Technology Archives • McClain & Associates, Ltd - LTL, Truckload, Intermodal 3PL

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What are

Managed Transportation Services?

Many shippers think they must select either a transportation management system or a managed transportation services provider when in fact, they get the most bang for their buck when they utilize both from the same company. When the shipper takes advantage of both a TMS and managed transportation services, they are in command. The TMS gives them visibility into their supply chain, and the transportation services provider is responsible for accounting, claims, carrier performance, and continuous improvement. You have the information and the ability to focus on what you do best, while the service provider focuses on what they do best. This strategy has proven to result in the most opitmal ROI and increased customer service levels.

Vendor and Carrier

Compliance


Carrier Compliance Data


Vendor Compliance Data

Data collected on carrier compliance gives companies leverage when negotiating better freight rates. Similarly, when vendor compliance data is tracked costs incurred from non-compliant shipments can be tracked and identified.

Strengthening vendor compliance encourages vendors to increase their customer service, which is directly passed on to you, the client, and your customers. Implementing lean or JIT philosophies is a priority for most shippers. These philosophies are often not performing at their fullest capacity as many companies must keep excess inventory to reduce risk.

On-Time Deliveries

Late Deliveries

Damages

Lost Product
Redirects/Returns

Ship Timliness

Ship Accuracy

Units Defective/Rejected

Order Management

Most companies understand the significance of order management, however, they don’t always understand the numerous ways in which 3PLs and their technology can improve these processes within the supply chain. McClain’s TMS is able to integrate with all ERP systems so when a customer creates an order,  a carbon copy of that order is sent into the TMS. At this time, all line item information is now visible and ready for analysis with shipment data.



Inbound Collect

PO Management

As your 3PL provider, our goal is to use this stored information to build the largest, most cost effective shipment by identifying potential opportunities to combine your POs to reduce the number of shipments, subsequently decreasing unit cost. Throughout the life cycle of the order, McClain is proactively monitoring the shipment, making sure it is both ready to ship on time, and once picked up, delivers on time.

Arming McClain with this data alleviates the client from the guessing game and pressure to follow up. When these procedures and integrations are in place, McClain can ensure down to each individual line item, that the order is complete and shipped in the most cost and time efficient manner. If an order is not going to make delivery, or is short shipped, we will work with both shipper and vendor to appease the issue. As the shipper reports progress to the McClain, these updates will be manifested with all other relevant shipment and order information. At this time, clients can log into their portal and see instant updates on their shipment.


Outbound Prepaid

SO/CO Management

Through an integration to your ERP system, we are able to receive an electronic transmission of your SO or CO data. Not only does this store all of your SO/CO information in a centralized location in conjunction with all shipment data, but it reduces time and errors made from manual entry of shipment data.  When these processes are in place, your shipping manager is able to search the SO/CO when creating a shipment, decreasing the time spent manually creating the shipment. This integration provides McClain and our clients with visibility of all pending orders.  

Freight Pay and Audit

Rather than receiving individual invoices from multiple carriers, McClain takes responsibility for all invoices. When an invoice is received, the billed amount is electronically compared to the quoted amount in our system. If these amounts are the same, the invoice gets approved and the client is billed based on their individual invoicing agreements with McClain. If the billed amount varies from the quoted amount due to a possible assessorial, reclassification, or reweigh, a case is created and the CSR is responsible for resolving these discrepancies prior to the client receiving the invoice. All accessorials, re-weighs, and reclasses, are meticulously tracked for client accounting purposes and yearly negotiations with carriers.


Business Intelligence

Salesforce’s native features provide exceptional analytic building tools. When shipment and order information is centralized, not only is time saved, but errors caused by manual entry are avoided. This allows clients to accurately manage and analyze transportation costs and execution performance data. These features provide greater flexibility in modifying standard reports or creating entirely new ones, with the ability to export to excel or email directly from the system on a scheduled or on demand basis.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. This “big data” gives companies power, and control. What the above metrics, as well as many more, give executives and logistics managers is the knowledge, control, and ability to streamline processes and save both time and money. This information can provide personnel at all levels an instant snapshot of their KPIs, while highlighting those that need immediate attention.

