Arriving Just in Time – Advanced Transportation Logistics Scheduling

“Spot Market Freight Indices Continue Surge to Three-Year Highs”.  “Truckload Carriers Pitch Rate Hikes Driven by ELDs, Driver Pay, Hot Market”.  “The Value in Orchestrating a Scheduled Transportation Plan”.  These three headlines from Transport Topics and Food Shippers of America magazine tell the story of one of the most important challenges facing shippers in North America leading into 2018.  Here’s the story and the solution to the mounting challenge.

There can be no argument.  Freight transportation capacity, (particularly truckload capacity) is tight as it has ever been.  The bellwether metric – spot rates – are pegging the meter.  Dry van rates are 4.4% higher than contract rates and refer units are commanding a premium of almost 6% higher than contracts.  This trend shows few signs of abating due to the additional pressures and costs incurred by the ELD mandate which has been forcing many small carriers out of the market.  Spiking demand puts drivers in, well, the driver’s seat in pay negotiations, adding upward pricing pressure on truckload movements.

The biannual Fall/Winter 2017 edition of Food Shippers of America magazine includes an article sharing the solution to these challenges.  In a feature that could have just as easily been published in the Supply Chain Collaborator blog, FSA mag highlights the value of what they refer to as “Scheduled Transportation Planning”.

“What is Scheduled Transportation and how can it benefit a company’s supply chain?” asks the author.  The piece then goes on to define it as setting schedules for the pickup and delivery of product purchase orders  which prepares companies to best align their shipping and receiving locations with carriers and results in more consistent, reliable ordering and transportation for inbound logistics.  It also supports dramatically improved load planning for higher tender acceptance levels.

UltraShipTMS recently rolled out a new Advanced Scheduling module as part of its renowned transportation management system platform.  The new functionality enables the automation of pickup and delivery scheduling for shipments inbound between vendors and shippers, or outbound between the shipper and the shippers’ customers.  It also permits automation of dock door scheduling.  The advanced scheduling feature set supports improved on-time reporting, superior communication between transportation stakeholders, and tighter controls over assessorial spend in such areas as detention fees and stop charges.

The Advanced Scheduling module includes enhancements allowing carriers to enter appointments or to update existing appointments should the need arise which triggers an alert in the TMS so transportation planners are aware of all scheduled and re-scheduled appointments.  The module also records time stamped pickup and delivery confirmations.  It also feeds advanced reporting capabilities to help transportation departments plan more strategically and improve performance by identifying patters in late delivery.

Get ahead of this undeniable trend and engage advanced scheduling functionality as part of your transportation logistics practice.  Doing so will ensure your supply chains are well-equipped to deal with today’s especially challenging environment.