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When setting up a freight tender, there are a few factors that are necessary in order to arrive at a reasonable and reliable conclusion. Chief of these is the ability to perform an analysis that is based in facts and rooted in the unique characteristics of your own company. This is the first of a few practical tips we will publish on the subject.
 
Let’s say you are about to release a tender to a number of potential suppliers.
You have put together a neat format in which to ask for rates. All your lanes are there, surcharges accounted for and all.

Now your offers have come in. Time to evaluate. Looking at your offers side by side, it’s obvious that Supplier A have submitted the best bid for almost every lane, so it’s an easy choice. Right?
If you’re just looking at the rates as such, it might be tempting to draw such a conclusion. But to really be sure that you’re doing the right thing, you need to also know where you’ll be shipping what quantities and to what service requirements. It sounds obvious but is not rarely overlooked.

As an example, looking at the rate sheet below, it would be very easy to go to Supplier A and shake on it. But if you know your shipping profile, and that it might skew towards the higher weight brackets, then it’s very possible that the best bid in terms of overall cost could be Supplier C.
 


This might seem obvious, but a lot of times, there is no data readily available to show you what your shipment profile looks like. Not to mention the time it would take to first produce the data and then to apply it to your calculations (surprisingly often, the LSP’s themselves have a hard time reporting what they have delivered over the last year).
Hence, it is often an overlooked aspect of the freight tender evaluation – one that is of utmost importance for a relevant analysis.

And if you feel like you don’t have the time or possibility to produce reliable data – be aware that an educated estimation is much better than no insight at all!

Obviously there are other factors to be aware of, and in further blog posts we will develop our thoughts on the importance of reliable data and knowledge of your historic and future shipping structure when entering a freight tender.

About the Author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Sourcing Analyst / Consultant with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MsC from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn.

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How hard can it be to purchase transports? Pretty simple, right? You define your routes and ask for the best possible price and service for each and every one of them. Then you just pick the best offer supplied!
 
Well, what do you base that decision on? What are your essential guidelines for making that call? Perhaps:
   - Lowest price possible?
   - Minimized lead time?
   - Great reliability and information flow?
   - Capacity requirements?
 
You’d be surprised by how often there is no clear answer to these questions, even at the last stages of negotiations. So what are the implications of this? Well, it will likely lead to a lack of focus on the right properties – or a futile search for the supplier that has everything. In essence, trying to catch the ever elusive ”shorse”, a fast runner on land that also has a killer instinct beneath the waves.

Obviously, there is no such thing as a shorse – no more so than there exists a fast and reliable transport service that is also much cheaper than the competition. And if you think you have actually captured a shorse, a service that promises everything including a cheap price, I suspect that the service will end up about as useful as the shorse in the picture. In every instance where there is a choice to be made, you’ll have to choose between service, quality and price – or some combination of them – but rarely can you choose all three.
 
That’s why it is so important to make sure that you consider your needs and your internal priorities before going to tender. A successful freight tender always starts with a thorough knowledge of your needs and requests throughout the organization. Perhaps your recipient doesn’t need to receive the shipment within a day; maybe 2 or 3 days could suffice, even if one day has been the standard thus far? Or perhaps it is of great value to be frequently updated on the status of the shipment. These are questions that a thorough research before tender start will help settle.
 
And not only will you benefit from knowing what qualities you should value - but by communicating your needs to all suppliers, you enable offers to be tailor-made to suit your specific needs right from the beginning. In the end, you might not end up with a fully functional shorse.  But with a bit of luck, perhaps you’ll find a horse that is good at holding its breath underwater…

About the Author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Sourcing Analyst / Consultant with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MsC from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn .

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Hey everybody, its Monday again! Great, huh? Such a blessing - to be able to leave the shackles of the weekend behind and finally go back to the ol’ cubicle to enjoy the value of a good day’s work!
No? Can’t relate to the sentiment? Well, you’re not alone. Which is why I thought I’d share some ideas for how to start your week as motivated as your Fridays (ok, that might be a bit of a stretch...).

 

Ever since the first hunter-gatherers started walking upright and went searching for food, human kind has been joined in a dread of starting the work day (ehm..  unless you love your job and your employer, like I do…). In fact, the earliest known remnants from the time of the homo erectus are stone carvings of people refusing to leave the cave in the morning.
 
Ok, while everything I’ve stated so far might not be entirely true, I have a feeling that, given the choice, most people would like to strike Mondays from the calendar altogether. So, while that might not be a viable option, there are some tested tricks that might take the edge off that weekend hangover. Here are some methods that can be worth trying out if you feel that you’re coming down with a case of the Monday blues.

