Archive for the ‘Customers’ Category

The Value of a Connected Community

Posted on: July 7th, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

Community is a big word. It represents an affinity in any number of dimensions– neighbors, friends, locations, capabilities and other measures of connection. That affinity through connection is almost always positive. And so it is in the business context too.

Companies in the logistics industry rely on other companies to achieve their business objectives. They can be called vendors, trading partners, service providers and maybe even frenemies if they are in coopetition– that grey area between cooperation and competition common in the “small world” of logistics.

No matter what they’re called, interaction between parties is easier if they’re already “connected.” In logistics and international goods transportation, this connection is most useful if it means integrated by data, standard technology or common process shared by several stakeholders, say serving common customers. The connection can be leveraged to serve existing customers more efficiently; or to acquire new customers more quickly. The mirror image works too: being connected makes it easier for your vendors to work with you, or, on-boarding new vendors is made more efficient if they’re already connected in the community on behalf of someone else. Nowhere is this truer than when considering a community of connected motor carriers. In different markets or at different times, one side may have more “leverage” than the other. But being connected through common process, by data integration or over a shared portal ensures benefits of collaboration are delivered beneficially to all.

IAS has connected a community of over 3000 service providers and motor carriers in over 46 countries. They interact on behalf of our mutual customers via the IAS Dispatch suite, according to their capabilities– by web application or data integration or both (as is quite often the case if they find the IAS Dispatch capability in a particular function is better than their own). The underlying business processes are standardized, and the customer’s needs are understood, transparent, and efficiently met. All by virtue of a connected community.

Maximizing International Goods Transportation Efficiency

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

Expanding into other countries can be a good way to grow a company. International expansion requires a robust supply chain and best practices that strive to be responsive to customer demands. Managing international transportation is a complex process complicated by long distances, multi-modal legs, customs paperwork and more. Just to deliver the right goods to the right place at the right time in a good condition can be a nightmare.

IAS addresses these challenges with the IAS Dispatch suite that supports ocean, air, LCL/LTL, international and domestic moves. It brings together drayage assignment, appointment times, amendment management, invoicing, visibility, rates, optimization, and business intelligence.

The interoperability of assets, such as containers, chassis, railcars, and the vehicles that move shipments over the first- and last-mile of international transportation is a key requirement for improving efficiency. To drive efficiencies within the international supply chain, stakeholders need to make sure their processes fit together.

We share 5 tips for driving efficiency for goods international transportation below:

    • Align your transportation objectives with your corporate goals.
    • Choose your transportation providers carefully. Make sure they can meet your needs by reviewing performance reports and checking references.
    • It is not always about the cheapest rate – Reliability by schedule adherence (railroads) or punctuality (motor carriers) or timeliness (shipment data) is critical.
    • Collect data across the end-to-end supply chain to drive optimization. Diving deep into the data to uncover trends and gain insights for faster decision-making can cut costs while improving operational efficiencies.
    • Leverage your investment in technology to standardize transportation processes based on best practices. Make sure your dispatch team works wisely and consistently follows set practices.

Next post we will share more best practices for maximizing international goods transportation efficiency.

By Blair Peterson

Retailers Import Into US For Holiday Rush Despite Port Issues

Posted on: September 17th, 2014 by The IAS Team No Comments

The West Coast Longshoremen’s Contract is still under negotiation, but retailers continue to import merchandise into the US at above-average rates in order to be ready for the holiday shopping season. Retailers want to make sure that consumer demand during the holidays is met, so they are shipping products to alternative ports.

Import volume at U.S. ports is expected to total 1.47 million containers this month, according to a report issued by Global Port Tracker. This is down from the all-time monthly record of 1.53 million set in August as retailers imported merchandise early in case of any disruption on the docks. September has averaged 1.42 million containers over the past five years.

The contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired on July 1, prompting concerns about potential disruptions that could affect back-to-school or holiday merchandise. A tentative agreement on health benefits was announced in August but both sides are continuing to negotiate on other issues as dockworkers remain on the job.

The National Retail Federation is forecasting a sales growth of 3.6 percent in 2014. While cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales numbers, it is still a good measure of forecasting retail sales expectations.

International Asset Systems (IAS) helps carriers improve drayage assignments, appointment times, invoicing, visibility, rates, and optimization for ocean, air, LCL/LTL, international and domestic moves. IAS Dispatch coordinates shippers’ needs with the resources of partners in their global transportation network, resulting in improved profit, improved equipment utilization, and improved customer satisfaction.

How Much Does a Chassis Cost? The Math of Chassis Economics

Posted on: September 12th, 2014 by The IAS Team No Comments

Debate exists on whether the new chassis-provisioning model has simply shifted the cost of chassis usage to different industry players or if it has increased costs for most participants in the different pools as a result of new process implications.  In the USA, ocean carriers have traditionally provided chassis at no direct charge to trucking companies or shippers/consignees to move containers to and from the ocean carriers’ customers. The ocean carriers formed “pools” to share the chassis and manage usage of the chassis by the trucking companies in some busy port and inland rail terminal locations.

