McLeod Software

 

Transportation Insights

Give Your Sales Team the Support It Needs - McLeod CRM 

Manage Sales Efforts from within PowerBroker and LoadMaster
04/01/2015

By Taylor King and Kem Wallace, McLeod Software Customer Advocate

There’s one very simple and very powerful way to support your sales staff—put McLeod CRM in their hands.

The McLeod CRM module is simple to use because it’s part of the PowerBroker and LoadMaster systems. You don’t need an IT staff to run it. Personnel who are familiar with the McLeod Software environment can learn how to use McLeod CRM in almost no time, because it was built from the ground up on the existing databases for LoadMaster and PowerBroker. Headaches with redundant data entry and the need to synchronize external CRM systems are gone. All of the data is already in the system, so you don’t have to import anything. It’s automatically there.

And this CRM tool is powerful because it’s designed specifically for the transportation industry, it provides a complete 360-degree view of everything your sales team needs to know about prospects and customers, and it brings operations and sales together. McLeod CRM connects the dots by providing visibility from every angle.

For a perfect example of how simplicity and power come together, look no further than the Call List screen within McLeod CRM. This screen provides a single view for your sales team. It ensures that no one neglects prospects, customers, or the sales process. Highlight any customer or prospect on the screen and you’re just one click from quotes, quote history, bid history, contacts, orders, receivables, and credit and collections.


Expanded CRM Functionality

The newly released 12.2 versions of PowerBroker and LoadMaster offer a variety of new CRM functionality:
• Access more reporting—Look at sales activity, conversion rates, and pending activities for prospects and customers.
• Manage objections—Guide your sales team through tough questions and track how customers respond so that you can build a history of the most common objections.
• Track Vital Signs—Set goals for your sales efforts, then measure and monitor them in near real-time with the Vital Signs dashboard for CRM.
• Focus on locations—Look for new prospects for each salesperson based on locations.
• Conduct radius searches—Any member of your sales staff can quickly search the immediate vicinity to find opportunities and prospects nearby.
• Go mobile—McLeod CRM is every bit as mobile as you are. Just be sure your mobile device has McLeod Anywhere, and you’ll have access to all of the tools and data.


Notice: Valuable New Features Ahead

Future enhancements to McLeod CRM include costing reports and the ability to conduct customer surveys, plus we’ll be adding visibility into opportunity aging and prospect aging. In new versions you’ll be able to manage carrier prospects and view a one-page sales trip summary report. Also, look for advanced import capability to make it easier to bring critical data into the system.


Let McLeod Help You Increase Sales

The value of customer relationship management software is undisputed. Software tools significantly magnify the effectiveness of sales efforts. The question becomes which CRM product to use. The McLeod CRM module is designed specifically for the transportation industry and it brings the power of McLeod Software to the task.

By being completely native to PowerBroker and LoadMaster, McLeod CRM offers unmatched ease of use. All of the data and tools your sales staff needs are right there in a system familiar to everyone. If you want to see sales reach new heights, give your sales team the best tools that are available. Give them McLeod CRM.

 

McLeod Helps Brokers Master the Less-than-Truckload World 

PowerBroker LTL Module Provides the Tools Brokers Need to Handle LTL Freight
03/24/2015

By Clint Hardy, McLeod Software Regional Sales Manager

McLeod has the perfect solution for PowerBroker users who operate in both the truckload and the less-than-truckload worlds—PowerBroker LTL. This module gives you the tools you need to meet both the TL and LTL requests from your customers, and it works within the PowerBroker system that is familiar to everyone on your staff.

More and more brokers report that shippers want a one-stop shop for their shipping needs, which means handling not just truckload freight, but LTL as well. By adding LTL capabilities to your PowerBroker system, you reduce the risk of losing customers to other brokers who are already handling LTL freight. This also makes it possible to reach out to a new set of customers who are looking for full-service brokerages. The end result is more revenue for your business.


