How to Beat Capacity Shortage Despite Supply Chain Bottlenecks
A freight capacity shortage has hit the industry hard. Dozens of carriers closed up shop during the pandemic. And thousands of drivers have left the industry, while others are hitting roadblocks trying to enter it. Meanwhile, the country’s collective move indoors created steady freight demand over the past few months. It’s expected to continue well into 2021 — especially with a healthy produce season fast approaching. As a result, pricing is up about 30% in some lanes.
Fortunately, there’s hope for those feeling the crunch. Here are a few things to consider when trying to find capacity — and manage costs — during today’s freight capacity shortage.
Choose a trucking partner with its own assets.
You need a partner with its own fleet of rigs and drivers when there’s an industry shortage for both. It’s just as important to have established contract terms with that carrier. Reputable trucking firms know that they have to earn your loyalty. As a result, they’ll work with you to find available trucks and favorable lanes. They’ll treat you as a priority. They’ll stick to their contract commitments and promises. And they’ll be able to move loads consistently and affordably even in a freight capacity shortage.
Find a trucking partner with 3PL services, too.
Nobody has an unlimited fleet. But a few trucking firms also offer 3PL services, so they can still handle your freight during the harshest capacity crunches even when their drivers and rigs are unavailable. Your freight still arrives on time. Billing is managed the same. And you know exactly where your freight is — and who’s responsible for it — at all times.
Do your homework.
You’ve learned that not all trucking firms are the same. You can avoid being burned again with a few minutes of research. Every trucking company has an online presence — and that means there’s no shortage of information available about the company. Check out the reviews. Call the references. Read what other customers are saying. You can also learn a lot about the company from the opinions and reviews from current and former drivers.
When you meet with the sales team or management, ask about how they mine for data. If they can’t provide close-to-exact capacity numbers instantly, simply move on. Every trucking company worth its salt knows whether they can help a shipper within the first few seconds of a phone call. Because just like you, good trucking firms are doing their own homework. Every day. It’s their job to know lanes and availability.
No news is not always good news. A good trucking partner doesn’t hide from an issue. It works with you to resolve it. You should have a dedicated point person who you can contact at any time for up-to-the-second updates on your freight. That point person should have an entire support team behind the scenes helping ensure your freight makes its destination, including sales people, account management, operations and even the management team.
You know you’re a valued customer when you have direct contact with the high-level management and ownership. They know the business. They know how to get things done. And they know how important you are as a customer.
Give trust a try.
The freight capacity shortage is going to continue. You can jump from one mini-bid to the next, hoping to win the game in real-time more often than you lose. But it’s a risky strategy with limited upside. A trusted partner, however, will consistently offer fair pricing and on-time delivery. One failed delivery from a new trucking company can negate months of miniscule savings in the mini-bid market.
Trust that there’s a better way.
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Collins White, President of Logistics, AMX
Collins has been involved in the trucking industry his entire life. Today, he uses that expertise to ensure AMX Logistics continues to accommodate the unique demands of its growing customer base.