How Centerboard Provides the Retail Industry with High-Quality Transportation Management

In the retail industry, companies need to rely on seamless shipping operations. This is critical when ensuring that products arrive on-time at the proper location and in the hands of a happy customer. But retailers also want to know they can rely on a transportation management system (TMS) that won’t compromise the quality of these goods.

Understanding Customers’ Needs

Centerboard knows that meeting customers’ constantly changing needs is imperative to maintaining positive, sustainable relationships between brands and manufacturers. And while effectively managing margins and inventory levels in retail logistics can be an obstacle, it doesn’t have to be.

Instead, Centerboard offers a frictionless experience for retailers looking for creative supply chain solutions. Centerboard Microservices are API solutions that enable seamless technology integration for shippers and technology providers alike. We present a groundbreaking approach to supply chain access via cloud-based, a-la-carte offerings that give retailers a fully customizable experience centered around their customers’ needs.

Using Technology to Ensure Seamless Operations

We believe shippers should be in complete control of their supply chain. Our real-time data gives retailers access to the entire supply chain and a single point of truth on how to move goods in the fastest, most cost-effective way.

From features like advanced shipping notifications (ASN) with up-to-date delivery statuses to carrier metrics and KPIs that measure on-time pick-up and delivery, we work with retailers to strengthen current supply chain relationships, develop new ones, and unlock valuable business opportunities.

An investment in quality transportation management software, like Centerboard, provides parties with the peace of mind that products will arrive on schedule while continuously meeting growing consumer demands.

Want to learn more? Schedule a demo today.

How the Centerboard Microservices Offering is Streamlining the Shipping and Logistics Industry

At Centerboard, our mission is to give shippers complete control over their supply chain. That is why we recently launched Centerboard Microservices, a groundbreaking solution designed for shippers and partners that want to introduce or add technology into their supply chain processes. The Microservices’ APIs are an industry-first offering, providing a new data model and technology stack.

Now for the first time, shippers have affordable access to solutions that provide visibility and control into supply chain operations without needing to operate multiple technology stacks or invest in major platforms that come with high price tags.

Our cloud-based offerings are a-la-carte, meaning partners can have a fully customizable experience. Microservices are structured as building blocks, building a back-end architecture in a modular way. This provides partners with customizable supply chain functionality, allowing them to plug and play API offerings according to their specific customer needs. The result is greater supply chain access across the board.

When a technology partner such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution provider partners with Centerboard, they have the ability to choose which features they want to use and select those that are most important for their customers’ business. For example, shippers only needing to access the spot market quote capability would select that specific service which would then be accessible through its existing ERP system.

Centerboard Microservices is a must-have for technology partners looking for a neutral headless transportation management solution to offer their clients. Want to learn more? Schedule a demo today.

The Future of Shipping and Logistics – What’s Next?

Leveraging past lessons, prioritizing simplicity and improving efficiency.

By Glenn Riggs, President at Centerboard Originally appeared on Industry Today

The supply chain is the backbone of the economy, and with the past year turning the shipping industry on its head, many of us are left wondering what could be next for manufacturers, carriers, retailers and consumers. What will preparation for the near future require?

As we continue to navigate a rapidly evolving global shipping landscape, now is the time to reflect on trends from the past year to gain insight into the future of the supply chain and, perhaps most importantly, how new technology can play a crucial role.

What can 2021 teach us?

The past year was unusual, with all stakeholders impacted by the perfect storm of disruption to the supply chain. Demand for transportation capacity increased, labor, trucking and warehouse space was minimal, materials were scarce, and shipping prices skyrocketed. 

What made this even more difficult was a series of global black swan events which couldn’t have been predicted or planned for, having a domino effect on world commerce. Every shipper has a unique strategy and specific resources, with varying access to drivers and monetary and technology assets. The same is true across industries. The silver lining lies in the fact that shipping and logistics technology can streamline operations and be utilized to fuel creative solutions, based on real-time data for a broad spectrum of carriers and partners. 

How do we move forward?

