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The DigitalShipper Rate Engine is a separate set of Web Services that extends the rating features to other key areas of your business such as providing rate quotes through your e-commerce web site or handling large volumes of rate transactions without interfering with your shipping throughput. The Rate Engine can work alongside your DigitalShipper Enterprise or work independently.
Determining how much something will cost to ship is essential to any business. The Rate Engine can rate single package shipments or multiple package shipments for domestic or international destinations to determine the carrier’s cost for freight. The carrier published rates are automatically part of the Rate Engine; however, you can load your negotiated rates to see exactly what you should be paying for freight. Time in transit information can also be loaded to capture information on how long it will take to ship the package to its destination and allow you to optimize ground services when they are able to meet the air service commitments.
The Rate Engine can take into account carrier accessorials such as Fuel Surcharge, C.O.D. (Collect On Delivery), Insurance, Saturday Delivery,Residential Delivery to determine the additional fees that may be associated with shipping. If dimensions are set for each package then the Rate Engine will determine the billable weight and calculate the dimensional weight rate and fees associated with the dimensions such as Large Package Surcharge.
Common Uses of the DigitalShipper Rate Engine:
“ABC” Rating can perform rate transactions based on any origin to any destination. This is an ideal tool to determine which warehouse to originate shipments from when shipping goods to your customer based on cost and transit time. “ABC” Rating can also play a role in deciding where to plan new distribution center/warehouse locations. By using historical shipment data or “what if” scenarios you can return rating results for various origin zip codes.
Rate Shopping is available through the Rate Engine using published or negotiated rates and can even take into account accessorial fees to determine the least cost carrier. Rate shopping can be used to determine the least cost for a particular carrier by comparing the different service levels or shopping across multiple carriers. The Rate Engine can even rate shop an entire shipment to determine if it should ship via a small parcel carrier or an LTL/FTL carrier using the Total Order Rate Shopping feature.
Transportation Pre-Planning is an integral part of many warehouse operations and involves determining how shipments should be consolidated, staged, released, and ultimately shipped. The Rate Engine can facilitate calculating the freight charges and apply general carrier rules to select the carrier and service that is most suitable for the shipment before it is actually shipped. Custom business rules with the Rate Engine can engage routing guidelines to comply with trading partners to make sure the shipment accurately is shipped how the vendor requires.
Order Processing through Ecommerce web sites or Customer Service Representatives often need to have the shipping method selected to finalize a customer’s order. The Rate Engine is an integral part of the order processing step when determining the shipping method by returning the various rates for each carrier and service available. The customer is then able to make an informed decision on how they want the order to ship based on how much the freight costs. The Rate Engine can precisely calculate the shipping charges when integrated with a packing algorithm application that determines how many boxes and the weight of each box it will take to fulfill the customer’s order.
Alternate Rating has many purposes for businesses: it can be a competitive way for a company to do business in certain markets where they are able to charge a “ground” rate for shipping but actually ship their product using an “overnight” service; allows companies to upgrade shipping service for customers and charge for a lesser service level; ship product from any warehouse location to any customer and charge shipping cost from the closest warehouse point. The Rate Engine can be used to calculate the alternate rate and pass back the appropriate freight cost the host system for invoicing purposes.
Negotiating Rates with carriers can be a daunting task and unless you have access to your shipment data and can recognize the trends, you are depending on the carrier rep to share these facts with you. By presenting the facts about your current and future shipping volumes and characteristics, you can control your discounts and make sure you are negotiating the best possible rate. The DigitalShipper Rate Engine can help formulate the data you need by returning useful rates based on your existing or potential shipping data.