Freight management refers to the entire process of organizing inbound and outbound goods for transport. This process ensures that the right products get to the right places in the right timeframe and at the right price. It does this by coordinating the processes between all parties—carriers, distributors, vendors, and shippers—to prepare, ship, store, and receive freight. The goal is simple; get the cargo to its destination safely, timely, and in the most efficient way possible. It is also through this system that freight is actively monitored and issues (if any) are resolved accordingly. All in an effort to get the freight to its destination in one piece.
Having said that, it is important to note that in general, freight management is really only a term that is tossed around when talking about full-truckload (FTL), less-than-truckload (LTL), and small parcel shipments. For larger freight that requires placement on a vessel for transport, the whole process is a bit more complex. While those shipments still have some sort of freight management system in place, it goes far beyond the basics. So for the sake of clarity and brevity, we will be discussing the type of freight management that happens with standard-sized freight.
Freight management solutions can be set up completely in-house, but this is growing increasingly rare. In-house logistics are often too expensive and complex. In most cases, shippers opt to partner with a reputable 3PL to overlook their supply chain operations.
What is involved in freight management?
As you may have noticed, freight management is a bit of an obscure term. In fact, it is a rather large umbrella term that covers a number of processes that go into moving goods throughout the supply chain. It’s the management of literally everything from the moment the goods leave the warehouse until they arrive at the customer’s doorstep. Sometimes, management continues even after delivery! There are so many different bits and pieces that make up the whole of a true freight management system. So, in order to give you an idea of some of the things it encompasses, we’ve put together a small list…
•Route optimization: ensuring the fastest route(s) for transport
•Rate negotiation: finding the right price with the right carrier and services
•Accounting and auditing: tracking and improving the numbers involved in freight forwarding
•Claim management: organizing and handling scenarios (insurance or otherwise) of lost or damaged goods
•Data collection: tracking routes and processes to gather insights about more effective operations
•Tariff and regulation management: ensuring the goods and transportation are compliant with government protocols
•Warehouse distribution: handling organization of packages in warehouses throughout the transport process
•Carrier and vendor management: maintaining relationships with everyone along the supply and transport chain
•Integrations: working with organization departments, transportation management systems (TMS), and enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) to centralize and streamline