Creating Custom Shipment Views For Different 3PL Roles

September 21, 2021

Working multiple roles or want to organize your day better? FreightPath's shipment datagrid allow you customize the presentation of your bookings data to align to your workflow.


As a 3PL or freight broker, you're often taking on multiple roles throughout the day - sometimes you're focused on sales and closing new accounts. Othertimes, the focus is instead on operations and making sure you dispatch the right drivers and carriers. Finally, if your a CFO or owner of a 3PL, you might have dedicated time throughout your week that you spend on closing up shipments and invoicing them.

In either case, in each of these different "roles" you need to be able to see different types of data to make quick, well-informed decisions.

How can FreightPath help you with this challenge?

Instead of just one comprehensive view of all your organizational data, FreightPath allows you to customize your view to each "role" that you take on throughout the day. For example, you can have a "Dispatching" view that gives you only the most important information related to fulfilling booked Shipment, and a completely different "Invoicing" view that gives you different information on shipment financials and completion for end-of-week or end-of-month bookkeeping.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use the Shipment DataGrid's powerful customization features to create custom views of your own:

1 | Determine What Information Is Most Important For Your "Role"

First, before you start customizing your datagrid, it helps to map out what information is most important for your role. Specifically, it's crucial to strike a balance between having enough at-a-glance data to make informed decisions quickly, while not having so much that you're getting information overload from looking at a cluttered grid all day long.

What we recommend based on data analytics best practices is to focus on less than 10 columns of key data.

For example, if I'm creating a custom view for my sales activities, I would want to choose up to 10 data columns that are most important for me to make good decisions during and after sales calls. I'd also want to consider handoff (i.e. how to communicate with dispatch after load has been confirmed) and what columns of data that requires.

A great of doing this is by starting with the absolute minimum or "minimum viable" amount of data you think you need and adding to it over the course of a week or two as you refine your workflow and role-specific needs. This can help prevent you from information overload, which is a very common fallacy to make in these situations - if all of your data is available "at-a-glance", none of it is particularly easy to read anymore!

2 | Add The Appropriate Columns Of Data To The Shipment DataGrid

When you've decided what information you need for your custom view, it's time to apply that plan to FreightPath's DataGrid. The first customization tool you're going to use is the column selector.

The FreightPath Shipment DataGrid With Column Selector Open
The FreightPath Shipment DataGrid With Column Selector Open

What the column selector allows you to do is right in the name - it's a centralized place for you to customize exactly which data columns are shown in your custom view. Just select the ones you decided upon and make sure the checkboxes are turned on.

To further make sure information is laid out in a way that makes sense at-a-glance, you can use the data grid's drag-to-reorder feature. All you have to do is drag-and-drop your columns into the order that you want them to appear, and FreightPath will save the settings to that browser.

3 | Add The Right Filters To Control The Scope Of Data Shown

The next step is to set the right filters and data visibility settings so that the right amount and type of row data is shown. We can break down the controls to the period picker, the rows-per-page setting, and individual column filters.

The FreightPath Shipment DataGrid with Period Picker open
The FreightPath Shipment DataGrid with Period Picker open

The period picker, labelled in the datagrid as "fetch records for", allows you to determine the total amount of data to be queried for. You can specify whether you want just the past day, the past 3, 7 or 30 days, and longer periods like six months. With smaller time increments, you can focus on specific data and achieve faster load times. Meanwhile, if you're building a custom view for something like end-of-month or end-of-year reporting, you can sacrifice load times to bring back all the data you need.

The FreightPath Shipment DataGrid with the Rows-Per-Page dialog open
The FreightPath Shipment DataGrid with the Rows-Per-Page dialog open

The rows-per-page setting is exactly what it sounds like - it allows you to specify the density of data displayed on your datagrid. This again is a trade off between the quantity of data shown and the ease of reading said data. With more data shown (e.g. 50 rows), you can see more shipments at a glance, but the high information density can make it challenging to read individual lines at a glance. With fewer data shown (e.g. 10 rows), you achieve the opposite. You can set this option based on your specific needs - it'll be affected by your eyesight, screen size, and the purpose of your custom view.

Finally, there's the column-specific filters - made visible by pressing the filters button. These are extremely powerful query tools that allows you to run complex search and queries to answer detailed questions and show specific reports. In this guide, we'll focus on the status column.

The FreightPath Shipment DataGrid with the status filter open
The FreightPath Shipment DataGrid with the status filter open

One of the most important data fields for shipments - different 3PL roles on your team and throughout your day will require you to look at a different subset of shipment statuses. For example, for a sales role, the important statuses to look at are shipments in DRAFT, READY, PENDING and BOOKED - allowing a sales agent to track new orders that are coming in from customers, which ones have been signed off by said customers, and which ones have been connected with a carrier.

To narrow down this information in your custom view, you can use the operator selection to either select "=" or "≠" - either letting you select which statuses to show or which statuses to hide. In the screenshot above, I've used the "≠" selector to display all statuses other than DRAFT.

4 | Put Your New Custom View Into Use

So - you've planned out your new role-specific workflow, and you've built it in FreightPath. Now it's time to put your custom view into use!

With a custom view, you can increase the productivity of everybody on your team, improve collaboration and prevent shipment exceptions and delays from falling through the cracks.

Looking for more tips on how to supercharge your transportation management operations? Check out our free FPLearn books and reports.

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