When it comes to shipping less-than-truckload (LTL), the devil is in the details. Systems like FreightRover’s SmartLTL eliminate the difficult work around building shipments and finding capacity at the right price. Knowing your LTL shipment’s specifics also saves you a lot of time and money. Here are FreightRover’s quick tips for LTL.

Your BOL is the bible.

Carriers live by the information you put on your BOL. If information is missing or inaccurate on your BOL, you’re likely to pay a price.

Know your freight class and NMFC number.

Knowing your freight class gives you the most accurate LTL quotes. While many systems use calculators to help you determine a freight class, these are only estimates. When doing an RFP, work with your carriers to agree on your freight class upfront. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your carriers for help in advance as well.

Reclassifications or NMFC disputes often appear on the invoice, which may not always make it over to the Operations team from Accounting. Make sure the team tendering your shipments know how the carrier is assessing the freight, so they don’t keep making the same costly errors.

Weight can’t wait.

Across our customer base, the fee we see most assessed by carriers are reweigh fees. If you ship LTL frequently, a good scale is a great investment. Mistakes like relying on weights on manufacturer boxes or forgetting to include the additional weight of your pallet will cost you. You’ll likely be assessed a reweigh fee and weight change fee. LTL carriers have individuals on the docks focused on finding loads with weights that don’t match. Don’t let one be yours.

Time is of the essence.

Narrow appointment windows or same-day shipments can prevent carriers from quoting your freight or may drive up rates. LTL carriers prefer office hours, avoid weekends, and want as much time to optimize their trucks as possible.

Share what’s special about your shipment.

To help your freight meet its delivery date, let carriers know about accessorials up front. Detail shipments that require services like liftgates, appointments, or special handling. Failing to disclose these details not only will drive up your invoice, but also could cause you to incur additional fees like reconsignments or detention.

Train your receivers to inspect shipments before signing.

Claims are frequent among LTL shipments. Unfortunately, we see many customers try to file claims after a delivery receipt was signed indicating no damage. This sets everyone up for a long battle. Work with your delivery recipients to check your shipment and take a picture of any damage before the driver leaves.

LTL volumes are expected to grow by 3% annually through 2022. As capacity becomes more difficult to come by, the savvy LTL shippers will move the most freight. FreightRover’s SmartLTL is here to help. You manage the details. SmartLTL delivers. Everyone wins.

82% of surveyed freight payors rarely discuss best practices in freight payment outside of their organization and 55% have no budget to improve. Why? Most often IT investments go toward revenue generating activities leaving carrier payments as a “we’ve got bigger priorities” or “we’ve always done it this way” type of process. However, if the hidden costs behind carrier payments were widely known, creating a better process would become as urgent as any project up for consideration.

Hidden Costs

With the average carrier invoice costing upwards of $4 to process, duplicate payments accounting for 0.5-1.5% of additional freight spend, and a monthly savings of 2-4% possible by catching invoice errors, several sizeable extra costs lurk inside of carrier payments.

These monetary costs are in addition to the cost of not being considered a “shipper of choice” because of poor carrier payment practices. The number of shippers/3PLs paying carriers in 30+ days has grown to 47%, an increase of 9% since 2011. As pay terms have increased, capacity has decreased with a current shortage of 40,000+ drivers (and growing) and carrier utilization hovering between 98-103%. Additionally, 97% of the industry comprises carriers with 20 trucks or less, many with liquidity as a key business challenge.

Shippers/3PLs extending pay terms to hold onto cash are quickly finding themselves on a “do not call” list for carriers. Carriers are 1) contracting at higher rates to account for delayed payments and/or 2) selecting who gets their trucks with consideration for days to pay. Who can blame carriers when after two years of begging for freight, they now find themselves in the land of plenty.

Rocky vs. Apollo

I once heard the transportation industry described as a constant boxing match. When the market is soft, shippers strike with quick uppercuts to carriers through rate decreases and service expectations. When the market heats up, carriers jab back through rate increases and capacity controls. The constant back and forth leaves both sides worn out and against the ropes.

Far too often, managing transportation seems to be a zero-sum game between shippers and carriers. But there are new ways for both sides to win – without pricing or capacity punches – that can start in the often-overlooked area of payment processing.