Master the Challenges of Brokering LTL Freight

• SPEED—Capture customer shipping requests faster.
PowerBroker LTL includes a rating engine that can manage contracted discounts for carriers and markups for customers. The rating engine also factors in transit times, accessorials, and specified carrier qualifications to help the broker match the best carriers with the customer’s shipping requests.

• PROFITABILITY—See the carrier cost and customer mark-up with every order.
PowerBroker LTL gives brokers the ability to see the buy rate, sell rate, markup, profit and margin for each potential carrier and customer.  In other words, they know exactly what the cost, profit and margin will be as the order is taken.

• FLEXIBILITY—Calculate rates according to the specific needs of the customers.
PowerBroker LTL offers a wide range of flexibility for calculating rates. In addition to origin, destination, and commodity, rates can be based on a variety of other specific aspects of the order, such as weight, linear foot, cubic volume, container type, and pallet.

• COMPARE RATES—View carrier base rate data.
Utilize the PowerBroker LTL rating interface in conjunction with carrier rate data from SMC3, 3GTMS, and Banyan to benchmark the base pricing of multiple carriers and negotiate discounts that will result in competitive rates for your customers and good profit margins for the brokerage.

• CARRIER SELECTION—Streamline the carrier selection process.
When the order is entered, PowerBroker LTL displays all of the qualified carriers along with the rates (buy and sell) and the shipment details on a single screen. With just a glance you can compare carrier rates and transit times.

• ACCESSORIAL COSTS—Manage accessorial costs.
LTL carriers have a long list of potential accessorial charges. The module simplifies the work of ensuring that the proper accessorials are selected for the pick-up and delivery and the associated costs are included in the quote or order.

• WEB PORTAL—Provide a self-service web portal for customers.
PowerBroker LTL provides customers with a web portal for getting quotes, placing orders, and tracking and tracing shipments. Customers can securely log onto the broker’s website and conduct business online at any time of the day or night. After a customer enters their shipping information, the system will auto-rate the freight and provide a list of qualified carriers along with the transit times and associated customer costs. When a carrier is selected from the list by the shipper, PowerBroker LTL can send the load to the carrier instantly via EDI. It’s self-service shipping for people who prefer to do business online instead of over the phone.


McLeod Wants to Help You Do More for Your Customers

The trend in the freight transportation industry is expansion of services and for many brokers this means moving into the world of less-than-truckload freight. With the PowerBroker LTL module, PowerBroker users can manage truckload and LTL within one system.

PowerBroker provides all the tools needed to meet the challenges of running a full-service brokerage operation. The entire rating and carrier selection process is now automated and streamlined so that you can respond more rapidly to your customers. The web portal gives customers the ability to place orders around the clock. By giving your customers more efficient service, you become more competitive and more profitable. In these ways and more, PowerBroker LTL helps to position your business for success in today’s rapidly changing brokerage marketplace.

 

FlowLogix Sets New Standards for Workflow and Business Process Automation Technology 

New Product Empowers Dramatic Boosts in Efficiency
02/17/2015

By Adel Harika and Harold Grant

McLeod’s FlowLogix, our workflow and business process automation (BPA) tool, offers powerful support for growth and overall business success. Carriers, brokers, and 3PLs who want to reach the top of their game cannot afford to ignore the efficiency gains that come from this software.

FlowLogix is a module that works with both LoadMaster and PowerBroker, and it features capabilities that build upon the imaging and rendition billing functionality that comes with DocumentPower. By combining a paper-driven workflow engine and a business-process-automation engine in one product, FlowLogix enables new advances in business efficiency.

• Billing and Settlements Are a Snap
FlowLogix allows companies to automate the billing and settlements process so that staff involvement is either kept to a minimum or eliminated entirely. As load documents are indexed into the system, FlowLogix monitors the load status. If items are missing, the tool can be programmed to prod people to find and submit the needed documents. Once FlowLogix determines that all required documents are collected and the billing requirements are met, the order can be auto-rated, then transferred for rendition billing and settlements. All of these actions are automated and proceed at any time of the day or night, so everything is executed without delay and without the risk of human error.

