If you want to consistently secure capacity at good rates, you’ve got to make your freight appealing to carriers. And while it’s never been easy, getting your products delivered on time has never been more difficult than it is right now due to the current truckload market conditions. As many shippers continue to experience volatile spikes in demand, and carriers remain in recovery from a rough first part of the year, capacity has never been tighter.
With tough market conditions and soaring spot rates, shippers need to always focus on finding ways to maximize carrier acceptance rates to keep their products moving and their customers happy. There are many areas. However, you can improve to ensure that carriers pick up your freight from improving your supply chain operations' internal operations to how you treat drivers.
Here are some of the best strategies to make your freight stand out:
1. Strive for reliability
Considering how unstable demand is right now for many shippers, striving to provide consistent volumes to your carrier partners will be one of the more challenging tasks on this list to accomplish, but that doesn’t make it any less crucial. Just like you need consistent service from them, they need a predictable flow of freight from you, so concentrate on maintaining a relatively regular amount of volume to your key providers from week to week.
2. Increase visibility
Carriers don’t like being left in the dark. Shippers that leverage their data to provide their logistics providers with plenty of lead time, accurate demand forecasting, and advanced notice of load ready times will always find it easier to secure more capacity by increasing the visibility for their partners, not to mention the overall efficiency of their shipping processes.
3. Optimize the loading process
Drivers are already dealing with excessive wait times that are severely cutting into their hours, so when you make their life easier by optimizing the loading process, you’re a lot more likely to increase the desirability of your freight. Whether that means having clearly marked signage, prepping paperwork, or staging loads ahead of time, anything that gets drivers in and out as quickly and efficiently as possible will get you far with carriers. As big as many detention charges may seem to be, they often do not cover the carriers' real cost and drivers.
4. Be flexible
If you’re prone to canceling or changing loads at the last minute, you’re not leaving your carriers with much room to plan for your shipments. It’s important to be flexible and offer pickup/delivery windows, especially when you’re struggling to get trucks.
5. Assess your facilities
Ask yourself if you’d choose to pick up or deliver to your facilities. Take a good look at your existing infrastructure because it could be time to start investing in some better equipment and technology. Big investments like these will save you money in the long run, but if you can’t afford to take that leap now, providing free wi-fi, nice waiting areas, and clean bathrooms can make a world of difference too.
Securing capacity is a huge priority for shippers during a time where transportation resources are so limited. If you show your providers that you respect their time and their drivers, you’ll develop more loyal and dependable relationships with carriers that will help you maximize freight acceptance rates and improve your bottom line.