  • Get rid of your most gruesome and boring tasks before the weekend and plan your most motivating tasks for Monday morning. On Friday afternoon, you want to get out of the office, and you might leave some loose ends undone. However, if you take some time on Friday to tie up what needs to be done for the week, you won't have it hanging over your head come Monday morning. Don't leave your least favorite tasks for Monday.
  • Don't try to keep the weekend going. That is, go to bed early on Sunday night and make sure you ready yourself for the week ahead. This, on the other hand, has the drawback of shortening the Sunday evening…
  • Don’t stay glued to the cubicle all day. Take a walk to get some fresh air, avoid eating lunch at the desk, or perhaps play a game of ping pong to get the grey matter energized.

 
If you’ve tried all this and still can’t figure out why Monday’s are blue, then it may be time to start looking for a more motivating job altogether. And lucky for you, we’re hiring!
 
Visit our web hiring page.

About the author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Customer Success Manager with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MSc from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn

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I’ve been working for TenderEasy for close to a year now, and it’s the first time I’ve set foot in an organization of this size. That is to say a smaller company, in the middle of a growth spurt. When I started, I had a few preconceived ideas about what it would be like to work in a smaller organization – something I’ve now had some time to experience first hand.
 
Before starting at TenderEasy, I had read Malcolm Gladwell’s David vs Goliath. In it, he uses a number of real life examples to outline the potentials of the underdog vs. the giant. It was jammed full of steadfast tips on how to make the most of “being David”, both in terms of creating value and as a means of attracting talent. And as I stated, I was eager to try it out in practice. The following were some of my notions coming in, that turned out hold true in practice.
 
As an employee, you will have a broad range of responsibilities
Obviously, the fewer people there are in the organization, the less specialized the roles can be. As such, you may be given a wide range of responsibilities - ones that isn't always limited to your area of expertise. So for those of us prone to growing bored of the same old task over time, getting to do whatever needs to be done at a certain time is quite enticing. Of course, sometimes that means that there are no one to delegate the most boring tasks to either…
 
Greater involvement
When you’re constantly within earshot of all conversations, it’s going to take a lot to feel left out of the decision process. Have an idea? Blurt it out and see if it sticks. No need to put a letter in the suggestion box and hope for a reply.
 
Fast paced changes/decision making
A larger company must involve many people and processes in decisions and development, slowing the process and delaying results. As a member of a smaller organization, the road to walk from idea to implementation can be very short – sometimes within a day. And if it doesn’t work out as planned – just revert or try something else just as easily.
 
Being close to the customer
Being close to the customer is important for success in business, and a small business is frequently much closer to the customer than a large one. If one of our dear customers gives us a call or sends us an email, they can be sure that it ends up at the core of TenderEasy and will be attended to accordingly. And if you as a customer have a unique idea or request that could improve your freight tendering process – it will be taken to heart and might very well end up in the next system update because of it.
 
 
Obviously these are just my experiences, and I might rightly be accused of being biased, but there is no getting around the fact that there are a number of indisputable benefits to working for – and hiring – a smaller company like TenderEasy. Not least of which is that whenever there is a disagreement, you can settle your differences via a game of ping-pong…

About the Author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Customer Success Manager with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MsC from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn

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Over the last few years, I’ve been involved in a number of transport tenders. Most of which had one thing in common – an initial ambition to evaluate a number of different factors. And a final decision to sign with the cheapest possible provider. As soon as analysis is started and a total cost appears, concern for the environment tends to take a back seat, so to say.
 

There is, obviously factors that cannot be ignored. For example, if a shipment needs to reach a factory by a certain time in order for production to proceed, then the right delivery time is obviously a must have service. But many of the non must-have´s are lost along the way.
 
“So what – isn’t cost reduction the end goal of freight tendering?”
Well yes, largely so. But what about the cost of arriving a day later than possible? What about the cost of insufficient information flow?
A neat and often useful way of looking at it is to assign a monetary value to a discrepancy in service level for the services you deem most important.
 
Let’s use lead time as an example, since it’s probably the most commonly used service aspect. What would it cost to arrive later than necessarily possible?
Perhaps it means that a perishable good would lose a day on the store shelf, thus increasing waste. Or maybe it means that more overtime is needed for goods reception. Another way of looking at it is that an earlier planned arrival might mitigate the impact of a delayed delivery. Etc, etc. When weighing all of these factors, you might arrive at the conclusion that an improved lead time is worth EUR 15 per shipment, for example.
 
After that conclusion, it’s easy to produce a total cost analysis where an extra EUR 15 per shipment are added to offers with a longer lead time. Of course, it works both ways. Perhaps you can accept a day’s longer lead time than first considered if that means a cost reduction that outweighs the cost of the delay. By doing this, you will arrive at a total cost analysis for your freight tender, that doesn’t just give you the lowest possible direct freight cost, but one that gives you a simple numerical value as to which provider can offer the best (and cheapest) solution from a combined cost/service perspective. Easy piecy!

