Earlier this month, cloud-based transportation management systems (TMS) providers MercuryGate International Inc. unveiled an advanced freight sourcing and procurement solution that enables shippers to manage RFP (requests for proposal) for multiple transportation modes in a single system.
Entitled MercuryProcure, this offering is available through a monthly subscription, with the company noting that it integrates with its other products that, in turn, provides shippers with the ability to leverage things such as carrier rating, reporting on carrier performance, and using real-time shipment data in order to project accurate costs when making transportation purchasing decisions.
“The freight industry is complex, with multiple modes, varying rate structures and volatility in the market, both in terms of providers and capacity,” said Monica Wooden, MercuryGate Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, in a statement. “Shippers and logistics professionals require a solution designed specifically for freight procurement, so we created MercuryProcure to enable our customers to maximize their purchasing power while streamlining the entire RFP process.”
Vikram Balasubramanian, Senior Vice President, Strategic Product Development, for MercuryGate, told LM that the decision to create MercuryProcure was driven by customer requests.
“Many shippers told us that without automation, the freight bid process was time-consuming,” he said. “However, existing tools for purchasing products did not include important factors needed for transportation sourcing, but were filled with options and generic terms that added no value for shippers or carriers.”
As for how the offering helps shippers maximize purchasing power while streamlining the RFP process, Balasubramanian explained that customers using MercuryProcure can maximize their purchasing power by comparing current rates against last year’s benchmarks using their actual shipment data submitted by carriers against executed shipments, adding that MercuryProcure also provides users with current market data allowing them to make more informed decisions when evaluating carrier bids.
“MercuryProcure streamlines the bid process in several ways,” he said. “When users import historical data into MercuryProcure, it will automatically aggregate your shipment information into lanes using any geographical parameters or metrics the user requires. This eliminates the need for hours spent on manual analysis of spreadsheets. Finally, MercuryProcure automates many of the administrative aspects of the bid process, from the initial emails contacting carriers requesting their participation in the bid process to notification of awarded lanes.”
Some of the competitive advantages provided by MercuryProcure cited by Balasubramanian, include how:
-shippers can manage bids for different modes of transportation with one tool;
-carriers can receive rich lane metrics, helping them decide which lanes they want to secure. They also receive updates letting them know their standing during the bid process;
-the system supports multiple rounds of bids; and
-along with analyzing historical and market data, it also allows the user to factor in subjective information unrelated to pricing, including past experience with a carrier or a preference for asset versus non-asset based providers