errors as information is seamlessly imported and exported throughout your chain.

As your inbound/outbound integration evolves, you will have faster and more reliable data exchange.

How you get here:

You access software that allows you to:

● Seamlessly integrate systems
● Integrate APIs into order systems, allowing for custom configurations on crucial data that you need pushed and pulled
● Integrate accounting data for more accurate information on your freight spend

You can streamline your logistics by connecting all your business software through FreightPOP.

Step 3 - Waist-Deep

✔ You are using data to catch carrier discrepancies.
✔ You are evaluating carrier performance.
✔ You have data points to review your team's performance.

What does this accomplish?

If you have reached this step, you are making your data work for you. You are using tools that automate and streamline the auditing process so, 1) auditing actually happens and 2) you can go after the industry estimate of 15% you are overcharged.

You can also head into carrier negotiations armed with data to make more informed comparisons and decisions. The big carriers are already accessing such data and are typically at an advantage in negotiations over shippers who have not reached this step.

Lastly, when you capture shipping data, you can review your team's consistency (or negligence) in shipping to the set standards. Are they always selecting the cheapest rate? And if not, do they have a valid and noted reason for not doing so.

How you get here:

You access software that allows you to:

● Run reports on carrier invoices and readily isolate errors

● Run reports on carrier performance, with the information on quotes compared to final invoices

● Run reports such as a Lowest Quote Shipping Compliance Report where by you can quickly review employee compliance on carrier selections

Find invoices discrepancies, hold carriers accountable on money-back guarantees, and run reports on booking histories through FreightPOP.

Step 4 - Diving Right In

✔ You are a data-driven organization.

✔You think strategically about shipment types, looking to optimize spatial capacity, modes, and multileg shipments.

What does this accomplish?

Complete digital transformation is a real game-changer for businesses that ship. You are now able to leverage things such aszone skipping and load pooling to optimize savings.

You can better plan for upcoming quarters and seasonal demands.

And most importantly, you are more agile in an expensive and uncertain market. With the right software and integrations, you can more quickly pivot and respond to issues that affect supply chains, be that exorbitant carrier costs or surging customer demand.

How you get here:

You access software that gives you:

● Deep logistical data and reporting, with information on spatial capacity on shipping types readily available.

● Business Intelligence (BI) that allows you to analyze spend and performance across your supply chain.

● Predictive analytics to put you in a position of control rather than reacting to costs, services levels, and more.

Optimize freight spend and identify waste by capturing and understanding your logistics data through FreightPOP!

Continuing Your Digital Transformation

Some people think implementing a TMS is like implementing an ERP—that it will take them a year to get it going and involve a lot of upfront costs. But it depends on the scope of the project and the priorities you are trying to achieve.

If you scale the process in the steps outlined in this article, you can better manage your digital transformation project.

For more information, check out our Integrations & Digitizing Logistics Ebook Bundle! Access industry tips on integrating and creating better supply chains to manage and scale your freight. Let us guide you on your digital transformation journey!