7 tips for carriers to use analytics to improve carrier operations

Adam RobinsonFreight Market Blog

carrier operations

Trucking carriers and freight managers have much to keep up with in the shipper and trucking industry. This becomes especially true today during recovery and continued disruptions and deviations in the freight market — two of the industry’s primary goals being a full recovery and adjustment. Improving carrier operations positively and practically can make this process easier for everyone involved. Freight carrier leaders should turn to these seven practical tips to combine freight analytics with operational excellence improvements.

Connect the full freight tech stack to start gaining efficiency in carrier operations

Connectivity is critical to freight management and load execution. Some ways to improve utilization of freight tech stack platforms to improve efficiency in carrier operations throughout their network include:

  • Focus on improving performance through optimization throughout the network.
  • Overcome common freight network disruptions with supply lane control methods.
  • Lower communication issues with automated processes and the use of transportation analytics
  • Improve end-to-end visibility to reduce idle time and wasted resources.
  • Ensure platform mechanics get updated and can support future growth.

An updated and modernized freight tech stack will make a recovery possible in 2021. It will also help maximize growth in the years that follow.

Apply big data through advanced analytics to understand current load rates, including predictive modeling of future rates

As a new wave of innovation and automation becomes the new normal in freight tech, shipping managers still face new service demands. Big data remains essential now during this recovery phase aimed at improving carrier operations. It will continue to play a vital role in the industry in the years ahead. Leaders should establish trucking KPIs that will help ensure the focus remains on improving outcomes based on analytics. From capacity management, load tracking, invoice collection, predictive rates modeling, and overall fleet operations, data will remain essential to modeling freight rates and ensuring your annual trucking RFPs stay competitive.

Measure the profitability of your trucks and drivers

Carrier and trucking network performance hinge on collecting and practically applying data. The ability to collect, analyze, and understand the real-time freight data helps the entire network operate more efficiently. Analytics-driven processes must continue to remain the primary strategy for all managers today to improve profitability and increase revenue per driver and per load. API-based improvement in carrier operations relies on the access and proper utilization of data.

Use analytics to attract drivers with realistic, profitable trips

Today, many managers find themselves struggling with the knowledge that analytics remains essential to growth. Gaining efficiency in carrier operations is much simpler when leaders rely on real or near time data. In turn, an efficient operation led by analytical decision-making can make your fleet more attractive to drivers who are seeking to drive for a company that puts the focus on efficiency in operations not only at a corporate level, but efficiency for drivers that provides a better work experience. For instance, consider these core realizations of transportation analytics-driven optimization and how it could impact operational excellence that attracts elite drivers:

  • Fuller loads with every trip, which maximizes load capacity and profits.
  • Better opportunities for growth for independent drivers.
  • Realistic opportunities and practical scheduling for drivers of all skill levels.
  • Access to greater versatility and flexibility with work hours.
  • Improved reputation and opportunities to become carriers of choice.

Avoid unnecessary delays by maximizing asset allocation and avoiding road closures

Asset allocation and carrier operations improvement can help fleets avoid common disruptions and delays. Idle and dwell time during loading and unloading can get reduced. Delivery times can enjoy a boost. Carrier capacity can easily expand with fewer empty drive miles. And overall operating costs can enjoy a reduction with every load aiding in lowering your overall operating ratio. All of this is attainable with proper asset and data utilization. 

Create easy-to-understand performance scorecards to identify and award shipper-of-choice status to the best shippers or brokers

The scorecard is a critical component for trucking carriers in managing their partnering companies. Things to consider adding to your freight management and performance scorecards include crucial points of carrier operations efficiency, such as:

  • Drive time tracking rates.
  • Capacity load data statistics.
  • Employee hours worked.
  • The number of loads carried.
  • Invoice and payment rates.
  • Price per mile driven.
  • Repair costs within the fleet.
  • Success/failure rate for loads.

Lessen the burden of back-office management with integrated freight settlement and auditing processes

With improved platform integration and better carrier operations practices, managers can improve overall performance. According to Supply Chain Game Changer, “By creating an ecosystem which focuses on transparency, companies can have visibility into the order to reduce the risk of potential issues as well as gain data on how to manage orders better.” This can make end-to-end performances, communications, and settlement processes easier for everyone involved in the supply chain.

Increase carrier operations efficiency with freight data forecasting and the expertise of FreightWaves SONAR

With these practical tips in mind, any carrier network can find success in 2021 and beyond. Gaining more efficiency in carrier operations provides a strategic position for freight carrier leaders to focus on bigger picture items such as adding drivers, reducing operational trucking costs, and focusing on increasing revenue per driver and per load. Many large carrier operational managers are using FreightWaves SONAR that includes indices to allow carriers to benchmark operations against peers but also track operational KPIs in order to continuously track towards optimized efficiency. See SONAR in action by requesting a demo of the SONAR platform or click the button below.