Shipping should be simple. Put the item in a box, put the box on a vehicle, and watch your customer smile. But as we all know, it never works like that. There are a startling number of variables to juggle every time you ship. To get the best rates, you and your team need to roll up your sleeves and apply the elbow grease. It’s a ton of work. But creating your own logistics team or paying for a cumbersome transportation management system (TMS) uses precious resources. What’s the solution? 

The Buyer's Guide To Shipping Software


First, let’s review just five of the many things you need to know about when you’re shipping LTL. But don’t get scared by the complexity. At the end, we’ll give you one simple trick to save you time for the things you care about most — running your business.

1. Find the perfect carrier.

No problem, you might say. There’s certain to be a carrier to meet your needs. But how will you identify them. Take a quick look at this list of carriers. Only 25 of them! And there are more. How can you choose the best one? You can start by finding a simple, powerful software solution that will identify the best carrier(s) for you.

2. Research TMS solutions 

There are many powerful TMS solutions available. In fact, your first problem is, you’ve got too much choice. A quick survey of the field produces 65 options, and there are more. But this is the least of your worries. Let’s think for a moment about cost. Installing a TMS involves computer hardware, software licenses, and maintenance. Plus, you need to hire people who can use the software skillfully. Expect an initial cost of $10,000-$50,000.

3. Know your freight class.

Freight class is a huge factor in determining shipping costs, so you’ll want to get it right. But there are 18 different freight classes. Which one is yours? Sorry, it’s not that easy. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association doesn’t allow freight classes or NMFC codes to be posted online to the public. Get the classification wrong, and you pay through the teeth. Again, you’ll need help.


A Buyer's Guide To Shipping Software!


4. Scramble for the best rates. 

Freight shopping is no fun. Shipping rates can vary widely from carrier to carrier, so you’ll want to shop across carriers to find the best rate for any given shipment. To get the cheapest rates, you’ll want to set up smart contracts with carriers, and maintain and renegotiate those contracts each year.

5. And there’s more.

Don’t forget about tracking (“Hey, where is that box?”); crunch time (“I needed it yesterday.”); insurance (“The box is broken and it’s empty!”); and the highly important but much-dreaded freight audit (“Why is this costing more than they said it would?”). We’ll cover all of these topics in a future post. But meanwhile, you’ve got a business to run.

So, what’s the answer?

All of these tasks take time, manpower, and smarts to manage. But that’s not what you’ve been put on the planet to do. As an SMB, you and your team have got more important things on your mind, such as R&D, marketing, and customer service. One obvious solution is to sign up for a TMS, as we suggested. But these systems are typically designed for 3PLs, freight forwarders, and carriers. You’re an SMB. A TMS may be overkill. It will cost you an arm and a leg, but will it meet your needs? Probably not.

Help on the horizon 

Fortunately, we’re in the 21st century. You don’t call your friends on a rotary phone. So why should you log onto multiple websites or use an elaborate transportation management system? Today, you can use an app that puts all of these functions at your fingertips.

We developed FreightPOP specifically with your needs in mind.

The streamlined, powerful, path breaking FreightPOP app gives you everything you need: freight-rate shopping, LTL freight quotes, centralized tracking, air cargo, ocean freight, freight reporting, freight invoice auditing, and much, much more. We make it easy for you to compare rates from your carriers, schedule pick-up, print a bill of lading and labels, track the shipment, collect and report data on every shipment, and gain visibility into carriers, rates, and routes.

In the end, you walk away with what you need most — time, precious time. For more information about FreightPOP, contact us today.


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