The transportation of every shipment requires collaboration with carriers. Carrier collaboration can be achieved in various ways with Oracle Transportation Management (OTM):
Communicating through EDI with carriers that have EDI transmission capabilities
Email and fax-based communication
Offline communication on phone followed by manual entry of response into the system
Carrier collaboration using the OTM Carrier Portal
We will focus on the simplest and the easiest approach to implementing carrier collaboration, which is the OTM Carrier Portal. OTM provides a carrier domain named SERVPROV. Every service provider in the operational domain creates a user ID in the SERVPROV domain. In most cases, this is the user ID provided to carrier. The most commonly used features in this domain are:
Responding to the tender sent to the carrier (normal as well as spot tender)
Adding shipment tracking events for visibility
Apart from the above there are several other very useful features that can enable more effective communication with carriers. Let us take a look at some of the important ones.
Many of the shippers and 3PLs, have different carrier IDs created in their ERP systems. In reality, however, these multiple IDs represent the same carrier. Especially for 3PLs depending on the OTM domain strategy they have, the same carrier IDs created in multiple domains. When the tender is sent, it is the same carrier user that responds. It can be frustrating for carrier users if they need to use a different ID for every carrier ID created in OTM. The "Manage User Association" feature helps overcome this problem by creating a single ID for all carrier IDs.
The reverse is also true where there are various users for the same carrier, depending on the location from where the shipment is being dispatched. "Manage User Association" again comes to the rescue by associating dispatch locations with users based on the source location of the shipment.
Carrier Capacity Limits
Carrier capacity is usually used to denote the capacity provided by the carrier. But the capacity keeps changing depending on the situation. With OTM, the carrier can override the capacity for any lane(s) so that the actual capacity available is used for planning.
The self billing process is fast catching on with shippers. More and more shippers are creating carrier invoices themselves and asking carriers to validate the invoices. This can be easily implemented by tweaking the existing Virtual Private Database (VPD). There are two ways of achieving this:
Provide access to view the shipment and ask carriers to verify the cost on the shipment and provide feedback
Generate the invoice and provide access to carriers to verify the invoice. If the carrier accepts the OTM generated invoices, only then is the invoice approved to create vouchers
The invoice view has a placeholder for comments if the invoice is not acceptable. The operational user can then change the invoice based on the feedback.
This speeds up the carrier billing process and provides complete visibility on the current status of the transaction including the current responsible party.
Response to Bids
OTM provides a sourcing feature which can be used to attract bids from carriers. As a part of this process, an Excel sheet is sent for the carrier's response. The Carrier Portal is an effective platform to upload response bids. The upload of Excel files reduces time for the response and also helps with ongoing data integration. While uploading, the system verifies the structure of the Excel file allowing the carrier to rectify it in case an error occurs.
Since, not all carriers are EDI-enabled and communication using phone, email, fax, etc., is difficult to track, visibility into the transportation chain is impaired. In this scenario, the OTM Carrier Portal with its robust features including custom menus and screen sets provides a highly efficient and convenient way of communicating with carriers.Do drop in to meet with us at the Infosys booth during the OTM SIG APAC Conference. We will be happy to discuss how you can improve your carrier collaboration.