About the author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Sourcing Analyst / Consultant with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MsC from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn

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Few transports are as demanding in terms of service requirements as end customer parcel deliveries. The progress of e-commerce is constantly putting pressure on the delivery systems to perform to a near 100% satisfaction rate. And as supply chains are continuously improved, lead times are cut shorter and choices in delivery method are expanding.
 
All of this is to be expected, but this last request we got was something else. A little while ago, we received the email below, just look at the demands this guy had:
 
Dear TenderEasy,
 
I write to you as I have started to reach the limits of my capabilities and would like some help to insure that this years’ end-of-year deliveries will meet the standards my clients are used to. And honestly, I’ve been doing this for longer than you can imagine and I’m starting to get a little old and tired, although my ambition and spirit is still there!
 
I’m in the toy manufacturing and delivery business. Of course, as such, my business sees a huge spike in demand around this time of year. In fact, due to the nature of my business, I must handle all of my deliveries within a single day. In total, we’re talking about roughly 550 000 000 overnight parcel deliveries to addresses scattered all over the world.
 
With an average parcel size of 500*300*200mm, that’s roughly equivalent to
25 000 000 SEU:s (Sleigh Equivalent Units), of which everything is to be delivered from my northern production unit.
 
As if this isn’t challenging enough, everything must be delivered to door (or to chimney). My recipients are highly demanding and are known to get very cranky if something is not right with the delivery. So in order to avoid mistakes, I’ve employed a vast network of Delivery-At-Door volunteers - a DAD-network, if you will.
 
My business is very dear to me! I’ve even gone as far as to personally visit each and every one of my recipients throughout the year, in order to make sure that they really get the products they deserve. (Of course, I cannot actually let my customers know that I keep track of them, as that would violate a whole host of privacy laws).
 
Do you think you can help me out?
Yours truly, S. Claus.

 
 
After that, he refused to give us any more information on his business or even who he was! Although, judging by his name, Claus, and his demands on precision and accuracy, I’m assuming he is German…
 
In any case, I think it serves as a good indicator of where the e-commerce parcel delivery market might be heading if it continues its’ current trend.
How would you help solve the problems of Mr. Claus?
 

About he Author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Sourcing Analyst / Consultant with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MsC from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn

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Christmas is upon us (soon, anyway), and after that a new year is coming. What’s your new year’s resolution? Don’t have one yet? Well, as always, a new year is a time for new beginnings, so I’ve put together a couple ideas for resolutions (and solutions) that are sure to help you exit 2018 even more enthusiastic than you entered it.
 
- Resolution 1:     
I promise to stop using excel to collect and evaluate offers from my invited service providers.

- Solution 1:         
First off, I’m sorry you’re still stuck in the 90’s. But don’t worry, you’re more than welcome to join one of our webinars, where we will explain in detail our philosophy and how TenderEasy can help you shift focus from time consuming administrative work, validations and analysis to the parts of the tender where you can make the biggest difference – negotiations.
Follow this link to sign up for one of our December webinars.


- Resolution 2:     
I promise to stop wasting time and energy sending multiple emails back and forth to service providers just to get a quote for a spot shipment.
 
- Solution 2:
You’re in luck! It just so happens that TenderEasy is currently offering 90 days usage of the Spot Request tool free of charge, when you sign up in December. Sign up for your free trial today!
Of course, this is just a small saving compared to what you’ll save in time, energy and transport cost… 
 

And by this, I have started working on my own resolution – to make sure as many people as possible stop wasting time, energy and money on useless exercises that doesn’t add any value to their freight tenders. I have a feeling this resolution is going to work out better than my yearly gym membership…
 

About the Author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Sourcing Analyst / Consultant with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MsC from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn

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Many of my responsibilities here at TenderEasy are customer centric, be it in the form of trainings, support, sales, etc. As much as I enjoy these encounters, they can be quite time consuming and, from time to time, make it hard to keep up with my other responsibilities – like writing this blog!
 
So, in the spirit of questioning everything, I feel it’s time that I really dug into the foundation of our business (as well as the foundation of the free market economy). Customers – what the heck do we need them for?? Wouldn’t life be much simpler without them? It would no doubt be a lot less stressful in any case. No sales activities, no trainings, no payments to process… We could use all day every day to perfect our tool, safe in the imagined knowledge there is no one who can offer a better or more efficient freight procurement solution. Unless there are others out there who also are sitting alone, developing their tool and basking in their own glory, of course...
Plus, customers often have a habit of multiplying through word of mouth, leaving less and less time to ourselves…
 
Then again, there are some benefits to having a customer or two… For example, a large chunk of improvement ideas seems to originate from existing customers. Needs that we haven’t thought about but that result in improvements and a better tool for everyone.
 
