20 September 2016

How collaboration helps improve transport management

Transport management for equipment-driven companies has come under increasing pressure in recent years. Especially if you rely on truck fleets to deliver goods and services. In this article, we’d like to target the issue of capacity. And look at how collaboration can turn challenges and conflicts between shippers and carriers into mutual benefit.

What are the major issues around capacity? To start, there are fewer trucking companies and existing ones are not increasing their fleets. If you operate a fleet within your own organization, you likely are wary of the expense and economic uncertainty that accompanies such expansion. Drivers are scarce—many are retiring, and many aren’t able to meet stiff regulatory standards for experience and performance. In addition, we’re still in the turmoil of optimizing Big Data analysis and IoT. Furthermore there are new payment models, and more top optimize transport. Sweeping innovations will indeed alleviate capacity issues. But they are not yet fully part of the landscape for Transport management for equipment-driven companies.

Customer satisfaction depends on more than finding trucks and drivers. Transport management must be geared to delivering goods on time and at competitive prices. But also by drivers who can deliver confident, superior service. Collaboration is key to successful outcomes. Here are three best practice observations that focus on the importance of shipper/carrier relationships, planner/driver communications, and exploration of transport pricing. All three call for a transport management solution that integrates with your organization’s business system. Furthermore they have to interface with third-party carriers you work with.

Establish shared goals and processes that build trust and good relationships

The capacity crunch is driven by financial and compliance pressures. And frankly innovations such as electronic logging can feel like more of a punishment than a helpful tool. If your first question is “How much will it cost me?” and “is there enough freight to make this worthwhile?” you will quickly come to a roadblock. Just as important, companies don’t have the luxury of complaining about driver performance.

Whether you’re transporting your own goods or engaging with third-party carriers, hold out a framework for transport management that supports all stakeholders. That includes real-time, 360 insight that lets the right people make quick but informed decisions about availability and resources. Don’t stop with the goal of balancing shipping and carrier costs and timing. Build rapport, backed by strong IT tools for operations and analytics, that let you work as a team over the long term, from planning and allocation to helping drivers improve performance and service levels.

Empower shipping and carrier roles to work in sync. Two key roles come to mind—planners and truck drivers

In a capacity crunch, you need both careful planning and real-time flexibility. As a result, you make the best use of trucks and drivers. More to our point, drivers are under intense regulatory scrutiny with regard to their performance and hours of service. There are huge benefits to a systems-based approach that enables planners to help drivers work more effectively. With the right software, planners can have full graphical insight into transport requirements, route optimization, driver experience, workload, compliance mandates at the global and individual level, special circumstances surrounding a delivery—you name it.

They can find the optimal match and issue transport orders that go directly to a driver’s device. variables. Automated workflows ensure all the right steps are taken, and planners and drivers can communicate at any point about issues or problems. You determine proactively real-time communication. This way transport executes smoothly and drivers get quick, relevant responses to questions. This means great support at the back end.

Explore methods for assessing and pricing transport freight.

The traditional model of assessing freight by classification isn’t sustainable when you need to transport diverse types of freight that may not meet criteria for a full load. This is particularly relevant in the Less-than-Load model for transport. A more collaborative approach can begin with pricing by shipping density, known as “dimensional pricing.” This model assesses criteria such as the shipment’s size, weight, length of transit, demand, and availability. You then determine if transport will execute within your fleet or if you need a third-party carrier. In either case, you gain flexibility that can ensure efficient, cost-effective transport that’s profitable from both shipping and carrier perspectives.

Capacity will continue to be an issue in Transport management for equipment-driven companies, but the issues are being addressed and over time, there’s boundless opportunity for profitable collaboration within your organization and with third-parties you engage with. So think in terms of opportunity—regulatory oversight and complex global demands for fast, flexible delivery models are signs that the industry is stretching and growing. We can work creatively with capacity crunches if we take a “better together” approach. For another view on transport, explore our article on modern fleet management, and over the next few weeks we will be looking at other indicators for growth and change across multiple industries.

To learn more about transport management for equipment-driven companies, read our other articles in the news page.

Michiel Toppers
Michiel Toppers,
Michiel Toppers,
Senior Director of Product Management

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