Posts

On Demand Trucking - Kuebix

Status of On-Demand Trucking

The U.S. transportation market is quickly ramping up technology-enhanced options to move products, goods and people in an effort to keep up with demand. Consumers are accustomed to free two-day shipping and detailed tracking information to follow their package every step of the way. Any business looking to fulfill these requirements should anticipate the need to outperform their traditional operations. On-demand trucking is a viable solution to meet all of these needs. Trucking companies can use it to find additional product that needs to be moved in the area to eliminate wasteful empty backhaul and businesses can deliver their products faster. It’s a win for everyone involved!

What’s driving the growth of U.S. on-demand trucking?

It’s no wonder there’s such a big demand for on-demand trucking. The tight U.S. job market, changing import/export levels and new technology have all combined to speed the shift to on-demand trucking:

  • •Capacity crunch. In recent years, lack of trucks and a scarcity of drivers-for-hire have combined with high freight demand to severely restrict U.S. trucking capacity/availability.
  • •Electronic logging devices (ELDs). Federally mandated ELDs closely scrutinize and monitor drivers to be sure they follow hours of service (HOS) laws, which can impact driver productivity.
  • •Rising spot and contract rates. Trucking rates continue to rise while capacity remains tight, driving some shippers to move portions of their freight to intermodal transportation or “rail.”
  • •Trucking apps. New apps are taking center stage: Uber Freight’s app operates much like its ride-sharing service. Both Convoy and Amazon have apps that target on-demand freight, as well, matching trucking companies with shippers who have freight that needs to move. This “at-your-fingertips” flexibility means shippers have flexible options for meeting their trucking needs; carriers can choose higher- and faster-paying freight.
  • •Rising interest rates. Higher rates mean higher costs for transporting goods, so shippers are best served by choosing their best transportation options.

How does on-demand trucking work?

On-demand trucking has a bright future for freight and transportation management and load matching:

  • •Provides a broad network of real-time carriers. This is not the old days of contracting with carriers to lock in capacity months or even years in advance: The capacity just isn’t there. On-demand trucking apps and spot markets let shippers connect with thousands of independent “owner-operator” drivers with empty truck space to sell.
  • •Leverages technology to handle settlements. Real-time freight visibility is important, of course, but it’s just as important to ensure driver certification and timely, accurate freight pick-up and delivery and settlement processing. Having a transportation management system (TMS) connect directly to the asset (driver) through a platform that provides access to drivers and ensures drivers’ certification and compliance–as well as manages the settlement through an Uber-like payment configuration–can be a great way to simplify and streamline your business.
  • •Focuses on getting shippers normal or “specialized” capacity on a transactional basis. Unlike dealing with large, asset-based carriers, the Uberization of freight means shippers can connect with drivers who offer capacity and even specialized freight treatment—like refrigeration–on back-hauls, making it a win-win for shippers and carriers.

On-demand trucking offers shippers a proven and flexible way of conducting their business, with real-time visibility over truck assets and a simpler way to access settlement, liability and other functions via a single interface. Read how recent innovations in web service technology mean shippers can get direct carrier rates, POD and BOL images, online shipment scheduling, and real-time status updates from all carriers on one platform to optimize shipment, financial and customer relationship management and ensure better freight intelligence.

 

Parcel Shipping Best Practices for Companies Preparing for the 2019 Holiday Shopping Season - Kuebix TMS

Parcel Shipping Best Practices for Companies Preparing for the 2019 Holiday Shopping Season

Many companies are currently gearing up for the holiday shopping season. Whether they are brick-and-mortar businesses or e-commerce companies, the peak season for many sellers begins in mid-November and ends in early January. This year, the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s annual shopper survey revealed that more than half of consumers said they would shop online.

To keep up with rising customer expectations about home delivery, even traditional brick-and-mortar companies are branching out with e-commerce platforms so as not to lose business. In order to keep up with the pace of holiday shopping, retailers need to be aware of several parcel shipping best practices.

