From kids ousted from their playgrounds to grown-ups who immersed themselves in the newfound happiness of Zoom parties, COVID has altered choices and relationships. For one thing, every long-term commercial relationship goes through a natural series of ebbs and flows. The shipper-carrier relationship was too indolent to escape this fate.
Early 2020 brought about some unheard changes that cut businesses no slack. Business closures worldwide, spikes or drops in demand, a rise in ecommerce shipments, and unseen health protocols put the shipper-carrier relationship to the test. In this blog, we will explore how businesses can tactfully get out of this deadlock situation while restoring the severed relationship and ensuring healthy long hauls for the future.
Uninterrupted information flow
What needs to be realized the most is that the trucking business isn’t only about transportation, as it’s also a communication business. It’s no big deal to move truckloads from point A to point B. But all that matters is what do you do when something goes south?
Seamless communication is critical to winning. It means benefitting from unfettered access to forecast data, capacity calculations, live order status, and performance results for each of the stakeholders. For example, an asset-light trucking business always starts with outlining the shipper’s service and volume requirements before enlisting a core carrier for the shipper on its freight platform. It provides the perfect base of trust. Behind the scenes, the digital freight platform obtains all the information and produces a single source of truth for everyone involved. Now, shippers and carriers can gear up for any possible misadventure, enjoy a God’s eye view on all the incumbent data (billings, transaction records, status) and enjoy collaborative decision-making.
The TruKKer freight platform is an ardent proponent of this philosophy and prioritizes transparency through data. It amasses a massive amount of data for every job accepted and enriches a growing shipping data pool. Then it crunches and analyzes the collated data to foresee load demands and pre-empt the most efficient transport. The platform also employs live track-and-trace capabilities to offer a reliable ETA. Naturally, shippers can plan reliably and synchronize the consequent activities such as unloading, storage management, or last-mile delivery.
Supply chain visibility
In short, it’s okay to call it the Amazon effect. As digital seeped into the daily lives and defined our choices, rehashed our preferences, we started to seek instant gratification. We want to know where our truckload is, its status updates from anywhere and anytime. Unfortunately, COVID threw a monkey wrench. As the pandemic coerced the market to contract and tightened up capacity, it became increasingly cumbersome for shippers to arrange transportation and have visibility into the entire journey. Next comes the challenge of affordability. Procuring a next-gen TMS might dig deeper into a small company’s pockets – at least that’s what the industry believes. Albeit it’s good to know the modern technology promise has enabled superior services affordable at competitive price points.
End-to-end visibility across a supply network offers an inside-out sneak peek into all stages of the operations and across touchpoints, wherein the shippers, carriers interact with each other. The resulting flow of insights helps the carriers minimize friction for the truckers and enlightens the shippers with real-time asset insights. Picture this: you’re aware of each wait time at different sites. So now, you can predict the exact travel time and maximize driver productivity to uplift truck utilization. Also, implementing visibility from the initial phase of the journey ensures the truck is best utilized as per the hours-of-service mandates.
New-age platforms such as TruKKer discover actionable insights while scanning a rich pool of proprietary shipping data. It allows the users to shave off time from the delivery schedule. From an operational viewpoint, this means a reduced number of trucks, minimized fuel usage, and huge savings.
Coping up with volatile demands
While social distancing tried havoc to estrange personal relationships, COVID’s economic efforts remarkably strained business partnerships. It mutated the shipping patterns – shutting factories, increasing the demand for some products while slashing for the others. However manageable it looked at the outset, it was heavy lifting for the logistics professionals tasked to keep their operations tight as per flow, visibility, and speed.
Decision-makers were choiceless other than resorting to AI, ML, and other predictive technologies. So as demand patterns fluctuate, businesses can benefit from these business intelligence technologies to readily spot shifts in their customer’s shipping network. Immediately, they would gain knowledge about the volume shifts and the underperforming lanes. Further, this data can be blended with other measuring factors like tender acceptance or on-time pick-up and delivery. The final output is a roster of trade lanes needing more capacity or shippers who need more active carriers.
Often, per incoming load requests, the truck availability doesn’t stand up and fails to secure the reputation or profitability of a business. What if the load can be predicted or the demand can be known beforehand? TruKKer strives to respond to each client’s demand through 100% truck availability. By linking historical activity data with geo-localized market data and other indicators, it thrives on planning the fleet according to each demand.
Experts suggest that the foundation of a healthy and pragmatic relationship should be based on data to assess the current partnerships. Important KPIs like the track record, long-haul capacity, or asset quality of the carrier need to be factored in each time. All this can offer you a higher ground with qualified focal points to act upon in times of uncertainty. They are certain that it creates exceptional opportunities to learn from and for all stakeholders to participate.