FreightTracer Blog

< Back to all posts

The Inbound Puzzle – Removing the Blindfold

by Lance Beebe

June 24, 2017 | 3:31 am

In a booklet titled Freight Facts and Figures 2013, published by the U.S. DOT, Bureau of Transportation Statics, the following observation is made: “The Nation’s 118.7 million households, 7.4 million business establishments, and 89,004 governmental units are part of an economy that demands the efficient movement of freight. While the U.S. economy has been affected by an economic downturn, it is recovering and will continue to grow. Long-term economic growth will result in even greater demand for freight transportation.”


Essential part of US transportation…

The trucking industry has a major impact on the U.S. economy. According to the FreightCenter™ website, “The most essential part of the US transportation infrastructure is the trucking industry. Almost 70% of freight in the US is transported by trucks. The total amount spent on trucking a year is over $700 billion.”

And finally, the website, reports in an article titled Investigative Report: 2016 Trucking Industry Forecast/Expectations, that “In order to meet the continued demands of the recovering economy, experts within the trucking industry expect the number of truckloads moved by carriers around the country to increase in 2016. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), 81 percent of the total revenue seen in the shipping sector was the result of activity by trucking companies. Steady increases are expected with revenues swelling by 66 percent by 2022.” The emphasis is added.

…….2022 is only five years away!

Opportunity or Nightmare…

Depending on your perspective this is either a magnificent opportunity or a magnificent nightmare. Trying to manage the logistics of the freight industry is a challenge now! Look at what it is projected to be in 2022.

According to the definition found in, the word logistics is defined as “having the right thing, at the right place, at the right time.” While that is true, they left off a critical component: “while controlling the cost”.

After all, if you don’t control the cost, then all three of the “rights” are meaningless. And by 2022 they could be impossible, unless the logistics are managed correctly and costs are kept reasonable.

Cost Control…

Cost control is accomplished in many ways. A short list includes:

  • First concentrate on Inbound costs. Bryan Ball, VP and Principle Analyst/Supply Chain Management for the Aberdeen Group, in his report titled: Visibility: The Key to Managing your Inbound Retail Supply Chain, he reports that 85% of the Best-in-Class companies have online visibility into inbound shipment status.
  • Improve service level through better transportation planning
  • Select the right carrier. One that is dependable, on time, meets commitments and is reasonably priced
  • Use fewer carriers to consolidate costs
  • Ensure that freight is correctly classified. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) determined that misclassification resulted in nearly 50% of all freight claims. Interesting that most of the misclassifications are on the Inbound side.
  • As appropriate, manage labor and staffing against real time schedules

This is not a complete list of ways to control; but it is a beginning. Nor is it naïve. Each of the bullet points can be accomplished today. Unfortunately, many companies, especially the smaller ones, are not taking advantage of technology to reduce cost and improve service.

Best-in-Class lead the way….

We learned earlier that the Aberdeen Group found that 85% of the Best-in-Class companies have online visibility into inbound shipment status. They also determined that 73% of the Best-in-Class companies surveyed responded saying that they have online visibility into supplier inbound event status.


So, let’s start there, with Inbound management.

In its simplest terms managing inbound capacity could be thought of like this:

Inbound        Distribution        Outbound

If only it were that simple. Managing Inbound and Outbound freight is more like a full-blown Hollywood nightmare. In a lot of cases managing loads is like putting together a puzzle with a blindfold on.

A truer depiction of the Inbound process looks like this with some of its influencers:

Inbound Capacity


Load Composition / Accuracy

Vendor dependability

Drive Experience

Trailer Equipment

Special Load Instructions


How to lessen the impact….

How do you lessen the impact of these factors? Especially for the inbound side of the equation. Just being able to “take the blindfold off” would be a great start to solving the puzzle. The good news is that there is a solution for most of these Inbound challenges. It’s called FreightTracer™.

Not only does FreightTracer™ help you see and understand the current situation but it allows you to understand the future situation and adjust as needed. Timely insight is the key; but not the complete solution.


Visibility is more than tracking…

In an article published earlier this June on the website, William Cassidy discusses the idea that Visibility means more than shipment tracking.

“..tracking a shipment or container or trailer isn’t as important as being able to clearly see what it costs to move that shipment. Greater visibility into the fundamental components of transportation costs are needed to truly improve supply chains, says Wally Lynch.
Lynch is CEO and a co-founder … of Zipline Logistics, a third-party logistics (3PL) provider in Columbus, Ohio. The 3PL has been on the Inc. 5000 list of fast growing companies for six consecutive years.”