A New Dog in the Fight

Powerful, but often unrealized, gains for both sides come through cash management tailored for individual business needs. FreightRover’s PayEngine is an online technology platform allowing shippers/3PLs to:

  • Capitalize on zero-cost extended pay terms
  • Shed the tedious carrier payment process without losing control of what gets paid
  • Create a carrier-centric quick pay program for its transportation providers

PayEngine was designed with both shippers and carriers in mind by addressing three common goals – increased revenue, decreased cost, and improved quality. The platform addresses common wish list items tied to improving inefficient pay processes:

  • Process invoices quicker and cheaper
  • Better align accounts receivable and payable
  • Free cash to avoid interest fees
  • Create more time for invoice auditing
  • Scale for business growth without increasing headcount
  • Receive detailed payables reporting
  • Create a competitive advantage for controlling rates and capacity
  • Focus less on back office and more on core business operations

PayEngine simplifies the payment process for both shippers and carriers. With FreightRover’s PayEngine, shippers/3PLs have one payee and one annual 1099 to issue, not thousands. No more per load pay term carrier negotiations. Carriers set their pay terms inside PayEngine and receive direct deposits in as quick as 24-hours after load completion.

With its white-labeled solution, PayEngine provides customized pay portals with on-demand payment data, invoices, and aging reports for shippers and carriers. Designed for the tech savvy and tech averse, PayEngine can connect to a TMS or function through a simple spreadsheet upload. Unlike other solutions, shippers maintain control of what gets paid, but PayEngine does the paying.

Simplified – shippers receive more time to pay, carriers get paid quicker, and PayEngine does the payment work.

The Knockout Punch

Among the many battles that happen in transportation daily moving goods from point A to B, carrier payment doesn’t need to be one of them. If you aren’t sure how much your current carrier pay process is impacting the bottom line, conduct an internal assessment of the following:

  • What is our internal cost to process invoices?
  • What is the cost of processing errors?
  • In the last five years, how has our transportation spend aligned with extended pay terms?
  • Do we deliver on the pay terms we’ve committed to our transportation providers?
  • Are the finance and operations teams aligned in managing transportation spend? Are cash on hand and ample capacity in conflict?

If the findings surprise you, consider stepping into the ring to make carrier pay improvements a priority for your organization. To learn more, visit https://www.freightrover.com/pay/.

Sources:

“2015 American Shipper Transportation Benchmark Study,” American Shipper

“Freight Payment & Auditing Services: Cash is King,” Inbound Logistics

“Don’t Dismiss Small Trucking Companies Just Yet,” FleetOwner

“New Report Says National Shortage of Truck Drivers to Reach 50,000 This Year,” ATA

While contracts are responsible for over half of all freight movement, spot markets still make up for 30-40% of hauled loads, according to Heavy Duty Trucking.  And most spot market freight is traditionally handled by (you guessed it) load boards. Shippers, brokers, carriers, and owner operators are all used to interacting on a regular basis through dozens of competing boards, but the process can be slow, clunky, and sometimes downright untrustworthy. Data remains stored within the load board, rather than utilizing the cloud to transmit information into the user’s TMS, selecting loads can waste hours on the phone, and at the end of the day shippers are often still left in need of capacity. So the question remains – is there a better way?

Lately, we’ve begun to see hundreds of new solutions popping up left and right. These services claim to handle one aspect or another better than a load board, but few have the experience or industry partnerships to solve all of the problems that traditional load boards present.  If you Google “freight matching software,” you come up with thousands of hits from hundreds of companies, all trying to tell you how to change your business model in order to take advantage of their technology.  The right solution, though, shouldn’t require you to change how you manage your freight.  Instead, the right software should do the work for you.

 

Searching Loads

Traditional Load Board:  

Most traditional load boards curate results through certain search parameters, such as origin/destination, pickup time, and deadhead mileage.  Once you’ve found a load that fits your needs, you’ll need give the broker a call to request it.  That phone call takes time away from managing your business. And with a traditional load board, each time you search, you will need to reset your parameters.

FreightRover:

We know that with selecting freight, time is actually money. In addition to all of the searching parameters of a traditional load board, FreightRover saves your favorite searches for later use.  Maybe you’re always looking for freight out of Chicago that goes to Oregon – FreightRover will automatically notify you when a load that matches your saved search pops up, so you don’t waste time clicking through pages of loads.

