One thing you can be certain about, when you ship your goods to your customer, they will want the most economical price on freight, the fastest service and the ability to track it.
Smart operators already know that using a TMS (Transport Management Systems) will allow you to consolidate all of your carriers into one software platform, price the freight, and give you the option to choose which of the carriers is offering you the best price on each delivery.
What they may not know is that technology has progressed significantly and it is now not only possible to provide up-to-date track-and-trace data to internal operations, but to the customer as well.
In my job, I hear from clients and carriers how important the visibility of freight movements is.
Why should you provide current track-and-trace data to your customer?
The answer is simple, because the customer requires it. They want to know when the goods leave your warehouse, where it is, and when it will be delivered. To ensure a great customer experience, you need to make sure the whole process is easy, accessible and most importantly, affordable.
Mainstream carriers will provide you with the ability to track your freight via their websites. Your customer can access information this way by logging into the carrier's website, entering their consignment note number, and calling up the tracking details for that consignment. Of course, that all works fine... if you aren't fussy about customer satisfaction.
A sophisticated TMS will not only capture the tracking data from your carrier, it will attach it to the consignment held within its database, giving both you and your customer access it to it and even provide you with DIFOT (Delivered In Full On Time) reporting. Your branding on a tracking website, regardless of the carrier, enables you to own the end to-end, customer service and gives your brand additional exposure, a ll the while the customer receiving automatic progress updates via email or pushed to a smartphone app.
However, some entry level track-and-trace systems can cost $80K+ just to get started. New entrants to the carrier space or smaller operators just don't have that kind of capital available, so they miss out on key clients who would give them a go, but don't want to lose visibility on their freight movements.
Another often overlooked consideration is for the seller to provide track-and-trace capability on deliveries completed by their own fleet.
Talk to your TMS provider. Whether you use mainstream carriers, your own fleet or are a carrier wanting to provide track-and-trace options for your clients, they may just have what you need to get into the track-and trace game, and it may be easier and more affordable than you think.
Terri Mouhtouris is the NSW sales manager at SmartFreight
Posted on: 01/08/2015