What is route optimization?

Route optimization is the process of calculating the most cost-efficient destination route. It merges factors like the number of orders, multi-stops, traffic congestion, selection of the nearest drivers, location, etc. These factors improve the speed of delivery and reduce your carbon footprint.

What is a delivery automation platform?

A delivery automation platform enables enterprises with enhanced functionalities and security measures that perform across the operations, development, and other teams.

What is ePOD?

ePOD stands for electronic proof of delivery. It helps streamline the documentation of your deliveries, eliminating paperwork and capturing digital signatures through photos that will guarantee delivery (offering proof of delivery).

ETA stands for estimated time for arrival. ETA is calculated based on:

  1. Time to load orders in a trip
  2. Travel time to reach the customer’s location
What is a real-time visibility platform?

A real time visibility platform allows operation managers and customers real-time insights into orders and shipments right from the supplier, warehouse, or store.

What is auto allocation of orders?

Auto allocation is the process where your orders (on-demand deliveries) will be automatically allocated to the nearest delivery partner, reducing manual intervention and leading to improved fleet efficiency.

What is a DRS (delivery run sheet)?

A delivery run sheet is a backup for proof of delivery. A courier/ delivery person will carry a receipt of delivery acceptance, wherein the customer has to sign/ provide name/ mobile number on receiving the order, which acts as proof of delivery.

What is inventory tracking?

Inventory tracking is a process that allows you to track items from multiple warehouses, stores, and fulfillment centers. This is essential to meet customer demand and restock items in relevant locations.

What is the importance of tracking inventory?

Today’s customers need fast shipping for orders, whether you place an order from eCommerce marketplaces, grocery stores, or other retail industries. There has been a rise in last-mile delivery suppliers that help with same-day or next-day deliveries. For such businesses, it’s important to track inventory, as it will help in faster order fulfillment, and efficient stock control (to avoid out-of-stock messaging).

What is the cheapest way to ship a parcel?

Each shipment cost depends on the distance that needs to be covered between the sender and recipient. Additionally, the cost of shipping a parcel will depend on factors such as how fast the parcel needs to be delivered (express service), the weight of the parcel, peak order season, and more. 

What is a shipping carrier?

A shipping carrier is the one that offers their service to deliver goods to customers of another company. The company whose goods are to be delivered is stated as the shipper, while the one that gets the shipment is termed the consignee. Shipper carriers deliver goods from shippers to consignees. The transportation of goods is carried out using trucks, vans, cars, rail, airplanes, and ships.

What is the difference between the shipper and the carrier?

A shipper can be defined as the company that holds the goods that need to be shipped. A carrier is the company that helps with the transportation of goods

What is the difference between LTL and FTL freight?

LTL stands for Less Than Truckload, which keeps the truck load less than its capacity. These freight trailers can carry around 150- 15000 pounds. FTL stands for Full Truckload, in which the entire trailer/ freight is filled to carry out the delivery. These trailers usually carry over 15,000 pounds.

When should you use Air Freight instead of shipping Parcel or LTL?

If you want deliveries to be made below 150 pounds, then Air Freight delivery is your best bet.

Note: Some parcel deliveries now accept parcels greater than 150 pounds, hence why it’s better to compare costs between LTL and parcel carriers, to avoid additional costs for delivery

What are the drawbacks of LTL freight shipping?

While transporting your goods, the total weight should be above 150 pounds and less than 150,000 pounds to be considered. Though the cost of transporting goods via LTL is cost-saving, the total savings can be hampered due to surcharges and service fees (which can also increase costs over using an FTL). The goods being transported cannot be guaranteed to reach ideal conditions since there are multiple pickups and drop offs, which might lead to minor damage.

What is the difference between LTL and FLT Freight and Air Freight?

LTL freights involve the transportation of goods that cover truckloads between 150 pounds to 15,000 pounds. FLT freights are when the shipment covers the entire truckload (usually greater than 15,000 pounds). Parcel freight shipping is for shipments under 150 pounds. The key differentiating parameter between LTL, FLT, and Parcel freights is the amount of trailer space and weight of the shipment to be delivered.

What is on-time delivery?

On-time delivery is a key metric to measure supply chain efficiency. It helps the business measure whether their carrier is functioning optimally and ensuring maximum customer satisfaction on order delivery. As the competition is fierce in the market, customers’ expectations have to be met, which mainly includes delivery of the right product within the specified time window. On-time delivery will help with higher customer retention and keep customers satisfied.

What are the different types of delivery exceptions? Some of the top reasons for delivery exceptions include: 

Lost orders – One of the most common reasons for lost orders is the incorrect delivery address. Additional causes might include routing issues, missing or damaged labels, or missing documentation. 

Delivery driver issue – Unexpected incidents like vehicle breakdown, incorrect address, and lack of communication, lead to delays in delivery. 

Public holidays – Shipment arrivals can be affected if they come around public holidays (since they don’t fall under business days.) 

Custom delays – International shipments often have to pass through customs which might lead to delays. 

