Identifying the right carrier mix for your business can be difficult to say the least. The recent rise of regional and local carriers means that a truly well-thought out freight strategy will include more service providers than just the traditional big boys. When adding service time requirements, specialty needs and geographic distribution of your warehouses- things only get more complex. Below are four important factors to consider when selecting your carrier partners.
Which Regional Carriers Make Sense?
As mentioned above, regional carriers are a great option for shippers who are looking to utilize a more mature and robust network of providers. More often than not, a regional provider can get your shipment from its origin to destination in less time and in a more cost-effective manner than a national carrier who must be equipped to service the entire United States. The Journal of Commerce puts together a fantastic annual list of the top 25 LTL carriers, a great place to begin learning about different providers and their coverage areas.
How important is Transit Time?
Similar to the question above, transit time can greatly impact how effective a carrier can be for servicing your business. When days in transit is a big concern for you and your customers, selecting more regional providers who specialize in a niche geography, or focusing on carriers with guaranteed delivery capabilities may be the most important. If transit time is less important to your model, you may consider using consolidator services such as those offered by Roadrunner or Clear Lane Freight.
Don’t Limit Yourself at Each Location You Manage
With the right amount of research, technology and data, an in-depth freight strategy would utilize a fairly unique carrier mix at each location you ship from/to. While many locations may share a few common national carriers, the regional and specialty carriers at your location in Ohio should be substantially different than the ones you utilize in a place like California. Managing a network such as this would traditionally require the implementation of standardized routing procedures, such as the use of a Transportation Management System (TMS).
How Has the Carrier Performed in the Industry?
Looking into how well the carrier has been celebrated or received by the industry is another great metric into understanding their service quality and ability. Logistics Management publishes an annual Quest for Quality Award for both National and Regional LTL Carriers ranking on time deliveries, value, customer service, IT capabilities, and equipment.
Overall, conducting this search on your own could be tedious and exhausting. With an appropriate data-set, third party logistics firms and freight management providers can utilize their own internal tools to recreate your LTL profile and help you understand who competitive carriers should be for your business. Reach out to Motus Logistics for a no-cost analysis today.