• Loads Get Tendered without a Touch
FlowLogix can be set to respond as soon as an order arrives through EDI within PowerBroker. The tool will evaluate available carriers, determine which carrier will provide the best rate, and offer the tender to this carrier via EDI. If the carrier accepts, the load is set into motion within PowerBroker. If the carrier rejects it, FlowLogix offers it to the next carrier on the list. The entire process can be automated so that no user intervention is required.

• Contracts Are Completed with Ease
When handled manually, many hours can be spent getting contracts for drivers, carriers, and customers completed. Through the use of contract templates, FlowLogix provides a mechanism for automating the contract completion and signing process. The tool will know which parties have completed which portions of each contract and how to prompt people to address uncompleted tasks. The contract is visible throughout its lifecycle, so the user sending it out can see where it is at every point along the way. Once the contract is completed, FlowLogix can enter it into the system.

• Flowchart Interfaces and Process Simulations Simplify Customization
Given that business processes can differ from company to company and from customer to customer, FlowLogix gives users the power to tweak workflows and automations. Processes can be simulated before being implemented. Once implemented, the flowchart-based user interface simplifies the work of investigating why a particular action was taken within a designed process by providing a step-by-step execution trace. FlowLogix’s ability to visually design and test workflows sets new standards for customization and ease of implementation.


McLeod FlowLogix Will Rock Your World

Workflow and BPA software have become indispensable for business success in today’s competitive market. If you want the best tool available, find out more about FlowLogix. It will rock your business world. We guarantee it.

 

 

The Value of a Hosted McLeod Solution 

Gain Flexibility and Security While Reducing Labor Expenses and Capital Outlays
02/10/2015

By Ben Barnes, McLeod Software Systems Team

Every company that uses McLeod Software applications is offered a crucial option. You can procure your own servers and run the applications locally on your premises, or you can run your entire system from a remote set of servers provided and managed by McLeod’s IT infrastructure team. If you’ve never learned about McLeod Application Hosting, here are some important facts that you should know.

McLeod Application Hosting offers a broad range of features.
We provide the hardware, operating system, database and terminal services for your McLeod applications, plus all of the normal administrative services that would be required to manage on-premises servers. We host and support the applications remotely on secure and reliable servers via Rackspace®, an industry leader in cloud-based IT infrastructure.

McLeod Application Hosting includes:
• Systems administration
• User ID management, permissions, security
• Full system and database backups
• Database administration
• Remote network connections for the servers
• Internet connectivity for the server
• EDI connectivity for the server
• Hardware failure monitoring and repair services
• Operating system, virus protection, security, and database software support, maintenance and upgrades
• System performance and status monitoring

You gain a level of security far beyond what most companies can provide on their own.
Companies that use their own servers face dangerous risks if disaster strikes. Damaged servers mean the application will be non-functional for an indefinite period of time. Crucial data can be permanently lost. The business may never recover.

With McLeod Application Hosting, these dangers are eliminated almost entirely. Here is a partial list of the security features that are included:
• Triple redundant internet connection with multiple vendors
• Redundant power grid connections
• Full back up generators
• Underground bunker
• High level of physical security
• Servers on site for failover
• Full set of spare parts on site
• 1 hour to repair hardware guarantee
• 1 hour to restore guarantee for software
• Zero delays for capacity expansion (24 hours to double or triple capacity if requested)
• System performance tuning by McLeod
• 24/7/365 System intrusion detection
• Monthly security audits
This amounts to a level of risk protection that would be far beyond the reach of most companies.

You save money on labor and reduce your capital investment in IT equipment.
You avoid the expense of finding, hiring, and retaining additional IT professionals to administer and manage your McLeod applications and the servers that support them. You also avoid the capital cost of the servers. All you will need is a local area network in your offices to support local PC workstations and printers and a high speed internet connection with a virtual private network to insure data security.

