Five-point Plan

Five-point Plan

Copyright 2002, Traffic World Magazine

I think your coverage of Strategic Technology Inc.'s demise has been very informative. Being on the receiving end of several recent major client transitions from STI, we are in a unique position to share what I consider to be the five "must do's" in selecting the correct logistics information management service.

-- Manage your business. Manage both external and internal processes. To keep things in the proper perspective, theft from traditional third-party payment providers (e.g. ADP, American Express, etc.) has proven to be inconsequential when compared with internal theft. Enron and WorldCom are just two of the most recent examples of this fact. The point is, the same basic business controls of following up with carrier calls, weekly report review, weekly spot checks, etc., all are required to insure the right level of fiduciary control for both internal and external processes.

-- Understand your service options. Traditionally clients were looking for just audit and payment services, but now clients are recognizing that today's more expansive transportation management solutions can incorporate these same financial services with the additional benefits of online shipping, supply-chain visibility and data warehousing resulting in significantly greater overall savings for the same basic price.

-- Understand your payment options. While traditional freight audit and payment processes (with the correct business partner and financial controls) are fine for most clients, payment innovations also should be strongly considered for additional efficiencies and savings. These should include "Positive Pay" banking controls as well as p-card and prepayment programs that actually can eliminate the traditional billing process. You will want to select a partner that offers all of these payment options and one that does not try to push one option over another. For example, we provide payment as just another service option like online shipping, tracking, accounting, reporting, etc.

-- How to conduct a selection process. The selection process is actually very straightforward in that there are really only a handful of quality national multicarrier providers to consider. A great start is with the carriers. While carriers cannot generally provide specific individual references, they can share the group of companies that work well within their network (EDI, collections, etc.). Follow up with any of these companies, ask who their competitors are, ask for one or two RFPs, and you will have an excellent start.

-- Do your due diligence. As basic as it sounds, get your carriers' input, require audited financials and perform on-site visits to insure security audits, system backups and other key points of system performance and data security are solidly in place before committing your company.

The good news is that global shippers have excellent logistics information management options available if they just focus on these five core areas of importance.

Mason Kauffman

Founder & CEO