Ask The Experts: Securing Capacity
How Can I Increase My Odds Of Securing Capacity?
Answer: With a potential capacity shortage looming, based upon supply and demand trends, it is becoming ever more important to partner with large service providers who offer a diverse range of services. To address this pressing issue adequately, shippers and carriers must work to develop deeper, more strategic relationships with one another. Only through the strength of these relationships can both parties openly discuss and eventually meet - and often exceed - their internal objectives.
U.S. Xpress offers market-leading services in dedicated, solo, team, demand critical, international, intermodal and brokerage. Capacity CAN be guaranteed across a multitude of service platforms and becomes more readily available if you can work to become a shipper of choice, one with whom it is easier and more efficient for carriers to partner.
So, how does one go about accomplishing this task in these uncertain times?
• Emphasize advance freight planning and freight consistency to maximize capacity. You become more attractive when you can offer carriers consistent load volumes and frequency. Smart shippers also know that it is important to give their carriers a heads-up on surges in inventory or peak demand periods, so that the carrier can plan ahead to make space available. Fire drills will likely lead to headaches for all involved.
• Leverage technology to your advantage. Shippers who use an EDI system to expedite load tendering, status updates and payment make our jobs easier by streamlining the process.
• Be fair and flexible. Contract terms count, and shippers tend to favor those who use the ATA model contract as the basis for their agreements. If you are having trouble with capacity, you may want to re-evaluate your policies on fuel surcharges, honoring bid commitments and timeframes, payment terms, and extending shipping and receiving times.
• Become a driver-friendly shipper. Since so much of the capacity crunch is based on driver shortages, keeping drivers happy keeps your freight moving. Try to minimize loading, unloading and wait times and show them a little hospitality.
• Actively seek out carriers who offer a wide range of solutions. No matter how great the demand for space, a good carrier will work closely with you to find creative and mutually beneficial solutions. U.S. Xpress offers truckload, intermodal, dedicated, demand critical and brokerage services to meet diverse client needs. And, just as we recently did by launching our coast-to-coast team reefer service, if we don’t have an existing service to meet customer needs, we will work to develop new offerings to do so.
• Consider handing off the headaches. Many carriers, including U.S. Xpress offer transportation management or logistics services to allow shippers to outsource these functions cost-effectively and efficiently.
With all of the issues facing carriers and shippers, it is critical that we find common ground and make it easier to do business with one another. At U.S. Xpress, we are committed to partnering with our customers to solve the most complicated and pressing business challenges. Feel free to put us to the test.
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