A better way for Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers to store ocean freight contracts, manage surcharges, simplify price management, provide global visibility, distribute the management of contracts across the organization and create, book and audit quotes.

Anyone who has had to look at a quote or contract from an ocean carrier immediately knows one thing about ocean transportation costs; they're complicated. Years ago I remember seeing some of our publishing team leafing through stacks of paper that constituted an ocean contract. That complexity didn’t go away with excel. In fact, when I ask most freight forwarders or NVOs I visit about how they manage their ocean freight contracts, I hear the same thing, time and time again - “They’re on our pricing manager’s computer"…"We post them on an intranet"…"Our IT co-op built this Access database….”

Storing Ocean Freight Contracts, Managing Surcharges, Simplifying Price Management

There is a better way to store your ocean contracts, manage the many surcharges that apply to them. There is a better way to share and manage that information and a better way to use it as well. We call it price management using Descartes Rate Builder™.  Using the power of the internet, databases and common desktop tools, the Descartes Rate Builder solution makes all of those things possible. Manage all of your ocean contracts using excel or powerful form-based tools in DRB. Simplify price management by separating the rates from the applicable surcharges. You don’t need to update a contract when your carrier changes its Bunker surcharge when fuel prices go up. Change the surcharge and when you calculate the rate, you see the change. Share rate information across your organization using a browser. One or one hundred offices, 10 or 1000 users, your organization can share this information across time zones, geographies and countries. Distribute the management of your contracts across your organization, letting local knowledge make better choices for the entire company.

Know your Costs: Quote, Book and Audit Better

Simplified price management and global visibility are only two of many aspects of the power of Descartes Rate Builder. Visibility is worth the price of admission. Getting everyone within your organization to better understand one of the single biggest cost inputs in logistics is important. But let’s take it to the next level. Use that information. Quote, book and audit with it. With Descartes Rate Builder, we have introduced the concept of cost-based quoting. Using simple but powerful search forms, a sales user can quickly find rates to provide timely quote to their customer. Compare rates amongst different carriers, select, drag and drop and they’ve instantly created a quote with an applied margin. Repeat if necessary. The process is very quick and flexible. The rates that are saved to the quote are tied to the original carrier rate, so the user knows their costs throughout the quoting process. Send the quote as a pdf to your customer. If the customer accepts, the quote gets filed so it can be referenced and used in later processes, like booking or auditing. Finally, the system also allows NVO's to automate the RFP response process, taking in either UI input or a spreadsheet of shipper lanes, and automatically generating an RFP quote for sales to review, edit and send. Respond to RFPs in a day, not weeks.

Upcoming Release: Freight Audit

Coming up in our next release, we intend to add the ability to book an ocean rate right from our rate search screen, extending DRB’s ability to make use of the rate information to streamline processes. One of the most important aspects of those processes is the freight audit. This results from combining the power of Descartes Rate Builder with the messaging prowess of the Descartes GLN to enable customers to automatically audit all carrier bills lading, ensuring that they are paying what they are supposed to be.

Price management with the Descartes Rate Builder solution enables NVO's to manage their biggest and most complex costs, simply, efficiently and effectively.

Written by Jim Alemany

Director, Rate Management Solutions at Descartes