Lynch knows what he is talking about. Cassidy continues:

“The ability to dig into historical and real-time data and provide business intelligence on key performance indicators is something 3PLs such as Zipline can provide that will be difficult for new app-based logistics providers to disrupt or disintermediate, Lynch believes.

“Who’s in charge of looking at this data overall?” he asked. What’s needed, he said, are tools that help shippers dive into data “in an unintimidating way,” meaning without reams of spreadsheets, for one.

“Data visualization techniques are spawning conversations about price versus service, warehousing locations, and other important topics that beforehand were either done on the fly or didn’t take place at all,” he said.

But first, you need that data. Finding it isn’t easy. “So many large shippers are using antiquated systems in almost everything they do,” Lynch said. “And we still go into large clients or prospects and fight the battle that ‘it’s just price that matters to me.’”

Okay. So, it looks like we have a challenge right now handling the logistics of freight handling. It is projected to grow by 66% in the next five years. There are many factors impacting the successful delivery of a load. And while having the ability to see real-time data is critical, it’s even more critical to see the costs and then control them.

What is the solution?

So, what do we do with this situation? The answer is FreightTracer™.

Let’s take the puzzle piece by piece and see how FreightTracer™ can and will help you grow at the projected 66% rate without losing you mind.

Critical Point Timing

Most would agree that this is one of the critical factors. In the past, many just crossed their fingers and hoped for the best. In contrast, FreightTracer™ is all about real time visibility into inbound load status. Imagine sitting at your

computer and within moments being able to see the status of all current loads, at risk loads, late pickups and late deliveries.

  • Decisions can be made with confidence when reallocation of staff and facilities is needed. Now you have the facts, like knowing a critical inbound load is running 40 minutes late.
  • Resources are being used in the best and most efficient manner
  • Downtime is kept to a minimum, and staff is less likely to be standing around waiting for something to do


Critical-Time Data. With FreightTracer™ as soon as you open the Dashboard you instantly see the status of (1) Loads that are On Time; (2) Loads that are At Risk; (3) Loads that are Late. For those that are At Risk or Late, a Load Report provides information on 16 different load-related data points, giving you instant access to the information you need to make critical cost-saving decisions.

Critical-Cost Data. A separate Load Sheet screen provides detailed information on costs, status, and specific carrier information so that you can compare loads and make decisions as needed for optimal handling and scheduling.


Vendor Dependability and Experience Ratings

Vendor performance is essential to creating an excellent customer experience. Now, for the first time, you will be able to monitor and track the customer experience at specific locations and in addition track specific carriers as you score their load delivery performance.

Critical-Experience Data. The FreightTracer™ Dashboard automatically displays the performance ratings on all your carriers.

First, by location, these include (1) Active Current Loads, (2) Loads Current Month, (3) Loads Previous Month, (4) Percentage of On-Time Pick-ups and (5) Percentage of On-Time Deliveries. These can be Inbound or Outbound and report overall how your carriers are performing relative to a specific location.

Second, each carrier is rated individually. The six ratings are (1) Overall Score, (2) Score Last 25 Loads, (3) Current Loads [number of], (4) Total Loads hauled, (5) On-Time Pick-Ups, (6) On-Time Deliveries.

Critical-Cost Data. Now you have these additional data points readily available to add to the information on the Load Screen. As described before now you are able to clearly see costs and other critical data required to move that shipment. It is all there – as needed – to support and help with the decision process.


Imagine your business has increased 66%. Your workload has more than doubled, but you remain in control. You are accessing data as needed. Easily pulling data together when the inevitable challenges arise. The decision process is faster and more thorough.


But with FreightTracer™ there is more.


Load Composition / Accurate Description

FreightTracer™ also provides detailed and accurate information on the load. This useful information is also displayed on the Dashboard on the Load Sheet. If there are special handling requirements along the route the information is readily available. Does the trailer have special equipment attached? Are there special load instructions? Restrictions? More essential data that can influence your decision. Easily and quickly accessed.


Managing Inbound Loads? FreightTracer™ is THE answer

Freight traffic is projected to grow by 66% in the next five years. No problem we will grow right along with you.

There are many factors impacting the successful delivery of a load. With FreightTracer™ you will have the immediate support you need to handle the most challenging of these.

And while having the ability to see real-time data is critical, it’s even more critical to see the costs and then control them. That’s exactly how FreightTracer™ works. It presents the big picture with essential details displayed quickly and thoroughly.


We invite you to visit our website at or click HERE to request a demo to see it in action and to get your questions answered. We look forward to hearing from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *