The trucking capacity crunch, driver shortage, and electronic logging device (ELD) mandate are working together to create a carrier’s market right now. In a world where carriers can be more selective about who they work with and the business they take on, shippers need to find ways to make their facilities stand out (for good reasons). Ignore this step and you could be in for some unmatched loads, long delays, and unhappy customers. To help you overcome these pain points, here are six ways to make your shipping facilities a place where carriers want to do business with you today and in the future:
- Become the shipper of choice. Whether you ship 100 truckloads per day or 100 truckloads per year, operating facilities that are friendly to truck drivers are table stakes in today’s supply chain. Becoming a shipper of choice is an excellent way to stand out and access additional capacity in today’s supply constrained transportation environment.
- Know your carriers’ “Top Seven” must-haves. Shippers that adopt carrier-friendly business practices not only get lower transportation costs and consistent freight coverage, but they also benefit from stronger and longer-lasting ties with their valued transportation partners. In Convoy’s most recent Carrier Snapshot Report, what matters most to carriers when working with a shipper are:
- Short wait times
- Flexible appointments
- Low rate of tender cancellation
- Friendliness of staff
- Lead time for shipment booking
- Parking options
- Facilities amenities
- Focus on efficiency and promptness over vending machines. It’s nice to be able to offer drivers snacks and drinks while they wait, but those “distractions” don’t help them get their jobs done any faster or better. “They are saying we provide you snacks and drinks (at your own cost) while you wait,” says one driver, “but it can be the same long wait.
- Make your freight as desirable as possible. The enforcement of ELD limits carriers’ driving hours, giving them less flexibility than they had in the past. Carriers prefer shipments that have desirable transit times so they can use their driving hours efficiently. You can improve your loads’ desirability by being considerate of drivers’ experiences and time when they service your freight. If there is excess transit between pick and drop locations, look into the root cause and see if you can find a direct solution. Consider optimizing appointments to better align with hours of service requirements and monitor average wait times at your facilities (then, adjust as needed). Convoy’s Flex Loads are one way to accommodate more carrier-friendly pick up times.
- Leverage technology to your advantage. Using the Convoy app, drivers can leave feedback about their loads. When one facility noticed that drivers complained about long wait times and poor service on the app, its corporate office made some operational changes. The facility decreased loading and unloading times; prioritized service for drivers; and started offering more flexible appointments. The company is also willing to accept drivers who arrive late at its facility (and then gets them unloaded quickly).
- Don’t overlook the little things. Making your shipping facilities more carrier friendly doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Even small, inexpensive changes—such as training staff to be more driver-friendly—can go a long way in positioning your company as a shipper of choice.
The supply-demand dynamic in the trucking market is out of balance, even as more drivers enter the market. When capacity is this tight, carriers can literally pick and choose which shippers and facilities to work with. In order to remain competitive and access consistent and reliable supply, smart shippers are streamlining their supply chains and creating more carrier-friendly processes. Want to learn more? Read our whitepaper with Logistics Management about how to become a shipper of choice.
This article is published jointly with our partners at Convoy. To view more Future of Freight content, click here.