Comparing year-over-year is a common practice applied when planning, but 2021 was no typical year. With the holiday season behind us, we have a unique and pivotal opportunity to capture critical data to determine the strategy for 2022 and years to come. Based on history-making trends, this is a key moment to determine logistical strategies particular to each industry, using data to drive decisions. Aside from trends, changes and unforeseen events, your unique datasets will identify patterns to monitor, helping to gain comprehensive insights, some of which may have never been a factor when planning, historically.

Fundamental information such as shipment volumes, inventory turnover, warehouse procurement and more, these metrics – when analyzed and leveraged appropriately – can help you make significant business decisions. Determining what information you need and which data to track can seem daunting but will ultimately shape more holistic conclusions about managing your supply chain.

Technology is just one solution helping to improve efficiencies and sustainability for any cog in the logistics management ecosystem. By implementing a centralized system with immediate data visibility, transportation managers are better equipped to confidently make spur-of-the-moment changes regardless of ever-changing supply chain conditions. 

Additionally, it’s essential to simplify transportation management as much as possible. If we learned anything last year, it’s the need to be agile and flexible. We must prioritize simplicity and seamlessness to assist in the shipping process and arm customers with confidence. The more we can educate active decision-makers in the supply chain, the more likely they are to make impactful decisions to improve the bottom line.

Where are we going next? 

The industry should be looking ahead to provide insights on where we are headed, with a focus on system tracking, diversity in supply and sustainability. It is important to both understand lessons learned from the disruptions of 2020 and 2021 and use that knowledge to avoid future pain points. As an industry, it became clear that transportation management automation should be a focus in 2022. Specifically, how organizations can transfer manual workloads, which historically proved to be overwhelming, to cloud-based solutions that alleviate the workload and make execution seamless. While it’s understandable for companies to be hesitant to deploy new technology at a time when any changes to workflows seem extraneous, in actuality investment can mean higher expenditures in the end.

Another takeaway from last year is that capacity problems have highlighted the need to squeeze more efficiency from the trucking market. As an industry, shippers should put stock in tools that benefit the transportation capacity for contract and spot markets. Last but not least, there is an increased need for the development of real-time tracking solutions. The trucking market is still very fragmented with a wide range of tech solutions so it will be helpful to close the gap on the systems to communicate with one another to provide real-time updates.

The pains brought on by the pandemic and its associated effects have changed the shipping industry forever – we experienced this firsthand. Global supply chain woes or not, digital transformation has aided in circumnavigating potential challenges, thanks to the infusion of data captured and examined. Digital advancements have positively impacted many global industries and the shipping and logistics industry is no different so long as stakeholders across the board are willing to embrace new solutions as a way to not only keep pace with market changes but improve their bottom line.

2021 Reflection: What Centerboard is Thankful for This Holiday Season

As we look back on 2021, our team is taking the time to reflect on what we are most thankful for this holiday season.

Our Customers

We’re thankful for our customers, who trust us to deliver best-in-class solutions and work with us to achieve new heights in the shipping industry. Here are some of their kind words.

“​​​Centerboard has changed my life, I don’t know how I covered truckload before the spot quote tool. It saves me a ton of time because before I was sending out a ton of emails.”

“We like the Centerboard system … It’s been very eye-opening to see comparison rates displayed together. We like that. It’s easy to use and saves time.”

“I love the potential this brings to my sales team.”

Our Solutions

We’re thankful for our solutions which push us to forge a path with industry-first services like Centerboard Microservices, our API solutions that offer a ground-breaking approach to supply chain access.

Additionally, we are grateful to have been able to launch new features for WIN, by Centerboard earlier this year. Just a few of these include:

Advanced Shipment Notifications on all order tracking messages, helping to improve efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility.

Tracking Message on Behalf of Carriers helping to communicate shipping updates in real-time.

Our Community

We’re thankful to be a part of Danbury. Our involvement with local shelters, Girl Scouts, and Habitat for Humanity as well as helping to fight alzheimers and domestic violence has allowed us to form valuable relationships with the community. 

Our new state-of-the-art office facility here also allows us to best serve our customers and provide them with the solutions they need most. 

Our Team

Most importantly, we’re thankful forour team that’s committed to providing critical supply chain expertise and understanding what shippers need most. We strive everyday throughout the year to lead the way in transportation management technology.

Going into 2022, we are looking forward to solving critical issues facing the shipping and logistics industry. We are grateful to our customers and team for joining us along the way.

Year in Review: Shipping Trends to Remember from 2021

From supply chain shortages to shipment congestion, 2021 was filled with obstacles that left shippers questioning what’s next? But with these trends, we’re also reminded of some valuable lessons for the new year. Let’s recap.

Driver shortages open the door for new policies

The American Trucking Association estimated that in 2021 the truck driver shortage would hit a historic high of just over 80,000 drivers. This shortage has caused the industry to take a step back and reevaluate what is and isn’t working.

Drivers’ well-being must be the number one priority when enacting policies moving forward. To strengthen relationships, certain changes that put the driver first have to be considered including increased pay and improved working conditions.

Supply chain issues stress the importance of transparency

The pandemic disrupted every aspect of the global supply chain. As a result, shippers have been faced with a lack of transparency and visibility into the movement of goods.

In order to get over this hurdle, the industry must prioritize transparency across the board. Long gone are the days of confusion as we move toward the increased use of real-time data to inform advanced shipment notifications and message tracking. The result is a transparent, single point of truth that allows shippers to understand how to move goods in the fastest, most cost-effective manner.

Shipment congestion highlights the need for technology

Shipping backups at ports have contributed to the headaches of many in the industry. To help alleviate this, we can rely on emerging technologies to create a more efficient process that saves shippers time and money.

Here at Centerboard, we act as a transportation management system (TMS) for shippers. Using leading-edge technology, we make shipping more cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable, changing the way the industry moves forward. Want to learn more? Get in touch and ask for a demo today.

How Shippers Can Navigate the Supply Chain During the Holidays

As we enter the holiday season, shoppers are worried about inventory issues and shipping delays since it’s become increasingly difficult to find items on their wishlists. Due to a myriad of challenges, prices are also increasing, with shippers left to navigate potential holiday shopping nightmares.

So how can shippers overcome supply chain headaches and get through the holiday season? Here are our tips.

Integrate real-time data.

Take back control of your supply chain through real-time data. The only way to be successful in today’s supply chain is to invest in advanced technologies, including the use of valuable data to drive operational efficiencies.

By implementing real-time data, like finding carrier capacity or accessing the spot market on WIN, by Centerboard, you can gain insights into a transparent, single point of truth and move goods to holiday shoppers in the fastest but also most cost-effective manner.

Simplify transportation management.

Rely on technology to help simplify how you’re managing your supply chain and transportation management system. Today, there are limitless options and resources that can help you streamline these processes, from advanced shipment notifications to tender response reminders — both offered through WIN, by Centerboard.

Even better, these solutions can be customizable to provide you with a seamless user experience. When working with Centerboard, the result is complete control over and transparency into your supply chain. To make the process even easier, you can plug into whatever platforms you are already using, tailoring the user experience to your very own business rules.

Maintain agility and flexibility.

The supply chain as we knew it has been disrupted, and shippers need to plan and anticipate that these disruptions will continue throughout the holiday season and into 2022. With this, it’s essential to remain agile and flexible should any additional changes arise.

To help alleviate stress, shippers should work with a transportation management system that prioritizes seamless, easy-access features. For example, at Centerboard, our technology architecture is flexible, modular, and agile, allowing shippers to upgrade to the latest technology while saving time and money. 

That’s why Centerboard is here to help make this a happy holiday season for everyone. We strive to build solutions that empower shippers to take comprehensive control of their supply chain. With real-time data and accurate visibility into how goods move, we make shipping more cost-effective, efficient and sustainable. Want to learn more? Get in touch and ask for a demo today.

