Modernizing the LTL and truckload freight transportation procurement process can not only save businesses money, automated RFP tools can also significantly reduce the time spent on what has historically been a labor-intensive process.
David Knuth, logistics specialist at IEWC, a global supplier of cable and wire based in Wisconsin, is happy to have an updated RFP process. His company automates the entire LTL bidding procedure with Bid$ense®, SMC³’s automated truckload and LTL freight transportation sourcing solution. But when prompted, he can still recall what once was.
In his previous job, a large part of his duties were consumed by creating an intermodal bid package for carriers. In a spreadsheet, Knuth detailed the company’s volumes lane by lane, taking care to delete any errant keystrokes or misleading data. He would then email out the information to each carrier, taking time to respond to detailed technical questions about the spreadsheet data. Finally, he had to compile all the results, create an algorithm that would compare the carriers on each lane, and award the business.
“It was a huge undertaking. It took about four months to do,” Knuth said of the old process. “It was almost a full-time job for that part of the year, every year.”
In his new job at IEWC, he sat down with Bid$ense on day one and was amazed at the capabilities. Knuth had never before used a bid tool.
“It makes the process extremely easy,” he said. “It takes a lot of the communication off my plate in terms of how to enter everything and communicating with the carriers about getting data in.”
SMC³’s latest versions of Bid$ense automate the process even further, taking truckload and LTL RFPs entirely online. The tool draws on RFP best-practices protocols to streamline the bidding communication process, enabling bidding carriers to respond accurately and promptly to shipper requests. The solution also does all the distribution work automatically, electronically submitting shipper bid data to carriers based on their actual service capabilities and performance records. Carriers are alerted with timely prompts for RFP deliverables, so shippers aren’t waiting by the phone for responses.
Another benefit of automating the process is the data-cleansing assistance. When Knuth sent spreadsheets to carriers, data errors might cloud the bidding process; he might have to resend data or simply accept a price that did not truly reflect the costs of doing business. Data cleansing is incredibly beneficial, he said.
The spreadsheet technique also made bidding analysis an onerous task. Since Bid$ense automates and streamlines the entire RFP process, intensive examination is now simple. SMC³ knows that each bid has more than one best outcome. With uniform responses from each carrier, shippers can quickly rank results and create an unlimited quantity of what-if scenarios to make the optimal procurement decision.
“The backend analytics that it provides to compare everybody apples to apples and make sure IEWC comes out with the best possible solution for our business is extremely valuable,” he said.
You’ve already taken the demo to see SMC³’s Bid$ense in action, so take an in-depth look at the tool with the white paper “Reinventing the freight transportation RFP process.” Be sure to watch this space on March 24 for more Bid$ense content.