10 Tips for Becoming a Shipper of Choice

10 Tips for Becoming a  Shipper of Choice

In today’s “carrier’s market,” it’s more important than ever for shippers to become a shipper of choice—to go the extra mile and make it easier for carriers to do their jobs. Here’s how to strengthen your carrier relationships and achieve this coveted status.

1. Pay Your Carriers Promptly. Try to ensure that payments are made within the agreed-upon time with carriers, especially since on-time payment is the number-one request for becoming a preferred shipper.

2. Be Flexible with Schedules. Carriers appreciate shippers that offer flexible schedules, large delivery windows, and fast yard check-in and check-out. Providing flexible appointment times and accepting trucks during “off” hours, such as evenings and weekends, helps carriers better utilize their vehicles and gives them the ability to pick up loads at less busy times.

3. Give Sufficient Lead Time. The more lead time you can provide carriers, the better off you’ll be. This helps carriers schedule their operations more efficiently. Giving your provider weeks of notice—as opposed to days—greatly improves your odds of being accommodated, while firmly positioning you in the “easy to work with” category.

4. Provide Driver Amenities. Truckers spend excessive amounts of time behind the wheel of their rigs. Providing restrooms, break areas, and parking for drivers can go a long way in making your location more desirable.

5. Provide Drop-and-Hook Capability. Drop-and-hook freight is trucker-friendly, as it allows the driver to drop off a load and hook up to a pre-loaded or empty container at the same facility. Drivers are more likely to accept freight from shippers that provide this option because it enables them to spend more time on the road, maximizing their earning potential.

6. Communicate Clearly. Carriers are often frustrated when shippers provide incomplete instructions. That’s why it’s important to maintain clear and consistent communication. Keep carriers informed about any changes to shipments and be readily available to answer questions. An effective solution is to create a link on your company’s website where carriers can easily obtain scheduling and policy procedures. Also, consider hosting regular carrier conferences and solicit feedback to learn about ways that you can improve as a shipper.

7. Minimize Loading/Unloading Wait Times. Each minute that a trucker is stuck at a shipper’s facility is time off the road—time that can’t be utilized for hauling new shipments. Provide convenient access for drivers with a yard that is easy to navigate when coming and going. Additionally, have your equipment and manpower ready to go when a truck arrives. Shippers associated with excessive wait times will have difficulty impressing carriers.

8. Be a Predictable Partner. Carriers like to do business with shippers that are predictable. Strive to be reliable with your shipping volume and avoid last-minute changes. The more predictable you are, the easier it is for carriers to integrate your shipments into their planning.

9. Utilize a TMS Solution. Transportation management system (TMS) technology solutions help carriers increase the predictability of loads, providing them with greater visibility further upstream. This will also help carriers improve their route planning and driver scheduling functions.

10. Focus on Partnerships. Teamwork and relationships really matter in logistics. Recognize that your carriers are supply chain partners that deserve to be treated with the same respect as customers. Working together to identify and solve problems that impact both parties will serve you well in becoming a shipper of choice.

SOURCE: Jagan Reddy, Managing Partner, Netlogistik US