Centerboard’s Latest Product Offerings Launched via WIN, by Centerboard

Each day there seems to be a new headline highlighting an obstacle the supply chain is facing. While there is no easy fix to these complex issues—technology does provide hope. As the shipping industry navigates challenges presented by disruptions in the supply chain, we aim to ease shippers’ workloads through new technologies that offer a seamless user experience. We are excited to announce a range of updated solutions to our core platform, WIN, by Centerboard.

With these latest updates, shippers of all sizes can receive access to modular and flexible solutions powered by real-time data, providing complete control over and transparency of their supply chain.

While all of the offerings are exciting and geared at helping shippers navigate current and future unknowns, we are particularly proud of our Advanced Shipment Notifications (ASN) which provides information to the shipment destination’s receiving operation prior to the delivery date, helping improve planning, accuracy and efficiency.

We are also improving the process for our customers by allowing users to enter tracking messages on behalf of carriers. Our updates are aimed at helping you improve costs, accuracy and flexibility. 

The new features now live in WIN, by Centerboard include:

  • Advanced Shipment Notifications on all order tracking messages, helping to improve efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility.
  • Tracking Message on Behalf of Carriers helping to communicate shipping updates in real-time.
  • Activity Tab Added on Order Screen to customize specific items related to an order, ultimately saving time.
  • Added Custom Fields, including date and timestamp, helping users to improve their billing process.
  • Tender Response Reminders, including scheduled, automated messages that reduce the need for shippers to contact carriers manually.
  • Pallet Labels to auto-generate the paperwork that shippers had to create manually.
  • Pro Sticker Image on BOL, adding greater clarity to the shipping experience by giving the client and carrier a convenient document for real-time tracking.

Our best-in-class technology is powered by 30 years of supply chain expertise here at Centerboard, and we understand what shippers need most. That’s why we’re focused on providing shippers with solutions backed with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities enabling more cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable programs. Want to learn more about our new solutions offered through WIN, by Centerboard? Get in touch with our team and ask for a demo today.

2022 Crystal Ball: Assessing Current and Future Supply Chain Challenges & Opportunities

An inside look at how upcoming events and new initiatives may shape the supply chain, logistics and transportation environment in 2022. 

If there’s one thing that all shippers learned in 2021, it’s that supply chain shortages, transportation capacity crunches and logistics snarls don’t always right themselves easily. As we move through the fourth quarter and start looking to 2022, the pandemic-related challenges are expected to continue but there are also some opportunities arising out of the turmoil. Shippers will want to keep an eye on these opportunities as they lay out their plans for the coming year. 

Port Congestion: Any Relief in Sight?

Port congestion was a particularly sore spot for shippers in 2021. As of mid-October, 62 container ships were anchored off the coast of southern California — 37 of them destined for the Port of LA and the other 25 destined for Long Beach. 

Those ships contained the equivalent of about 200,000 20-foot containers, according to CBS. With an average waiting time for ships to dock at port of about 10 days, many of the unloaded containers sat at the port for a week or more before moving onto the next leg of their journeys.

To help speed things along, President Joe Biden recently proposed a 24/7 supply chain operation for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach plus some large retailers, carriers and logistics providers. 

Usually open during the week and then closed at nights and on weekends, these two important ports will now be open more than 60 additional hours every week. This will nearly double the amount of time that the port is usually open during more “normal” operating circumstances. “This is the first key step toward moving our entire freight transportation and logistical supply chain, nationwide, to a 24/7 system,” Biden said in a recent briefing.  

Of course, a container ship’s unloading is just one step in a lengthier import process. “The container goes into the port terminal, is then moved to a truck or chassis, and over to a distribution center,” said Glenn Riggs, President of Centerboard. 

“All of these lines in the supply chain are also full right now,” he pointed out, “so changing the port hours alone may not be enough to get everything synchronized enough to make much of a difference.”  

Chinese New Year is Coming

Two major events may help assuage some of the supply chain congestion this year: Chinese New Year and the Beijing Olympics. And while the relief may come in the form of the typical January/February work stoppage (for Chinese New Year) and the diversion of resources (for the Olympics), both could be beneficial for the current supply chain disruption. 

