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Become a ‘Shipper of Choice’ with Data and Collaboration

It is more important than ever for shippers to become a ‘shipper of choice’ to effectively source capacity. A capacity shortage is affecting the entire transportation industry, but shippers can set themselves apart in the eyes of carriers by doing two things better than the rest: minimizing dwell time and improving communication.

Shippers can accomplish both with a transportation management system (TMS), according to Chris Noble, senior product manager of PCS Software. During a recent webinar, Noble discussed with supply chain logistics analyst and advisor Adrian Gonzales, president of Adelante SCM, how shippers can use a TMS to better source and retain capacity.

Dwell time is a top concern among transportation providers because it creates a ripple effect throughout their networks. It can cause drivers to miss their reloads, to run out of legal driving hours, or not arrive home on time to be with their families.

TMS platforms that connect shippers and carriers give both sets of users insights by capturing and analyzing data to identify arrival and departure times. If there are consistent delays, carriers can use data to steer conversations with shippers, and vice versa.

Carriers have options in today’s market, and “if I am looking at two shippers or two consignees with similar lanes, similar origin, definition and similar rate, I’m going to pick the one that I can get into and out of,” Noble said.

Another way that shippers can use a TMS to reduce dwell time is by identifying when it occurs. For example, it might take a consignee six hours to unload a truck when drivers arrive at 6 a.m., but the dwell time drops to one or two hours if drivers come at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. With these insights a shipper could work with carriers to create an ideal schedule.

The last couple of years have prompted shippers and carriers to remove data silos and increase collaboration. Historically there has been an “us versus them” mentality where shippers want to get the best discount and carriers want to get top dollar for a lane. Today they are working together to create a win-win scenario, said Gonzales.

Data must be at the center of any effective carrier and shipper conversations. “Grounding the conversations in data will typically provide a more robust and less emotional conversation,” Noble said. Using a TMS platform that gives shippers and carriers a single version of the truth helps both parties create mutually beneficial transportation plans.

Please watch this short video clip to better understand how shippers can use a TMS to share visibility and transparency of important data with carriers.