Mastering Freight for IBM i Shippers: Changing the Game in Pre-Shipment Load Optimization

Learn about advanced shipping software and how it works to automate your pre-shipment load planning process

It’s a massive industry where every minute and every mile count, and the difference between success and stagnation often lies in the efficiency of operations. What are we talking about, you ask? Freight shipping.

Picture this: A bustling warehouse swarmed with activity and trucks lined up as far as the human eye can see. It’s a scene where time is money, and the pressure for fast deliveries is through the roof. However, in an industry where efficiency reigns supreme, manual processes just don’t cut it anymore, especially for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users. Automation is the name of the game, reshaping the freight shipping industry in real-time.

With automation leading the charge, shippers can navigate logistics complexities with unparalleled ease and accuracy. Load planning has become a seamless process and route optimization is as easy as a few clicks of a button. Cutting costs and saving time are important goals to help maintain a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving landscape. Outside of these more concrete goals, meeting shifting customer demands is paramount.

Let’s dive into the intersection of technology and modern freight shipping, exploring how it’s revolutionizing the competitive landscape and enabling new levels of efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings.

A crucial factor that decides a business’s success is its operational efficiency. Therefore, reliance on manual processes in freight operations, especially load and route planning, can be a significant obstacle. Without utilizing automated solutions, freight shippers face several pain points that can negatively impact their efficiency, productivity, and bottom line, including:

  • Inefficient Load Building: Manual load building is a time-consuming and tedious process that often relies on outdated software and spreadsheets. When shippers lack the ability to consolidate separate shipments, it can result in underutilized capacity and increased transportation costs.
  • Suboptimal Route Planning: Selecting the optimal route for each shipment requires close attention to several considerations including delivery deadlines, distance, and carrier preferences. Manual route planning takes an extensive amount of time, falling short of the precision and efficiency offered by automated processes. This can lead to missed opportunities for cost reduction, decreasing carbon emissions, and inefficiencies in delivery schedules.
  • Failure to Meet Customer Demands: Automated technology ensures customer’s delivery requirements and routing guide compliance rules are met for each shipment. Without it, shippers risk failing to meet customer expectations. Relying on manual processes can result in human error, leading to incorrect carrier selection, missed delivery deadlines, and unsatisfied customers.

The reliance on manual processes in freight operations threatens companies with significant complexities, holding them back from thriving in the ever-evolving modern industry of logistics. Without leveraging the benefits of automated technology, shippers will continue to incur unnecessary costs and fall short of meeting customer expectations.

Fortunately, there are automated solutions available to help forward-thinking businesses avoid pitfalls like these and stay competitive. Solutions like multi-carrier shipping software (MCSS) offer invaluable benefits such as reduced costs, streamlined operations, improved productivity, and enhanced customer satisfaction. By leveraging the power of automated shipping software, IBM i (AS/400) Power shippers can overcome the pain points of outdated and manual processes, enabling them to master freight shipping in the modern world.

Freight shippers are always seeking ways to optimize their operations and future-proof their strategy. This is where multi-carrier shipping software comes into play as an indispensable tool. By utilizing the capabilities of top-tier MCSS solutions, freight shippers can streamline their shipping processes, access multiple carriers and service levels, and make informed decisions to drive efficiency and profitability.

Varsity Logistics offers an industry leading suite of IBM i-native multi-carrier shipping software solutions and modules tailored to meet the unique needs of freight shippers. This provides businesses access to advanced features and functionalities designed to optimize their shipping operations. Additionally, Varsity’s advanced software integrates seamlessly with all major existing IBM i Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), as well as in-house and home-grown systems, enabling a simple plug-and-play experience for shippers.

Part of Varsity Logistics’ top-tier software, the FreightPlan module is a cutting-edge solution revolutionizing the way businesses across the country ship freight, providing the key to streamlining pre-shipment load planning for both inbound and outbound freight.

As a pivotal component within Varsity’s comprehensive suite of supply chain execution modules for IBM i (AS/400) Power shippers, FreightPlan is designed to seamlessly pair with Varsity’s ShipSoft-Freight solution. FreightPlan offers various invaluable functions to streamline freight operations at every step.

