Inbound Freight Reporting: 16 Ways to Use Freight Data to Evaluate Spend by Supplier

When shippers grow too comfortable with inbound freight management activities, mistakes occur, and failure to recognize the signs of poor visibility in inbound freight management will result in higher costs. Fortunately, inbound freight reporting leverages the capability of advanced systems and data-driven workflows to improve visibility and evaluate freight spend by the supplier. In other words, shippers can finally learn how to recognize high-spending suppliers and work to get inbound freight costs under control. Furthermore, inbound freight reporting can help shippers generate scorecards for suppliers and reap significant benefits.

The Problem With Poor Inbound Freight Reporting

Poor inbound freight reporting might not seem like a significant issue facing today’s supply chain professionals. Unfortunately, the value of inbound freight visibility is rapidly growing as more companies recognize its potential. Inbound freight visibility is essential to preventing bottlenecks on the dock, errors in dock scheduling, excessive carrying costs and decreased levels of customer service. Moreover, failure to leverage inbound freight reporting is associated with reduced efficiencies among workforces, resulting in higher spend, and shippers waste resources trying to understand why issues occurred and how to prevent them in the future. Inbound freight reporting that is data-rich and insightful solves these issues.

Inbound Freight Costs: How Gaining Visibility Achieves Bottom Line Savings

Inbound Freight Reporting Provides a Means to Measure Supplier Performance

As explained by Jonathan Webb via Forbes, a primary application of inbound freight reporting goes back to supplier management. You can assess suppliers through a variety of measurement tools, including on-time delivery, compliance violations, order errors, speed of delivery, cost and carrier mode and any other factor through modern, advanced systems. Deploying a TMS, such as the Cerasis Rater, give shippers the best options for using inbound freight reporting and applying big data to everyday actions. Ultimately, that is this level of measurement that allows shippers to gain additional control over inbound logistics and avoid unnecessary costs.

How to Apply Freight Data and Evaluate Spend by Supplier

There are many ways shippers may apply data to inbound freight management and supplier activities. However, the applications of inbound freight management are limited when data is used sparingly or among disparate systems. To avoid these potential risks, shippers should follow these best practices to apply inbound freight data and evaluate spend by supplier properly:

  1. Track anything and everything.
  2. Use a tool to review spend by multiple suppliers among like carriers.
  3. Benchmark spending with external factors.
  4. Hold vendors accountable for failures to adhere to the inbound freight routing guide.
  5. Determine whether inbound freight consolidation would benefit or hinder operations.
  6. Consolidate when necessary.
  7. Automate exception management.
  8. Use analytics to gain additional insights.
  9. Diversify your carrier and supplier relationships.
  10. Change the contractual terms within the inbound freight routing guide.
  11. Notify suppliers of changes and how to view them.
  12. Think beyond the dock, including warehousing.
  13. Put cross-docking, just-in-time delivery, third-party fulfillment and other fulfillment methods to work.
  14. Take advantage of customer perception to control their purchases.
  15. Choose a TMS that allows for inbound freight management.
  16. Think of consumers as Supplier Z to handle reverse logistics too.

After following these steps, shippers can create a list of best-performing to worst-performing vendors. Those nearest the top of the best-performing list are the go-to suppliers, and it may be necessary to work in low-performing vendors to identify what’s contributing to poor performance and explain actions that will be undertaken if performance does not improve. Ultimately, shippers use this information to prove and use data-driven methods to make decisions regarding vendor and supplier relationships and collaboration.

Apply Inbound Freight Reporting in Your Organization Now

Inbound freight reporting is one of the easiest and fastest ways to gain insights into the actual inbound freight costs. As a result, shippers can make more informed decisions and work to effectively lower total inbound freight spend, as well as streamline dock management. Instead of merely trying to manage inbound freight with manual processes, let modern technology and capabilities do the hard work for you, giving you the freedom to get back to what you do, fulfilling orders for customers.

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