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In the supply chain world, manual operations such as end-to-end time and cost calculations, checking routes on maps, comparing freight quotes, and searching for freight availability can take up a lot of time.
With customers demanding a faster turnaround in getting shipments out of the door, these manual processes can become a serious burden that seriously affect a company’s competitive advantage.
Modern businesses should strive for optimization and operate in a completely different way. By using digital devices, they are able to automate simple and repetitive activities. This gives them a significant competitive advantage as they are better able to schedule deliveries as compared to those who still use post-it notes, emails, and basic Excel in their day-to-day work.
Organizations should pursue change more aggressively when it comes to process simplification through automation.
Calculating shipping costs manually
A lot of time can be spent calculating manual shipping costs because this makes up a large percentage of logistics costs. Many logisticians experts still use basic Excel spreadsheets. However, today there are several off-the-shelf tools available to make this work simpler and more accurate. These applications can calculate and compare costs and transportation time in a matter of seconds with almost zero errors. More advanced platforms can also be programmed to take into account other factors such as toll charges along certain routes.
Automated carrier selection
In almost every business, carriers are manually selected to fulfill open orders. This process is easy to automate, as carrier selection is largely rules-based. Several platforms exist that allow users to input the data of existing vendors and predetermine rules for carrier selection. When orders arise, parameters can be fed into a system that automatically decides the best carrier for each shipment quickly.
Access to the spot market
Checking spot market rates is always a good practice. However, keeping track of the spot market for freight rates involves a number of manual activities that are very time-consuming. This usually involves using multiple communication channels and manually transcribing the same information to various non-integrated tools such as your own ERP software or logistics platform. This work can also be simplified using deployment-ready software with minimal customization. If additional integration is required, this too is possible, with advanced users even having their ERP systems make freight routing decisions for them and communicating these decisions to all relevant stakeholders through a standard email.
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