6 Tips to Build a Freight Routing Guide

As logistic processes and supply chains become streamlined, a routing guide has never seemed more beneficial. Having a simple-to-read, simple-to-use, and flexible set of principles within the guide will allow for vendor and carrier compliance. Remember that a routing guide provides a clear set of activities and instructions for effective supply chain management and execution and will improve truckload service for the carriers. Still, its creation can be complex. Let’s go over a few tips to build an adaptive and more dynamic routing guide to aid your team to improve planning in transportation procurement.

Be Detailed Regarding Shipping Documentation

Looking at the shipping documentation and providing as many details that are important is critical. The routing guide document should specify requirements in regards to the bill of lading (BOL), special notes regarding hazmat shipping documents, Advance Shipment Notice instructions, and requirements or international airway bills. Along with these details, adding a template that users can use, whether experienced or inexperienced, can be beneficial to reduce potential errors and optimize truckload carrier networks when onboarding new carriers or working with one-off companies.  

Leverage Technology to Automate Communication for Shipping

Using paper or static routing guides via a portal is no longer effective and beneficial to a company; it would do the opposite and slow the process. Utilizing an electronic data interchange system (EDI) will allow for data sharing in real-time. The same applies to API-driven transportation management strategies. A static routing guide is just that—unchanging, but with advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to create adaptive, dynamic guides. Along with connected technologies, advanced TMS systems, software programs and other platforms that offer vendor compliance will also allow for a smoother process. With advanced programs and software, keeping track of vendors and shipment information will be easier and show how digital tools improve the transportation procurement process

Create a Chargeback Policy for Violations

A chargeback can occur when the shipment does not meet the exacting requirements, which will result in added fees. By having this policy spelled out within the guide, chargeback rules can effectively prevent violations and a variety of situations from happening, such as:

  • Order fill violations
  • Inaccurate advanced shipping notifications (ASN)
  • Improper label or paperwork
  • Packed inaccurately according to the retailer’s specifications
  • Shipped to the wrong location

Enable Flexibility in the Guide With Dynamic Rulesets

Along with flexibility, clear communication of expectations encourages compliance with anyone who uses the routing guide. Treating suppliers as valuable partners and keeping with the strategy can be done while sticking to the regulations and guidelines set for efficiency. Allowing flexibility will allow improving freight carrier pick-up rates and provide efficiency for all contract carriers. As further explained by Inbound Logistics, “For most shippers, the routing guide handles 80% to 90% of all shipments—essentially, all contracted moves.” The remainder falls to spot freight needs, and even still, the routing guide should have the variety necessary to accommodate spot requests. Ultimately, it all depends on ensuring the guide is flexible and accommodates each type of carrier’s nuances and needs. 

List Primary and Alternate Carries for Each Transportation Mode

Indicating specific carriers for each transportation mode utilized, along with the weight criterion in place, should be detailed in a routing guide. For each transportation mode, provide instructions on avoiding possible delays and ensuring adherence to proper selection and classification to ensure carriers secure profitable shipping loads. A list for each transportation model will benefit the case service capabilities and avoid confusion over needs in the duration of transit, such as overnight, next day, two or three-day service. 

Continuously Adapt the Routing Guide

After knowing the strategy and organization technique that works best, stick and keep up with it. Modifications can be made throughout to enhance efficiency, but adjusting the routing guide too often may confuse vendors and issues. Provide any changes made to the vendors and make sure it is seen, which can be achieved with web-based guides that also possess the benefit of sending real-time push notifications or modifications made to the directory.

Enhance the Success of Your Routing Guide by Putting the Power of an Integrated, Freight Aggregation Platform to Work

A routing guide should be kept simple to use, easy to read, and can achieve the flexibility to get vendors’ and carriers’ compliance. Utilizing technology, providing detailed shipping documentation, and adapting the guide will allow for the process to be smooth and efficient. At the end of the day, the routing guide is helpful on contract freight. When shippers or brokers need to go outside the routing guide to the spot market, they can lean on freight aggregation platforms, like newtrul, to source the meaningful and dense capacity hidden within TMS networks sometimes not found efficiently. Find out how your team can tap those capabilities by requesting a newtrul demo to achieve these goals and find coverage when you need it.

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