So, what’s in it for shippers and 3PLs? Well, you can easily set rules through FreightRover’s platform to automatically adjust load details and visibility after a set period of time. Say you post a load for $1,500 and you set your rule to automatically raise the price by $200 72 hours before the late pickup appointment.  If your load hasn’t been selected by that time, FreightRover will automatically adjust the price to $1,700 to sweeten the load for carriers searching on FreightRover.

 

Selecting Loads

Traditional Load Board:

When carriers and owner operators find a load that fits their needs, there are still a few hoops to jump through in order to select it.  You know the drill – you’ll have to pick up the phone and call to make sure the load is still available. Upon confirmation of it’s availability, you’ll probably negotiate your pay terms and might have to make it through a few call transfers to do so.

FreightRover:

In the age of online shopping, load selection just shouldn’t be that difficult.  Wouldn’t it be convenient if you could find a load you like, view the price up-front, and select it right from the app? FreightRover automatically checks to ensure the load is still fully available, and you’ll be awarded the load within seconds.  No time wasted on trying to pick up loads that don’t exist.

And while we think our software is pretty great, we know that users don’t want to spend time in yet another platform. That’s why we’ve built TMS connectivity that will publish your selected loads into your existing TMS software.  The best part?  No unnecessary calls or worrying about negotiations – just a few clicks and you’re on your way.

 

Selecting Payment

Traditional Load Board:

Standard pay terms mean freight bills can be slow to pay out. By nature, you are typically working with a stranger on a load board, which means that shippers need time to verify load documents, carriers can be slow to send those documents over in the first place, and the process bottlenecks, causing carriers to wait 90+ days for a check in the mail.

FreightRover:

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way.  FreightRover’s PayEngine ensures that carriers are paid in as little as 24 hours.  Payment options are presented upon load selection, and can be changed on a per-load basis. Shippers and 3PLs don’t need to worry about paying out immediately, though. Instead, enjoy standard 30+ day pay terms, without slowing payment down for the carrier.

 

Track Load

Traditional Load Board:

It can be anywhere from annoying to downright difficult to keep track of your load as it moves.  Drivers have to manually report check calls and load updates. And while there are a many 3rd party platforms that offer extensive tracking, that in-depth tracking comes with a price tag.

FreightRover:

We know that load tracking and analytics are vital to successful freight management. That’s why we’ve partnered with MacroPoint to enable much of their their real-time global freight visibility and in-depth analytics directly within the FreightRover platform.  Working together, our platforms create automatic check calls for loads in FreightRover to virtually eliminate wasted time manually reporting updates.

 

Scan Docs

Traditional Load Board:

Searching, selecting, and tracking loads in a traditional load board can be a little clunky, but document approval is where it gets downright messy. From mailed-in documents, to long lines at the truck stop waiting for scanning, document validation significantly slows down the payment process for both the carrier or owner operator, and the shipper/3PL.

FreightRover:

FreightRover’s partnership with Pegasus Transflo means that when the load is completed, drivers and their carriers can easily snap a few photos of the appropriate documents and send them off to the shipper or 3PL.  Shippers then have the option to either accept the documents, or request additional images.  As soon as the documents are accepted, FreightRover automatically releases payment to the carrier.  Indexing and repository is free and mobile scanning means drivers get to skip the truck stop line and head back out onto the road.

 

Finalize Loads

Traditional Load Board:

There’s no reason to beat a dead horse. We know that even after the load is finalized, the paycheck for a load hauled today might not come for two or three months.

FreightRover:

Carriers will receive their payment based on their pay terms selection, including 24-hour pay.  Shippers pay using their financing terms agreed upon enrollment (typically 30+ days).  Everyone is happy, and freight keeps moving.

 

When looking for the best way to find and manage freight or capacity, there’s plenty of options out there.  But which one is right for your business?  At FreightRover, we’ve streamlined the process from end-to-end.  From the moment you search a load in our system, all the way through receiving documents and finalizing the load, the process is simple and the control is comprehensive.

FreightRover works like a dog, so you don’t have to. To request a demo of FreightRover, give us a call at (866) 621-4145 or send an email to sales@freightrover.com