Compiling PO and freight information into a centralized location allows current and historical data to be analyzed. From this analysis, exceptions are identified and procedures are implemented to mitigate potential risks from recurrence. Using exception management dashboards and alerts to identify these potential risks focuses time on those shipments in jeopardy or in need of immediate attention.


Business Intelligence Metrics

Total Freight Spend

Average Cost Per Mile, Pound, Unit, Etc.

Average Carrier, Vendor, Client, Shipment Cost
Outbound Freight as a Percent of Net Sales

Inbound Freight as a Percentage of Purchases

Accuracy of Transit Times
Vendor and Carrier Compliance

Claims as a Percent of Freight Cost

Employee Key Performance Data

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Through PO/ERP Integration we were able to reduce short ships from our vendors and build bigger shipments to optimize lanes. We minimized inbound shipments and can now hold our vendors accountable.
– Safety Products Manufacturer

SUPPLY CHAIN SERVICES

At McClain, we have a hands on and conversational approach to our supply chain consulting services. Each client is different, and as such, their supply chain needs are different. We will perform an analysis of your past freight invoices to uncover areas for savings and initiate route optimization and load planning. McClain & Associates utilizes our industry expertise and years of experiences, as well as our knowledge of our clients industries to remedy current supply chain challenges, and prepare for and mitigate future issues.  We understand that both uncovering cost efficiencies and maintaining positive customer service are priorities. At McClain, are committed to properly addressing both concerns.

Whether your company is in need of a complete supply chain overhaul, or you merely have a few questions you’d like answered by industry professionals, we can help. We collaborate with your employees at all levels to provide a fresh set of eyes and  implement procedures and technology that improve customer satisfaction, decrease costs, and optimize your overall supply chain.


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How Each Stakeholder Benefits from

Transportation Visibility

If you don’t have visibility into your supply chain you could be (honestly, you are) losing money and wasting time. Article after article talks about the benefits of transportation visibility:

  • Increases customer service & gets info to customers quicker
  • Streamlines processes
  • Uncovers opportunities for route optimization
  • Knocks down silos between stakeholders
  • Mitigates risk
  • Gives better control over the cost of freight/saves money

What many of these articles don’t discuss, is how this is applied to and benefits the roles of multiple stakeholders within your organization. To generalize, and name just a few, C-level, logistics, accounting, purchasing, sales/project managers, and customer service all benefit from increased transportation visibility.

C-Level

C-level execs benefit from transportation visibility. Visibility and big data gives execs the information necessary to evaluate and refine business performance, monitor internal compliance thus giving them more control over their supply chain.

With visibility, you can analyze historical data. Uncover the precursors to past hazards and implement exception management protocol to alert proper stakeholders when these situations have the possibility of arising again. This mitigates risk and reduces the need for excess inventory.

93%

of shippers say success is dependent upon ability to make data driven decisions

Logistics Personnel

Visibility gives transportation and supply chain managers the ability to instantly compare rates and transit times as well as schedule and track shipments in a centralized location. Often times, the transportation manager is the sole repository for tracking data, however, they aren’t the only stakeholders who need access to this information. Giving other stakeholders visibility, allows them to track their own freight without having to get this information through the transportation manager.

71%

of shippers say real-time analytics helps them understand better shipping alternatives

Accounting

Transportation visibility not only saves accounting personnel time, but it saves the company as a whole money. Visibility simplifies carrier invoice audit to a central location accessible at anytime. This freight bills are automatically audited eliminating the need for additional employees to manually audit these bills.

What about if your buyers are sales reps are estimating costs? Wouldn’t it be able to get an accurate quote and/or track these costs to ensure accurate P&L? (more info on this below)

This streamlines processes within both the receivables and payables departments resulting in tremendous savings.

