of functional and process requirements that you expect the software to meet before you
begin the search. During the search, an evaluation of their responses to these requirements
and a combination of reference calls, site visits, and system demos should be completed.
Making sure you know what you want is the first step in obtaining a system that meets your
needs and expectations.
#4: Vendor Relationships
One of the most overlooked factors in a successful inbound freight program is the rela-
tionship you have with your vendors and carriers. Companies that take the time to foster a
productive and collaborative relationship consistently reap the benefits. A sense of trust and
the ability to have an honest and meaningful dialogue are the keys to success. Many com-
panies try to manage the relationship through rigid contracts and performance measures.
While these are important, having the ability to deal with someone you trust supersedes any
legal restrictions you place on the process. Ideas for improving the process come through di-
alogue and collaboration, rather than through strict enforcement. With the speed at which
the total supply chain is evolving, having a good relationship is a real asset in keeping up.
#5: Require and Acquire Logistics Expertise
Moving freight around the country is an exception-driven process with unforeseen chang-
es taking place regularly, like natural disasters and labor strikes. A dynamic logistics environ-
ment requires domain experts to manage daily activities, communicate issues with stake-
holders, and make decisions on-the-fly. When outsourcing, select a provider whose logistics
team’s expertise is both deep and broad so they can handle every imaginable contingency.
Compared to hiring in-house staff, outsourcing this expertise can be very cost-effective.
#6: Outsource to A Logistics Service Provider
Logistics managers are both tasked with the inbound side of freight and the outbound.
They are managing relationships with suppliers, internal people, carriers, customers, and
more. Outsourcing this process to a logistics service provider can make a shipper stay com-
petitive and drive down total costs. However, make sure you choose a provider who offers
both technology and services. The role of integrated managed transportation services is to
address the problem of supplier compliance, to reduce costs, and to bring logistics exper-
tise to bear on every shipment. Offerings vary in the degree of automation, the integration
of the players in the ecosystem, and in depth/breadth of expertise. The best freight man-
agement service providers use a TMS software and connect the suppliers directly into the
system. The TMS software also gives them the ability to both implement rules and process
– and change them rapidly. The customer uses the same TMS as the freight management
services team to track and trace inbound shipments, finally gaining complete visibility, and
process control over the entire inbound logistics element of their global supply chain.
Those companies who have paid attention to the management of the inbound freight
process have seen reductions in overall freight costs, reduced inventories and safety stock,
improved warehouse operating costs, and enhanced overall customer service. It is worth the
time and energy to investigate this often overlooked area in your supply chain.
For more information on Cerasis, Inc., visit www.cerasis.com.