November 2003 | How-To | Ten Tips

Managing Truckload Transportation

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To successfully manage truckload transportation, transport buyers must begin thinking of transportation procurement as a tactical planning process consistent with their supply chain strategy and not as an operational detail, says Bob Belshaw, vice president of INSIGHT Inc., a supply chain planning and transportation solutions vendor. Here, he offers 10 tips on managing truckload to reduce total transportation costs and improve service levels.

1. Link suppliers, shippers, and partners via the Internet. This allows for better information sharing and helps prevent data loss that often occurs when transferring from one system to another.

2. Optimize all transportation variables. That includes orders coming in, shipments going out, carrier commitments, carrier availability, customer requirements, appointment times, and transit times.

3. Use a software tool to view all shipments being made—from a single site, multiple sites, or even multiple companies. This takes advantage of consolidation, pooling, dynamic crossdocking, and continuous moves.

4. Use flexible and scalable planning. This makes it easier to add new customers, carriers, and orders.

5. Use the proper software tool to determine the best method for shipping orders. It will help you decide when to use truckload, how to reduce costs by adding pools, and whether static or dynamic sourcing works best for your company.

6. Use load planning software that determines how the cargo should be palletized. Load planning software can help you decide how to stack and arrange cargo in the trailer, eliminating the need for arbitrary cube or weight targets.

7. Comply with regulations. Make sure that cargo is arranged in compliance with product loading rules, customer requirements, and legal restrictions.

8. Use the combined value auction. This allows carriers to combine multiple freight lanes into a single bid package that identifies the combined value of the lanes to the carrier.

9. Use a system that provides in- transit status. Transportation rates can change dramatically from morning to afternoon at certain times of the year in some parts of the country. Access to this real-time information is crucial.

10. Make safety an issue. Companies need to identify where their supply chains are vulnerable, where response programs are weak, and where safeguards or alternative sources are missing.

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