Shipwell and KeepTruckin Partner to Create Cutting-Edge Supply Chain Visibility

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Today, we’re announcing that Shipwell, a leader in freight automation, has partnered and integrated with KeepTruckin, the #1-rated ELD solution by drivers, because we recognized the critical role that hours-of-service and location tracking play in freight automation.

While I was at McKinsey & Co, I consulted for Fortune 500 retailers, grocers, and oil & gas providers that command some of the largest and most complicated supply chains in the world, and I saw the same problems over and over. Limited visibility, lack of investment in technology, poor data quality and accuracy, and rising customer expectations are a significant burden to even the most sophisticated companies.

For today’s businesses, there’s a good chance that everything they do - Amazon could do better. Simply because Amazon has invested aggressively into talent, technology, and their supply chain while most businesses were focused on cutting supplier costs and staffing up marketing or business development.

Looking forward, the future of freight is connected, smart, and automated. Orders should come in and be smartly aggregated and routed based on cost, performance, and risk. Automated warehouses should prepare orders based on the schedule of arriving trucks much like a flight traffic control tower. An automated forklift will load a semi-automated truck, which is able to communicate location, weather, and traffic changes to be combined with machine learning to produce accurate ETAs throughout the journey of a shipment, all while being visible with all parties and IT systems.

Through our integration and partnership with KeepTruckin, we are making a good step towards that future, and for the over 500,000 carriers in Shipwell’s network, they will be able to:

  • Share their location and hours-of-service (HOS) with their dispatcher.

  • Share HOS and location information with their shippers, who will receive automated geofenced alerts when the carrier is about to arrive at a pickup or delivery destination, which leads to a seamless and efficient freight shipping experience.

  • Carriers will also get notifications for nearby available loads that would be a good fit for them based on their equipment type and remaining HOS.

  • Vetted carriers with a KeepTruckin ELD that connect to Shipwell will be eligible for net-3 ‘quick-pay’ payment terms with no fees on shipments run through the Shipwell platform whenever Shipwell is named on the bill of lading as the bill-to party.

If you’re interested in getting started with KeepTruckin, you can find out more information here, and if you’re interested in the integration between Shipwell and KeepTruckin, you can reach out to us at: sales@shipwell.com.

The future of freight is delightful!

This is an article written by one of our employees, Tyler Wolfe, on his experiences in freight before and after joining Shipwell. 

When I started at Shipwell, I had very little direct experience with the freight industry, but I'd been around it my entire life. My dad has driven a truck since before I can remember, and I can distinguish a Kenworth from a Peterbilt or Mac. I know the lingo and the etiquette of how to drive next to a big truck, which has led to more than my fair share of "brake light thank you's" from truckers. These are all things that come with growing up in a trucker’s household.

That being said, my Dad stopped going across the country when I was born. He didn't like being so far away from home so he stuck with the local routes and mostly got out of the freight world altogether. So despite my proximity to trucks, shipping freight represented a hole in my education.

Enter Shipwell.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve received a crash course on the freight world. New terminology along with a slew of new and interesting problems that can come up and how to resolve them.

It was overwhelming at first, but like with most things you figure it out as you go. The team here at Shipwell was and continues to be one of the best in the industry with a steady eye on the future and everything new coming down the pipeline.

Our biggest company goal and a frequent conversation centerpiece is, "how can we make shipping freight delightful?"

We know that moving freight is not usually easy, straightforward, or delightful, and the amount of problems that can happen is astronomical. There are a lot of people and moving parts involved, and something is bound to go wrong if hands are not held throughout the entire process - even then it’s not a guarantee.  All of us at Shipwell believe we have the best technology platform available for booking and tracking LTL and FTL freight shipments, and our customer service is fantastic because from quote to delivery and even after, we are happy to answer our customers questions.

We don’t play favorites with our customers, we value every one of them and often go above-and-beyond to help them out.

Proactivity is a very important to us.

We monitor our platform for any carrier problems and work to get ahead of them. If we can't get ahead of it, we are always available to talk with our customers and work them out. 

Delightful freight shipping is a lofty goal, but it’s a reachable one.

Even though sometimes freight shipping can feel like climbing a mountain in flip flops, we are here to help our customers everyday. We understand that your business is important to you, and that your time is precious. We are here to make your life easier and take an aspect of your world that can cause you frustration and anger and turn it into a delightful experience that you will no longer dread dealing with.

 

If you're interested in a position at Shipwell, consider letting us know more about you! And if you're interested in learning more about how Shipwell can help your business ship freight, schedule some time to speak with us!

