Are you ready for an LTL pricing API that will streamline freight purchasing while saving money on freight costs? 

More and more companies are integrating a pricing API – application programming interface – into their transportation management systems (TMS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for a simple, basic reason: It helps reduce freight costs. 

This digital, real-time approach to freight pricing allows carriers to update rates quickly according to market conditions. That, in turn, lets shippers instantly capitalize on any rate reductions.

Pricing APIs aren’t interchangeable, however. Before contracting with an API provider to help your company become more agile with freight rates, ask these eight questions about each provider and its solution.

 

  1. How does the provider price its API? 

Most use one of two pricing models – ala carte or all-inclusive. The ala carte approach prices each function separately and charges a per-transaction fee when you use the API. The all-inclusive model uses a one-time fee that includes all functionality. 

While the ala carte approach might seem more affordable initially, transaction fees make it more costly over time. In addition, when you require additional functions later, you will pay yet another fee. 

The all-inclusive, one-time fee model includes functions you need now and those you’ll want later as your business grows. The lack of per-transaction fees also allows you to leverage the software’s power without worrying about going over budget. 

 

  1. Can the API integrate with your TMS or ERP?

The most experienced providers have relationships with the greatest number of TMS and ERP providers. Partnering with one that is already integrating with your current system provider allows you to implement your pricing API sooner and more cost-effectively.  

 

  1. Does the provider specialize in LTL freight? 

You want to partner with a pricing API provider that shares your focus on LTL freight. It’s the only way to be certain that the provider is well-connected with carriers and understands your challenges as well as you do. 

 

  1. Is it an off-the-shelf solution or one built according to your needs?

The best way to obtain a pricing API that meets your company’s needs and integrates with your TMS or ERP is to collaborate with the API provider on your integration. It not only lets you communicate the specific functions you need now and might need later, it also allows for customization that will make implementing the new system easier. 

 

  1. What functionality is included? 

Some include functions such as freight auditing, others don’t. Look for one that offers more than dynamic pricing capability. 

 

  1. Does the pricing API protect contracted rates?

Look for a guarantee that the spot lane pricing offered won’t exceed your contracted rate with your contract carriers. It isn’t standard. 

 

  1. What’s the provider’s reputation? 

Because supply chain technology is exploding, many new-to-the-industry providers are jumping in to take advantage of the growth. After you’ve reviewed presentations and proposals and taken hidden costs and other factors into account, consider who you will trust with your freight pricing API. 

Transportation managers often feel more confident when they partner with a provider that brings longevity, an established track record, and satisfied customers in the LTL freight industry.

 

  1. Is the provider an innovator?

The supply chain industry has never been more dynamic. Software providers need to constantly innovate to bring the best technology and functionality to their customers. Look for one with a reputation for introducing solutions before companies realize they need them – that’s a sure sign of an organization that not only knows how to innovate, it understands your problems and what you need to solve them. 

 

Grow Together

When exploring options for incorporating a pricing API into your system, look for a provider that is willing to grow with you. Supply chain technology will continue to evolve; you want a partner that is at the forefront of the evolution so you always have access to the best, most cost-efficient tools. 

Asking these eight questions will help get the answers you need to secure a long-term partnership that always fits your needs. 

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