Finding and Setting up with a trusted freight carrier is an essential step in the supply chain for any organization. A freight carrier is a company responsible for physically moving the product from point A to Point B via air, sea, or land. Most freight carriers are small businesses, in 2018 it was found that 91.3% of trucking carriers operated with less than 6 trucks.
So, why is it important to go with a trusted freight carrier? They all must be relatively similar right? Well, no, there is actually a lot of variance in the industry. The best companies will follow up on each promise that they make while the worst ones may never answer a call once they get your freight. So, if you want to have an efficient supply chain then you NEED to partner with a freight carrier that you can trust.
How do you find and set up with a trusted freight carrier?
Now that you know the importance of partnering with a trusted freight carrier the next step is finding one. There are around 1.2 million freight carriers in the US that just deal with shipping over land via truck, so there is certainly lot to choose from. Below are some good questions to keep in mind if you are the one making the choice:
How long have they been in business?
How long a company has been in business is usually a good indicator of their quality. A untrusted freight company usually won’t be able to be in company long as their work will dry up relatively quickly. There, of course, benefits of going with a newer company, they are usually more competitively priced and flexible but it can be a risk.
What is their level of customer support and communication?
You cannot have trust without open communication. Whoever you are partnering with, be it a freight carrier, a 3PL, or 4PL, they need to be have open communication and good customer service. A freight carrier can be holding onto tens, or hundreds, of thousands of dollars’ worth of your inventory, you need to be kept up to date.
How are they performing on their KPI’s?
If the transportation provider you are using is not hitting the KPI’s that they promise on then they should be dropped. This tip takes a bit more time to measure and you actually have to give the carrier a chance to prove themselves. However, if they are consistently not following through on their promises then they should not be trusted with your freight.
How partnering with a 3PL makes this process easier
As you can tell, there are a lot of factors that go into finding a trusted carrier, and finding a carrier isn’t even half of it. After finding the carrier you have to see if they can even carry your freight, negotiate on a price, monitor the shipment, and, over time, find improvements. These are all things that third party logistics companies (3PL’s) specialize in.
First and foremost, 3PL’s already have partnerships developed with trusted carriers. They know which carrier will work best with your shipment and will assign a trusted freight carrier that will work for you. This is accomplished by the 3PL keeping a scorecard of each carrier that they work with and tracking how they did on certain lanes and loads. You will, of course, still have to vet the 3PL’s that you partner with, which you can read more about that here.
Additionally, 3PL companies have the expertise needed to go out and find a trusted carrier. They know where to look and they know how to negotiate on your behalf. A good 3PL partner will make the shipping process easier for you. If you partner with a 3PL and you are suddenly more stressed then it is time to find a new partner. If you would like to see if Becker Logistics is the 3PL partner for you try reaching out or requesting a quote.