$11

Average internal cost to verify, process & pay 1 freight invoice. Outsourcing is 5-10% of that.

Purchasing

Purchasing benefits from transportation visibility in many ways (and taking things a step further by controlling inbound freight can dramatically impact your bottom line).

  • Integrations connect your ERP with your vendors to streamline PO release, tracking, and monitoring
  • Vendor compliance can be monitored in real-time
  • Ability to quote instantly quote freight costs and take this into consideration when evaluating vendors
  • Visibility of all inbound freight leads to route optimization

58%

of businesses find it difficult to track and report on vendor service levels

Sales & Project Managers

Sales reps and project managers are constantly working freight costs into their estimates and proposals, but how do you/they know these costs are accurate? Furthermore, how do you know there were no changes in freight costs (accessorials, re-classes, re-weighs) after the estimate was given? Oftentimes, without visibility companies have no way to track these costs and their P&Ls end up inaccurate as a result.

Oftentimes, customers contact their sales reps for tracking info, which is not readily available to them (as most of this information resides in the brain of the transportation manager). If sales reps have access to this information through a portal, automatic email notificiations, and website tracking, they can relay this information to customers without skipping a beat.

Furthermore, oftentimes shipments are going to job sites and receivers need tracking information ASAP. Project managers can access tracking information in the same manners as sales reps: through a portal, email notifications, website tracking.

70%

of buyers experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated

Customer Service

If your customers aren’t contacting your sales reps for tracking information, they are more than likely contacting your customer service. Again, tracking information is often only available through the transportation manager so your CSR will have to spend time contacting them (who might have to contact the carriers) to get this information back to the customer. It’s a huge waste of time and can be avoided through transportation visibility.

86%

of shippers report 3PLs have contributed to improved customer service


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Shipment Tracking

Your Way

Most companies understand the significance of order management, however, they don’t always understand the numerous ways in which 3PLs and their technology can improve these processes. McClain’s TMS is able to integrate with all ERP systems so when a customer creates an order, a carbon copy of that order is sent into the TMS. At this time, all line item information is now visible and ready for analysis with shipment data.

Real-Time Tracking Updates

Real-time tracking updates can be sent via email to customers or stakeholders within your organization. These notifications are customizable with your logo, color scheme and any additional notes or information pertinent to your freight.

McClain Website Tracking

Using McClain’s tracking number, all stakeholders can track shipments through McClain’s website without a portal. Additionally, this tracking link is sent in notification emails and can be found in customer portals to be easily sent to employees or customers.

Inbound Freight Tracking

Customers with a substantial amount of freight coming into their facility want instant access to their product at all times through customizable portals. In some instances, it may be beneficial to integrate McClain’s TMS with your ERP system or dictate on your PO that inbound freight be routed through McClain.

Bypass Transportation Manager

In many companies, many people are intersted in the location of inbound freight, however, the information is often only quickly accessible by the transportation manager. Employees can call or email McClain to get important tracking info freeing up precious time for your transportation manager.

Auto Tracking Shipment Reports

With or without a portal, customers can receive reports (you determine how often and when) with criteria they specify with tracking information. This can include links to real-time website tracking and can be forwarded on to other stakeholders.

Customizable Portals

Your customers call various people within your company to track your freight, and probably expect them all to know the answer, quickly at that! Oftentimes however, the transportation manager is the only one with access to this information. By giving your employees a portal with just the right amount of information, they can search by PO, SO, Pro, McClain Tracking Number, etc. to quickly find the shipment and relay info to customers in a timely manner.


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Inbound Logistics

Economic Development Supplement

Logistics and Transportation in the St. Louis Region

Each year Inbound Logistics publishes a supplement highlighting the St. Louis Region. This year, McClain was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in the action! Check out the link below for the full digital issue and let us know what you think about McClain’s view on logistics and transportation in the St. Louis Region.

