Companies like MacroPoint, FourKites and others offer the next generation of freight tracking capabilities, leveraging the latest mobile device tech and web-based apps to yield up-to-the-minute location information for over the road freight shippers, carriers and 3PLS. These new, easy to implement, low-cost offerings can work either in lieu of – or even more effectively in conjunction with – in-cab telematics systems and EDI making them very attractive to transportation users of all stripes and sizes. Why should a shipper consider engaging these solutions if they have EDI and other communications protocols already in place through their TMS?
There’s a reason these emerging “neo-telematics” companies have been aggressively seeking partnership agreements with TMS providers. Largely it is because TMS providers offer highly concentrated access to their target audience: shippers, carriers and 3PLs. However, it may seem redundant, particularly to shippers, to engage MacroPoint type solutions when they already have EDI with many carriers and private fleets as well as the mobile apps offered by leading TMS solutions. Don’t be misled though. There are plenty of good reasons to engage one of these nifty new solutions in conjunction with your existing tools. Here are some of the best:
Better Operations Labor Utilization – Managing check calls is a labor intensive activity. Automating check calls using these low-cost, cell-phone-based tools frees your CSRs and transportation ops people to work on more strategic activities.
Improved Dock Door Efficiency – Never have too many or too few loading dock personnel on hand. With tools like MacroPoint and others, you know exactly when freight is going to arrive. This saves on labor costs while also reducing the amount of time drivers must wait to pick up and deliver loads.
Increased Supply Chain Transparency – When a supply chain lacks full visibility, it is not uncommon for inventory build-up to occur. Keep inventory lean with the visibility needed to support just-in-time fulfillment – particularly important for retailers.
Achieving More Continuous Moves – Often considered the holy grail of transportation planning, the continuous move can only be achieved through balanced coordination of inbound and outbound logistics with emphasis on finding backhaul opportunities. For private fleet operators, this is particularly well-supported using these new solutions and their geofencing capability.
Expand Your Carrier Base – Engage competitive mom-and-pops, niche carriers and other smaller carriers your program may have avoided using due to their lack of EDI/telematics. These cell-phone based solutions are easily provisioned at no cost to any carrier or individual driver.
There are other benefits to engaging a MacroPoint or FourKites solution as an integrated part of a TMS implementation. Overall, these tools drive cost savings through improved visibility and the efficiencies they unlock. Talk to your TMS provider to see how these tools can improve your program.