“For Chinese New Year, all production in China shuts down for two weeks,” said Riggs. For 2022, this will take place loosely between February 1-15, although the actual event may extend for a longer period of time.  

“During a ‘normal’ year we’d see a surge of pre-ordering to get orders flowing in before the shutdown, to cover the inventory outage,” said Riggs. “This year, the outage itself may help clear up some of this backlog.” 

For example if the flow of ships from China to the US is temporarily halted, it may give the anchored ships and ports time to work through the current pipeline. This, in turn, may create some additional fluidity in the transportation environment—something companies have been hoping for all year. 

With the Beijing Winter Olympics overlapping the Chinese New Year and taking place from February 4-20, expect the country to take actions like restricting traffic or even shutting down its northern seaports. “We’re not really sure how that’s going to play out yet,” said Riggs, “but that’s definitely another event to keep an eye on.”

Better Decision-Making

With these two events on the near horizon, shippers should be building as much lead time as possible into their orders right now, and particularly due to the extra dwell time that the anchored ships are causing in the supply chain. “Port congestion is and will likely continue to be a real issue over the coming months,” said Riggs, who urges shippers to work with logistics providers that have access to many different carriers and good visibility into the spot market, both of which Centerboard excels at. 

Centerboard is a  transportation management system (TMS) that shippers can use to connect with, obtain rate quotes from and orchestrate their freight movement on. With a centralized database to work from—and good visibility over that data—shippers can make better decisions in the heat of the moment, and regardless of current supply chain conditions. 

How Shippers Can Surf the Wave in Today’s Perfect Supply Chain Storm

Of all of the stakeholders impacted by the current disruption to the supply chain, it is perhaps shippers who have seen the most change. The increased demand for their products requires more shipments to be trucked, which results in the demand for an increasing number of drivers. Unfortunately, the number of truck drivers on the road has decreased and prices to get freight where it needs to go are skyrocketing. 

Making this already tough situation tougher, supply chain has become incredibly complex and bespoke. Each shipper does things differently, and has access to varying levels of people, resources and technology. This holds true across industries. Amidst these challenges, shippers require access to quality technology solutions, timely data and a broad spectrum of carriers and partners. 

Here are some pro tips for shippers who are looking to navigate this complex supply chain landscape. 

Open up your network. 

Given the driver shortage, shippers should be able to find ways to open up their networks. This might mean finding a new set of carriers who are available to address your needs. Working with a platform that can provide you with important transportation management features can help you to strengthen current relationships, and develop new ones, ultimately unlocking business opportunities across your industry. 

Increase efficiency through technology. 

Shippers are having a hard time getting in the queue with contracted carriers, and many are going so far as to take steps to privatize their own fleet. Because that’s not a solution that is in reach for most companies, some technologies will allow you to get real-time spot quotes from a much broader range of carriers. The result is more access to additional carriers and an efficient process that saves you time and money. 

Prioritize transparency. 

Shippers are facing a significant issue with the lack of transparency and visibility around their supply chain. Centerboard offers shippers real-time data in the form of advanced shipment notifications and message tracking that helps to improve costs, accuracy and flexibility. With real-time data you can gain insights into a transparent, single point of truth and understand how to move goods in the fastest, most cost-effective manner. 

Be mindful of carbon footprint. 

Nearly every good consumed in the U.S. is put on a truck at some point – about $60.5 billion worth each year. Needless to say, there is room for improved efficiency – and it is achievable. By continuing to leverage real-time data, you can ensure less waste and significant carbon reduction with every trip by consolidating loads and optimizing modes. 

Gain back control.

Budget constraints and lack of manpower have left shippers feeling defeated. The supply chain is the lifeblood of business, but it is complex, hard to navigate, and challenging to get answers to inform sound decision-making. 

That’s why we’re here to help you gain back control. Here at Centerboard, we empower shippers to take comprehensive control of their supply chain. With real-time data and accurate visibility into how goods move, we make shipping more cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable. Want to learn more? Get in touch and ask for a demo today.

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