Partners and Process Management: Freight Business From the Inside Out
Q: What is the key to managing freight spend in today's supply chain?
A: Efficiency at every level of the supply chain is of the utmost importance in controlling costs. Carriers and shippers alike need to formulate their strategies based on key performance indicators (KPIs). Making routine a simple action such as generating useful reports from raw data will allow management to pinpoint problems, determine the cause, and collaborate to implement new, better practices that will control spending.
Q: How can carriers and service providers work together to increase their partnership's value?
A: Often, service providers gear their offerings to the needs of carriers and other transportation and logistics companies. The only way this is possible is if the customer regards its vendor as a partner. Carriers and shippers must keep the lines of communication open, so that when an issue or opportunity arises, they feel comfortable bringing it to their service provider's attention. Executives must remember that they know the inner workings of their company better than anyone else. A solid partnership rooted in constant communication, continuous improvement, and trust in the provider's capabilities can add value in areas that were simply not considered before.
Q: How can carriers leverage technology to increase business management?
A: Traditionally, carriers relied on in-house expertise to properly manage every aspect of their business. The biggest problem with this internal control is inefficiency, seen in time and costs. Technology and the use of intelligent software can significantly shorten the workflow process, and speed up the order-to-cash cycle. Recent advances in character recognition technology and software designed to extract, classify, and validate data are changing the way companies execute back-office functions. This allows business managers to focus on their core business functions, which improves efficiency.
Q: What analytics and metrics are most useful for carriers in evaluating business management?
A: For the carriers falling behind, measuring data entry accuracy is critical. By reducing errors and improving accuracy daily, carriers could save 40 percent or more. Carriers should analyze any function that affects their overall costs, directly or indirectly. By simply looking at it from a cost perspective, you can determine where improvements need to be made.
Q: How can carriers ensure they are working with fiscally responsible vendors?
A: This is simple: Talk to your peers in the industry. If vendors have reputable business relationships with your peers, they will know.