Best Practices for Any Company Shipping Parcel During the 2019 Holiday Season

Know Important Dates During the Holiday Season

The first thing shippers need to be aware of when planning their shipping strategy for the holidays is important shopping dates. These are days when consumers will be expecting to see discounts and when many shoppers will make significant purchases ahead of the holidays. The unofficial holiday shopping season begins on November 11 and ends January 1 (though returns strategies must continue well past then).

Here is a breakdown of important shopping dates to be aware of this year:

  •  • November 11 – Veterans Day
  •  • November 29 – Black Friday
  •  • November 30 – Small Business Saturday
  •  • December 2 – Cyber Monday
  •  • December 14 – Free Shipping Day

These dates are days that many retailers expect heavy shopping volume and consumers expect discounts and promotions. Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be the most well known of all of these days, but Small Business Saturday and Free Shipping Day can be important to businesses holiday revenue as well.

Free Shipping Day, in particular, is gathering steam and may present an opportunity for retailers to win back market share from competitors who offer free shipping year-round. This unofficial holiday is a one-day event that retailers who are shipping parcel can participate in with a pledge to their customers to have products delivered for free ahead of Christmas day.

By offering specific promotions around any of these important shopping days, retailers can capture new business and continue to delight their customers. However, just advertising around important shopping days isn’t enough if the company fails to deliver products in time for specific days. Be aware of these important shipping deadlines when evaluating your logistics process prior to the holiday season.

  •  • November 28 – Thanksgiving
  •  • December 22-30 – Hanukkah
  •  • December 25 – Christmas
  •  • January 1 – New Year’s Eve

These are the most common days consumers expect to receive their parcel deliveries by. If a retailer cannot deliver in time for a specific holiday, the shopper is likely to abandon their cart and look elsewhere to make their purchase.

Leverage a TMS for Greater Parcel Shipping Flexibility

In order to keep up with deliveries ahead of specific holidays, retailers need to have a strategy to keep up with demand and deliver orders on time. This means doing the work ahead of time to have a concrete parcel shipping strategy in place. For many companies, this means connecting with several parcel shipping services.

Being able to quickly access different carriers’ parcel shipping rates through a single platform is essential for companies looking to optimize operations during the holidays. By leveraging a transportation management system (TMS) retailers can quickly and easily compare different parcel rates to ensure that orders are being delivered to customers before holiday deadlines at the lowest rate. This practice also helps companies organize increased order volume and provide their customers with different self-serve delivery options.

Companies with large e-commerce presences may find it beneficial to set up a direct integration between a TMS and e-commerce platform. By doing so, they give their customers the ability to select the shipping rate and delivery length that best suits their needs. This cuts down on the workload for teams and ensures that customers are always satisfied with their parcel delivery experience.

Consider Offering Free Shipping

According to an NRF quarterly Consumer View report, “75 percent of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50, up from 68 percent a year ago (2018).” That’s a big deal for retailers looking to see positive growth in online sales this holiday season. The decision to buy or not to buy can easily hinge on whether or not the retailer offers free parcel shipping.

While many may assume that younger consumers are the ones shifting the expectation of free shipping as an e-commerce norm, that assumption is incorrect. The report goes on to state:

“Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) demand free shipping the most, with 88 percent expecting it. That compares with 77 percent for Generation X (1965-1980), 61 percent for millennials (1981-1994) and 76 percent for Generation Z (1995 and later).”

This proves that no matter which segment of the marketplace your company targets, it’s likely a good idea to offer some form of free shipping. Whether it’s free shipping on orders that pass a certain threshold or free shipping on orders with longer lead time.

Insure Yourself Against Poor Service Levels

One pitfall that companies who ship final mile to their customers’ homes face is the missed delivery. Whether the delivery is simply late, it gets damaged in transit, or worst of all, lost, companies run the risk of disappointing their customers and eating the cost of shipping. This can be a lose-lose situation if a plan isn’t put into place ahead of time.

Shipping partners like Pitney Bowes offer 3-day guaranteed delivery that retailers can take advantage of when shipping products via USPS over the holidays. This Guaranteed Delivery program provides shippers with a full refund if their parcel isn’t delivered within the three-day window. This level of security helps companies confidently expand their e-commerce presence without worrying about the possible negative effects that can arise from unpreventable missed deliveries.