You can have it all—right now!
Application hosting from McLeod is also the fastest way to get your applications up and online. It eliminates a lot of steps from ordering hardware and staging it, to installing it on your site. If the networking capability is already in place at your offices, McLeod can install your applications and bring them up on our hosted servers in a fraction of the time it takes for a traditional on-premises hardware installation.

In short, McLeod Application Hosting gives you an unprecedented level of flexibility in scaling your IT infrastructure and we have it for you—right now!

 

Brokers Can Have More Control When Posting Loads 

A Look at Overdrive Logistics' Use of McLeod's Private Notification Network
02/03/2015

One of the vital strategies for brokers is to develop strong business relationships with a core group of carriers. You want to foster closer ties with those carriers that offer you the rates you need while providing consistently dependable service. McLeod has the perfect tool for doing just that—Private Notification Network (PNN).

PNN enables automated posting of available orders to preferred business partners. The appropriate load information goes out via e-mail or fax at the time you’ve set and to the carriers you’ve selected. These carrier partners can then respond immediately by e-mail, fax, phone, or through the web portal you have created for them to get the loads they want. Some brokers have dubbed PNN “the silent salesman,” because the tool extends their ability to cover loads during the course of the business day.

To get a glimpse of how PNN works in practice, look at how it’s used by Overdrive Logistics, a freight brokerage company that serves the continental U.S. and Canada. Overdrive offers transportation solutions for dry and refrigerated freight as well as expedited, overnight delivery (within 600 miles). They are experts in time-sensitive freight and can handle specialty loads. We spoke with Ashley Grosch, Overdrive’s operations manager.

Why use PNN instead of the standard load-board posting services available?
We were solicited by a company that was offering a load-board-posting service, but it was an outside service and we didn’t like the lack of control. PNN allows us to target certain carriers with specific loads.

How does that work?
In many cases, we want carriers to see only the lanes that are specific to them, because this is more efficient for us and for our carriers. It saves time for everyone. PNN allows us to control which loads each carrier sees, based on what their needs are. We can also control the number of times a day we update our load postings to these carriers—once a day, six times a day, or something in between.

Are there other ways that you use PNN to work more efficiently with your carriers?
Some carriers have multiple dispatchers and we can send different loads to different dispatchers at the same carrier. We can tailor the load listing so that each dispatcher sees only the loads that they want to see. If you’re handling loads going to the Northeast, you don’t need to see loads going to Texas.

How have your carriers responded?
They’re very happy. Let me tell you a story. After it’s set up, PNN functions automatically, so e-mails were still being generated one day when a member of our staff was out. Soon we get a call from a carrier who says, “Where’s Brian?” Upon hearing that Brian is out today, the carrier says, “But he’s got this El Paso to Philadelphia load that I see on the list he sends me. I want that load. I need that load. Please send it to me.” The carrier knew that this particular load existed because PNN notified him about it. Brian’s not even here, and he’s covering freight. That really is leveraging technology.

 

 

Handling the Challenge of Excess Freight 

Why Now is the Time to Expand Your Use of Software Technology
01/28/2015

By Virgil Mahlstedt, Former McLeod Software Sales Advisor


Are you being asked to move more freight than ever before? If so, here are some thoughts about the ways that software technology can help you solve this nice problem you have:

• Boost efficiency
Software can assist you in reducing the empty miles by providing alerts via RANS or Filtering to Find Near. Fewer empty miles translates into more revenue-producing business. You can also use Out-of-Route alerts to reduce non-productive activity. Another place to focus your attention is the locations that take an excess of time to load or unload. Software can provide a constant averaging of the load/unload time by location. Keep track of this statistic so that you can try to correct the problem at these locations or even steer away from them altogether.

