Keeping freight costs down while maintaining efficient logistics operations is no small task. Consumers are relying heavily on e-commerce in the wake of Covid-19 and aren’t sacrificing their heightened expectations. The transportation industry is struggling to keep up with the surge in order volume with a limited number of truck drivers. Supply chains are one of the largest cost centers for businesses, so finding ways to save on truckload freight is a top priority.
Here are 9 ways to save money on truckload shipping:
1. Improve Internal Efficiency
One of the easiest ways to save money is by streamlining logistics operations. Leveraging a transportation management system will help save time rating, booking and tracking orders. Replacing traditional methods with a transportation management system will eliminate tedious and repetitive tasks, cutting labor costs and saving time that can be reallocated into other areas important for operations
2. Increase Lead Time
Increasing the lead time of full truckload shipments will help companies save on shipping costs. Working a few days in advance helps companies avoid higher rates for last-minute capacity and gives them a wider selection of carriers to choose from. Carriers will be able to better manage their time and plan routes more effectively, all of which contribute to meeting consumer expectations.
3. Eliminate Manual Entry and Paper Trails
Recording everything by hand and calling carriers for every truckload shipment is old-fashioned and inefficient. Additionally, these traditional processes hold a higher risk for mistakes made due to human error. If the incorrect order quantity or weight is recorded, paperwork is likely to get messed up and getting paid gets complicated.
Instead, companies who implement a transportation management system (TMS) can integrate it with an ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics or NetSuite. An integration between a TMS and an ERP allows information to travel automatically between the systems and ensure that BOLs are correct every time. With an ERP integration, logistics professionals can avoid wasting time bouncing back and forth between systems and re-keying information.
4. Treat Carriers Well
It’s important for companies to treat carriers with the same level of respect as they would any other partner. Getting carriers in and out of the yard quickly by clarifying expectations (i.e. who is unloading the truck) and paying bills on time should be a priority.
5. Monitor Accessorials
Accessorials are a tricky thing for most companies to manage. They are difficult to budget and often have spend that goes unnoticed until it’s too late. In order to keep overall truckload costs down, companies should constantly monitor and evaluate their accessorial charges. Find the root cause of carriers being told the wrong weight and address it. Communicating about any complications ahead of time will result in lower charges than if the carrier discovers them mid-trip.
6. Leverage Volume
Truckload shippers are in a unique position to leverage volume. Instead of working with dozens of different carriers and only giving each one a small percentage of their volume, truckload shippers should identify preferred carriers and establish routine, reliable lanes with them. Preferred carriers may be able to offer truckload shippers a discounted rate based on the fact that it’s repeat business. This strategy is a win for everyone involved – truckload shippers maintain enough capacity to ship their routes more efficiently, resulting in better service to the end customer.
7. Leverage Kuebix Community Load Match
Circumstances where regular or preferred carriers can’t fulfill a truckload that needs to be shipped will always exist. Maybe it’s a last-minute shipment or maybe it’s going to a new destination. Whatever the case, sometimes companies need to find truckload capacity fast. A situation like this works best when a full truckload spot market is available. Spot markets are places where companies can go to have different carriers bid on their freight. From there, they can select the best bid and book their freight.
Kuebix Community Load Match connects users with its extensive carrier community from Trimble’s network of 1.3 million commercial trucks, digital freight matching services and brokers to satisfy every truckload need. Users can input their shipping parameters and freight information and view carriers with available capacity in the lanes they requested. By comparing every option on a single platform, users can be sure they’re getting the best rate for their freight and maintain control over their logistics operations.
8. Stay Flexible
The supply chain industry requires teams to be ready for anything, including unforeseen circumstances like inclement weather or mechanical failure. Visibility down to the SKU level for orders helps companies react to situations they can’t plan for. Having all of the information regarding shipments in one place helps make answering questions like ‘Where’s my order?’ or ‘When is the truck arriving?’ easy.
Staying flexible goes beyond handling negative situations. Companies should aim to always be flexible when booking their truckload shipments. Orders with specific due dates are often flexible in terms of what time they get dropped off. Companies who work with all available options are able to discover the best rates for each and every shipment!
9. Leverage Analytics
Analytics on truckload shipments empower companies to make strategic decisions that will benefit their operations. Reports can reflect important information about carriers like their OTD percentage. Analytics down to the SKU level also help companies calculate their freight cost per item and determine if they are making enough of a profit. With a TMS, all of these different metrics and more are captured in one place for easy analysis.