The RFP process can be tedious during a normal year. In a year when capacity is tight, e-commerce is surging and the course of the coronavirus pandemic remains unpredictable, it can be downright overwhelming.
Many shippers would benefit from taking their RFP process digital as they attempt to navigate this precarious landscape. This streamlines the bidding process, allowing them to spend less time and money caught up in this often stressful process.
“The first thing I would recommend would be to migrate off Excel spreadsheets and start using technology,” Emerge Vice President Andrew Semisch said. “Companies also need to do the work to understand the market while putting together their RFPs. Where we are today is not normal, and things are changing very quickly.”
When shippers rely on old-school tactics like Excel sheets and email to work through the RFP process, it tends to be slow, redundant and expensive. Alternatively, when shippers utilize digital RFP solutions — like those provided by Emerge — they can award bids quicker and with a lot less manual labor. These tools also give brokers and carriers a more transparent look into the process, allowing them to see when their peers ask questions and engage with the shipper. This spares the shipper from answering the same questions on a loop and empowers brokers and carriers with more information.
“The RFP process is speeding up because it needs to speed up. The demand to reduce cost will drive shippers to technology. The old days of swapping Excel spreadsheets multiple times and awarding bids through email is passing us by,” Semisch said. “The Emerge product allows you to put all your essential information into the bid tool, so it is visible to all your carriers and all the Emerge carriers. It reduces the amount of follow-up needed to execute the bid.”
During this volatile time, many companies are looking to diversify their RFPs to ensure coverage and remain competitive. Semisch believes this is the correct move, noting that too many large shippers rely on a relatively small network of carriers. This drives up rates and increases the chance shippers will be pushed into the spot market.
While shippers know they need to broaden their carrier bases, choosing the right carrier partners can prove difficult. Emerge helps shippers through this process by automatically increasing their carrier audience to include Emerge’s own network of high-quality options.
“Emerge allows exposure to other carriers. We also allow shippers to look at what the rates are by lane, giving them more control of how their freight moves,” Semisch said. “With Emerge, you’re protected from escalating rates. When you expand your carrier base, you’re going to get better rates.”
Ultimately, the increased efficiency shippers find when using digital RFP tools allows them to both build out their carrier networks easily and increase the frequency of their RFPs, giving them the power to respond to market shifts sooner.