…how to become The Chosen One.
If you talk to anyone about moving freight right now, you’re bound to hear the phrase “capacity crunch,” and as a carrier and a fan of alliteration, I love this phrase. But, what does it mean and why does it make carriers and drivers’ eyes light up?
Trucks move 71.5% of the nation’s freight, by weight, per year. That’s a lot of product being hauled across the country. The problem? We just barely have enough trucks to do it.
Our good economy means that people are ordering things on the internet, construction is rampant, and stores need stocking. But we are in, and have been in for several years, a severe shortage of truck drivers; the reasons are endless yet specific. With limited truck drivers, we have limited trucks to move all of the goods that need moving.
All of this means that the market is favoring carriers right now. Carriers have more choices than ever so we get to be picky with our loads, and more specifically, our shippers.
What that means for shippers
While the market favors carriers, drivers don’t need to sit around for hours waiting at loading docks while shippers are unprepared, risking detention time; they have plenty of other options. This is why becoming a “Shipper of Choice” can be important for your reputation, your customers, and your bottom line.
How do you become a Shipper of Choice
A quick google search and you’ll find lots of posts listing how to become a “Shipper of Choice.” Freightwaves even has a “Shipper of Choice” award one can be nominated for. Some of these posts make it seem like a complicated task, but fortunately, it’s pretty self-explanatory and most of the practices that will put you at the top of a carriers list make sense. Beyond the obvious of paying on time, keeping drivers out of detention, being on schedule, being flexible, and being efficient, Steve Banker at Forbes boils down some of the finer points.
Banker used data from CH Robinson to infer that to be a good shipper, shipping can’t just be a means to an end for your company; the culture of shipping and distributing your product needs to be built into the culture of your business. That will help maintain the right relationships with your carriers. The data also recommends providing the longest lead times possible and sticking to the most predictable schedule. If your preferred carrier doesn’t pick up your load, then you have to go on to the next one, then the next, then the next. The further down the chain you go, the harder a schedule is going to be to meet. And don’t forget that carriers and drivers talk. If you ruin one person’s day by making them wait around for hours because you were behind schedule, you can bet they are going to let their friends know to avoid your loading docks.
The final piece of advice Banker gives is to be creative. Knowing and understanding the current market conditions, routes, and tender can all help you become a “Shipper of Choice”, and by partnering with us, we can help take some of the load off. (See what I did there?)