• Increase utilization
What is holding you back? If the tractors are the limiting factor, use software to manage relays or teams or a combination of the two. If drivers are the limiting factor, try finding new drivers through the Internet or by using HirePower to simplify the hiring process. You should also take steps to ensure you don’t lose the good drivers you already have. Toward this end, the built-in alerts on RDO and home locations can help you give the drivers the runs they request. Use the CSA information and driver scorecard tool to keep track of your efforts to meet driver expectations. If you are required to have appointments, the special design of the Appointments tool can help you avoid scheduling mishaps that waste time. And if a problem occurs or if there is an opportunity to speed things along, you want to know as quickly as possible. Stay on top of every load with ETA alerts that use Mobile Comm to provide up-to-the-minute visibility.

• Expand into alternate modes
Brokerage software will allow you to reach out to a host of other carriers with very little or no extra labor from your staff. This can help you meet the needs of your shippers without forcing your resources to bounce too far away. Another option is to use containers (Intermodal) for the linehaul portion of a movement. This frees up your equipment and allows you to increase your volume. Loadboards can also help. Posting your resources may net more local freight and posting distant loads may help another carrier. The end result is that both of you have less empty miles.

• Select the most profitable loads
Software can help you locate the best lanes, customers, commodities, locations, and such. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that the higher rate-per-mile is always the most profitable business. There are many cost factors to consider and the Profitability Analysis program can sort all of this out for you.

• Streamline your billing process
DocumentPower can give you a great boost in your cash flow by reducing the Days of Sales Outstanding (DSO). This software puts invoicing documentation into the hands of the customer much faster than customary manual methods. Improve your cash flow and you’ll have more money to invest in equipment, marketing, and finding good drivers, all of which will expand your ability to capture more of the business available.

Right now is the time to improve your business. Be smart with the ways you use your technology and you will do exactly that.

 

 

 

Making Your Customer Service Shine 

Some Tips on Taking Customer Service to the Next Level
01/06/2015

By Randy Seals, McLeod Software Customer Advocate


How important is customer service? Much more important than many transportation companies acknowledge. Customer service and the people in those positions play what may be the most critical role in profitability, growth, and success. You can have a fancy website, snazzy literature, a stellar sales force, the best drivers, and great dispatchers, but it can all come down to the customer service person assigned to an account. That’s who you are to your customers.

If you want to ensure your customer service is at peak performance, consider these tips:

• Don’t let communication technology become more important than communication itself.
All too often, we let technology take the front seat, get behind the wheel, and drive the most critical element of our business plan. When it comes to your customers, don’t assume that your ability to use e-mails, faxes, websites, and the like is ensuring that communication is taking place. Make sure your customer service reps are really communicating with your customers and understanding their needs.

 Find the right people.
Look for people who display talent for the position. Stop thinking of customer service reps as only clerical help or order takers. They’re truly your inside sales people. They know their assigned customers better than anyone. Talk to them, get their ideas and opinions. Your sales staff may sell business, but your customer service folks, and your drivers, develop and grow the business.

• Treat each customer as your most important customer.
Make each customer feel that he or she is your primary concern. Have your customer service reps avoid comments about other companies. Customers understand their position within your organization is based on their volume, but all customers should feel like they’re getting the royal treatment. Remember that the smaller guy today could be a larger guy tomorrow. 

• Be direct, be timely, and be honest.
Many times it’s uncomfortable, but the best approach is to be direct, be timely, and be honest. If the load is late, admit it, give a valid reason, and correct the issue. Then keep the customer posted. Business can be gained by the professional way you handle a mistake. Late loads are going to happen, mistakes will be made, and errors will occur. It is how your customer service rep responds to these problems that determines future tenders.

• Fix problems, find solutions, and emphasize the positive.
Attack complaints with a vengeance. Get to the bottom of it, find a way to solve it, and use the information to improve. Always emphasize the positive. Everything is an opportunity. Remember, it doesn’t matter who’s right. What matters is a solution that pleases the customer and benefits your company.

• Ask for more.
Customer service reps are a great resource because they know so much. They know the history of their customers and their seasonal flows. Tell your reps to be Oliver Twist—ask for more! Ask for business. Ask what is new. Ask where opportunity exists.  But ask! Too often we just take what we are given.

