Digital freight forwarder Flexport on Tuesday launched Flexport Order Management (OM), a platform solution that enables consignees and their suppliers to more effectively plan, collaborate, validate and optimize their supply chains.
The company said Flexport OM is a key step forward in its technology vision of creating a single platform for trade and a unified experience for product sourcing from in transit to final delivery.
Within the Flexport Platform, Flexport OM allows for greater collaboration between consignees and suppliers through order-level messaging, automatic reminders and built-in approval flows. SKU and unit cost data associated with a purchase order (PO) is automatically linked with any bookings and shipments on the platform, enabling logistics managers to improve the timeliness of bookings, accuracy of shipments and collaboration with vendors through key Flexport OM features.
These include date management–direct collaboration with suppliers to ensure bookings are made on time with automatic email and in-app alerts, dashboards and exception management. Booking approval allows for rules configuration to determine exactly which bookings should be flagged for review or approval before a booking is able to ship, while PO reporting triggers reports using key order-level data for more granular supply chain insights.
In addition, API/EDI integrations keep disparate sources up-to-date across consignee and Flexport systems.
“With this new innovative technology, we are now able to have visibility in our supply chain even before the cargo is booked,” said Jason Starr, director of operations at Globe Electric, a Flexport OM pilot client. “Real time conversation with our suppliers overseas and being able to manage by exception gives us the power of information to make timely and informed decisions.”
Flexport OM was developed based on extensive user research and direct client feedback. To ensure consignees’ most pressing needs were met, Flexport co-developed many features alongside its small, selective group of Flexport OM pilot consignee and supplier participants. Adoption of one of Flexport OM’s integrated collaboration tools confirmed this during product testing, where more than 70 percent of pilot consignees used it to collaborate with their suppliers.
Over the past six months, pilot suppliers booked POs against 73 percent of shipments through Flexport OM, enabling them to receive PO and SKU-level visibility throughout the shipment lifecycle.
“Flexport Order Management comes at a time of unprecedented freight volumes and capacity crunches, when a single erroneous PO could put a shipment at risk of missing a key date or incurring additional costs,” said Yuko Kamae, Flexport’s vice president of product management. “Orders managed through the Flexport Platform grew by 96 percent year-over-year. Flawless PO discipline only becomes harder as volumes go up. Centralized, rules-based tools like Flexport OM provide greater collaboration and agility during these turbulent times–a core part of our product vision.”
Companies use the Flexport Platform to move freight, clear customs and make smarter decisions about their supply chain–all powered by a combination of technology, logistics infrastructure and expertise. Flexport connects almost 10,000 clients and suppliers across 116 countries. The company offers a full range of services, including ocean, air, truck and rail freight, drayage and cartage, warehousing, customs and trade advisory, financing and insurance.