Friday, January 24, 2014

FCL container size specification

As part of the soon-to-be-released freight quote capability, we have also added a container size selection to the calculator. Previously PricePoint would assume the container size based on volume input. That is still the case, but you can now manually override the container size if necessary. 

We've tried to be thoughtful with the UI in terms of preventing potential conflict between the assumed size and the override, but let us know if any frustrations arise in daily use. Basically, once you manually select a container size, it will remain in place unless you go back into the volume field, which can re-trigger the automated size assumption. This is why we placed the container size field on the far right end.

Note: all prices altered to protect agent price privacy

Destination THC Exclusion

PricePoint clients now have greater pricing flexibility with managing the somewhat variable detail of Destination THC, which is typically excluded from the cost of freight and paid at destination. However sometimes the DTHC is prepaid with the freight, which is the purpose of the new upgrade.

Originally we always automatically added DTHC into the PricePoint DA cost quotation. The DTHC amount was visible on the the formal quote detail screen, so the Booker could manually deduct the DTHC amount from the quote.

Now we have a toggle switch on the Price Calculator page which allows the Booker to easily include/exclude DTHC from all quotes. The only exception is if the agent has treated the DTHC as a base rate inclusion rather than specifying the amount separately on their tariff (we prefer and request the latter). In such cases, the exception is highlighted as per the following screenshot.

Note: all displayed prices are altered for agent privacy protection
Lastly, the quote detail screen will still display the DTHC amount for reference purposes, but will note it as excluded from the total cost.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

PricePoint boosts reciprocity!

I think we all agree that reciprocity is a pillar of the industry. We therefore took reciprocity into consideration with PricePoint's current design (and we have big ideas on future enhancements as well). Currently, PricePoint provides advantages to our client-users in terms of boosting reciprocity opportunities from agents. This is partly based on the reality that reciprocity is not solely based on booked tonnage, but also on the influence of quotation activity, booked or not.

First, let's consider the reciprocity limitations of the traditional pricing processes of email quotes and static tariffs (spreadsheets, pdfs, etc.).

Email quotes are typically responded to by a pricing analyst/coordinator position. Such positions are usually not management-level, however, reciprocity is of course predominantly controlled by management. This means that the individuals who control reciprocity are often unaware of the full scope of agent quote activity. Making matters worse, email is a poor platform for monitoring, tracking, and measuring activity (see below, PricePoint is far better at this).

Static tariffs suffer from the same lack of visibility and measurement as email, but even more so. When an agent provides a static tariff, they will have almost no sense of how often the tariff is being used. I suspect this is one of the reasons that traditional static tariffs are not very popular (among other reasons)

In contrast, PricePoint provides tangible reciprocity-boosting benefits where traditional methods fall short. When an PricePoint client generates and saves a quote, PricePoint automatically sends a courtesy email to both the selected agent's listed Management contact as well as the applicable import or export coordinator contact (see example image below), as per the Agent Profile. In other words, even though you already have the instant price quote, PricePoint actively informs the agent that you are quoting shipments with them, without the time-consuming email quote request or having to wait for overnight reply. This activity as a booker helps keep your company more top-of-mind with agents who in turn have reciprocal tonnage.

Quote auto-email notification

By the way, savvy PricePoint clients may rightfully choose to issue multiple "pending" quotes to more than one agent on the same competitive move, which multiplies the top-of-mind influence factor. If the move becomes booked, they can then choose the actual agent to award the move to, and Book/Cancel the existing quotes accordingly.

Additionally, PricePoint keeps track of all quotes on the "Quotes Dashboard" (see image below). Clients can see all their quotes issued to various agents, and agents can see all quotes issued to them by various client bookers. The Dashboard can be easily searched and sorted for higher-level summary reporting purposes. Good luck trying to doing that with an email inbox!

Quotes Dashboard

One final side note on the prior point that unbooked quote activity can also positively influence reciprocity. Obviously actual bookings are more important, which raises the topic of closing ratio. If there is an overly large gap between number of quotes and number of actual bookings, a likely reason may be that the agent rates are too high. In such cases, the client can utilize PricePoint's revolutionary price analysis tool to discuss and negotiate better rates with their preferred agents. Meanwhile at the very least, PricePoint is saving everyone the time of manual quote request/responses on unbooked opportunities. Savvy agents are learning to use PricePoint as a pricing analyst that draws no salary!