Have a Solid Returns Strategy

Even when the major shopping days and holidays are through, logistics and customer service teams across the country will still be hard at work managing the returns process. Pitney Bowes’ 2019 Holiday Readiness Guide details how companies can best manage post-holiday returns with three tips:

  1. Make Returns Fast and Easy
  2. Challenge Your Real Motivations
  3. Make the Label Easy to Find

Essentially, the returns process for parcel orders shouldn’t be something for companies to shy away from. Consumers will appreciate a fast and efficient returns process and are more likely to turn into repeat customers if their returns experience is treated as a priority by the company. Instead of making the process difficult by hiding returns information in the fine print or charging exorbitant shipping fees, companies can win customer loyalty and positively impact their businesses long term by making the process simple.

The 2019 Holiday Shopping Season is Here

As we approach Veteran’s Day on November 11th this year, retailers should keep in mind these parcel shipping best practices so that they can delight their customers and grow their businesses. Any company that ships parcel during the holidays can benefit from being more informed, having plans and strategies ahead of time, connections with different parcel carriers, and a strategy for post-holiday returns. By following these best practices, companies can position themselves for the best chance of success during the 2019 holiday shopping season.

Kuebix Carrier Crisis Courting

A Modern Dating Game: Shippers are Courting Truckers

In today’s market, shippers have to “court” carriers if they want to get capacity. They can do this by making sure turn-around times are fast, drivers are well-paid and paid on time and that processes like tendering flow smoothly. Some trucking companies are refusing to service particular markets. Others are refusing to pick up loads for shippers they’ve had trouble with in the past.

What can shippers do to “court” truckers?

Offer better pay and perks to entice drivers – At the Transportation and Logistics Council’s Annual Conference, shippers discussed what they could do to make themselves more competitive in the race to secure capacity for freight. A key suggestion was to compensate truckers with higher wages to bring in more capacity. Other ideas included providing break rooms, bathrooms, free coffee, showers and more – in short, providing things to keep drivers happy while treating them with respect. The goal being that happy drivers will increase the likelihood of repeat capacity.

Improve operations to reduce turn-around times – With electronic logging devices (ELDs) accurately measuring the amount of time a driver is on the road, shippers need to focus on keeping truckers in the driver’s seat. Dock scheduling solutions allow carriers and suppliers to book appointments online and monitor statuses in real time, leveling the flow of activity in and out of the yard to decrease congestion and help truckers get back on the road as soon as possible. Ensuring the appropriate number of personnel are available for loading or unloading also allows drivers to get their trucks turned around faster. When wheels turn, drivers make money. If shippers want capacity, they are obligated to watch the clock and not cause delays for drivers.

Streamline processes to strengthen relationships – By tendering loads with plenty of lead time, shippers can give carriers the time they need to best plan routes and ensure driver availability. Shippers can also offer more flexible requests, such as wider shipping windows. This flexibility helps carriers offer the best lane and service for the job. Making sure that payments are made on-time is also essential for maintaining a strong reputation and good carrier relationships. When shippers improve these processes they make it easier for carriers to “sell” the shipper to their drivers, which increases the likelihood that drivers will want to do business with the shipper again.

In the past, only shippers kept scorecards on their carriers to measure performance. Now, carriers are also keeping track of shippers’ behaviors; things like ease-of-pick up, idling times, wait times, billing/payment accuracies, etc. In order to secure reliable capacity, shippers need to give their carriers the best working experience they can.

Changing all of these behaviors might seem like a daunting task, but with the help of a transportation management system like Kuebix TMS, these changes can be put into place with ease. Kuebix TMS enables shippers to compare rates side-by-side so that the lowest rate can be booked directly with the carrier without the need of a middle-man complicating the process. Kuebix also offers Dock Scheduling, Carrier Relationship Management and other programs and features which improve tracking and visibility to effectively communicate with carriers. By “courting” carriers with these operational and technical improvements, shippers can rely on capacity from carriers who are happy to handle their freight!

Portfolio Items