Introducing Shipwell: Helping every business ship freight as well as Amazon

Wherever you are, right now, take a look around. Just a casual glance around you.

Over 80% of everything you see was on a truck at some point. Freight shipping is a gigantic industry, one that employs more than 5% of the United States and generates over $900 billion a year. Despite this, most of it is still incredibly manual, and the process for quoting, booking, and tracking trucks usually requires dozens of phone calls, emails, and faxes.

Everyone we know who’s ever worked in or dealt with freight shipping has more than their fair share of grudges and frustrations, from spending too much time every day getting quotes to missing a child’s baseball game to wait for a truck that was still 300 miles away. These problems aren’t isolated to small companies. Large companies face them too, and the stakes are even higher. It’s not uncommon for companies to lose a million dollars a day  when a factory or oil rig has to shut down waiting for a critical shipment to arrive.

Only a few large industry leaders, like Amazon and Walmart, have undertaken the investment necessary to turn their shipping operations into a competitive advantage -- and they’re only getting better. Everyone else has customers demanding better shipping options and more visibility, and they simply can’t keep up.

We built Shipwell to be the easiest, most automated way for any business to ship anything anywhere.

Shipwell connects shippers (businesses that ship freight), brokers (third parties that manage freight), and carriers (truckers that haul freight) into one platform for faster quoting, dispatching, tracking, and communicating.

Shippers and brokers can manage all of their freight in an easy-to-use online platform, without the grunt work usually associated with freight shipping. Shipwell lets them get multiple quotes, book instantly, and track all of their shipments in real-time. They receive notifications if there’s something noteworthy about a shipment and can choose to share those notifications directly with their customers too.

We’ve integrated via APIs, ELD partnerships, and our native mobile app into over 100 carrier fleets, which represent nearly 500,000 trucks across the US and covers everything from owner operators and small fleets all the way to some of the biggest names in the industry, like Fedex and UPS.

Freight brokers and third-party logistics companies (“3PLs”) are first-class citizens in Shipwell’s platform, which sets us apart from other startups in the space that are actively trying to disrupt them. While we’ve successfully shipped for hundreds of businesses directly, we’ve also helped our 3PL partners book freight on behalf of major brands including Samsung, Shell, and Dasani.

One of our earliest customers, Lumi, is a startup that makes custom packaging for e-commerce businesses. They used to spend 10 hours a week getting freight quotes through multiple emails, phone calls, and websites, but as their business started to scale, this manual work became unmanageable. By using Shipwell, they were able to cut that down to just 2 hours a week and provide their customers with a better shipping experience.

Right now, we’re making it easy to ship, track, and manage freight on trucks. That’s not a small feat, but our ability to automate the freight shipping experience opens up a world of possibilities. It will allow us to build towards a world with complete transparency into a shipment’s price, transit time, and status. By knowing where freight capacity is and how it compares to demand, Shipwell will be able to automatically optimize and tighten supply chains across multiple modes of transportation.

We’re Shipwell, and we believe that every business should be able to ship well. If you’d like to learn more or sign up, you can find us at shipwell.com.

Volumetric Pricing: How to understand the new way LTL freight is priced

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Picking the right less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier is never an easy task. Every carrier is different, each with their own idiosyncrasies and a bunch of different rules for doing the same things.

One of those rules is how the calculate freight class.

Once upon a time there was a set rule that all carriers followed that made picking freight class easier. These were the NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification) codes. The NMFC codes were always changing to meet the ever expanding list of shippable items, but mostly the codes were standardized and made picking the right one easier.

In recent years carriers have gotten a lot smarter about how they determine freight class. The advent of new technology has allowed carriers to more accurately weigh and plan out shipment to better fit in their trailers. This has led to a rise in a new way of determining freight class called Volumetric Pricing.

What is LTL Volumetric Pricing?

The basic tenets of volumetric pricing are simple. There is limited space in a trailer for carriers to utilize. Carriers are going to try and use that space the best they can with the least amount of waste and the highest profit possible.

This is why a lot of carriers are moving towards this new style of pricing. NMFC codes are an old way of looking at freight, they were put into use in the 1940s and were the industry standard until very recently. With the advent of new technology to better measure and weigh freight, carriers have been making the switch to volumetric pricing.

How is Volumetric Freight priced?

Volumetric shipping is based on both the true or actual weight of the shipment, as well as the volumetric weight or density.

In order to calculate the volumetric rate, you need to multiply the length of the shipment, by its width and height, and divide that number by 1,728 (12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches) if all your dimensions are in inches. This number is the volume of the your shipment.

