Rise Transportation with Chris Wilson

At 3PL systems, we enjoy highlighting entrepreneurs in the supply chain and their founding stories through our podcast 3PL Live. 

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In this episode of 3PL Live, Chris Wilson from Rise Transportation shares his entrepreneurship story about bootstrapping a 3PL right before the pandemic hit!

Chris shut down his freight brokerage for two whole months during the pandemic but weathered the storm. Rise Transportation is expecting a strong Q4 with several hundred shipments in the books.

We talk about entrepreneurship, marketing, and running a small business.

If you’re in the freight brokerage business, having a reliable partner in Transportation Management Software (TMS) can increase your revenue potential.

THE BEST LEAN TMS FOR YOUR LOGISTICS COMPANY:

A transportation management system is more than just a piece of software that lets you manage all of your shipments in one place.

It’s a way to streamline your logistics company.

It allows you to be more efficient, more effective, and ultimately, make your end clients happier with the services you provide.

But which system is going to be the most comprehensive – and ultimately, the one that allows you to be as lean as possible?

In order to figure this out, we need to discuss what lean methodology is in the first place.

LEAN METHODOLOGY AND LOGISTICS

Lean thinking got its start with manufacturing, thanks to Toyota in the 1980s.  It focuses on customer value as a way to improve efficiency.

Simply put, if the customer doesn’t get value from the activity, the activity needs to be minimized or eliminated.

Lean focuses on minimizing waste by ensuring the entire process, rather than specific steps, are as efficient as possible.  By emphasizing overall efficiency, rather than the efficiency of a single point, it improves the customer’s value by allowing faster production times and decreasing the cost of having inventory waiting at each step of a manufacturing process.

This focus on efficiency naturally made its way to the supply chain, as there was little point in having an incredibly efficient production process if the materials weren’t making it to shelves at an equally rapid pace.

PROVIDING THE EXPERIENCED, EFFICIENT SERVICE THAT DISTRIBUTORS AND MANUFACTURERS REQUIRE IS THE BEST WAY TO GAIN MORE CUSTOMERS.

Lean methodology is no longer just one option that might be considered by the businesses you’d like to acquire as customers – it’s a leading practice used by the most successful businesses out there.

And to gain their business, you need to provide service that’s just as lean as their production processes are.

That’s where the transportation management system you use comes in handy.

Gone are the days when clients want to call you up for every shipment they want to book.  They want to be able to log in online, review their options, and book a shipment on their own when they need it.

The modern shipper wants an easy, efficient process where they can see for themselves what the best options are for their shipments.

They still want your expertise in selecting the carriers they work with, and they still want the rates you’re able to negotiate on their behalf.

But once that framework is established, they don’t want to have to keep calling you for shipments.  That’s inefficient, and doesn’t provide the flexibility or speed they desire now.

A transportation management system like BrokerWare™ allows you to provide customer portals for your clients – giving them the option of booking their own shipments.

A LEAN-FRIENDLY TMS HAS MORE CAPABILITIES THAN SIMPLY MANAGING SHIPMENTS.

The low cost or “free” transportation management systems out there rarely offer the capability to integrate with warehouse management systems, requiring more man-hours to manage both systems.

In addition, integrations with accounting software may be nonexistent, or require purchasing add-ons that quickly make that low cost option into an expensive option.

Is it really cheaper to pay your staff to double-enter your invoices and paperwork, or would it be more effective to simply integrate your systems – and not worry about errors or time spent on administrative tasks?

Providing a lean shipping experience is about more than simply getting shipments from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible.  It’s about minimizing or eliminating activities that don’t provide value to your customers.

A lean TMS allows you to improve your customer’s experience – and allows you the increased bandwidth to take on more of them without increasing your own overhead at the same time.

Request a demo of BrokerWare™ by entering your information below to see just how much we can help you improve the efficiency of your processes.

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MANAGING YOUR TRUCK LOADS THE SMART WAY

You’ve probably heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder”.

You also probably apply that to quite a few aspects of your life.

That kind of thinking applies to freight brokerages, too.  Particularly when it comes to managing your truckloads.

The more successful your business, the more truckloads you’re managing at any point in time.  And to keep your business successful, those truckloads have to be transported without a hitch, and you need to provide up to date tracking information for your customers.

For many brokerages, a truly adaptable, easy to use system is the stuff of dreams.  It’s wishful thinking on the CEO’s part that a system exists that can allow the team to easily manage truckloads (along with a slew of other capabilities) in a single dashboard.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE WISHFUL THINKING.

You could manage all of your shipments – less than truckload as well as full truckload – from a single tool.  Forget having dozens of windows open, forget trying to remember the right buttons to click, and imagine one portal containing all of the information you need.That tool, of course, is BrokerWare™.

Your team can log in and monitor your truckloads from the portal, or you can set up a portal for your customers to log in and monitor their shipments themselves.

It’s easy, it’s efficient, and it’s certainly working smarter rather than harder.

Your team can manage the truckloads they’re responsible for effectively, and your business overall benefits from the improved efficiency.

Greater efficiency means improved profit margins – and when are those ever a bad thing?

EFFICIENT TRUCKLOAD MANAGEMENT IS MORE THAN JUST A “NICE TO HAVE” FEATURE:

Improving the way you manage your truckloads might seem like something you can get to later on, when you have more time to think about it.  Maybe the way you’re doing it now could be improved without using new software or trying a new process.

The thing is, because you’re working inefficiently, you don’t even have time to find a better way of doing things.

By trying to find the cheapest possible way to manage your truckloads, you’re running the risk of being penny wise and pound foolish.  All those convoluted tricks and processes your team has to go through in order to find invoices, bills of lading, documentation, and the tracking information for the truckloads themselves, are all costing your team something incredibly valuable:

Time.

Wasted time is the biggest loss of potential revenue for a majority of businesses.  There’s hundreds, if not thousands of articles about how big of an impact wasted time has on the productivity of your employees.

One topic that’s been discussed in the past year is the cost of switching tasks – switching between windows and handling multiple tasks at once.

We’re not saying that a single portal is going to solve all of your productivity issues, but by making the entire process more efficient, you do cut down on that wasted time significantly.

One portal.  All the information in one place.  Less wasted time.

Get it for yourself – answer a few questions below for a demo.

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5 MORE CRITICAL FREIGHT SOFTWARE FEATURES YOUR TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM NEEDS TO HAVE

When it comes to freight software features, your transportation management system (TMS) should have a small core of key features — and these features can make the difference between successfully implementing a new TMS…

And failing utterly.

We already discussed 5 key features to keep an eye out for when researching transportation management systems for your business, which you can read here, but we wanted to expand on the topic.

The entire point of any piece of freight software is to save you time and money — period.

It’s “the reason for being” for all transportation management systems: to take repetitive manual tasks and automate them as much as possible.

The goal isn’t just efficiency and increased productivity, though those are two very tangible benefits of a TMS. Rather, you want to increase productivity and efficiency while also reducing mistakes.

One very visible place this happens is with carriers — efficient management of carriers is incredibly important to the long-term success of your business, making carrier management a critical freight software feature.

1. CARRIER MANAGEMENT

Carrier partnerships can be the difference between success and failure in this business. The best transportation management systems out there include some form of carrier management as an out-of-the-box feature.

That means it’s not an add on — it’s not extra, and you shouldn’t be paying more for it. If you’re looking at some new freight software, and carrier management isn’t included in the TMS, walk away.

A robust carrier management function will include the following:

  • Tariff management
  • Contact management
  • Address book management
  • Insurance tracking (more about this below)
  • Report creation

The goal here is to stay on top of your carriers — to be able to generate reports and see if carriers are meeting service levels, for example, or to find out immediately if a carrier has lapsed on their insurance (or been dropped entirely).

2. CUSTOMIZABLE REPORTS

The only way to truly know where you stand (and where your staff stands, and your customers stand) is to examine metrics.

True efficiency is next to impossible to reach without specific, defined metrics, metrics that guide decisions and allocation of resources. It’s one of those freight software features that seems like it should be par for the course…

And reporting often is included in many transportation management systems — but fully customizable reports may not be (though it’s absolutely a feature of Brokerware™).

Customizable reports are more than just the important metrics that you need (although that, of course, should be included). You also want to be able to customize reports for your staff, for carriers, even for vendors — without data meant for your eyes only reaching another party.

That’s why customizable reports are so critical — they let you easily (and regularly, and automatically) create reports with the exact metrics that each party needs.

3. LOAD MANAGEMENT

You probably don’t have to be sold on the importance of load management.

One of the biggest difficulties with many transportation management systems is user friendliness (or rather, the lack of user friendliness).

While Brokerware™ is often lauded for being one of the simplest systems out there, we know that a lot of freight software out there transforms load management from a tedious manual task into a frustrating electronic task.

If your TMS doesn’t allow you to manage loads from quoted status to delivered (and everywhere in between), it’s time to look elsewhere.

Many modern transportation management systems can even automate the entire process, either through EDI or through more modern web services. They should also be able to generate (and allow the retrieval of) a variety of electronic documents, even pulling those documents from a carrier’s website to display on your load profiles.

This includes bills of lading, which can easily be overlooked (but which are probably the most important document in the entire process, legally speaking).

4. LOAD BOARD INTEGRATIONS

Load boards, like Internet Truck Stop or DAT 360, aren’t always the best option, especially once your organization has reached a certain size and established itself in the industry.

That being said, they can be an excellent solution in a pinch, and for a broker who is just starting out, load boards can be a steady source of business (and a place to cut your teeth and make a name for yourself).

No matter how far along your business is, or how often you need to use load boards, being able to access load boards from within your TMS makes the process much easier. Depending on the quality of the integration, you should be able to quickly and easily sort through possibilities based on a variety of variables.

5. INSURANCE INTEGRATIONS

Last but not least, one of the most important freight software features, one which is often overlooked, is integration with carrier monitoring services like SaferWatch and CarrierWatch.

The stress of managing dozens of loads each day (or more) can be overwhelming — having to worry about the insurance status of your carriers is the last thing you need.

Your transportation management system needs to be able to easily, simply, and accurately show you if there’s an insurance issue of any sort with any carrier. If you’re using load boards, this becomes an even more critical feature, helping you pick the most reliable carrier, every time.

This type of integration should go beyond a simple display of insurance coverage (or a lack thereof) — a robust TMS will be able to alert you when there’s an insurance issue with carriers.

DOES YOUR CURRENT TRANSPORT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM HAVE ALL THESE FREIGHT SOFTWARE FEATURES?

If not, you could be missing out on significant opportunities to automate, increase productivity, and increase the efficiency of your operations.

Brokers operate on margins, and the wider you can make those margins, the more profitable you can become — and you can widen those margins with a handful of critical freight software features.

See for yourself why our customers rate BrokerWare as #1 in the industry – request a demo by entering your information below:

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