This is contrasted with outside the USA where the trucking companies typically own or procure and manage the chassis themselves. Several years ago Maersk announced its decision to end its ownership (and “free” provisioning) of chassis and, in 2012, the company had indeed divested those assets (sold them to leasing companies). On the heels of the Maersk decision other ocean carriers announced similar plans to discontinue managing and providing chassis, forcing truckers to either purchase chassis or lease them from equipment providers.

This, however, did not mean that the ocean carriers were no longer responsible for the cost of the chassis. As the ocean carriers sold their chassis, the large asset pooling arrangements took over the responsibility of providing chassis to the logistics community, apportioning cost according to the terms of each container move– either the cargo interest, the trucking company or the ocean carrier pays for the chassis.

IAS created ChassisManager to address this issue. John Allen of IAS will be discussing this issue at the upcoming IANA Show on September 22 – 23, 2014. Attendees at this presentation will be provided a compelling look at the true costs of chassis operations in the new chassis market and learn how this can be a new revenue source for many intermodal operators.

IAS provides a very proactive billing platform that receives the relevant gate activity, which drives usage billing along with the data from the ocean carriers on how to direct the billing (who pays). We make this information available to all billable parties in real time, so the party paying (motor and ocean carriers) get the most accurate invoice and complete back-up info possible.

Chassis – account management

Posted on: November 20th, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

When registering for ChassisManager, you provide details such as your billing address, users, and insurance information. ChassisManager makes it easy to maintain and update this information any time.

To sign up for ChassisManager, you need to provide a billing address. This information can be updated by going to Admin > Company Profile > Company Information. You have the option to enter separate billing and service addresses, or you can check the box to make them the same. The billing address is what will be displayed on your invoices.

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Each equipment provider has different insurance requirements. Click on Insurance Information to see these and enter your own insurance details. The numbers at the top of this window are your own details, and you should fill them out with the appropriate information. Below are the requirements of the various equipment providers. If your limits are sufficient to meet the equipment provider’s requirements, they will turn green. If not, they will be red. Once all requirements are green, you have met the requirements to start renting chassis.

You also need to upload a copy of your insurance certificate and keep it updated. Check the box of your desired equipment provider and click Upload Insurance Certificate. Then select your your file and click Attach to save it. If your certificate expires, simply click Upload again and choose your new certificate.

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The Company Profile screen also includes the Terms & Conditions for all equipment providers. When first registering, go here and click View to read the T&C and then click Accept to submit your registration. If you wish to review the T&C at any time, you can return to this screen and click View.

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Another essential feature of account administration is user management. Go to Admin > Users to see all current users for your company. Select a user and click on the Actions box to update their role or to activate or suspend their account. A detailed explanation of each user role can be found on the IAS Support Portal. Your account needs at least one Admin, but you can restrict other users to specific functions if you desire.

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To register a new user, go to the ChassisManager login page and click Register. Fill in some basic details and you will receive an email with your temporary password. Once you log in, you will be presented with the company type options. Select service ChassisManager and company type Motor Carrier, then enter your company’s SCAC.

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If your SCAC is already registered, you will be asked to confirm your company name. Click Confirm to join the existing account.

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The new user will appear under Admin > Users. The account must be approved by an Admin before the user can view data. To approve the user, select their name and click Activate. You will be presented with the user role window, so just select your desired role and click Save. If you do not recognize the new user, click Reject instead. You can always return here to change their role or to disable their account.

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Each user has their own profile. Go to Help > My Profile to change details such as your name, job title, or password. Since your account is dependent upon your organization and email these details cannot be changed, but you can always deactivate an account and create a new one if need be.

Congratulations to the Inbound Logistics Green Supply Chain Partners

Posted on: August 1st, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

IAS would like to congratulate the 75 Green Supply Chain Partners named to the Inbound Logistics G75 Award. This prestigious list highlights sustainability leaders in the logistics and transportation space based on measurable green results, sustainability innovation, continuous improvement, and industry recognition.

These companies are on the leading edge of green innovation, resulting in reduced waste, lower emissions, and fuel efficiency. In particular, IAS commends the environmental responsibility of our customers:

  • ABF Freight
  • APL
  • Con-Way
  • J.B. Hunt
  • MOL
  • NYK Line
  • Old Dominion Freight Line
  • OOCL
  • Saia LTL Freight
  • Schneider National
  • Swift Transportation
  • Werner Enterprises

For a full list of winners, visit Inbound Logistics.

As many of you know, IAS aims to contribute to improving the environmental dimension of transportation. By enabling street-turn work orders, DispatchOptimizer helps clients drive down empty running miles, cut particulate and noise pollution, decrease congestion and idling time at ports, lower fuel consumption, and make better use of current assets and infrastructure. We are proud of the environmental initiatives of our partners and our industry.

Customer commitment – our promise

Posted on: May 24th, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

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IAS has established its reputation as an industry leader by providing personal service and support to a worldwide community of connected customers and their trading partners. A wealth of knowledge and amazing service are always within reach. Our commitment to providing exceptional service to our customers is driven by the belief that every single touchpoint, every interaction with an IAS solution or team member will be memorable, positive, and valuable.

