Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (October 11, 2019)

A question for Dodgers fans: Is it better to have played and lost like you did on Wednesday or never to have played at all like the Red Sox? I’m asking for a friend.

In addition to the baseball playoffs, this was a very busy week in the world of supply chain and logistics. So, without delay, here’s the news that caught my attention this week: 

Transplace Streamlines Payment Processing for Carriers

In addition to keeping their trucks and drivers moving, cash flow is critically important for carriers. Therefore, if you’re a shipper or third-party logistics provider, paying carriers quickly and accurately goes a long way toward becoming a preferred shipper/3PL. That’s one of the reasons why Transplace announced this week that it has been working with TriumphPay and Bank of America’s Paymode-X® Connect solutions “to deliver faster and more reliable, accurate and secure payment processing” for the more than 32,000 carriers with which it does business directly or on behalf of its shipper customers. Here are some details from the press release:

The benefits are clear: carriers who enroll in either of these programs will get multiple, immediate paybacks:

Visibility: On-line portal access to electronic remittance detail via email or a custom accounts receivable file.

Control: Advance notification of payments via email to help forecast cash flow.

Cost Savings:  A reduction in the labor, expense, and risk associated with receiving payments.

We talk a lot about competing on customer experience, which for 3PLs typically implies shippers. But 3PLs, especially non-asset ones, serve two customers: the shippers who have loads to move and the carriers who move those loads. So, you can say that 3PLs also have to compete on delivering an enhanced carrier experience, and paying carriers quickly, accurately, and securely is certainly a big part of it.

Truckstop.com and Schneider Launch “Book it Now” Solution

Digital freight continues to grab the headlines, with the latest news coming from Truckstop.com and Schneider. The two companies announced this week “the successful completion of a pilot program giving advanced functionality to Schneider’s carriers to book freight at the click of a button.” Here are some details from the press release:

Through the collaboration with Truckstop.com, Schneider is able to post, assign and tender loads directly to approved carriers. Leveraging this digital tender process, carriers are able to book loads and accept a rate confirmation, all within the Truckstop.com mobile application. Because of the demand for automated booking, loads with a “Book it Now” rate rank higher within the load board to enhance their visibility. This generates more impressions for each load with the new functionality, dramatically increasing the available capacity and speed of covering those orders.

“The ‘Book it Now’ feature worked great and is very simple to use,” said Miguel Velazquez a driver for SMM Transport Inc. “I love how quickly I received a rate confirmation — it only took about 30 seconds. Many times, as a carrier, you spend time calling on a load only to find out it’s already gone. It would make things much easier if all brokers could offer this as an option. This could be a game-changer!”

Some version of this capability has existed for many years, albeit in a non-mobile app environment. For example, some transportation management systems (TMS) allow shippers to tender a load to a select group of approved carriers with a market rate attached; the first carrier that accepts the load at the proposed rate (which is based on the shipper’s primary carrier contracted rate or a benchmark rate) gets it. What Truckstop.com is doing is similar, but using a mobile app to offer the tenders.

How many apps does a driver need to download onto their smartphones and check every day to find a load? Is that why smartphone screens are getting larger and larger every day?

I view this news as evolutionary versus revolutionary, but it is important nonetheless because it is another example of how technology is helping to eliminate waste and inefficiencies from the freight brokerage industry.

And with that, have a great weekend!

Song of the Week: “Lately” by INXS