A CARRIER’S STORY
Do Not Shoot the Messenger
What do carriers want most of all? Why does it seem like we are transported to the Dark Ages when the TM system crashes. Thomas Bondesson at DB Schenker emphasizes the value of accurate so-called product validation and explains why he thinks LogTrade is outstanding when it comes to this.
“Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die,” sings Swedish singer Timbuktu. If he had been writing about shipping orders, the lyrics would have been: “All packages want to be delivered, but few know how it is done.”
Thomas Bondesson is the Customer Solution Manager at DB Schenker, one of the largest carriers in the world. The concept confusion in the logistics industry is no worse than in any other comparable industry, but it does not make it any less problematic.
-Just take concepts like booking and shipping instructions via EDI. A common misunderstanding is that a customer can just send in the shipping instructions and then the booking is complete. Then they call and ask why we have not come by to pick up the shipment, says Thomas Bondesson.
-We then must explain that no booking has actually been registered, which means that no one has ordered a pick-up, he continues.
The opposite scenario, in which there is only a booking but no EDI message with shipping instructions, is just as common according to Bondesson. Another common mistake is to get the package number and shipping code mixed up and refer to both as the package number.
IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE DELIVERY MISTAKES
-We are sometimes criticized for delivering “wrongly.” I usually retort that: “DB Schenker doesn’t make delivery mistakes, we only follow the transport buyer’s instructions.”
He is provocative on purpose to make his point, which is that a carrier must follow the transport buyer’s shipping instructions. If they do not, they violate the shipping agreement.
Complaining about a carrier is, in other words, a bit like shooting the messenger.
-DB Schenker handles complicated flows of goods throughout Europe. We must be thorough, or our operations would not function. We always adhere to standards and regulations, as they are necessary if the whole delivery chain is going to work.
To minimize the risk of errors, our customers need a stable shipping software platform to help them handle different products coming with predetermined conditions and additional services without the need to understand how everything works.
Complaining about a carrier is, in other words, a bit like shooting the messenger, or saying it is the airline’s fault that you forgot the skis you need for your ski-trip at home. Bondesson is well aware of the challenge, however.
THE SHIPPING SOFTWARE SHOULD MAKE THINGS EASIER FOR THE BUYER
The point Bondesson is trying to make is not that the buyer should know more about transport management.
-To minimize the risk of errors our customers need a stable shipping-software platform to help them handle different products with predetermined conditions and additional services without the need to understand how everything works.
-So that you as a transport buyer will not have to deal with not have to deal with dissatisfied recipients and additional costs.
A CUSTOMIZED SOLUTION IS NOT AS GOOD
Tomas Bondesson started working at DB Schenker in the mid-1980s and has followed and influenced development in the transport industry at first hand.
-Before LogTrade and other good TM system suppliers came along, transport management was something very different and very difficult. You can’t even compare how it was then to now, he says and describes the past as the Dark Ages of logistics.
The reason why it is so much easier today has to do with the rise of the Internet and web solutions. Moreover, earlier TM systems did not come with any real additional solutions or features for validating different carrier services.
A good system will not let mistakes such as incomplete addresses or P.O. Box numbers get through.
-A good TM system comes with the possibility of validating carrier services, says Bondesson and explains that a transport buyer using a standardized digital logistics system makes fewer mistakes.
According to Bondesson, it comes both down to how the system chooses the service, and how it prepares for possible mistakes the carrier might make. A good system will not let mistakes such as incomplete addresses or P.O. Box numbers get through. Schenker does not deliver to P.O. Boxes.
-A buyer who uses its own customized TM solution usually does not have validation features that can compare with a standardized solution.
Is LogTrade a Good Logistics Management System?
-Yes, LogTrade stands out when it comes to validating products both on average and when integrated, says Bondesson adding:
-LogTrade also feels like a more fully integrated system that strives to require as little human involvement as possible.
Why Are More Validation Features a Good Thing?
Validations are a means of getting control—little checks—against the carrier’s services that ensure that the booking is correct.
-A TM system with many validation features lets fewer errors pass through the system. It saves us time, makes sure the shipment is delivered on time and ensures that our customers do not have to pay for us to fix unnecessary mistakes.
LOGTRADE MAKES EVERYONE IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN LOOK GOOD
In the 1990s, DB Schenker considered developing its own TM system but eventually decided that it was better to let a professional TM supplier provide that service and focused instead on developing good communication with the suppliers.
Cooperation and communication are key. Bondesson explains that a good TM system provider builds relationships, listens and understands both the needs of the carrier and the transport buyer. He lists LogTrade among such quality suppliers.
So, “all packages want to be delivered, but few know how it is done,” is not LogTrade’s tune then?
-No, LogTrade is always easy to work with and is different from other TM system providers. Partly because it cares about the details as much as the Big Picture. It’s also an accessible company where I can talk to anybody. They also provide great support services for our joint customers, concludes Bondesson.