April 2016 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Customized and Integrated to Create One Strategic Logistics Platform

Tags: Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Logistics, Technology , Supply Chain

Shannon Vaillancourt is President, RateLinx, 262-565-6150

Q: Why is it important for businesses to create a customized and integrated strategic platform for logistics operations? Why are businesses struggling to achieve this?

A: Changing freight from a tactical necessity to a strategic asset is possible if you have a customized platform for logistics. A customized and strategic platform provides a company with a competitive edge over their competition.

We see many companies across all verticals, not just e-commerce and retail, focusing on creating a competitive edge with their logistics and supply chain operations. However, the challenge they are all facing is the amount of IT resources required to do this. The struggle lies within trying to integrate systems together that were never meant to be part of an integrated strategic platform or ecosystem.

Q: How does a business achieve this strategic platform? What steps do they have to take in order to reduce costs and improve efficiency?

A: The way to achieve this strategic platform is through integrating the order and item level information from the ERP/WMS with the shipment and invoice data from the TMS and carrier. Once this has been done, the next step is to use the visibility to understand what the main cost driver is in your logistics network. Is it an exception to a routing rule or the routing rule itself? Is it a particular order type or item? Or is it a customer or vendor?

Q: Describe how data collection and rate modeling drive the power of an integrated logistics platform. What benefits do these processes provide businesses?

A: Data collection provides the context that is often missing and allows you to answer the seven key questions (who, what, when, where, why, how, and how much). Rate modeling allows you to answer the how question the best—how to implement the new idea the most efficiently. The biggest benefit companies will receive is to know about the unintended consequences of their actions (the new idea) before they implement a change.

Q: What opportunities exist when businesses finally unlock the power of an integrated platform?

A: The opportunities are immense and limitless. Imagine what a company could unlock if they were able to spend the same amount of time and resources on creating logistics strategies rather than spending them on tactical data gathering and cleansing processes today. There is a smarter way.