Inbound Logistics | January 2022


Transportation management has become increasingly complex and challenging. To help you cope, Inbound Logistics asked the experts to share their brightest advice.

KEYS TO TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT IN UNCERTAIN TIMES In the wake of the pandemic, supply chains

everywhere must navigate shipping delays, labor shortages, and production shifts. Transportation management has become particularly challenging, but there are steps manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can take to reduce costs, mitigate risks, and keep products moving. Alleviate carrier pain points. “Shipper or receiver of choice” cannot be merely a buzzword. To ensure capacity, shippers and receivers must understand what makes for a positive driver experience at their facilities and adjust processes and amenities accordingly. Fast check-ins, reduced paperwork, and contactless digital payments keep drivers moving and decrease waste. Efcient drop trailer management and yard workows reduce unnecessary bottlenecks. Even simple tweaks, like making sure staff members treat drivers with respect and providing clean and accessible restrooms, can help shippers retain carriers and avoid tender rejections. Utilize bid management technology. To protect against volatility, shippers often run “mini bids” with shortened contract cycles. This strategy works, but may require signicant time and effort. Deploying smart bidding technology to accelerate the RFP process can help shippers avoid too much resource drain. Tools that aggregate historical data and provide market intelligence can also enable faster decision-making and better purchasing. Integrate rst, middle, and last mile. When possible, hiring a single-source logistics partner to take shipments from manufacturer to warehouse to end customer can create numerous efciencies. This holistic, integrated approach allows for better accountability and control, plus end-to-end visibility that shippers cannot get from working with disparate providers. Think beyond the linehaul rate. When hosting procurement events and evaluating transportation partners, the linehaul rate

is not the only factor to consider. Shippers must look at the total value package offered and examine the cost of unplanned charges due to service failures. Aligning with service-oriented partners that have strong relationships with receivers and programs to support shipper and receiver of choice initiatives can reduce total transportation costs in the long run. Reward key partners . Shippers should measure key performance indicators (KPIs) like primary tender acceptance, spot ination, and on-time delivery to identify top carriers per lane. Offering exclusive, pre-bid opportunities to best- performing incumbents or even higher rates on well-managed lanes can incentivize those key partners to go above and beyond when markets tighten. Diversify truckload and last-mile providers. As shippers shift distribution networks, they must build out reliable carrier networks to handle new shipping patterns. It is important to select the right mix of large asset-based providers, regional or niche providers, and brokerages with access to scalable capacity. For last-mile shipments, many retailers add regional, local, and crowd-sourced carriers to their traditional mix of providers to ensure capacity, reduce costs, and limit delays. —Rick Tomcho, President, Capstone Logistics & Member, Customized Logistics & Delivery Association

174 Inbound Logistics • January 2022

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