3 Tools Everyone In The Freight/Shipping Industry Should Be Using

Written by Neal Willis

Carrier & 3PL Websites

From rate quotes to document images and everything else in between, shippers today have access to 3PL and carrier websites that provide them with all sorts of tools to make their jobs and lives easier, like cubic capacity and density calculators. From these websites, historical shipment data can be retrieved and service performance easily measured and monitored. Data is retrievable in multiple formats and can be used in a countless number of ways.

eCommerce-delivery.jpgHistorically cumbersome processes, like filing freight claims, are less agonizing and more efficiently handled when processed directly through a carrier/provider web portal. By filing claims directly on a carrier’s website, shippers can essentially speed up the entire claims process and reach a resolution much faster than if they were to fax or physically mail the claim form(s) to the carrier. Plus, you’ll have an electronic paper trail for reference if you should need it.

In addition to receiving rate quotes and filing freight claims, useful information such as service updates, weather delays and shipment tracking can be obtained through a carrier’s website. Often times, customer service and information requests can be handled much faster online rather than over the phone, and a customer specific username and password is typically all that’s needed to access the site.

TMS Routing Tools

Ensuring least cost routing of shipments may sound simple, but it’s something that’s often overlooked. shipping-boxes-2.jpgShippers can settle into a routine over a period of time and sometimes fail to realize that the benchmarked least cost carrier for any given lane may have changed since their initial benchmark was performed.
With a TMS, shippers can easily conclude which carrier has the best rate or the fastest transit time for every single shipment in real time. A TMS reduces the amount of money spent unnecessarily on carriers with higher rates, and many 3PLs provide this tool to shippers as part of their service offering. With today’s technology, using paper routing guides is quickly becoming a thing of the past.  

Bill of Lading Applications

Entering information to obtain a rate quote and then having to enter that same information once again on a bill of lading can be time consuming. Using an online bill of lading can help shippers eliminate unnecessary paperwork and ensure that the shipping department routes orders properly. Shipments can be quoted through the application and, when it’s time to turn the rate quote into an actual shipment, the bill of lading can simply be printed and given to the driver. There’s no need to enter information a second time and perform unnecessary work. Surprisingly, not all shippers are taking advantage of this time and money saving tool that’s often provided to them by their carrier(s) and/or 3PL service provider.