Strategic Selection: Best TMS Software

Best TMS Software

Selecting the Best TMS Software for

Your Business

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, E-commerce sales are growing 3.5% every year and are predicted to continue that trend into the foreseeable future. E-commerce is changing the way businesses are run, and the result is an added emphasis on shipping fulfillment and product delivery. Customers expect their orders to arrive quickly and cheaply, and to be informed every step of the way.  How are modern retailers and manufacturers keeping up with these demands?  This question is key when selecting a transportation management system.

Best TMS Software

5 Reasons why you should make the move to a modern TMS

1: Cut shipping costs

Shipping is the largest non-COGS expense and is growing at an exponential rate. There are countless inefficiencies and missed opportunities in day-to-day work – but many businesses don’t have the time, or the technology, to constantly scan the market for the best rates on every shipment, not to mention renegotiate contracts, and find the new services that are required to protect or grow margins.

Best TMS Software

Why TMS 2.0:

E

Rate shopping – smarter and faster

The easiest way to cut shipping costs is to find a lower price for the same service. Carefully comparing rates among different carriers and negotiating to get the best deal is one way to achieve lower prices, but this process takes time, and in today’s market, technology A modern TMS does the heavy lifting for you. It has a vast and continually growing database of hundreds of logistics providers of all types – parcel, freight and white glove.

E

Find the best shipping option for every item, every shipment, based on YOUR criteria.

A modern TMS gives you access to multi-carrier, multi-mode rating in real time. It also supports dynamic rules using simple “if…then” logic, automatically ensuring the best option for each shipment. For example, “If the one-time performance of carrier X drops below 80%, then automatically switch to carrier Y.” These rules help ensure that your customers are receiving customized, efficient service with zero programming effort from your in-house team. Additionally, you can filter and search based on criteria such as, price level, order value limits, service regions, and product specific requirements.

2: Automate shipping-related workflows

Automated workflows are often implemented in many areas of the business, but in shipping, a lot of work is still being done manually.

Best TMS Software

Why TMS 2.0:

E

Automatic packing optimization

A modern TMS automatically determines the right box and other packing materials to use for one or multiple products, and suggests how to pack them best, ensuring the highest accuracy at the lowest cost, every time.

E

Process orders faster

A modern TMS synchronizes customer orders from various channels, chooses the right carrier, recommends the right box sizes and palletization, as well as creates labels, BOLs, and other necessary documents. This saves time and money. According to ShipHawk customer data, about 20% of shipping costs are related to processing. You can also connect a modern TMS to other business systems (like an ERP, WMS, OMS, eCom platform) or even machines (like Packsize) to your TMS to create more efficiency.

E

Free up employee time to do higher-value work

An automated system, like a modern TMS, will allow your staff to work on higher value projects, increasing overall productivity and efficiency.

3: Provide better service to your customers

Your customer is your top priority. Their needs must stay front and center.

Best TMS Software

Why TMS 2.0:

E

Offer shipment tracking

With TMS 2.0, you can easily offer built-in, on-brand shipment tracking, with proactive updates. Customers will not need to go to a carrier’s website or call your customer service team, reducing customer calls while improving post-purchase NPS (net promoter scores).

E

Sell ANY product type

A modern TMS system, with its access to an extensive carrier database, helps you find the best shipment option for any product – so that you can offer the products you know your customers want. This helps eliminate any reservations you may have regarding stocking (or drop shipping) and shipping products that may be more complicated to ship.

4: Supercharge your planning through analytics

If you have data spread across different systems and applications, there is a large amount of guesswork involved in go-forward decision making.

Best TMS Software

Why TMS 2.0:

E

Get everyone on the same page

With a modern TMS everyone on your team will have access to real-time data through simple, customizable visualizations. You can run reports and customize them in many ways, to suit your business needs. And the best part? Because the data is accurate in real time, everyone in the organization can rely on it for making data-driven decisions.

E

Financial Planning based on real data

Having access to real-time data can significantly improve your financial planning. You will know, and better understand, your margins in advance and won’t have to wait the usual 30-45 days for carrier bills.

5: Future-proof your logistics operations

Being able to move in the direction your business is going without a glitch is of utmost importance.

Best TMS Software

Why TMS 2.0:

E

Save money and scale with your business

A legacy TMS often costs a fortune in annual license and maintenance fees, servers, disaster recovery systems etc. These systems are often not up to the latest standards in terms of user interface or functionality. A modern TMS costs less because the price is dependent on size, allowing you to deliver more.

E

Stay up-to-date

A modern TMS is based on the SaaS model, meaning that it is hosted in the cloud and that you always have access to the latest version of the software – without the need for costly and time-consuming updates and/or maintenance.

