The less-than-truckload market is healthy, according to John Hansen, director of LTL operations at R2 Logistics.
“While overall tonnage may be slowing slightly as capacity is still having a hard time keeping up with demand, LTL carriers are continuing to invest in expanding their number of terminals and cross-docks across the country,” Hansen said. “LTL is not slowing down anytime soon and preparations are being made to accommodate the business.”
R2 Logistics is a 3PL provider that has been offering supply chain management services to shippers of all sizes for nearly 15 years. R2 Logistics specializes in managed transportation, full truckload, LTL, expedited, airfreight, intermodal, ocean and flatbed/specialized hauling. Hansen said with the R2 Logistics transportation management system, customers can rate shipments and receive real-time visibility into their supply chain networks.
One industry report said the LTL industry is benefiting from the growing e-commerce industry, “reflecting increased consumer spending, business investment, foreign trade and domestic manufacturing.” And the LTL market has been forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2% between 2021 and 2026.
“Ultimately, I’m bullish on the LTL market in general. As a society we’ve become very used to ordering the right amount of product at just the right time and expect that the logistics markets to ‘just work,’” said Frank Dreischarf, VP of supply chain solutions at R2 Logistics. “I consider this the ‘Amazon effect.’ We are seeing growing volumes in LTL in general with higher expectations from the customers for excellent service, tracking and responsiveness.”
R2 Logistics is also focused on offering its LTL customers the latest technology. The days of using spreadsheets to track and manage transportation spends are no more. With the right tech, shippers of all sizes can rate shipments and gain visibility into their logistics network – giving small and medium-sized businesses a competitive advantage against the larger counterparts that are dominating the LTL industry.
“Staying up to date with emerging technology is imperative in today’s fast-paced transportation industry. Customers want and deserve full visibility to their shipments, documents and invoices when needed,” Hansen said. “The major and growing LTL carriers are those that invest in new technology to reduce costs, optimize capacity and expand their network. As a result, LTL companies that implement technology are seeing significant benefits over their non-tech counterparts.”
Hansen said customers using R2’s TMS for LTL have the ability to get quotes or book shipments online, view all carrier options available and choose the price, transit time and service level that best fits their needs. They have full visibility to real-time tracking and tracing at the click of a button, and when shipments are delivered, they have the ability to view all necessary documents from weight certificates to invoices. Customers can also access KPI reports in order to narrow down exactly how much their spend is and where it is being spent.
“Our TMS system was designed with small to midsize shippers in mind,” Dreischarf said. “The technology adoption rate for shippers with less than a $25 million annual spend is less than 10%. That means there is a very large number of companies operating in the U.S. that are operating on 1980s-best technology — a massive issue that often is overlooked.”
According to Dreischarf, for a long time, LTL networks supported the larger shippers specifically but feasted off the smaller shippers who were not knowledgeable enough of the space or large enough to negotiate favorable agreements. R2’s LTL service is designed specifically to service this niche for small-medium-sized shippers – bringing expertise in operations, procurement, data and analytics in one platform that gives shippers the same advantages of a large shipper.
“The reality is that the freight line on a company’s profit and loss statement is one of the larger expenses that they have to manage and many companies aren’t equipped or cannot afford a professional transportation team to support their business. This is where our TMS system and LTL offerings come into play,” he said.
Hansen said in order to secure competitive pricing for small to mid-sized customers, R2 leverages its total LTL volumes across its network of more than 30 carriers.
“We feel that no matter their size, each deserves the same level of attention and customer service each day,” Hansen said. “And with our track record, commitment to adding value to our customers’ supply chain and our niche as a high service provider, we find that once we are a part of a customer’s network, we retain that customer for the long term.”
R2 prides itself on its ability to integrate customers into its TMS in just about two weeks, according to Dreischarf, who said the system supports both do-it-yourself and do-it-for-me customers.
“In addition we have a team of logistics professionals and analysts who are on top of all of our customers and ensure that our DIY customers are getting the most out of the system and when they see a potential issue reach out immediately to the customer with alternatives,” he said.
According to Dreischarf, R2’s long-term goals are simple – to be the best 3PL in the US, and the team at R2 plans to continuously make strides toward this goal.
“We will continue to invest in improving our service offerings and to find ways to add value for our customers,” he said.
To learn more about R2 Logistics, visit its website.