Navigating capacity issues is difficult. Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ to salve the wound.
Trucking capacity problems bubbled to the surface in early 2020, turning the industry upside down.
Logistics is a straightforward supply and demand relationship. There’s a direct and inverse relationship between the availability of trucks and the availability of freight to be moved. The ongoing pandemic, the upcoming peak holiday season, and the chronic driver shortage have created a market for goods to be moved that the existing driver base cannot service.
While you can’t fix the driver shortage overnight (believe us, we would if we could), we’ve gathered four creative strategies to help you lessen the capacity crunch on your operations.
Be Flexible with Pickup and Delivery
Is there extra time in your shipping schedule? If there is, try using some of that time and build in flexibility to your pickup and delivery windows. Drivers often grapple with inclement weather, traffic, and clogged pick-ups and deliveries. If the truck hasn’t arrived, you can still use that time to get ahead of the curve and be prepared for your truck upon arrival. Proper staffing and organization do wonders for easy load-ins and load-outs. Drivers and shippers both win when organization and forethought are key pillars of your shipping strategy.
As they say, availability is the greatest ability. It’s the name of the game when capacity is tight, plain and simple. Offering more opportunities for drivers to drop loads is essential in a market that tightly regulates drive time. If that means shifting schedules around to accommodate more weekend pick-ups and deliveries, don’t hesitate to audit your current procedures. You never know—maybe you’ll find more ways to arrange staff hours than you anticipate.
Utilize Brokerage to Expand Capacity
Consider supplementing your existing supply chain infrastructure with brokerage options. Approximately 90% of the trucking industry is made up of companies with fewer than 20 trucks. These teams rely on brokerage platforms to service loads. Using a platform like Xpress Technologies allows you to tap into these drivers, giving you more options to send freight. Xpress Technologies’ app suggests loads to carriers based on profitability, route, and more. Brokerage options can help release the pressure from the valve when capacity is tight, giving you more options to get your goods on the road.
Be a Driver’s Favorite Shipper
Keeping drivers happy is good business. Drivers often need a place to take a break, use the restroom, and interact with helpful, warm, friendly people. If your business is able to offer those comforts, explore those options and monitor your results. Drivers see the gamut of shipper experiences, and creating experiences that put a premium on efficiency, ease of navigation, and a few niceties on top go a long way.
We’re all staring down the challenges of insufficient capacity. Remind yourself that this isn’t permanent, and our industry is one of resilience. We can all bend without breaking. Capacity will return to manageable levels, and creative business strategies can do some heavy lifting in the meantime.