November 11, 2022

Is your transportation procurement process stuck in the past?

While few transportation managers have ever looked forward to procurement season, at least it used to only come once a year. Today, with all the market uncertainties, severe weather events, rising fuel costs, carrier capacity issues and other interruptions to the supply chain, freight procurement has become an almost constant source of stress and frustration. The average time it currently takes to complete one full cycle of the RFP process is four months. But as most companies will attest, that process now happens on a regular basis through frequent mini-bids, meaning that all the legwork of securing freight at a decent price happens year-round on a dizzying, overlapping schedule. 

The increasing need to constantly renegotiate shipping contracts makes traditional procurement tools — spreadsheets, email, paper forms — frustratingly slow and prone to the kind of errors that often happen when attempting to manage complex processes manually and on disjointed systems. Slip-ups such as misplaced orders and incorrect shipping schedules due to human error, bottlenecks and delays caused by the sheer number of RFPs that need to be managed, poor communication with carriers due to challenges and limitations that come from manual methods — these the challenges are all too common in manual procurement operations, and each of them brings additional costs and lost time to a business. Plus, when they’re not getting what they need when they need it, customers quickly lose brand trust and won’t hesitate to get the products and services they need elsewhere. For all these reasons, Shipwell is proud to launch its innovative RFP automation solution. Built directly into our powerful and full-featured TMS, this new tool saves time and money by scaling freight procurement processes, providing valuable market insights and keeping track of essential communications — all in one place.

Shipwell's RFP Automation in action

How does automation work to streamline the RFP process?

The beauty of Shipwell’s new RFP automation solution is that it eliminates the need for the time-consuming back and forth of manual processes, making it simple to scale. In less time than you used to spend dealing with one carrier, you can now complete the entire RFP process with dozens or even hundreds of carriers. Instead of starting a new email thread with attached spreadsheets for each potential carrier, you simply select the carriers that fit your specifications from a comprehensive list of options. Without ever leaving the TMS platform, you’ll be able to send, receive, analyze and award your RFP carrier bids. It’s easy to see how this kind of process scaling leads to enormous time savings.

Even more valuable than the time automation can save in the procurement process is the cost savings it offers as well — especially with many shippers overpaying by as much as 25% on their shipping costs. RFP automation delivers instant access to how every bid received compares to market prices, so you’ll never have to worry about overpaying again. When your carriers submit their bids, they’ll automatically populate a user-friendly chart showing you exactly where each bid stacks up in comparison to current and historic pricing data for that lane. At this point, you have the option of providing feedback to any preferred carriers that came in above the market and allow them to re-bid if they choose, providing shippers with a data-based advantage in negotiations while allowing all communication to me managed directly from within the platform. 

“With the right data at your fingertips, you can feel confident that you’re choosing the right balance between price and reliability…”

What good is a great price, though, if a carrier has a history of being unreliable and ends up dropping the ball at the last minute — especially when cost goes up an average of 14% when shippers are forced to rebook those rejected tenders? Shipwell leverages the power of big data to ensure you’re not stuck scrambling to secure new freight capacity after that “great deal” falls through. Before you send any carrier an RFP, you’ll be able to see at a glance which lanes and carriers have high rejection rates or are being affected by another risk factor, such as seasonality or weather events. With the right data at your fingertips, you can feel confident that you’re choosing the right balance between price and reliability, and that the chance of your shipments being dropped, damaged, delivered late or otherwise impacted by poor performance is greatly reduced. With all of the disruptive changes in the supply chain over the past few years, your team members who handle procurements have seen an increase in stress and job pressures as their workload has increased and their tasks have become exponentially more complex. Over 95% of shippers recently polled say they have made leveraging automation in the procurement process a priority, and Shipwell’s new RFP automation solution provides the answer to this urgent and growing demand. We’re here to make sure you not only keep up with competitors, but that you have the clear advantage with the most advanced and efficient tools available to help you succeed.

Discover how Shipwell’s newest tool helps you keep your supply chains on track.

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