Time and time again shippers say that reliability in shipping and logistics is the most important thing to them. After all, they are entrusting their freight to this company, it makes sense that they want it to be someone reliable. Reliability is defined as, “the quality of being trustworthy or of performing consistently well.” So, what does this mean in freight transportation? It means, in order to provide a reliable service you have to follow through on your word. It also means always being there for the customer. This takes integrity, quality, and flexibility.
Reliability in shipping and logistics can be broken down into five elements, each one is needed in order to provide true reliable service. These five elements are being probable, dependable, durable, available, and adaptable. As a shipper, you want to find a transportation provider that can be each of these. As a transportation provider, you want to make sure that you are showing these values at every chance that you get, doing so speaks volumes about your service.
Being probable in shipping and logistics means making your pick-up and drop-off appointments on time. To some extent this can always be a tossup, once the freight is on the road anything can happen. There can be traffic jams, breakdowns, or congestion at the docks. In order to attain reliability, the transportation provider must be on the right side of probability.
The right side of probability is determined by the shipper. It could mean being on-time 90%, 95%, or maybe 50% of the time. It all depends on their needs. However, to provide a reliable service the transportation provider must meet their goals.
Dependability in terms of reliability in shipping and logistics means offering a dependable and fair price. This mostly applies to spot quotes, but it is important that transportation providers are able to offer a price that the shipper can depend on.
This works in the long haul for the transportation provider too. As you offer dependable spot rates you build trust and should be able to move to a contracted rate and more business. However, you cannot get to that point unless you are offering a reliable service.
To be durable, a shipping provider must have a high acceptance rate. When a shipper is in a jam and they have a tough lane they are going to be looking for a durable and reliable transportation provider. You should be aiming to be that provider.
Consistency also plays a large part in durability. It’s not enough to take the occasional tough lane. In order to offer a reliable shipping service, the transportation provider must be able to cover these tough shipments consistently as they are needed.
To have reliability in shipping and logistics the transportation provider must be available. This means being there for the shipper when needed at all times. In other words, providing great customer service and being communicable. The importance of communication in shipping has already been covered on a general level but it also plays a huge role in reliability.
The fifth and final element of reliability in shipping and logistics is adaptability. This means being able to shift and change in order to match the shipper’s needs. A reliable transportation provider should be able to provide a consistent level of service whether they are receiving 1 load a week or 20 a day. If the transportation company can no longer keep up with the shippers growing needs then they are no longer reliable.
How to find reliability in shipping and logistics?
So, we have identified and defined the elements of reliability. Now, how can a shipper determine the levels of dependability between company A and company B? The best way is to offer them a couple of smaller spot quotes to see how they are able to perform. Additionally, look into the company, do they work with other shippers in your field? If so, they should have a good grasp on what it takes to provide a reliable service. Also, ask for some data from them ask for their on-time percentages and lane acceptance rates. These are important KPI’s that a reliable shipping provider will be able to provide.