McClain and Associates’ location in the St. Louis region provides another advantage to its customers, no matter where they are based. “We’re able to expand our network,” McClain says. “Because we’re right in the middle of the country, that gives us access to carriers everywhere, on all coasts, and moving in all directions. We can be more competitive with our rates, because our network is larger.”


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TRICK QUESTION!

ALL Companies Benefit from a Transportation Management System (TMS)


Many companies question their need for a Transportation Management System (TMS). Maybe you have an in-house TMS built years ago that works “just fine”. Maybe you think it will be expensive and the ROI doesn’t seem worth the time and effort it would take to implement, and you wouldn’t be the only one. Maybe you think no company will be able to meet all of your complex needs. Whatever it is that’s holding you back, it’s costing you cash, inducing employee burnout, wasting time, and probably having negative effects on customer service and possibly JIT inventory.

Implementing a TMS helps you look at your transportation program as a whole, not just the flat cost of the freight. Decisions that you make surrounding your freight have not-so-obvious costs that are often not quantifiable. For example, do you know how long it takes for your accounting team to audit freight bills and request corrections? How do you know they are catching all the mistakes? LTL invoices are incorrectly billed 3% of the time by an average of $119.36! Wouldn’t it be nice to have this process automated!?

Keep reading to the top reasons to implement a TMS.

1. Transportation Management Systems (TMS) Helps Improve Customer Service

By implementing a TMS, all of your transportation data and information is in one place allowing all members of your organization quicker access to quoting, scheduling, and tracking tools. For example, when a customer calls a CSR, Sales Rep, really anyone in your company, wondering where a shipment is, a quick TMS search will give you real-time tracking info instantly. Additionally, modern transportation management systems can send automated notifications when an order ships, providing a link for customers to access real-time tracking without even having to contact you.

2. TMS’ Create Warehouse Effencies

A TMS reduces the time spent managing freight, and increases the time spent on more important tasks/projects. Furthermore, with visibility of inbound shipments, you can schedule receiving staff accordingly and reduce wait time.

If your TMS is integrated with your ERP system, you spend less time manually inputting data (and less time correcting errors). Plus, with integrations, PO and transportation data are contained in a central repository, which allows for more informed decision making and decreases risk.

3. Do You Want to be Proactive or Reactive?

If current situations have triggered an assessment of your transportation needs, you’re operating with a reactive design. If you are looking into the future and considering events that aren’t in the process of happening right now, you are (luckily) operating proactively.

When historical incidences of problems and the factors leading up to and causing them are analyzed, processes and procedures can be put in place to prevent them from happening in the future. By implementing an exception-oriented process to trigger alerts to stakeholders in the cases of potential problems, the effort and financial costs of uncertainty are drastically minimized.

4. Data, Big Data, and BIGGER Data

When shipment and order information is stored in a centralized location, the metrics rendered are invaluable. Not only is time saved, but errors caused by manual entry are avoided allowing clients to accurately manage and analyze transportation costs and execution performance data.

When assessing the transportation systems of a potential client, we always as them to provide 30-90 days worth of shipment data. For some customers this is almost impossible and a daunting task. These are the customers who need a TMS the most. Without the ability to analyze historical shipment data, they are unable to (at minimum):

  • Leverage carrier/vendor compliance data to negotiate better rates
  • Uncover opportunities for route optimization
  • See if transportation costs are rising and determine the underlying issues
  • Have an accurate P&L

Long Story Short

Long story short, companies of all sizes benefit from transportation management systems. Good 3PLs will provide you with some options, force you to modify processes, and maybe save you some cash. GREAT 3PLs will become your partner. GREAT 3PLs will work with you to analyze your processes for potential improvements, mold their processes to match yours, and customize their technology to match your unique needs.

If you want more information on a GREAT 3PL, give us a call or shoot an email to maeze@mcclainltd.com.


Location

Address

2458 Old Dorsett RD, Suite 250
Maryland Heights, MO 63043