In today’s capacity environment, shippers are competing against one another to book an available truck at a reasonable rate. Carriers have the choice to haul loads that are the most lucrative for their business and keep them within legal limits of HOS rules. Due to time constraints, on a given day, drivers may be forced to choose between two stops:
A warehouse with efficient dock operations and wait times under 15 minutes. Dock attendants are always courteous and welcoming and there is an air-conditioned waiting area with clean restrooms and well-stocked vending machines. Pallets for pick up are adequately packed, protected, and stackable within a carrier’s network.
A warehouse with appointment only pick up operations. Drivers are often delayed here for 1-2 hours and the company’s break-room and facilities are off-limits to non-employees.
If you were a driver, which stop would you choose to be the most productive? Stop A or Stop B?
It’s a Carrier’s Market
Welcome to the era of the carrier’s market. For the first time in many years, drivers and carriers find themselves in a position to choose which shippers they most want to work with, giving rise to the so-called shipper of choice environment. Shippers who provide better experiences for carriers could reap long-term benefits in the form of higher service levels, fewer claims, and better rates.
The following are five ideas you could employ immediately to help transform your company into a shipper of choice.
- Don’t Waste the Carrier’s Time
Time is money, and in today’s reality of fewer drivers, ELDs and tighter HOS rules, if a truck isn’t moving, it’s not making money.
Consider these guidelines
- Don’t require appointments to pick up or drop off freight. Instead, adopt a first-come, first-serve policy, or if appointments are required, make sure to honor the time slot the carrier is given.
- Expand your hours of dock operations. Instead of 8 am-12 noon, allow access from 7 am – 6 pm, for instance.
- Manage your dock and yard so a driver’s wait time never exceeds 15 minutes. You’ll keep them happier and avoid detention fees/fines.
- Provide ample parking for the carrier’s assets. It’s frustrating for drivers to operate tractors and trailers within crowded and cramped areas because it wastes time.
- Be Courteous and Accommodating to Drivers
Ensure that your facility’s employees are treating drivers and carrier employees with respect. If a driver only has room for one more pickup at the end of the day but has two options to choose from, they will likely choose a shipper who is easier to do business with.
Another way of showing your respect for drivers is providing them with break areas at your facilities where they can wait comfortably, get a snack or coffee, and use the restroom while their truck is being loaded.
- Package Shipments Properly
Proper packaging is critical to preventing cargo damage and making your freight stowable within a carrier’s network. Consider packing shipments with foam peanuts, using wooden crates, adding corners to pallets and wrapping pallets in plastic to better protect freight in transit.
Organize your pallets so they can be stacked, allowing the carrier to maximize its trailer space. Standard size pallets (48”x40”, 42”x42”, 48”x48”) that can be stacked or racked are the most sought-after freight. Keep your freight below 50 inches in height and avoid non-stack stickers, placing cones on top of pallets and overhanging items.
- Plan Ahead—Consolidate Pickups
One of the most significant costs for carriers is driving to your facility and waiting to get loaded. Naturally, the cost to pick up one shipment is the same as the carrier’s cost to pick up three or four loads, except they’re earning revenue from multiple loads instead of one.
If you know you’re going to have multiple loads that must be picked up on a given day, it’s more efficient for you, and the carrier, to stage those loads to go on a single carrier instead of separate carriers. When you combine your loads for one carrier, you reduce wait times, dock doors required for loading, and the risk of loading freight into the wrong trailer.
- Pay Freight Bills on Time
It’s important to pay carriers quickly and accurately. Freightwaves.com suggests the best way to accomplish this is using a TMS that integrates clean data between carriers and shippers. A strong TMS integration helps shippers and carriers quickly identify and resolve rate discrepancies and makes the payment process efficient for both parties.
For more information on becoming a shipper of choice, call 866-275-1407 or Contact Us