The latest trend in TMS platforms with regards to rating engines/pricing LTL freight is web services or API. For those of you who don’t know what API is it stands for Application Programming Interface. In past years to manage your LTL blanket or customer specific pricing you would have to purchase the base rate from SMC3 and go through the tedious process of mirroring that rate in your TMS. You would have to build service lanes, put in FAK’s and discounts. Also, you would have to purchase Carrier Connect XL and RateWare XL for transit time and direct/indirect point information.
There are some auditing benefits you can realize by using SMC3, but that’s not the purpose of this post. The beautiful thing about rating via API is you’re piggybacking off of the carriers’ website, so you don’t need to build the tariff. The TMS system, if they have this service available, will interact with the common carrier server and pull the rate back into the system with a quote number and transit time. The way it works is the TMS provider will request your username, password and account number and in some cases a token. After the TMS provider sets up the connection between their system and the TMS, you will be able to pull rates. Most TMS providers will also have electronic tracking and dispatching using the same technology. Let me know if you have any questions. You can reach me at 800-965-8205 x117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.