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How to keep carriers happy and performance high during peak season

Brokers, 3PLs need to be ready with holidays approaching

Dan Cicerchi, general manager and vice president of transportation management solutions at Descartes, sat down with FreightWaves to discuss various ways for brokers and 3PLs to improve service and keep morale high during this year’s peak season.

According to Cicerchi, freight brokers and 3PLs should be focused on accommodating carriers’ specific needs in order to improve service levels.

“We kind of live by the modified golden rule as we are working to support our customers, and that’s really the golden rule of carrier management — treating carriers how they want to be treated,” Cicerchi said. “From a technology perspective, that’s really about meeting them where they are in terms of capability.”

A leader in supply chain technology solutions, Descartes works to improve logistics and supply chain productivity, performance and security through innovative technology and supply chain management solutions. From high-tech to no-tech carrier partners, Cicerchi believes addressing customers’ needs and improving their technology experience are key during peak season.

“Ultimately, the broker’s goal is to become the broker of choice to the best-in-class carriers, and the technology experience really plays a huge role in that best-in-class carrier experience,” Cicerchi said.

Cicerchi said Descartes’ carrier partners have voiced their desires about what they want and need from brokers, including less friction in the load-offer process, further stressing the urgency of meeting them where they are.

“They want offers,” he said. “They want you to make it happen.”

In addition to less friction, carriers are looking to brokers to help reduce deadhead, or empty miles. This can save costs for carriers as well as continue their progress toward net-zero goals.

Some common mistakes, according to Cicerchi, with carrier management during peak season include relying on limited carrier networks for procurement, shortsightedness in pricing and falling back into old-school processes.

“Everybody is going to have to flex going into peak [season] as we do every year,” Cicerchi said. “I think [it starts with] getting access to a broad network of carriers. In our platform, we have 325 or so thousand carriers looking for open loads. We have also seen fluctuation surrounding spot pricing. The carriers that have been consistent — both reliable and fair — should not be forgotten as we enter into peak and begin to flex on pricing.”

Some of the traditional processes are no longer compatible with today’s market, Cicerchi said. But he pointed out it’s also important not to replace relationship building with technology.

“These [previously mentioned] golden rules should remain in place, but brokers need to [continue to] lean on the relationships that have previously made them key brokers in the market,” Cicerchi said.

To learn more about how Descartes can help your business, visit its website.