Avoid Losing Customers with Failed Pick-up/Delivery Messages

The tightening of the economy and the lower availability of loads means that shippers and consignees can be more demanding. One of the greatest innovations in transportation is the ability to track a package that has been shipped on-line with shippers like UPS and FedEx. Looking up a tracking number and seeing the status of where the package is in its journey from the shipper to the receiver offers a certain piece of mind. With companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target offering one and two-day deliveries, it has become even more important to the end consumer. Because of this, the EDI Shipment Status (214) is universally accepted by most shippers (or consignees ERP systems), continually assured of the status of their shipment and job.

What is an EDI 214?

The EDI 214, an important transportation document for your customers, represents a Transportation Carrier Shipment Status Message. It’s typically used by transportation carriers, such as an LTL (Less than Truckload) and TL (Truck Load) trucking companies. For carriers of small shipments, the function is accomplished through the EDI 240 document (Motor Carrier Package Status). Although the Inbound Load Tender (204) and Outbound Acceptance (990) provide cost saving efficiency to transporters, they are not used by the customer decision makers – material planners and customer service staff. These deciders have great influence on the decision to change carriers, since a lack of knowledge regarding delays are a great worry and challenge to their processes and performance pay.

Providing an immediate and accurate Pick-up or Delivery message requires only one EDI interface. Also, it can be limited to the most basic information and usually includes the following:

  • Shipping origination: Name and address.
  • Shipment destination: Address or GPS coordinates.
  • PO information: Including PO number and products being shipped.
  • Expected delivery: Dates and times, including pickup and estimated delivery.
  • Proof of delivery: Including where it was delivered and the signatory.
  • Shipment description/bill of lading: Includes packaging, quantity, and weight. Should match up with PO acknowledgement and packing list.
  • Shipment status details: Includes delivery status (e.g. late, on time) and reason for delays.

The primary impediment to Shipment Status EDI is incomplete information. A remedy includes widespread use of the Load Tender to load the complete and correct data into the dispatch system. A key challenge is sending the codes and reference numbers demanded by the shipper or consignee. Fortunately, after the first few are set, the number of new requests encountered falls sharply.

Finally, adding these messages has a training and motivation component. This is because too many dispatchers think their job ends after the shipment is out the door. However, the delivery is not successful until both the shipment and the data promptly arrive.

Advantages of an EDI 214

The EDI 214 may not be one of the top EDI transactions – EDI 810 (invoice), EDI 850 (Purchase Order) and EDI 856 (Advance Ship Notice) – it still provides important information that retailers need  to check on the status of their shipment, confirm expected delivery, or track down a lost/late shipment.

Large buyers often have specific delivery times and windows for each of their suppliers. The 214 helps them track the on-time rating of their suppliers and motor carriers.  It also helps to manage receiving resources when the deliveries arrive. They can then determine if any changes are needed to the supply chain and delivery providers.

Buyers can also request an EDI 214 to track when the carrier arrived at the pick-up location, when they departed, when the shipment arrived and when the carrier left the destination loading dock. This is particularly useful when the retail buyer and shipping destinations are in completely different locations, such as regional distribution centers or retail locations. The EDI 214 can also offer real-time information to the retailer such as a delay in shipment allowing them to make adjustments to their loading schedule, staffing and more.


Data Communication Solutions

If you’re looking for an EDI partner with a decades-long record of helping businesses succeed, look no further than Data Communication Solutions (DCS). Since 1991, our team of experienced and knowledgeable EDI specialists has been providing services such as development, managed services, support and training for a variety of EDI systems and industries. Check out our list of clients to see the hundreds of companies we’ve worked with and consider reading some of our case studies to learn how we help organizations find the best EDI solutions. To learn more about how we can help your business, contact us today!

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