Customers depend on customer service personnel, and they develop relationships with them. The strength of these relationships will help to determine how successful you are in meeting the needs of your customers. Develop your customer service abilities, and you’ll see your volume grow. In the end, you’ll never regret devoting time and energy to customer service, because the simple fact is that without customers, we’d all go out of business.

 

The Connected Enterprise 

12/14/2014

By Tom McLeod, President and CEO

At this year’s User Conference, I opened with a discussion of “The Connected Enterprise.” This is a subject we believe is very important for all transportation companies. For quite some time, we have been striving to make your company a Connected Enterprise. Our development efforts in recent years have been focused on finding the best ways to help our customers realize this vision.

To be Connected, transportation companies need to be moving toward what I call “frictionless movement of information” across many traditional system boundaries. Not only does information need to flow freely within your company and your systems, it must also move easily, with little or no effort, with customers, drivers, carriers, and partners.

Connected Enterprises empower each person to have the right information at the right time.  This gives them a better chance to make the right decision, and win in the marketplace.

There are five technology streams we are focused on for our customers to help bring about the Connected Enterprise.

Proactive
It is essential to push the right information to the right person at the right time, rather than force them to go search for it. To that end, there must be mechanisms that collect and communicate information proactively to every employee, customer, and partner.  Once configured, there should be no further effort to get the information where it needs to go.

One great example of this is our Rapid Alert Notification System (RANS) which detects events, or a set of circumstances, that people need to know about and pushes that information to them in a variety of ways, including instant messages, texts, or emails. Other examples include our ETA/Out-of-Route module, the call check subsystem that monitors and alerts on any gaps in planned driver call in’s, and the report scheduler that proactively pushes critical reports to the right users’ email inbox every day.

In the future, we hope to provide alerts and information about events before they happen. We plan to even be able to warn about specific goals that you are not on track to achieve.

Workflow without Boundaries
Companies need automated workflow to help them automate business processes without boundaries, including those processes that extend beyond their own company. This concept of workflow enabled business processes that can cross these many boundaries means transportation companies can move to the paradigm of management by exception, and use business process automation to handle the routine elements of both their internal and external business processes.

Good examples of this today are the process automation tools in our system, such as rendition billing or FlowLogix that allows user configurable decision trees, in your own defined business processes.   Going forward we hope to provide better business process automation for driver and carrier onboarding that will incorporate both internal and external sources of information. We envision process automation solutions that create rating exception queues, or automated audit processes for things like lumper fees or tolls.

Big Insight
Connected Enterprises can take advantage of the “Big Data” at their disposal and do something truly useful by turning it into “Big Insight.” When companies can present managers and workers with actionable information, in easily understandable formats, and in timeframes where that understanding can influence decisions in a positive way, they gain the potential value of Big Insight that can be derived from the Big Data they have access to.

We have been able to put several of these big insight tools in place already with Profitability Analysis, Lane Analysis, Vital Signs, McLeod Navigator for strategic goals and KPI’s, and most recently the McLeod Carrier-Broker Exchange for greater market rate insight. As we look to the future, we see many more opportunities to give you rate decision support at critical decision points, such as load entry and the quote process. Our new Pricing and Bid Management system will continue to grow and incorporate even more rate and freight volume level information from inside and outside sources for lanes. We hope to continue to expand the use of driver hours and event planning beyond the first steps we have taken with our driver Feasibility function.

Mobility
The Connected Enterprise is mobile, and not just for drivers with mobile communication systems in the cab. It is essential that transportation companies take advantage of today’s mobile technologies to enable their employees to perform critical time sensitive work away from their desk. They must also find ways to connect with their customers and industry partners using these devices.