E

Simple interface, fast setup, and great support

A modern TMS utilizes a simple user interface and requires little time for setup and training, ensuring a seamless transition to the new system.

How ShipHawk’s Freight API Makes Less-Than-Truckload Shipping Easier

Freight API

LTL Shipping Made Easier with Freight API

If your business ships less than a truckload of freight at a time, then you know how frustrating it can be to configure each order manually. It’s equally challenging to keep costs manageable, track shipments as they travel, and ensure each order is fulfilled by your drop shippers. The dream of doing all this in real time might seem out of reach.

But these are exactly the challenges that ShipHawk is built to simplify. It’s is a modern transportation management system that helps businesses save money, increase operational efficiencies, provide an on-brand buying experience and gain data-driven insights that’ll help you grow your business.

Freight API
Here’s how ShipHawk can put the real-time control of a powerful less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping system right at your fingertips, for a rate you can afford.
How ShipHawk works
In some ways, ShipHawk’s core functionality is similar to that of shipping services like Amazon. But where many other services focus on simple shipment tracking and fulfillment coordination, ShipHawk goes far beyond this basic functionality, and provides a full integrated suite of tools designed to keep shipping costs low and orders on time – all from one easy-to-use interface.
Freight API

Unlike many of its competitors, ShipHawk offers workflow automation, which reduces shipment-related processing costs by 20 percent or more.

The APIs also provides hardware-free packing optimization, a vendor-fulfillment interface for drop shippers, custom branded tracking, real-time data for internal visibility, shipping rate comparisons, shipment dispatching, and exception management.

All these tools and analytics add up to a best-in-class level of shipping intelligence, connecting parcel, freight and white glove shipments through one unified platform. This data includes carrier performance, opportunities for operational movements, and much more.

Although ShipHawk is not a standalone data modeling tool, its transparent access to shipping data will empower your team to handle parcel and LTL shipping with greater efficiency than ever before.

Who ShipHawk is for

At its core, ShipHawk is an API-based business.

That means it’s uniquely positioned to support a wide range of business models, from B2B and B2C commerce to online auctions to e-commerce marketplaces. This flexibility comes from ShipHawk’s diverse toolkit of features, all of which are designed to solve the needs of small and mid-sized businesses shipping on a less than truckload basis.

For B2B and B2C businesses, ShipHawk works seamlessly with diverse product inventories and high sales volumes, helping optimize multi-carrier packing and shipping.

Freight API
ShipHawk also provides measurable benefits for online auction platforms, helping them maximize the efficiency of the shipping and logistics processes they own. And for many other types of e-commerce marketplaces, ShipHawk works with marketplaces, leveraging shipping data to inform buyers and sellers about pricing decisions, and aggregating shipment reporting and analytics.
What sets ShipHawk apart

ShipHawk will never limit you to a single carrier.

In fact, at the center of the ShipHawk platform is a carrier network that offers a wealth of carrier and service options. This hybrid platform offers the unique ability to leverage your existing relationships with carriers, while augmenting those relationships with pre-negotiated options.

This means you’ll always be able to test, validate and change carriers on demand, and be sure you’ll always get the best LTL rates available.

And by contrast with many shipping solutions, ShipHawk offers logistics process and workflow automation tools, which empower your business to improve margins and raise your bottom line.

ShipHawk does this with powerful packing and multi-carrier rating algorithms, automated tracking as well as workflow automation like order fulfillment and carrier dispatch.

 

Freight API

Finally, ShipHawk is built using a modern and powerful technology stack, designed from the ground up for flexibility in implementation.

The API makes it easy to import and work with your existing JSON data, whether that data comes from your online shopping carts, your customer relationship management (CRM) system, your point-of-sale (POS) devices, or even a homegrown system you’ve custom-configured yourself.

While ShipHawk is not a fit for businesses with low shipping volumes, or that don’t own their shipping and logistics processes, its benefits can significantly streamline LTL shipping for many other types of retailers.

If you’re ready to integrate connections, ratings, shipping and tracking into one easy-to-use API – and boost your shipping intelligence along the way – then ShipHawk may be the right platform for you.

Why Packing Optimization Matters

packing optimization matters

When it comes to eCommerce, every penny counts thats why packing optimization matters.

The traditionally thin margins that are often associated with eCommerce must be protected at all costs. But what if there were actually areas that could not only be optimized to maintain margins, but also grow them? This is where shipping strategy and packing optimization comes to play.

