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Connecting All Aspects Of Your Supply Chain

Tue, 03/12/2013 - 9:10am
Misty Farmer Koopman, Marketing Manager, CTSI-Global

What deployment strategies and metrics can be used to improve supply chain planning, monitor flow of goods while having full visibility of the process?  

It is necessary for companies to employ the latest technology that optimizes all inbound, outbound and third-party shipping transactions with on-demand supply chain applications.  Having an end-to-end supply chain cycle is critical.  This type of process is what we call “Spend Management”.   Spend Management is the process of managing your supply chain from procurement to payment and consists of plan, execute, settle, and measure.

CTSI-Global gives companies the online ability to easily manage orders, optimize loads, select the best carriers, tender shipments, track their progress, audit and pay the bill to managing the claim and having the reports and visual aids to see the entire process. This eliminates traditionally manual tasks. Here is an example.

Case Study: CTSI-Global took the initiative and moved their customer from a manual order entry system to an automated system and eliminated the need for loads to be hand keyed.  They implemented custom carrier selection rules to make the decision on the best carrier to auto tender shipments to. The customer no longer has to manually plan and physically contact carriers to move products.  By also integrating it with their freight audit and payment process, the customer is able to immediately see and plan inbound vendor shipments as well as electronically tender shipments to their carriers for all outbound shipments. With pre-rating in place they can better accrue for transportation cost and ensure clean data for history reporting.

How can companies normalize and consolidate their freight data into a common, global data warehouse for integrated analytics and tracking?

What good is having software and online access if all your systems don’t integrate and talk to each other, giving you a grand picture and insight into your whole logistical process?  It is crucial to have a scalable, customizable system in place that is flexible and gives you options.  Off the shelf systems and applications can’t fit the mold.

CTSI-Global's system is designed to enable shippers from anywhere in the world to integrate all of their domestic and international shipping needs into one global solution with the flexibility to accommodate all key international requirements including: naming conventions, unit of measure, multi-currency conversion and payment, duty, tax, and language for all modes and carriers.

Regardless of the data capture method, all data is normalized and consolidated into a global data warehouse for consistent validation, duplicate protection and processing.  This level of data capture flexibility and control is one of the key reasons CTSI-GlobaI is able to consistently meet and exceed all client and carrier needs.

Also, by going with the same provider for both Transportation Management System (TMS) and Freight audit & pay, companies pay a fraction of the cost, streamline their processes and get the best of both worlds.

How do systems integrate supply chain data into 3rd party platforms?

Shippers, suppliers, 3PLs, carriers, freight forwarders, and vendors all have different needs that constantly change course as their customers evolve and regulations change. CTSI-Global's approach to this complexity is to go beyond a standard, fixed system integration by providing our clients with a technology platform and services that really facilitate the agility needed to adapt processes and systems as needed.

Our tools are configurable and scalable – not an off the shelf product. We customize to each client need and provide Enterprise Application Integration, meaning we can interface with virtually any other system, ERP, SAP, WMS, AP, etc.   Also, all API’s, EDI, FTP, ERP, SAP and any AP mechanisms are supported.  

Case Study:  The customer was struggling to make another logistics application cost-efficiently meet their business needs.  Key obstacles were limited global functionality and ongoing software and maintenance costs.  After doing detailed due diligence, the customer replaced their software package with CTSI-Global’s integrated online TMS, Freight Payment and Business Intelligence applications.  The end result was twice as cost-effective as the previous solution with 1/6 the implementation timeframe and associated costs. Because of the success of the solution, they opted to put their entire freight management operations out to bid with CTSI-Global accepting the expanded role of using its technology to manage all motor carrier operations.

How important is adaptability in the Supply Chain?

Companies constantly have to adapt to changes supply and demand.  Suppliers also must be able to align themselves with the best interest of their customer and easily adjust to increase and decrease in performance and volume.

Having a system that is agile and adaptable helps companies gain an advantage over their competition and keep up the pace effectively.  

CTSI-Global is a partner to our customers and provides integration technology that can consume the massive amounts of information and still adapt to the daily changes of vendors, suppliers, carriers, shippers, and government regulations to provide crucial agility.

How can a TMS system manage freight cost calculation of shipment containing traceable and not traceable handling units?

First, the ability to handle massive exportation of track and trace data is a necessity to be able to launch reports for delivery status, service level monitoring on different managed dimensions, etc.

CTSI-Global has the collaborative event management technology that integrates all modes and carriers into one online supply chain tracking solution and can track shipments down to specific order or SKU level.  Furthermore, most customers have discovered that utilizing multi-year data warehousing and online analytic tools (e.g., drill-down reporting, interactive carrier report cards, dynamic mapping, graphing, trending, executive dashboards, modeling, benchmarking) have eliminated their need for data exports for manual analysis and reporting.  Any level of client data (carriers, contracts, routing guides, location, order, inventory, shipping, event management, invoice detail, cost center coding and logic, audit logic, payment data, payment status, etc.) can be made available to authorized users.  Also, CTSI-Global’s innovative Executive Dashboard combines an intuitive graphical interface with a powerful database to provide instant drill-down reporting for any client KPI.  Dashboards can be customized to meet the specific needs of each user or user group.  Examples of KPIs for key user groups include the following:  Logistics KPI - Shipments, weight, standard freight cost, expedited freight cost, accessorial cost, fuel surcharge and carrier performance.  Financial KPI - Expense detail by mode or carrier, cost center allocation, billing accuracy and payment timelines.  Management KPI - Global carrier performance, business unit performance, order management and inventory management.

Case Study:  The customer needed to track shipment costs for moves initiated and linked with another contracts/work order system.  In order to support customer requirements, project managers needed the ability to request freight rates for various activities from Buyer’s contracted carriers, obtain quotes from those carriers, select an appropriate carrier, track the shipment, obtain a final carrier invoice for each move, and capture each client’s contract and work number.  In the current environment, the best possible way to track the shipment costs was to capture system project numbers on freight invoices.  The data, however, was seldom available from the carriers. The process begins with manual entry of information into a paper form.  Then, the carrier is selected by hand and dispatched via telephone call or email.  Costs for these moves cannot be tracked for two primary reasons: The system project number must be provided by the freight carrier, which is seldom done and no means by which the data can be entered if it is available.  In order to meet the above requirements, CTSI-Global provided access to its TMS suite, a web-based, automated, electronic solution.  Buyer’s Project Managers are able to enter requests, electronically select an appropriate carrier from Buyer’s contracted carriers, and track the resulting shipment activity from inception to completion.  Project Managers can electronically generate invoices to the customer. The CTSI-Global TMS solution was configured to meet the client’s specific requirements on White Glove Service.

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