Our seventh and latest version of the McLeod Anywhere Mobile Applications will be released in a few weeks. We have already delivered the ability for your team to handle things like advance requests, checking load status, sending and receiving mobile communications messages, and seeing your KPI’s with Vital signs all on your mobile phone or tablet. At our Users’ Conference, we announced the McLeod Customer Branded Apps which will be available in the first quarter of 2015. These apps are ones you can brand for your company in the mobile app stores and provide to your customers, drivers, and outside carriers, so they can be connected with you through their mobile devices.

Connectable Architecture
Every Connected Enterprise has systems that are easy to integrate with the outside world, both quickly and inexpensively, using low cost Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) paradigms such as web services. As the acceptance of this approach to building interfaces and communications bridges between systems continues to grow, the Connected Enterprise will take advantage of it because their systems already support it. It is a competitive advantage, and as time passes, it will become essential.

This aspect of your system may not be as visible to you today as the other technology streams we identified, but it is crucial, and you already have a leg up with your McLeod system. In the last few years, we have been able to move most of our new interfaces with outside systems and services to Web Services. This Service Oriented Architecture makes new integrations less expensive and quicker to implement, while also reducing the expense associated with maintaining them. Our current Application Program Interface (API) document is over 350 pages long and growing. As an example of how valuable this technology is, in a recent request for a new integration solution from one of our customers, we found that using the existing McLeod API with the vendor reduced our labor to produce the interface from two weeks to a single day.

We believe that there are so many new connections we can help you gain from this SOA technology, the sky is the limit. We are using them to connect our customers to new rating sources, directly with shipper systems, offering load status information to external systems, and soon to integrate rail rates and schedules with your system.

When these Technology Streams Come Together
Connected Enterprises also set the stage to drive improvement. They create an environment where continuous improvement programs and goal setting flourish. This happens when Big Insight, Workflow & Automation, and Frictionless Information are combined to produce extraordinary results.

Thank you again for your business the opportunity you have given us to help you grow and become more connected. We are excited about the future the opportunity to go there together with you!

 

Lane Analysis for Brokers 

How Brokers and Logistics Providers Can Use the Lane Analysis Tools in PowerBroker to Expand Capacity, Improve Margins, and Increase Volume
11/18/2014

By Randy Seals, McLeod Software Customer Advocate

Everyone knows that carriers have lanes, but do brokers and logistics providers have lanes, too? Absolutely. That’s what you bid for. That’s your yield. That’s where your money’s generated. In this sense, lanes are assets, so even brokers have assets. If you don’t claim your lanes as your assets, you’re ignoring a valuable source of information that can be used to improve your business.

McLeod’s PowerBroker system contains a wealth of valuable data about lanes, so why not put it to productive use? When this data is analyzed and studied with care, you gain invaluable knowledge about your business. You can see in fine detail the role that lanes play for your company, and you can determine precisely which actions are needed to expand capacity, improve margins, and increase volume. Empowering you to boost your business in these ways is what Lane Analysis is all about.


Secure and Expand Capacity

Lane Analysis can help you strengthen your relationships with your carriers so that you secure more capacity. You can examine your freight patterns to see where your sweet spots are. Your goal is to know your lanes backward and forwards. Learn about every factor that may affect carriers, such as fuel prices, weather, and traffic. Lanes brand a broker in the eyes of a carrier.

Then put the Lane Analysis data on your website. What’s your average LOH? Let them know that, too. In this way, Lane Analysis becomes your carrier-attraction tool. This in-depth knowledge improves your ability to market your business to carriers. If you can show them in detail what you need, you’re more likely to find the right carriers, and finding these carriers will expand your capacity.

And when you send them somewhere, help them get back out. As a broker, you may not have to deal directly with backhauls and deadhead, but if it’s a problem for your carriers, you need to think of it as your problem too. Find out what your carriers need, then look at the data on your lanes and see if you can find ways to help the drivers get back out after they drop the loads they carried for you. Look at your lanes by state and also by market. Be sure to get everything in view and find carriers that want to work every lane that you run.


