On-demand Tool Debuts for Optimized Sourcing of Ocean Freight Transportation

CombineNet introduces self-service solution to let corporate supply chain, logistics teams configure and manage ocean freight sourcing events

CombineNet introduces self-service solution to let corporate supply chain, logistics teams configure and manage ocean freight sourcing events

Pittsburgh  April 21, 2006  Sourcing technology company CombineNet has released a self-service, on-demand solution for optimizing the sourcing and award of ocean freight transportation services, designed to let corporate supply chain and logistics teams quickly and easily configure and manage ocean freight sourcing events using Web-based technologies.

CombineNet Ocean Manager is an ocean freight transportation-specific sourcing tool built upon CombineNet's Advanced Sourcing Application Platform (ASAP). The optimization engine at the core of ASAP enables the benefits of what CombineNet calls "Expressive Commerce," a strategic sourcing initiative that helps shippers and carriers communicate supply and demand more expressively, collaboratively and strategically.

"With ASAP, shippers are free to express their requirements, constraints and preferences, and carriers are encouraged to express their strengths and capabilities to best meet the shipper's needs," CombineNet said. "The result is accelerated innovation transfer and greater supply chain efficiency, which reduces total costs."

Analytical Firepower

Core features of the new solution include on-demand, ASP delivery, which means no software to install or integrate with IT infrastructure. Shippers and their carriers can access Ocean Manager from any desktop computer with a Web browser.

ASAP also provides an advanced optimization engine that CombineNet claims is "orders of magnitude faster" than competing optimization technology. This analytical firepower enables the analysis of potential award scenarios comparing unlimited numbers of bids, bid attributes and business constraints in seconds, according to the solution provider.

In addition, CombineNet asserts that Expressive Bidding delivers greater value by enabling carriers to offer creative bids that leverage their strengths, letting them offer conditional pricing, equipment and route alternatives, as well as packaged offers, to deliver greater value at a lower cost.

Building and Configuring

A Scenario Builder feature in the solution is intended to help shippers mitigate risk and make better decisions faster by identifying award allocations that meet their business needs. Self-service scenario analysis helps companies understand the cost impact of each business rule and stakeholder preference for quantifiable decision-making across multiple users and organizations, CombineNet said.

Elsewhere, Lane Configuration features enable shippers to define lane attributes and shipment-related display items to represent their business needs, including: origin and destination (region/country/location/port), service type, container type, annual volume, historic transit time, commodity and customer.

Carrier Management

Bid Collection Configuration capabilities help ensure that carriers submit the bid information needed to make the optimal award decisions. Shippers can request carriers to input multiple bid attributes to express their capabilities, including all-in-rate per container, delivery days, capacity, origin port, origin door-to-port transport, transshipments, destination port, fixed sailings, cut-off day, sailing day, arrival day, transit time, free time at port-of-discharge, free time at dit and free time at destination door.
Finally, Carrier Management lets companies take direct control over which carriers participate in their events, and how they participate; RFI Assessment Creator automates RFI collection, carrier evaluation and approval within the sourcing tool; and Route Plan Output takes the process from award scenario analysis and final allocation to tendering with export of results to the shipper's transportation management system.

CombineNet Ocean Manager is available now for shippers, logistics teams and supply chain consultants to configure and implement ocean freight sourcing events.

Additional Articles of Interest

 Businesses today continue to look for ways to reduce their logistics costs, but in order to identify further costs savings, companies need to tap into new information. The answer? Benchmarking. Read more in "Freight Cost Benchmarking: The Final Procurement Level," in the February/March 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

 Capturing the sourcing savings in a low-cost manufacturing strategy means weighing the risks and understanding total cost. Read more in "Supply Base Localization: A Different Look at Low-cost Country Sourcing," in the February/March 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.