Natural causes– Weather can usually play spoilsport for order deliveries, which may lead to orders being misplaced or lost.

Why are delivery exceptions important?

Wherever an item is purchased online, the two main factors that the customer considers are the cost and delivery time. Once the delivery date is set, the customer awaits to get their product within the set period. If the delivery cannot be completed within the set period, it’s important to communicate it with the customer, to avoid a bad customer experience. Offering your customers real-time visibility is crucial for delivery exceptions. The use of automation holds the key to handling delivery exceptions.

What is fulfillment in eCommerce?

Fulfillment is the journey that begins once the customers place their order and goes throughout shipment to the desired destination. The focus points of the fulfillment process includeInventory management Checkout process Order processing eCommerce Shipping and returns.

What is inbound logistics?

Inbound logistics involves the transportation of goods or supplies from a manufacturer, warehouse, or retail store. It factors in the sourcing raw materials or finished goods to be prepared for distribution.

When should you use Air Freight instead of shipping Parcel or LTL?

If you want deliveries to be made below 150 pounds, then Air Freight delivery is your best bet.

Note: Some parcel deliveries now accept parcels greater than 150 pounds, hence why it’s better to compare costs between LTL and parcel carriers, to avoid additional costs for delivery

What logistics services and modes do 3PLs offer?

A 3PL can offer a variety of logistics services, including warehousing, inventory management, picking and packing, transportation management and reverse logistics. Some 3PLs offer managed transportation solutions, providing extended involvement and responsibility over strategic and executional functions. This can range from a partial or complete outsourcing of your supply chain management needs.

 Some logistics services and modes of transportation offered by 3PLs include:

  • Truckload management 
  • Less-than-truckload Rail/intermodal
  • Expedited shipping 
  • Managed transportation 
  • Supply chain management 
  • Technology integration 
  • Warehouse and inventory management 
  • Freight forwarding
What role do 3PLs play in the greater logistics industry?

Logistics and transportation operations are an essential part of the supply chain process. A third-party logistics provider (known as a 3PL), is an outsourced company that helps businesses manage their logistics processes to achieve greater efficiency and reduce the costs involved with the transportation of goods. They can specialize in everything that is needed for the efficient movement and storage of goods and materials as they are transported through the supply chain. Outsourcing is a great solution for companies as their supply chains grow and they require assistance to manage logistics processes — no matter how big those companies are in size. Most 3PLs are non-asset based. This means they do not own trucks but rather provide the expertise, technology and industry relationships to connect shippers with carriers and other supply chain partners.

What are the benefits of working with a 3PL as your third-party logistics solution?

Cost savings and scalability are two of the main reasons shippers choose to begin working with a 3PL. But there are several other benefits of bringing on a third-party logistics partner that allow you to: 

  • Tap into an existing carrier network, gaining access to thousands of carriers to support your freight volumes and capacity needs without the added stress of sourcing, qualifying and managing carriers. 
  • Gain access to state-of-the-art logistics technology for deeper insights into your shipping data while adding the convenience of route optimization and carrier selection.
  •  Leverage the experience and expertise of the team members at your 3PL, who should act as an extension of your own team.
How can 3PLs help shippers reduce costs?

There are many ways a third-party logistics provider can help you reduce shipping costs. 3PLs work with multiple shippers, which means they are moving a high volume of freight. They leverage this to secure the best rates from carriers. Working with a 3PL allows you to limit overhead in departments such as transportation, billing, IT, hiring and training. As your business grows, you don’t need to hire new people to scale. 

Additionally, a 3PL can help create a strategy that streamlines processes and integrates the most cost-effective shipping methods for your freight. Advanced technology also allows shippers to avoid the added costs associated with purchasing and implementing their own transportation management system (TMS) for delivery and tracking functionality.

What is the current size of the logistics industry and the third-party logistics market?

In 2020, the logistics industry in the United States was worth approximately $2 trillion. The third-party logistics market was valued at approximately $190 billion the same year 

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How can my business implement a 3PL?

It is important to identify your needs and set goals prior to choosing a logistics partner. Successful partnerships are built on trust and alignment of core values. A 3PL, for example, should value their employees as much as you value yours. Goal and value alignment will help ensure you pick the right partner. Every 3PL has its own implementation methodology. As you assess potential partners, learn more about how they prioritize implementation to ensure a successful partnership. Your 3PL implementation strategy should include plans for technology integration, employee training, data analytics and reporting, escalations, scheduled communications and ongoing business reviews.

What industry certifications are important for 3PLs to hold?

Third-party logistics providers can hold several different logistics industry certifications. Depending on their specialties and the logistics services they offer, 3PLs may be certified for food storage, transporting hazardous materials or cross-border transportation to name a few. Some certifications are given to the company, while others are obtained by individual employees. The Transportation Intermediary Association (TIA) offers the Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) program. This is a widely recognized certification that requires employees to prove competencies in three categories: 

  1. Brokerage basics and basic business skills
  2. Contracts and pricing
  3. Regulatory environment and legal issues