You’re probably all too familiar with the process of booking a less-than-truckload shipment for your business.
You have to email, or call, your sales rep for your freight services provider, and then tell them your shipping requirements, make small talk, and wait for them to get back to you with a shipping quote.
The better logistics providers can get you that quote relatively quickly, usually over the phone. Sometimes, your provider has to call you back once they find an available spot with one of their carriers.
However, it happens, it’s almost always a hassle, taking up valuable portions of your day that you could spend on your business.
Or maybe you just want to figure out the price of a shipment before you head home for the day, while things are quiet and the rest of the office has already left. Maybe you have a handful of shipments to get quotes for, and you’re already resigning yourself to the half an hour or more you’ll spend on the phone trying to get that information.
You can request quotes and book shipments without having to spend time on the phone.
Top tier third party logistics providers offer the ability to log in to a client portal, using a part of their own internal transportation management software (aka TMS).
Why is it so helpful to have access to the same software that your freight services provider uses?
It means you can log in and check the pricing for shipments yourself.
Think about FedEx and the way you request a quote for a package you’re shipping to friends or family, or even for your business when it’s something small. You can just log in and enter the necessary information and get a quote.
Shipping your trade show booth or a single large pallet is almost as straightforward, but using the small package specialists to ship your larger freight is rarely as cost effective as a freight service provider.
So while your logistics provider may be able to help ship those delicate or sensitive large shipments, there’s that hassle of getting ahold of your rep to get quotes and actually schedule the shipment.
But…that’s where that client portal to the TMS comes in handy.
Using a freight services provider like Diversified Transportation Services, you can simply log in and check the rates for all of the shipments you need to book.
Only worry about talking to a rep when you’re not sure you entered something in correctly, or if you want to be sure your shipment gets a guaranteed delivery date. There’s many aspects to sensitive shipments that you’ll likely want a rep’s personal help for – but when it’s a shipment you make every week, year round, why bother?
The catch: you need to have an account set up before you can utilize that client portal access.
While this might sound like a catch – you can’t get a quote or check out the TMS and client portal access until you’re already a customer of that transportation services provider – it’s actually an opportunity to test out the provider before you commit to ongoing services.
But before you book an initial shipment, ask about their transportation management software, and whether or not you’ll be able to log in and book shipments on your own. Getting access to the software should be free and quick – here at DTS, it’s something we can easily set you up with before your first shipment.
Ask about what it’ll take for shipments that are most important to your business. Do you need to consistently be sure you get guaranteed delivery times? Heated trucks in winter, or air conditioned trucks in summer? How can you do that using their system? Are you even able to without talking to a sales rep?
When you’re first starting to use a transportation services provider, be sure to confirm details with nearly every shipment before you start booking them on your own. This will help prevent any user errors or mistakes when you first start using their system.
Once you get the steps down, however, it can be a monumental time saver to simply book your shipments directly through a dedicated portal of your own.
And if your current LTL services provider doesn’t provide this essential service…maybe it’s time for a new one.
Whether you're a company looking to improve one facet of your supply chain, your entire supply chain, or simply looking for a transportation and logistics consultation, we can help.