Managing freight is an expensive, resource-intensive task. In today's omni-channel, multiphase distribution environment, it’s no longer enough to simply load pallets onto a truck and ship them from point A to point B via a common carrier.
And the process isn’t getting any easier, what with global e-commerce sales continuing to proliferate (to the tune of $4.5 trillion by 2021) and the competition for vehicles, drivers and lanes intensifying every year.
To offset these and other transportation-related challenges, Bart De Muynck, research director-transportation technology at Gartner, is seeing more companies using freight pooling (i.e., when shipments are combined to create a full truckload shipment out to a pool distribution facility that serves a certain geographic area) and cross-docking to manage their multiphase transportation operations.
Positioned closer to the end customer, these pool and cross-dock operations not only impact the actual transportation component, but also the warehouse and yard operations.
“This certainly creates more complexities from a transportation perspective,” says De Muynck, who sees continuous pool optimization as a viable solution to these and other difficulties that are rearing their heads in this high-velocity, smaller-order environment.
With continuous pool optimization, shippers can plan shipments to a consolidation point by pre-determining a specific location or by allowing an algorithm to dynamically determine the optimal consolidation facility.
The continuous pool optimization feature in 3Gtms, for example, identifies the best pool point (i.e., a warehouse or cross dock), in a company’s freight network to route a daily mix of inbound freight on truckload or less-than-truckloads (LTL) to plan loads for delivery.