Secondly, our customer base helps us value our ideas and progressions, keep up with market trends and prioritize future developments we want to do. An invaluable source of feedback that we would never get our hands on had we not actively used our customer base as a source of knowledge!
 
Not to mention that pretty much all our customers are really nice people! I mean, nothing negative with my coworkers, but a bit of outside stimulation never hurt.

Oh, and I guess the money is kind of nice too. Food on the table and all that…
 
So to all our customers – know that you are appreciated and thank YOU for placing your trust in US!

About the author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Sourcing Analyst / Consultant with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MsC from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn

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For some time now, the two dominating modes of import from China has been Sea and Air. One is a slow moving bulk solution with a low price tag, the other offer fast paced delivery at a premium rate. But there hasn’t really been a good compromise between the two available on the market. But that paradigm is in full change right now, as more and more shippers decide to shift to rail as a relatively fast and eco-friendly alternative to get their goods from China to Europe.
 

For a couple of thousand years, all trade from the Far East to Europe and Africa went via the legendary Silk Road, providing Europeans with silk, spices and other valuables. Of course, ever since the camel was outcompeted by more efficient modes of transport, the overland trade route has lost its relevancy to modern trade.
In recent years however, China has made a push for the reestablishment of a “new silk road”. Multi billion USD investments have been made into a number of infrastructure projects, promoting the possibilities of land based goods transport between Europe and the far east. In all, it includes an excess of 50 rail connections between European and Chinese cities.
 
As this huge project has been set to work, overland volumes have risen significantly and are expected to continue to do so. As an example, a total of almost 500 Europe-bound departures were recorded out of one of Chinas largest rail hubs, Chengdu in 2016 – a number that is expected to be doubled this year. And as the market is growing, all the well known forwarders, such as DB Schenker, DSV and Kuehne + Nagel etc. are starting to offer solutions that take advantage of the emerging possibilities.
 
So – why would you choose rail over sea or air? Well, lead times as well as prices are going to be a compromise between a sea- and an air solution (lead times are reduced by about 50% compared to ocean freight), with the added benefit of it being an environmentally friendly alternative to the two traditional modes. It has also managed to provide a bit of security in uncertain times on the sea carrier market.
 
On the other hand, rail transport has some security issues of it’s own, specifically due to containers having to switch trains, because of differing rail gauges between countries.
 
So weather you are importing silk or smartphones, perhaps you want to spice up your next freight tender with a few rail lanes from China?
 

About the author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Sourcing Analyst / Consultant with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MsC from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn. 

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If you’re anything like the majority of freight buyers, you probably tendered your freight contracts on the basis of your business’ situation at the time of tendering. So how long since your company looked over your freight needs? I mean, really looked over. Not just meeting with the current provider to shake hands on the yearly price update.
 
Well, there are a few signs that a freight service review may be due. Apart from the obvious reason – that you haven’t done a review in a long time – there are a few major reasons to:
 
Operational changes within your company
No business is static and there are a lot of factors that may potentially impact your freight contracts and your carrier’s ability to perform up to the standards of what you have agreed. This can include, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  • A significant growth in your business
  • New products or services
  • New market introductions
  • Change in shipped volumes or product mixes

 
Any one of these is a grounds for reevaluating your freight needs, but a combination is almost certain to mean that your current carrier(s) aren’t optimized to your needs.
 
Changes in carrier practice or performance
As a customer, it can be hard to identify specific operational changes at the carrier. There are however a few signs that can be identified in day to day business that might signal a need for a closer examination:

  • Sudden rate increases
  • Declining service levels
  • Changes in rate structure
  • Reduction in capacity
  • Carrier merger or acquisitions
  • Increasing sub-contracting of shipments to third parties
  • Communications being made more difficult
  • New/added freight services (especially important in e-commerce)
 

While specifically the first two may seem obvious, any, or several, of these signs may indicate that your current carrier setup is no longer optimal.
 
 
Changes like these are often slow and impacts might not necessarily be obvious at a glance. But in the end, you don’t want to get stuck conducting your business in a way that’s optimized to a situation that hasn’t been a reality for a long time. So be sure to keep your eyes open – there is a lot to be gained from keeping up with a volatile market place!

About the author

Jacob Wiklund is working for TenderEasy as a Sourcing Analyst / Consultant with previous experience as a consultant in supply chain management. He holds an MsC from Chalmers University of Technology. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn. 

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