You can’t sell what you can’t deliver. With capacity tightening up, this may be the perfect time to have that “dedicated” conversation with your carriers.
Dedicated…I have learned throughout the last few years that the definition of this word varies from person to person, and company to company. There is dedicated contract carriage, dedicated capacity and private fleet conversion which is like contract carriage with flair! So which is right for your company? With 2015 being slated as a tight capacity year it is a great time to have the “dedicated conversation” with a transportation company.
First…take a good hard look at your transportation network; look at where it’s going, how often it goes there, if it gets there on time and finally, how much it’s costing you. Don’t just consider the cost to move the goods; determine if your company is being back-charged or penalized for late deliveries. Are your shipping clerks having trouble securing lanes? Are they staying late or are they unable to complete their day-to-day work simply because they’re spending too much time trying to get loads covered? Have you hired temps to re-appoint loads that missed their appointed delivery and manage the back-charge claims? Now some of these costs may not fall under the shipping cost column, but they definitely factor into the bottom-line cost of doing business. And, if you can reduce costs in a couple of columns on the company expense sheet…..that’s an enormous plus for you and the company.
Next…call your transportation partner. I use the word “partner for a reason.” Most companies have multiple carriers pulling loads for them or begging for business. So think of the one carrier you use or speak to that has gone beyond just providing service – the carrier that offers solutions even if it does not include using their service. That’s who you need to have a “dedicated” conversation with.
Finally, be prepared to lay your network out there for your carrier to see. Ask the carrier or carriers you have chosen for the dedicated conversation to look at your network and see if there are any consistencies that lend themselves to using dedicated lanes. Believe it or not, most dedicated carriers will do this for free! There may be NDA’s involved and I highly recommend that, but again, it’s free! Be honest when you meet with them or speak to them on the phone. Tell them that you’re looking to ensure your network is efficient. If an opportunity arises from that conversation, you can then explore next steps with that carrier.
Having this conversation with a transportation partner could put you ahead of the curve. With the looming deadline for all carrier to switch to electronic logs this fall, it’s looking like 2015’s capacity shortage is not going to get better any time soon!