Cloud Logistics

3PL’s Upgrade to a Modern Approach from Cloud Logistics

Cloud Logistics started listening closely and working with 3PL’s in late 2011 to satisfy their need for a modern and more comprehensive TMS solution.  Some 3PL’s have thousands of clients from all industries covering the globe with different requirements for each.  A recent prospect quote: “3PL’s must continue to reinvent themselves and stay up to date with technological advances to provide unique services to our clients to differentiate themselves from the competition”.

When configuring the 3PL’s cloud network for them, they prefer their logo to be placed on Cloud Logistics’ customer portal for branding purposes where their clients can enter OD pairs for rate quotes, save if acceptable, and upload new batches of orders so the 3PL can provide their value added services which may be different for every one of their clients.  Each of these value added services might have a different fee associated so the customer portal will have what is known as the “sell” rate formula when the client looks up the rate quote or per shipment cost.  The sell rates are also used for customer invoicing at the end of each billing period so Cloud Logistics’ ad hoc reporting and dashboard solution can assist with many of these areas.  Clients are now able to track any shipment number and pinpoint the coordinates on a map when trying to figure out the ETA of their moving inventory.  Cloud Logistics offers a next generation approach thru either EDI 214 carrier status updates, carrier portal updates, or for the smaller carriers we offer IOS/Android apps to track their GPS from the smartphone every 15 minutes so the 3PL’s clients have unprecedented visibility.

Many of the 3PL’s that initially call in for our services already have older technology in place that only provides a subset of Cloud Logistics’ functionality, so our patent pending configurable workflow architecture comes to the rescue.  We can quickly configure a customer portal with an order tab, a shipment tab, and a tracking tab, which takes the user directly to a map and all tracking messages for each shipment across 100’s of carriers to satisfy a client’s desire for end-to-end visibility as an example.

Global retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers from many industries represent Cloud Logistics’ client base utilizing the comprehensive TMS functionality that all 3PL’s need to manage the carrier tender, rating, routing, tracking, alerting, reporting, and automated match-pay on the “buy” side.  The 3PL internal users will see the “buy” side rates, the unique “sell” side rates and the margin for each shipment on a Cloud Logistics’ screen as well as on an ad hoc report, which can be emailed or downloaded automatically.  

Transportation Automation: Driving Freight Cost Reduction and Identifying the Technology Limitations of Logistics Service Providers

Over the past few years, we have been amazed at the areas of opportunity that exist in the transportation industry.  Everyone knows that shippers immediately see transportation hard dollar savings the first day of go live when a system optimizes and automates the selection process.  Initial savings can be up to 20%, but that is just the beginning.

Carriers are realizing that the shipper can now compare costs across all their contracts before their new system selects the best carrier.  This is highly effective in modes like Less than Truckload (LTL) where rating is extremely complex and Truckload (TL) where there might be several carriers servicing a lane.  Realizing the immediate loss of volume and increased competition from the core carriers, each carrier is now soliciting the shippers with rate per mile decreases and deeper discounts to the base tariffs.  Carriers that charge extra accessorials are missing out on freight while their proposal team tries to align with the shipper’s contract standards to become more competitive.  All of these adjustments lead to better rates and improved service levels for the shipper.

It is important to understand your Carriers, Freight Forwarders, and Broker technology limitations.  The lack of technology of certain carriers, freight forwarders, and brokers can cloud visibility and freight invoice accuracy.

One shipper’s freight forwarder was not able to provide a “Booking Advance Shipment Notice”.  So, the shipper had zero visibility until their containers were at sea for 5-7 days.  This delay limits the shipper from proactively responding when containers miss ships and en route inventory is delayed.  Additionally, the Freight Forwarder’s drayage carriers had no way to provide electronic shipment status updates so often the shipper lost visibility once the product arrived at the port. 

 Another leading freight broker is approximately six to nine months behind on basic EDI integration with outside services.   This has delayed accuracy of in-transit messages and creates a re-active environment when issues arise.

Many small and large carriers have not integrated their Fuel Surcharge to the DOE’s fuel indice, which means they enter it manually each week when they get a chance.  After implementing Cloud Logistics, it was identified that the carrier was often a week behind applying the fuel indice so their EDI 210 electronic freight invoices were applying the incorrect fuel surcharges. 

When asked for on time performance levels for each carrier, many shippers will say that a load is late if a customer calls to complain.  Instead, capturing the POD on every shipment within a TMS to form a carrier scorecard for future rate hike negotiations proves to be more proactively productive.

Transportation Management System can provide tremendous value for companies with revenues less than $200 Million

Recently we had a prospect that was investigating whether a Transportation Management System would save them money.  They had revenues under $200 Million and were predominately an LTL shipping company.

They recognized there would be saving opportunities around automating their communication with their carriers as it was previously done via phone / email; however their biggest surprise was the 17%+ savings they saw around selecting the least cost best service carrier.  Additional savings came from automating the invoice audit process where billing errors, extra accessorials, and spot quotes were not matching up with their agreements.

The customer provided Cloud Logistics with a previous month of their shipments during the 7-week go live process.  From these shipments Cloud Logistics mimicked the system to execute the shipments as though the shipper was using Cloud Logistics to rate and audit for accuracy.  Corrections were made during the implementation process to improve savings prior to go-live which resulted in adding a few new carriers to the mix.

The results were staggering:

  • 17%+ savings opportunity on LTL Freight by using the Least Cost carrier on a lane while stack ranking the dozen they had contracts with.
  • During the automatic audit we identified some LTL Carriers were applying the incorrect freight class resulting in inaccurate carrier freight invoices and the shipper paying a higher freight cost. 
  • Carriers charging miscellaneous freight accessorials that was not agreed upon during contract negotiations were made visible
  • Incorrect fuel surcharges being applied making carrier freight invoices higher
  • Carriers applying different cost then spot cost quoted which resulted in 50% savings on some loads.
  • 70% manual improvement from automated processing
    • Carrier Selection, Bill of Lading and Pro Number Generation, Ship Ticket Label Creation, Tracking, and Invoice / Audit
  • First time they can truly provide their customer’s with a “real-time” update on where shipments are located.
  • True ad-hoc reporting data to measure and monitor supply chain cost and service. 

If you are interested in how a Transportation Management System might save you too, please contact Cloud Logistics (www.gocloudlogistics.com) and we will be happy to take you live in 60 days and provide your ROI as we go.

Corporate Control Tower by Cloud Logistics

Cloud Logistics delivers Corporate Control Tower for companies with 100’s of autonomous divisions.  Dashboard, Tracking, Alerting, Reporting, Match-pay, and Logistics Activity Stream(sm) can connect to all your carriers and older technology platforms for a fresh approach. Bring your supply chain into the future with our innovative technologies for logistics.  Visit us at http://www.gocloudlogistics.com

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