The carriers are undoubtedly the most important contractual partners of haulage companies. Sometimes they are hard to find and always an extension of their customers. Anyone who is successful in the business as a freight forwarder must strive for good relationships with their transport service providers. And he should at all times know exactly what is going on with them.
Tasks that can best be performed digitally are easier dealt with if the electronic carrier management has a “direct line” to the TMS. Freight forwarders who want to plan the transport of goods quickly and safely need to work closely with IT today.
The target for dispatchers is to achieve greatest possible efficiency. Because it is they who have to directly deal with the challenges of intense pressure on prices and margins, the volatility of the markets and driver shortages. A skilled workforce has also developed into a much sought after and scarce commodity among freight forwarders. In order to perform an ideal job under these conditions, they depend on precise information. Not only do they need them at the right time, they also have to be able to share them quickly, securely and properly. This can only be done in a digital way, because transferring data from paperwork is not only slow – it also repeatedly leads to mistakes. The greater the number of jobs processed, the more transmission errors. Working with well-maintained master data, on the other hand, allows correct information to be transmitted in real time. This is particularly useful when working with carriers, who receive their transport orders in seconds and with clear information. If the freight forwarder manages the data of these contractual partners digitally, he is able to automatically check important information prior to the cooperation:
- Does the carrier have a transport license?
- How long is this valid?
- Is the transport company insured?
- By what date is the insurance certificate issued?
A dispatcher must always check this information before placing a freight order.
What are the benefits of digital carrier management?
In practice, high time pressure rarely allows such careful work. That is why we at Trans.eu have developed several solutions which freight forwarders can use to ensure they are working with the right partners: We verify the details of every transport company represented on the platform and regularly check the data along the validity cycles for the official documents. There is a private management function in our platform with which freight forwarders can also manage companies that are not listed in our carrier database.
Via the automatic programming interface (API), freight forwarders have direct access to the data on our platform from their TMS before the freight is released. In this way, freight forwarders can secure themselves more against careless mistakes caused in the day-to-day business. They can now rest assured that they are working with reliable contractual partners as the TMS, in particular, is the central software component for the digital processes in a freight forwarding company. From order acceptance to billing, it manages customer orders including all data from shipment processing. If all processes are properly modeled and adhered to in practice, it also forms the central database and contains all important commercial data: dimensions and weights of the packages, value-added services and of course the contract data, i.e. tariffs and conditions for billing.
Complementing the TMS system with digital carrier management
What most TMS systems lack, however, are enterprise resource management features. Although it is often used to award contracts to subcontractors, it does not contain any controlling functions. External services cannot be related to customer orders and the purchasing conditions can only be managed rudimentary. That is why it is not suitable for managing suppliers as a standalone solution.
However, modern TMS systems make it possible to add such missing functions via their API. Such as, for example, freight service purchasing and supplier management. With these solutions from our platform, a forwarding company can work seamlessly from the TMS if it connects the dispatching with the carrier database. Then the dispatcher can directly launch queries for current transport prices, negotiate contracts and finally contract one of the selected carriers.
An additional benefit from this link between TMS and a carrier management solution is that a logistics service provider can use the information pulled from our verification database to ensure that its contractual partners meet the requirements of transport law. In this way, they also improve their risk management efforts.
Joanna Brandys is managing the partnership relationship department at Trans.eu where she is building high-level partnerships with technology brands. Joanna looks back at proud 20 years of experience in IT solutions. After her studies of applied computer science within the medical field at the University of Wrocław, she worked for various IT companies from small to large. Her career took her to household names in the industry, such as Comarch and IBM. During her work she was involved in ERP solutions, and bespoke software delivery while managing project teams, partnership channels and entire sales departments. With other professional qualifications such as the Carrier’s Professional Competence Certificate she is even licensed to run a transport company on her own.