Routing guides

Routing Guides are a list of conditions that determine how a shipment should be routed, and what carrier and service should be used.

A routing guide has a time period for which is effective, and conditions for when it should be applied. These conditions are based on Freight Terms and Department. Routing guides are maintained within Sterling Order Management System Software.

Each routing guide contains a list of routing guide lines, each of which describe detailed conditions for selecting a carrier, service and shipment mode. The conditions include:

  • the origin and destination of the shipment
  • any carrier service requests
  • characteristics of the shipment itself, such as weight and volume.

The routing guide information is based on data used by VICS (Voluntary Inter Industry Commerce Standards) routing.

For example, different departments within the same buyer organization may have separate contracts with various delivery services. Each department could supply a routing guide, which contains its criteria for carrier selection.

An example is the Jolly Toy Company, which has two departments, the Stuffed Toys department, and the Board Games department. The Stuffed Toys department is located in California, and takes all of its deliveries in one location there. The Board Games department works quite differently, it can receive shipments in seven different locations across the US.

The Jolly Toy Company provides a routing guide for each of these departments.

The routing guide for the Stuffed Toys depart is fairly simple; under most circumstances that department uses a single preferred carrier. If the shipment is very heavy, the Stuffed Toys department uses a different carrier.

Table 1. Example: stuffed toy department routing guide
Conditions Action
Shipment weight is less than 300 pounds Ship to San Diego California facility using the carrier service Happy Toy Carriers
Shipment weight is more than 300 pounds Ship to San Diego facility using the carrier service Big and Bulky Carrier

The routing guide for the Board Games department is complex; it has a series of conditions based on the origin and destination, weight of the shipment, and requested type of carrier service (next day, ground, and so forth). They are using a range of flexible choices in order to optimize their shipping times and costs.

Table 2. Example: board game department routing guide
Condition Action
Shipment weight is less than 5 pound and service is Next Day Use FedEx
Shipment weight is less than 10 pounds and service is 2nd day Use UPS
Shipment weight is more than 10 pounds and shipping from CT, NY or RI to NY or NJ Ship to NJ distributor using the carrier service NY Special Freight
Shipment weight is more than 10 pounds and shipping from CT, NY or RI to California, Colorado or Washington Ship to shipping address, using the carrier service Cross Country Carrier or Big and Bulky Carrier
and so on......  

When shipping to the Jolly Toy Company, the enterprise organization consults these Routing Guides. Based on the department to which the shipment is going, the appropriate conditions are assessed, and the appropriate actions are used.

The use of routing guides is optional. Both buyers and enterprises can establish routing guides. If both the buyer and enterprise establish routing guides, a setting in Freight Terms is used to determine which routing guide to use first.

The routing guide for determining a carrier service is complex; it has a series of conditions to be met based on the criteria specified, such as the requested carrier type, cost optimization, and the lowest numbered priority assigned to the carrier.

Table 3. Example: determining carrier services
Condition Action
Shipping Attributes Ship to Tustin California facility using the carrier service UPSN Ground for shipping hazardous items.
Service charges For UPSN Ground, the service cost is $200.
Priority For UPSN Ground, the priority assigned is 2.