September 2015 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Leveraged Platforms: The More Efficient Road Ahead

Tags: 3PL, Trucking, Transportation, Logistics, Technology , Third-Party Logistics

Chuck Fattore is President, RR Donnelley Logistics, 888-744-7773

Q: What is a leveraged platform?

A: A logistics services provider leverages its platform to employ the same best practices to manage its own supply chain needs as it does for its own client base of direct shippers. By augmenting their global scale with a vast network of local stations, these service providers are better able to develop a thorough, real-time understanding of their clients' latest shipping needs and patterns.

Q: What are the benefits of participating in a leveraged platform?

A: Core carriers participating in leveraged platforms typically receive consistent, attractive internal freight volumes and specific lanes of business. Locally-based stations also give less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers highly accurate classification, reducing rebilling that may occur with 3PLs and their central call centers. In addition, co-loading large LTL shipments within dedicated networks can alleviate shipment and capacity issues—a current major challenge that will linger well into 2016.

Q: How does technology play into all of this?

A: Today's web-based tools help carriers and shippers dive deep into distribution operations information, precisely tracking shipments, delivery metrics and other trends in real-time that greatly impact project outcomes. Sharing this data helps carriers spot-rate larger shipments to fit backhaul needs, while also helping shippers save through mode optimization and usage of co-load products or truckload (TL) partial when larger LTL shipments may be more expensive.

Q: Can leveraged platforms help carriers streamline their processes?

A: Yes. Through a combination of integrated distribution services and extensive global carrier networks, leveraged platforms help streamline shipping processes, optimizing virtually every aspect of domestic and international distribution, including scheduling, tracking and pricing.

Q: How can the goals of carriers and 3PLs be aligned?

A: Our 24/7/365 on-demand world means that client needs and lane volumes are continually evolving, requiring constant communication between all parties to keep things running smoothly. Drivers—and the capacity they deliver—can often be retained by finding return loads or by simply asking booking preferences after completing initial TL shipments. In one case, a core vendor expressed needed capacity for inbound freight into California. With a small and simple pricing adjustment, the carrier participating in a leveraged platform delivered twice the critical volume for the core vendor. This kind of solutions-oriented thinking will drive tomorrow's success stories.