Now you need to take that number and divide the actual or true weight by the volume and that will give you the density of the shipment. The density is the magic number that carriers are looking at when it comes to these new rules. There are online density calculator if math wasn’t your best subject in school, such as the ones inside Shipwell's web application.

However, density is not the only factor they look at, but it plays a large part in determining the freight class. Other important things that factor into freight class are the shipments stowability, special handling needs and the liability the carrier is taking on when agreeing to ship your item.

Basically, how easy to handle is your freight, how fragile is it, and what is its value.

The future of freight pricing

NMFC codes aren't gone as some carriers still use them, but going forward, it's going to be even more important to understand how a carrier prices freight and, if it's volumetric, being able to calculate the density of that shipment.

Every LTL carrier understands that the best way to run profitable freight is to understand the size and weight of its shipments to better fit more shipments onto a trailer. This also means that shippers, the businesses shipping freight, need to accurately measure their freight because LTL carriers will charge overage variances on freight that comes in heavier, lighter, or bigger than it was originally quoted for. 

The freight industry is going to continue catering to carriers, who will continue maximizing the productivity of their trucks. The best thing that you can do is make sure your weights and measurements are correct and to stay on top of your carrier's pricing changes or choose to work with a knowledgable third-party with experience in LTL freight shipping (ahem). 

If you have questions about how to best move your freight, you can always reach out to us at sales@shipwell.com or sign up to see how Shipwell can help you ship well.

What to expect when shipping LTL

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Have you ever gone to a movie with sky high expectations only to be disappointed by everything about it? You saw the trailer and thought it looked funny or compelling, or both! Then you get to the theater and the opening credits start to roll and its two hours of forced dialogue, wooden actors, and a pacing that could drive Carrie Nation to drink.

Having the right level of expectations is important to having a delightful experience. The same is true for shipping less-than-truckload (LTL) freight. Going in with high expectations is only going to lead to disappointment. Knowing where you stand upfront can help mitigate disappointment and keep your expectations in check. Here are a few things that you can do to better manage your expectations:

1. Pallets, Pallets, Pallets!

One of the easiest things you can do to make shipping freight easier for yourself as well as the carriers is utilizing standard pallets. LTL is not like shipping parcel. If you are trying to ship ten boxes to someone, shipping them individually is a recipe for disaster. Things are going to get lost or damaged. If you were to put those ten boxes on a pallet and ship them all together it will cut down on the chances of damage and lost items. It’ll also make the carriers happy that they only have manage one pallet and not ten boxes.

2. Be Prepared Before the Carrier Arrives

LTL carriers are not in the 'standing around' business. Most carriers will not wait for you to get the shipment ready while they wait at your door. If the freight is not ready when they arrive, they are going to turn around and head back to the terminal and probably charge you for the dry run. The best way to insure you’re not charged a dry run fee is to have the freight ready before you book the carrier. Obviously, if you are booking a pickup a week in advance, you won’t need to be ready before booking - but as a general rule of thumb it's good to be prepared in advance.

3. The Two-Hour Window

One of the biggest things that is overlooked when it comes to LTL is the time it takes the carriers to mobilize and get their ducks in a row to get out for a pickup. At an absolute minimum, carriers require two hours between booking and pickup. 

This varies between carriers, and there are some exceptions, such as if the carrier was already coming out to your location - but a good rule is two hours. This means trying to schedule a same day pickup at 3 PM probably isn’t the best idea. Some carriers do same day pickups, but the later in the day you book the shipment the less likely the pickup will occur as planned.

4. Know Your Timeframe

Does it need to be there by a certain day? How about before noon? LTL freight is not a precise industry.

There are countless things that can go wrong and slow the process down along the way. Driver errors, terminal backlog, missed departure times and a whole host of other things that can happen. If it needs to be there by a certain date, springing for a guaranteed delivery or one of the premium carriers might be the better option. Timing is not LTL’s strength. Carriers are dealing with thousands of shipments and trying to get them where they need to be as fast as possible. There are a lot of moving parts so flexibility on your part is a necessity, especially when it comes to delivery dates.

The End!

To recap, LTL freight is a complex web of possibilities. Things go wrong all the time, but setting the right expectations can make the process less painful. The few things we talked about here can help with this process. Palletizing your loads, having them ready before the carrier arrives, booking more than two hours before pickup, and understanding that carrier timeframes change can go a long way.

Laying the groundwork before booking makes all the difference. LTL can be stressful, but if you go in with an open mind and the ability to be flexible, it can work for you. Happy Shipping.