TMS with Inbound Freight Capabilities: Order Fulfillment, Routing, & Optimization

MercuryGate Blog - Freight Category

How often does your organization think about order fulfillment, routing, and optimization? Failures within inbound freight management will naturally lead to problems fulfilling orders and an inability to properly optimize outbound freight. The application of an advanced transportation management system, specifically a TMS that provides inbound freight capabilities, proves valuable to shippers who wish to perform fulfillment, routing, and freight optimization. Shippers and logistics service providers who want to increase profitability for their enterprises need to understand the challenges of managing inbound freight in a world that is frequently driven by e-commerce. Also important to consider is how optimization requires the application of data and a few best practices in order to maximize the value of using an advanced TMS for inbound freight.

Challenges in Managing Inbound Freight in an E-Commerce World

E-commerce is integral to the success of any business today. Retailers realize the value of fulfilling orders online, and in today’s world, omnichannel capabilities are crucial for achieving competitive advantage. Unfortunately, the growth of international shipping for e-commerce presents additional challenges for inbound freight management. According to Supply Chain Brain:

“With this growth in international shipping, there are plenty of challenges being faced by global shippers, including customs compliance, border security compliance, difficulty tracking total landed costs, tracking shipment data, and even partner selection.”

Meanwhile, Inbound Logistics also contributes to the discussion:

“Tariffs are a topic of daily discussion for most supply chain managers and business leaders. While tariffs have been leveled at other major trade partners, the U.S.-China trade war has received the most attention. The escalating trade dispute between the two countries doesn’t show any signs of stopping, as negotiations have fallen apart multiple times.
U.S. businesses are looking at increased costs on significant percentages of raw materials and components. Many American manufacturers and retailers can no longer afford to eat the increased costs of importing goods and have begun to pass them on to customers.”

When you add in these market forces as mentioned above with various supply chain disruptions, such as what we’ve seen with the coronavirus pandemic, there is a lot of pressure on professionals to stay proactive and keep costs low around inbound freight. One way to tackle costs and remain proactive is to consider how inbound freight visibility centers around data and clear collaboration.

Inbound Freight Management Centers on Data and Supplier-Carrier Collaboration

Proactive inbound freight management relies on data and robust supplier-carrier collaboration. As the volume of supply chains increases alongside the added complexity of e-commerce supply chains, data is an essential step to proactive inbound freight management. Without data, organizations cannot effectively relay orders to various suppliers, and organizations will have trouble realizing what inventory to reorder and fill faster. Therefore, an enterprise TMS with inbound freight capabilities will add value to the supply chain by creating strong, established channels to communicate with suppliers, secure available capacity for inbound freight, and gain more visibility into inbound moves.

How to Maximize Inbound Freight Value in a TMS

Shippers and logistics service providers can maximize the value of an advanced TMS with inbound freight capabilities by applying the various functions as follows:
  1. Improve schedule reliability with centralized scheduling tools for carriers, suppliers, and shippers.
  2. Proactively recognize disruptions.
  3. Handle payment processing immediately and accurately.
  4. Leverage business intelligence and analytics to make data-driven decisions.
  5. Integrate your TMS with other supply chain systems such as a WMS or ERP.
  6. Encourage supply chain partners to deploy like, if not the same, TMS platforms.
  7. Allow robotics process automation (RPA) to self-optimize claims’ filing and resolution processes.

Retake Control Over Inbound Freight Functions With an Advanced System

In today’s edge of the supply chain world, the slightest improvement can have a drastic effect on customer experiences and promote long-term stable business relationships. Organizations need to retake control over the procurement side of the supply chain with dynamic, flexible inbound freight capabilities within an advanced TMS.

Contact Us to Learn how your organization can take advantage of these resources today.

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