By automating recommended shipping plans and optimal routes, dynamic load building and order consolidation, and online review and acceptance of load plans, it empowers users to achieve greater operational efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver exceptional service to their customers. Additionally, FreightPlan considers customer delivery requirements, reducing transportation costs and meeting customer expectations.

Logistics is an industry where every minute counts and every decision is imperative. That is why FreightPlan is far more than just a tool – it’s a strategic asset for freight shippers striving to maintain their competitive edge in today’s market. There are many important benefits businesses can leverage from utilizing FreightPlan, including:

Key Benefits of FreightPlan

  • Dynamic Load Building and Consolidation: FreightPlan offers advanced capabilities for dynamic load building and order consolidation, often into larger multi-stop loads. By intelligently aggregating orders traveling to the same destination and optimizing the allocation of shipments, FreightPlan maximizes transportation capacity and minimizes empty space, resulting in cost savings and increased efficiency. FreightPlan’s load planning is available for truckload (TL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) moves, ensuring the most efficient geographic route is taken.
  • Recommended Shipping Plans: With FreightPlan, users can generate recommended shipping plans tailored to their specific needs. Leveraging sophisticated algorithms and user-defined parameters, FreightPlan analyzes critical factors such as delivery deadlines, transportation costs, and service standards to produce optimal shipping plans that meet both business and customer requirements.
  • Incorporation of Customer Delivery Requirements: One of FreightPlan’s standout features is its ability to incorporate customer delivery requirements into the planning process. By working with user-defined parameters and customer-specific criteria, FreightPlan ensures that each shipment is customized to meet the unique needs of the recipient, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Online Review and Approval of Load Plans: FreightPlan facilitates seamless collaboration and decision-making through its online review and acceptance feature. Users can review the results of each analysis, compare alternative options, and select the optimal shipping plan with confidence. This transparent and user-friendly feature streamlines the decision-making process and enables shippers to make informed choices.

Varsity Logistics stands as a significantly unique provider of top-tier multi-carrier shipping software for both parcel and freight shipping execution, as it is the only holistic solution built exclusively for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users. Varsity offers a comprehensive suite of advanced supply chain execution modules, addressing a variety of challenges in the freight shipping environment, including:

An industry that lives in such a competitive and evolving space demands advanced technology and innovative strategies to survive. That is why the automated capabilities of Varsity’s FreightPlan are not only designed to alleviate the complexities of freight shipping, but also to revolutionize the way we ship while empowering businesses for success in the long-term.

With a solution like FreightPlan, you have the leverage to power up your freight operations, reduce transportation costs, and deliver exceptional customer experiences. So why wait? Take the first step towards success and contact our team of shipping experts or schedule a pressure-free demo to learn more about how Varsity’s multi-carrier shipping software can propel your organization ahead in this competitive industry.

[Shipping Automation] How IBM i (AS/400) Users Avoid Manual Carrier Selection

Discover how Varsity ShipSelect eases pain points associated with the carrier selection process

Two things are certain when it comes to the logistics landscape today: the major growth of e-commerce over the past several years and the ever-dynamic conditions of up-and-coming and traditional shipping carriers. Therefore, the efficiency of logistics operations plays a crucial role for businesses striving to meet customer demands and maintain a competitive edge. And, with the exponential growth of e-commerce in recent years, the importance of fast and reliable parcel shipping has never been such a necessity.

However, with what seems like an unlimited variety of carriers to choose from, and several variables involved in the shipping process, selecting the optimal carrier for each parcel can be a logistical challenge.

E-commerce businesses thrive on efficiency and speed. Every step of the fulfillment process needs to be optimized to meet customer expectations and stay ahead of the competition. However, carrier selection in a traditional, manual setting can become a significant bottleneck. Businesses must juggle a complex web of factors for each shipment, including:

  • Carrier Availability: With a vast number of carriers offering services, finding the right fit for every package size, weight, and destination requires extensive research.
  • Cost Comparison: Different carriers offer varying rates based on factors like distance, weight, delivery destination, and service level. Manually sifting through quotes to find the most cost-effective option is a time-consuming task.
  • Delivery Speed: Balancing cost with desired transit times is crucial. To determine which carrier offers the best combination for each shipment, many businesses must resort to manual comparisons between separate carrier systems, potentially leading to delays if the optimal option is missed.
  • Compliance Considerations: Shipping regulations and compliance requirements can be intricate and are ever-changing. Manual compliance verification of each label for each shipment adds another layer of complexity and risk of errors.

