In the world of team sports, a great deal of emphasis is put on the concept of “Bench Strength”. Easy to understand but not so easy to achieve, bench strength means that in addition to having a great starting lineup, a team also has players that can come in off the bench to make game changing contributions at the most crucial of moments.
One example of the impact of bench strength is the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team that over the last thirty years has won four World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals. When analyzing their matches, it was often the bench players that came in to seal a victory. As another example, bench strength is so important in professional basketball that there’s actually a “Sixth Man Award” for a player that doesn’t start, but is the team’s difference- maker.
When shippers use the Emerge Freight Procurement Platform, it doesn’t take long to realize that we have an All-Star lineup, too. With features that includes Dynamic RFP, a spot marketplace, load tendering, electronic B/L generation, shipment tracking and payment settlement, Emerge leaves the competition in the dust when it comes to managing an end-to-end shipping program.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, once the core Emerge solution set was in place, it then became a question of creating additional features that would make a great offering even better. In other words, we were looking for bench strength that would make the Freight Procurement Platform even more powerful for all shippers. And in the end, there was no question that one of our biggest bench strengths would come in the form of benchmarking.
Whereas the term “Benchmarking” can have different meanings, it signifies a shipper’s ability to compare contracted carrier rates with the current market. In the years prior to the launch of the Emerge Freight Procurement Platform, the best a shipper could hope for when benchmarking was to make a few spot rate phone calls, or maybe use a load board. Needless to say, this was a time consuming drill that did little to improve the end result.
Now an integral part of the Emerge offering, Benchmarking means that we quickly morphed from having the most robust RFP and management solution, to offering the best data-enabled platform in the market today. Returning to our sports analogy, Emerge’s bench strength lies in enabling shippers to make lane-specific decisions that are based on real-time input from the carrier community.
When utilizing Benchmarking, shippers enjoy the dual benefit of measuring contract rates against the current market in a matter of minutes, all while receiving bids and/or quotes from a nearly limitless pool of carriers. Not only is Benchmarking super-fast, the expanded number of carrier responses guarantees that rates are an accurate portrayal of what’s going on in the market.
As much a strategic tool as it is an operational platform, use of the Emerge solution for Benchmarking, Dynamic RFP, spot quotes and load execution triggers a virtuous cycle that continues to improve over time. Here are some of the dynamics that drive this virtuous cycle:
The real strength of Benchmarking lies in the ability to aggregate accurate data from multiple sources in the shortest time possible. Whether it’s for a single lane or an entire FTL program, the Emerge platform gives shippers access to rates and service levels from multiple carriers in a matter of minutes. Armed with the most precise market intelligence possible, shippers are empowered to make data-based decisions on how best to move loads.
Constant changes in the market have made twelve month RFP cycles a thing of the past. With rates shifting multiple times during a contract period, shippers need to have a pulse on lane-specific volatility throughout the year. Benchmarking with Emerge not only opens a window into lane-specific price volatility, it provides shippers with insights on when to conduct an RFP.
A core feature of the Emerge Freight Procurement Platform, Dynamic RFP allows shippers to conduct as many bid events in a year as they deem appropriate. By combining the power of Benchmarking with Dynamic RFP, shippers are data-enabled to make decisions on what lanes to bid, when to do so and for how long.
Bench strength only works when talent comes into a game off the same bench. When utilizing Emerge, shippers can benchmark, conduct RFPs, award lanes and execute shipments all from one platform. This integrated approach not only eliminates the need for shippers to use disjointed resources to manage their freight, it creates a dynamic where all of the strengths of the Emerge platform complement one another at the same time.
It doesn’t take a sports fanatic to know that the most successful teams are those that are deep in talent, and that have great chemistry when playing together. Ultimately, a strong starting lineup that is augmented by superior bench strength is what sets championship caliber squads apart from average performers.
When it comes to the Emerge Freight Procurement Platform, a big part of our bench strength lies in Benchmarking and how it empowers shippers to make data-driven decisions about their shipping programs. Of even greater benefit is the “chemistry” that comes together when shippers combine Benchmarking with core functions like Dynamic RFP, Scenario Builder, load tendering, tracking and payment to optimize performance.
In today’s volatile freight shipping environment, shippers need as much bench strength as they can possibly muster and Emerge is ready to get into the game!