Becoming a Shipper of Choice

Supply chain partners are instrumental to business success. Taking steps to become a shipper of choice delivers benefits across the supply chain, and helps sustain and grow your bottom line. Greg Braun, senior vice president of sales and marketing at C3 Solutions, offers these tips for becoming carrier friendly.

1. Offer a flexible delivery window. Provide a flexible appointment window so carriers can better plan routes and optimize loads.

2. Pay invoices on time. Ask carriers what makes a preferred shipper, and their number-one answer is usually on-time payments.Everyone wants to get paid according to the terms of their contract.

3. Give complete orders. For prepaid freight from your vendors, just as with managed pickups, ensure you issue orders with clear instructions regarding your merchandising policy and scheduling appointments. Carriers are often frustrated when vendors and clients remit incomplete instructions.One option is to create a link on your company’s website where carriers can easily obtain scheduling and policy procedures.

4. Provide options for late drivers. Accommodating carriers can go a long way in a relationship.For example, allocate an express door to take in loads on a first-come, first-served basis for drivers who didn’t make appointment times.

5. Supply a drop and hook program. A drop and hook program, when a driver drops their trailer at a customer location and hooks to another trailer, is ideal when supply chain partners can’t make live loading work efficiently. Securing your yard with 24/7 access for carriers and backhauls is a great way to help the flow of traffic in and out of your facility.

6. Streamline driver arrival and departure times. Minimize contention with carriers by offering an accurate and efficient system to capture arrival and departure times. The system should publish instantaneous reports to be shared with your partners.

7. Avoid micromanaging carriers under contract. Establish monthly or quarterly meetings to review issues including customer/vendor satisfaction, on-time reports, driver behavior, and routes.Micromanaging carrier actions isn’t a productive way to steer the supply chain team toward a desired behavior pattern.

8. Use a web-based portal for appointments. An online portal allows supply chain partners to book or amend appointments or check on the status of bookings, at any time.

9. Establish standing appointments for regular deliveries. Work with your high-volume transportation providers to establish a regular time slot that will make their deliveries easier to plan.

10. Treat carriers like customers. Recognize that your carriers are supply chain partners and they deserve to be treated with the same respect as customers. Be friendly and responsive.

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