This tangled web of considerations makes manual carrier selection a slow, error-prone process that can negatively impact shipping costs, delivery times, and overall customer satisfaction. Manual processes only complicate these issues, slowing down operations with inefficiencies, human error, and delays in finding the most cost-effective carrier and service level for each parcel or LTL shipment. Even more, fluctuating transportation costs further exacerbate the complexities faced by businesses. As margins grow thinner, every dollar spent on shipping directly impacts businesses’ bottom lines.

Fortunately, innovative solutions like automated carrier selection tools can help businesses navigate these complexities. These tools factor in variables like transit times, costs, and compliance to ensure the perfect fit for each shipment, while eliminating time-consuming tasks and potential errors associated with manual selection. Varsity Logistics’ ShipSelect module is a powerful example of such a tool, optimizing carrier selection for businesses in today’s dynamic e-commerce landscape.

When used with Varsity’s ShipSoft-Parcel or ShipSoft-Freight solutions, ShipSelect offers a comprehensive tool, designed to alleviate the pain points associated with carrier selection during the shipping process. For various modes of transportation including parcel, Less Than Truckload (LTL), Truckload (TL), and rail, ShipSelect automates the entire carrier selection process.

The module goes beyond the conventional approach of carrier selection solely based on cost. While cost is a crucial factor, ShipSelect accounts for the multifaceted nature of logistics decision-making, considering critical criteria such as:

  • Transit time
  • Carrier preference
  • Transportation cost
  • Transportation mode
  • Carrier performance
  • Carrier service types

By weighing these important factors, ShipSelect creates an output of the most optimal carriers based on user-defined preferences. This ensures each shipment is sent with the carrier best suited to meet the specific requirements of both the business and its customers, while also conforming to routing guide requirements and shipping compliance at the time of order placement.

ShipSelect empowers shippers to efficiently select optimal carriers for their shipments, driving efficiency and value across their logistics operations. By automating the carrier selection process, it soothes the many pain points associated with manually finding the carriers best suited for your business and customers. This invaluable solution not only provides overall logistical enhancement, but it also minimizes transportation costs, ensures your business remains compliant, and saves you time on managing inefficiencies and costly human errors due to manual processes. Not to mention, insights into carrier performance empowers shippers to make informed decisions and remain competitive in the dynamic supply chain landscape.

Key Benefits of ShipSelect

The ShipSelect module offers several key benefits that significantly improve logistics efficiency and reduce costs for shippers, including:

Reduction in Shipping Costs: ShipSelect analyzes various factors such as package destination, carrier rates, and package weight to optimize shipping costs. By applying weight breaks (the weight at which the shipping cost changes based on how much the package weighs), ShipSelect ensures businesses get the best carrier option for cost without compromising service quality.

Mitigation of Costly Violations: Ensuring your shipments are compliant with complex routing guides (documents dictating how and by whom shipments should be handled and transported) and shipping instructions is crucial, as penalties for misalignment can be costly. ShipSelect automatically verifies each shipment adheres to these requirements, helping businesses avoid the risk of violations and maintain streamlined shipping operations.

Significant Time Savings: The process of manual carrier selection is not only labor-intensive but also highly prone to human error, causing inefficiencies and operational delays. ShipSelect completely automates this process, keeping operations moving and enabling businesses to allocate their time and resources to other valuable areas.

Varsity Logistics is the only holistic multi-carrier shipping solution built for IBM i (AS/400) Power systems users who need parcel and LTL shipping capabilities. Varsity’s ShipSoft-Parcel and ShipSoft-Freight shipping platforms automate the parcel and LTL shipping processes at every step, serving as a centralized control center for each of Varsity’s supply chain execution modules, whether your supply chain includes parcel and/or freight:

Parcel-Specific Modules:

Freight-Specific Modules:

ShipSelect isn’t just a tool designed to alleviate the challenges of the carrier selection process, it’s a transformative solution that empowers businesses to enhance their shipping operations like never before and set themselves up for long-term success.

Ready to wave your shipping woes goodbye? Contact Varsity’s team of shipping experts or schedule a no-pressure demo to learn more about how ShipSelect and Varsity’s other parcel and LTL solutions can revolutionize your operations and meet your unique business needs.