Shipper of choice is a status that many forwarders and shipping managers strive to attain. To earn the title of a preferred and reliable shipper of choice is a great accolade. It means that carriers and truckers know they can work with these teams faster and more effectively, so they’re more likely to accept tenders. But what exactly qualifies a company to be a shipper of choice?
In a sense, it’s the application of data signals to create a list of preferred shippers. And there are plenty of problems that can lower a company’s eligibility. As Chad Prevost mentioned in a past FreightWaves article, “Companies that struggle tend to have a large, paper-based effort to ensure that they’re being billed accurately. If they think the rate is wrong, often they will short-pay the invoice. The responsibility then falls to the carrier, which has to work with the customer to resolve the issue.” While paying on time and in full is great and critical to becoming a shipper of choice, it barely scratches the surface of how companies can attain this noteworthy level. So here are six hallmarks of a shipper of choice and how your company can turn them into actionable, attainable goals for your operation.
Proactive freight tendering means increasing shipping lead time and becoming more adaptive to problems. Why? Increased lead time puts drivers first, explains Inbound Logistics. Consider this. Carriers will look to shipper timeliness, desirable facilities and dock efficiency when assigning shipper-of-choice status. And those factors are easily found within warehouse KPIs.
Without top-notch facilities, carriers can find other freight opportunities. And it’s time to face the music; other tendered loads are readily available. It’s really a multi-pronged need to be proactive in the experience and exceed driver expectations for average time spent at your facilities.
There will always be issues that arise. Problems and complaints are inevitable. But those problems fly under the radar without strong benchmarking tools to measure and improve in-house performance. Shipper-of-choice status means companies have a way to measure their value to the carrier. And that appeals to the instinct to pick the low-hanging fruit with on-time shipping pick up.
Carrier delays and challenges are another opportunity to increase eligibility for preferred shipper status. Carriers will have delays and challenges, such as the problems deriving from package cut-offs in recent weeks. However, shippers that understand the causes of carrier problems and seek to accommodate them, through increased lead time and realistic expectations for arrival, departure and more, will get an extra advantage.
The insights provided by transportation analytics and continuous improvement are only as valuable as the actions they precipitate. With the strong application of data, shippers can finally squeeze out additional efficiencies and make meaningful improvements to attain a designation of shipper of choice. And that also includes proactive views of inventory density, capacity and tender expectations across large geographies through shipping analytics tools.
Another feature that these top-notch shippers have to offer is that their precision processes and streamlined approach is built on years of experience. This helps them reduce delays, dwell times, loading and unloading issues, and speeds up the entire shipping process by lowering tender rejections, increasing use of data during RFP processes and adding value across the network.
Working with the best of the best in the industry makes your freight a priority. And that means your company needs access to all the freight data available. Yes, in-house metrics and KPIs can go a long way toward boosting efficiency, but the real value lacks in looking beyond the four walls of your organization. In other words, it’s time to start thinking about looking at industry data trends to find new opportunities for improvement.
For shippers, gaining recognition in the form of shipper-of-choice status must be the goal. And any failing could decimate years of work to attain the perks associated with it. Start by ensuring your brand is working toward the characteristics above. And realize that your ability to secure such recognition depends on accepting responsibility for everything – even problems beyond your control – by becoming more flexible in transportation sourcing. Just remember that, as reported by Supply Chain Dive, “Traditional logistics strategies, procurement methods and commercial frameworks often result in cost and risk shifts towards carriers and away from the shipper. Becoming a shipper of choice requires not only a shift in mindset but also the organizational agility and ability to be a change agent in the face of traditional ways of working.” In the meantime, check out a FreightWaves SONAR demo to learn more about how expansive freight data can be in becoming a shipper of choice.