Improve Margins

Improved margins show up directly on the bottom line, and an excellent strategy for making improvement is knowing your lanes inside and out. Use Lane Analysis to look at all of the variables that affect margin in each lane, including inbound versus outbound, volume and margin percentage per state, commodities, claims and accidents, carrier pay, and accessorials.

Concentrate on expanding your good lanes and scrutinize your bad lanes. Lane Analysis can show you where your good freight is, so that you can get more of it. The lanes that have the highest margins are where your salespeople need to be focusing. But not all freight is good freight. You have decide what you want and what you don’t want, and then build your identity around that.


Increase Volume

Use the data from Lane Analysis to look for backhaul opportunities. There are sales opportunities there. Another angle is examining all of the geographical data concerning your lanes, including the state, the consignee’s location, and the zip code. This makes it easy for you to see what freight might be in the neighborhood. Go after that freight and build up your density in those lanes. You can also use Lane Analysis to pitch your lanes to new shippers. When they see that you specialize in running the lanes they need, you have a much better chance of getting their higher volume business from the start.


We Can Help You Do More

The Lane Analysis tool within your PowerBroker system is one more way you can maximize the value of McLeod Software. Our goal is to help you work smarter, not harder.

 

 

Driver Feasibility 

A Valuable New Feature in the Latest Version of LoadMaster
11/03/2014

By Robert Brothers, McLeod Software Customer Advocate

Dispatching can be a risky business. You want to match a load with a driver, but do you have the right driver? There are a lot of factors that come into play. You have to look at the driver’s progress with his current load and determine when he’ll be free and where he’ll be at that time. Then you have to calculate the driving time needed to get to the next load’s pickup point, the driving time for hauling the load, and loading and unloading time.

Then comes the hard part. You have to match all of these times against the driver’s available hours of service (HOS). Make a mistake in your calculations and you may assign the load to a driver whose HOS limitations end up forcing him to take a long break before delivering the load. If this happens, and he misses the delivery window, you’ve got a service failure on your hands.


How It Works

Driver Feasibility is the new feature in LoadMaster that helps you manage all of this easily and quickly. Here’s how it works. Say that you’ve got a pre-assignment up on your load planning screen in LoadMaster. You start by clicking on the “Find Near” button, which brings up the drivers closest to the load’s origin. Select a driver from the list and then click on the “Feasibility” command.

LoadMaster instantly evaluates whether or not it’s feasible for this driver to haul this load. The system looks at the current load, notes the truck’s current location and expected delivery time, and ensures that there are no other planned activities that would make that driver unavailable. Then it looks at the pre-assignment and calculates times for driving empty, loading, hauling the load, fueling, breaks, and unloading. It matches all of these times to HOS data collected by electronic HOS reporting in mobile comm units and decides if the driver has the needed available hours to make the delivery on time. Once you’ve found your driver, you can click the “Pre-assign” button and you’re good to go.

Given that pre-assignments are often made many hours in advance, you may want to check back later to ensure that the driver you chose is still in good shape to take the load. Maybe he’s been delayed and no longer can meet the schedule. You can check his feasibility again by clicking the “Preplan Feasible” button.


Timeline Display

All of these calculations can be viewed in a timeline display that mimics the appearance of a driver’s log. The timeline shows the loading and unloading time, driving time, and break time that LoadMaster is projecting for this load. Maybe the system says a particular driver isn’t feasible, but when you examine the timeline, you decide that the driving time was too high. You can go ahead and assign the load to this driver. In this case, a box will come up asking for a comment. You can explain why you’re choosing this driver, and the comment will be stored in the order history record.


A Powerful Training Tool

Experienced dispatchers have learned to juggle all of these variables, but even the best can make mistakes, and there’s always the issue of training new personnel. Driver Feasibility helps ensure that new people learn all of the factors that must be considered when choosing a driver for a load. All of the evaluations and calculations involved are on view, so it’s easy to gain a clear understanding of the full picture.

Dispatching may still be a risky business at times, but we hope that Driver Feasibility is one more way that McLeod Software is helping LoadMaster users minimize that risk.

 

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