A few of the tenets that define our customer service promise to our valued clients:

  • Industry expertise – we recruit our client service representatives from a pool of experts who understand international and domestic transportation.
  • 24×7 service – IAS provides comprehensive, global, around-the-clock support: our representatives are available whenever and wherever our clients need them.
  • Service Level Agreement – our SLA ensures one of the highest system availability guarantees.
  • Request Management – our Client Services team maintains strict adherence to turning around answers as quick as possible with a focus on exceeding expectations.
  • Customer Engagement - open channels of communication, surveys, and customer updates mean your voice is always heard and you understand our ongoing improvements.

At IAS, our customers span the spectrum of the transportation industry: from motor carriers to ocean lines, depot operators to freight forwarders. We strive to ensure that each and every client experiences the same level of efficiency and professionalism with a trustworthy, knowledgeable team member.  Whether you’re looking for help with integration, implementation, or a technical issue, representatives are always available to meet your needs.

In this series of blog posts we have shared our commitment to world-class service as well as the resources provided by our Client Services team including: FAQ forums, service request submissions, and satisfaction surveys.

Customer commitment – improving service with surveys

Posted on: May 17th, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

As part of ensuring that the solutions and services provided by our team exceed clients’ expectations, IAS issues monthly surveys in order to follow up on customer service requests. Our survey questions revolve around our customers’ experience with the IAS Client Services group and overall satisfaction with the relevant IAS product/s. Moreover, we give customers the opportunity to share suggestions for ways we can improve. As a bonus, clients who respond to our survey are automatically entered into a drawing to win an iPod – just another way of saying thank you for taking the time to provide feedback.

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We use the survey responses to better understand the drivers behind customer satisfaction, to monitor longer term trends across customers and products, and ultimately to pinpoint areas where our products and customer service are getting it right and where we have room for improvement. We publicly post the last 12 month’s scores on our website as well as quotes that clients have approved us to share.

You don’t have to wait to be randomly selected for a survey to let us know how we are doing or to get assistance. Our client services reps are available around the clock and easily accessible through the IAS Support Portal.

The IAS team strives to make sure each and every customer touchpoint is managed to the highest level of professionalism, efficiency and quality. We encourage you to share your experience and become a part of the dialogue.

Previous posts in this series provide additional information on our commitment to excellent customer service, particularly via the IAS Support Portal:

May 3rd – forums

May 9th – tickets

Customer commitment – IAS Support Portal tickets

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

Last week, we introduced the IAS Support Portal and showed how you how to find answers to frequently asked questions. However, if the forums don’t solve your issue, you can create a service ticket by selecting ‘Submit a Request’ in the top menu. In the form, tell us about your issue and indicate which IAS solution you use. You can upload any supporting documentation, such as a screenshot or other relevant information, through the ‘Attach file’ link. Click ‘Submit’ and a client services representative will be in touch with you right away.

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Once you’ve submitted a ticket, you can view and manage your open submissions by clicking on the ‘Check your existing requests’ tab located in the top menu. You will also receive status updates on your submitted ticket via e-mail so there’s no need to check back to see if a request has been answered. You can even view tickets that have already been resolved and closed by selecting ‘View your recently solved and closed requests’ found on the right hand side of the open requests page.

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Customer commitment – IAS Support Portal forums

Posted on: May 3rd, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

This month for our best practices series we will be discussing our commitment to providing exceptional customer support to our clients. Let’s begin with a look at one of our most valuable tools: the IAS Support Portal. In a nutshell, the IAS Support Portal keeps you updated on product functionality and helps you find answers to your questions through its two key components: forums and tickets. Today we will discuss how to navigate the categories and forums within the Support Portal.

To begin, log in on the IAS Support Portal home page. If you  are not yet a member, click ‘sign up’ on the upper right hand corner of the welcome page and you will be directed to a new page where you can create a user id and password. Now you can use those credentials to log in. Note that you don’t have to be a member of the portal to view the forums, but we recommend signing up so you can use the features we are about to address in this post.

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Once you have logged in, either scroll down the home page or select the ‘Forums’ tab on the top menu. The forums are sorted into relevant categories with the top 3 articles displayed. You can click any forum title to see the complete list of articles associated with that topic. You have the ability to browse the forums to see what questions have already been addressed or you can use the search bar to locate a specific topic.

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When you find the answer to your issue, you can comment or vote for it by clicking on the ‘thumbs up’ icon located at the bottom of the article. Not only does voting let us know what kind of answers you are looking for, but it will also point users towards popular articles.

In addition, you have the option to subscribe to any forum so that you receive an e-mail notification for all new activity, such as new articles or comments. To do this, select an article or forum and simply click ‘subscribe’ next to the envelope icon located on the upper right hand corner of the article screen. If you change your mind, you can unsubscribe in the same way.

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Didn’t find the answer you were looking for within the portal? Stay tuned because next week we will discuss tickets and your ability to submit a request.