When it comes to moving your product from point A to point B, there are many ways to get the job done. You can manage your own transportation with a private fleet, have your customers manage their own freight, manage your transportation with for-hire carriers, use a freight broker, or any combination of these.
In this post, I'm going to go over a few reasons why freight brokerage needs to be part of your transportation strategy.
Last year we wrote an article, Taking the Fear Out of Freight Brokering to overcome some of the objections shippers had about working with a freight broker. We've seen the industry as a whole begin to become more accepting of brokering their freight and for those that may still be a little skeptical, or only use a broker sporadically, my Keller Freight Solutions team and I have put together 6 simple reasons why a freight broker needs to be part of your transportation strategy:
Freight Brokers Have Access to a Large Network of Carriers
First and foremost, working with a broker is important because things don't always go as planned, issues with your load will arise. Whether a carrier has fallen off of a load or there is a new lane you need coverage for and your current assets don't have capacity, or it's out of their network, brokers can say yes when an asset-based carrier is unable to accept the load.
An established broker has a network of carriers that can extend further than most asset based carriers. Brokers work with their carrier networks to find the best companies to handle specific lanes or projects. Finding carriers that specialize in your consistent lanes will allow for the most competitive pricing.
In a time of crisis when a load has stopped moving due to equipment failure or breakdowns for instance, a broker is able to find another truck to get that load moving ASAP. Whereas an asset-based carrier is at the mercy of waiting for the repair or hopes that another company asset is close and able to recover; a broker does not have this limitation and is able to recover with any company that is able and willing.
Brokers Handle the Leg Work of Securing Transportation
Nowadays setting up loads for transit and working with a new customer you are shipping freight to or from is not always as easy as calling a phone number. There are web portals for scheduling, email groups, and various other requirements just to setup and schedule a shipment. Brokers can handle all of the tasks required and save you precious time in your day. Rather than spending hours trying to find trucks yourself and calling companies to handle your freight, let a broker take care of all of the leg work so your valuable time can be spent elsewhere.
Brokers are able to track your shipment as it moves from point A to point B. They can receive incremental updates on the location of the truck based off of the drivers cell phone GPS. Depending on the customer's needs, these updates can be sent to the broker or to the customer as well. Being a broker is a 24/7/365 job; they are there to make sure the customer receives all the information they need.
Freight Brokers Monitor Market Trends
Brokers are working in the transportation market 24/7, therefore they have a great feel for the market and it’s trends. Especially when rates are up and down and the market is volatile such as the current market, brokers are able to make sure you are moving your freight at a rate that is competitive with the current market trends.
If you've spent the time to develop a strategic relationship with your broker, they can be a valuable asset for your own new business endeavors. By building a relationship with them, they have developed a full understanding of your business and are able to work as an extension of your transportation department. Brokers can analyze the current markets and lanes you are wanting to gain new customers and help estimate your shipping costs.
Freight Brokers Provide Seasonal/Flexible Capacity
During peak season or when your business is expanding at a rapid rate, having a freight broker in your corner can provide you with the capacity needed to make sure your new, and current customers receive their product on time.
With a freight broker as part of your transportation strategy, you can begin planning for busy season in advance so that way when you're running at max capacity, you're not scrambling to find last minute coverage for your load.
Freight brokers are a great resource to fill the voids in your asset-carrier network when you have new lanes and customers but have not yet had the time to find a carrier in that new market. Use the time you would have spent finding coverage to make sure your product is ready on-time and that your new customer does not experience any hiccups with their first order.
Freight Brokers Will Find the Best Mode of Transportation
When your product allows for flexibility in time getting to its next destination, there may be more cost effective ways to transport it. A freight broker can analyze your freight, shipping details, and customers' needs then provide suggestions and pricing for various modes of transportation.
A diverse broker can provide LTL, Partial, and Intermodal as well as truckload rates and capacity. Keeping them in the loop on your overall transportation strategy allows your broker to understand your specific needs and find a solution that works best.
Freight Brokers Vet Their Carriers
Vetting carriers is a tedious task, especially when there are quite a few to review. Freight brokers have processes in place to review the safety, history, and legitimacy of the carriers they use to move your freight. We're always working on building our carrier network to provide a variety of options for carriers to our customers. Professional freight brokers hold their carriers to a high standard when building a strong network that is catered to their customer's needs. Transparency with tracking, dependable communications, and a proven track record are some of the most important considerations when reviewing carriers.
There are many more reasons to have a Freight Broker in your corner. Give me a call so we can discuss your specific needs and I'll show you how working with Keller Freight Solutions can fit within your transportation strategy.