It’s been roughly 30 years since computers topped man in the ultimate test of strategy: the game of chess. Computer intelligence has advanced to the point that machines create strategies and execute tactics that outsmart the best and brightest chess champions.
If your business still relies on the human factor to win your share of freight in the recently completed bid season, wins and losses are fresh in your mind. As a result, now’s the best time to evaluate and implement a transportation management system in order to improve your odds of winning more business.
Perfect Opportunity to Strategize
While bid season--the time when shippers solicit the vast majority of requests for proposals (RFP) from carriers--takes place during the fourth quarter of the year, carriers will also receive RFPs throughout the year. The middle of the year becomes the perfect opportunity to implement transportation management software. RFPs received now will allow you the time to train staff to use the software, all before crunch time later this year.The Engage Series, bid management tool from TMW, acts like a chess-playing computer and levels the playing field for small to mid-size carriers who may lack the staff to correctly process multiple RFPs. Large carriers benefit due to its organizational features. Key features of the software should include three main elements:
- standardized data
- market rate indices
- a searchable database
You need a way to aggregate the data requested by all RFPs. To be able to standard inputs that help ensure the correct data are entered and deadlines for submission are flagged. And to also track the data submitted for multiple requests. The Engage Series by TMW will allow you to accomplish all of these necessary items to level the playing field.
Automated Tools at the Ready
While analysts employed by carriers may have a handle on evaluating the same lane(s) year over year, the Engage Series with Market Rate Index (MRI) capture capabilities allows a true analysis of lanes old and new. MRI shows how the industry has bid a particular lane, which will guide your decision about whether a lane will be profitable.
When the RFP is entered, it creates a searchable history to capture all the bid information, including special considerations and number of times fleet has responded. The knowledge base created by the software will outlast an employee who transfers to a new job and takes the skills and expertise with him or her.
Pattern recognition is one skill that makes chess champions—and successful trucking companies. Central and searchable storage is critically important so that data on lanes, driver miles, fleet working percentage and equipment utilization rates can be retained and recalled.
Much like chess, responding to shippers’ RFPs requires fleets to see all the possible futures, a skill better fulfilled by machine. At the same time, use of the Engage Series frees human resources to remain focused on the rest of a carriers business. Learn how the Engage Series can go to work for your business.