Most people see shipping as a necessary evil and an unavoidable added expense. However, on the contrary, the most successful eCommerce companies actually use shipping as a differentiator and growth mechanism. One place we can look for low-hanging fruit, ripe for improvement, is packing optimization. So, what is packing optimization? It is the simple practice of using the smallest possible box for shipping of any order, regardless of piece count and size. By  leveraging hardware-free dimensional pricing mechanisms, your company can use this as a means to mitigate shipping costs and even increase profit margins.

A common way to calculate packing optimization is to use a hardware-free dimensional pricing calculator that finds you the most cost effective service and box size to minimize business expenses. By doing so, businesses can then provide optimized in-cart pricing directly to buyers, which reduces shipping costs while also increasing conversions.

While using a dimensional pricing calculator gets the job done, just imagine if your software could automatically determine the optimal packing for a mix of items without any human intervention on your part.  Not only would you save money on shipping, time, and labor costs, but you would also eliminate the chance for human error. That’s what hardware-free dimensional pricing and packing optimization software is all about!

If you choose to use shipping software to utilize packing optimization, the next question is, which shipping software should you select? There are many factors you must consider, but the very first step is determining what your needs are.  Do you ship parcel, LTL or both?  Do you need software that is able to rate shop both parcel and LTL options? Do you need software that determines when a large quantity of boxes would be better suited for LTL shipping or when a pallet would be more cost effective to ship as loose boxes?

While there are a number of ways to achieve dimensional pricing optimization for every need, not all options are hardware-free. Some 3rd party softwares require hardware and software to provide packing optimization, so it is critical to spend enough time determining what your needs are and how you need the software to work.  It may be helpful to visualize how you currently fulfill orders and try to pinpoint where you would benefit from such efficiencies, which often includes removing a step or two from your current fulfillment process.

Another thing to keep in mind is carrier flat rate boxes. Through packing optimization methods that include hardware-free dimensional pricing calculations, you can implement a system that determines when it is more cost effective to leverage a carrier flat rate box instead of a standard box.  By using software capable of making these decision on an order-by-order basis, you will ensure that every shipment is priced appropriately and can be confident you are not giving your hard earned profit to the shipping companies.

Regardless of whether you choose to go with a hardware based solution or hardware-free, the sooner you implement a packing optimization method into your fulfillment processes the better.  This will allow you to reduce costs, increase business, and free up resources to focus on what matters most: continuing to grow your business.

Shipping Strategy Diagnostic Calculator

shipping strategy

How does your shipping strategy stack up against your competition?

In 2017, if you don’t have a good shipping strategy, competitors will eat your lunch. Amazon continues to invest in their fulfillment strategy and it is crushing its rivals. Delivery expectations are going up, but cost control is more important than ever. Where do you start? Can you leverage shipping automation to improve your ability to scale? There are so many factors to consider such as pricing strategy, fulfillment locations, shipping software and technology, personnel, customer experience, and more.

To determine how you stack up in key strategic areas, use our simple calculator that diagnoses your process maturity and identifies the key areas where you can improve.

As we gather more data we’ll be able to give you comparisons against other companies similar to you in size and freight profile.

Get started on the survey and if you have feedback just let us know.


Why Dimensional Pricing Software Matters

dimensional pricing

Why Dimensional Pricing Software Matters

Ever since 2015, the process of weighing your best shipping options for ground delivery no longer included taking into account a package’s actual weight. Why do businesses no longer factor in actual item weight when shipping anymore? This change occurred two years ago when major carriers, such as UPS Ground and FedEx Ground, stated that packages were no longer charged based on item weight but rather off of dimensional weight. Dimensional weight is defined as the amount of space a package takes up, not the actual weight of the item. You can calculate your package’s dimensional weight by multiplying the length x width x height and dividing it by your carrier’s specific dimensional divisor. Always make sure to round up to the next whole number as well.

Ex. Dim weight (1,728 cubic inches)/166 (UPS Dimensional Divisor) = 10.40 → 10lbs . Based off of dimensional pricing, you would then pay to ship a 10lb package.

DIM_Weight_Hero_960x250

Seems like a pretty simple formula. Package your item in the smallest possible space to avoid spending the maximum amount of money. However, even though your item’s metrics will never change, that doesn’t mean that carriers can’t change their dimensional divisor sizes. In fact, as of January 2017, FedEx decreased the size of their dimensional divisor, thus increasing overall shipping prices. As a result, no matter how you package your items, because of the lower dimensional divisor size, packages will begin to be weighted as “heavier”, and therefore be more expensive to ship. With leading shipping companies increasing shipping prices, it is only a matter of time before additional companies follow their suit.

READ MORE