3 Ways Shippers Take Control of Their Supply Chains
The fragmentation and fragility of the supply chain has been exposed over the past 20 months, leading many shippers to invest in their supply chains in ways they did not previously do. Historically, and in weak markets, shippers had pricing power over carriers and often put their transportation networks on the back burner, but this pandemic-induced wake-up call forced many to take action.
While much of the stress in the supply chain comes from a lack of manpower and infrastructure, be it drivers, trailers, chassis or containers, a problem Deeper at play is the widespread lack of technology, which compounds the lack of visibility and control.
Here are three ways that shippers have taken more control of their supply chains over the past 20 months.
Greater dependence on logistics providers
To ensure reliable capacity and ensure rapid delivery in the event of driver shortages, shippers across the supply chain are relying more on third-party logistics providers.
Due to the high demand for housewares, the Almo appliance distributor has successfully transitioned from LTL to full truck with the help of Convoy’s flexible drop-and-hook service. Director of Transportation Support Keith Granstrom said of Convoy Go: “It’s something we were looking for that we didn’t know existed.
Asset-based carriers like ENERGY Transportation are positioning themselves as an end-to-end boutique provider for customers, offering full service: reefer, dry van, warehousing, cross-border shipping and even consulting. CEO Shawn Girard told FreightWaves he’s been spending a lot more time consulting lately. “Rather than just increasing the volume and getting more freight, I can help customers become more efficient. In doing so, we develop a better relationship.
Rate hikes lead to investment in private fleets
Sometimes diversifying transport partners to avoid delays and source capacity is not enough. According to a recently released report by the National Private Truck Council, the market for extended constrained capacity is driving further expansion of private fleets.
In 2020, retailer Dollar General shifted 20% of its freight to its private fleet to gain control and avoid rising transportation costs. Likewise, Pitney Bowes increased the size of its private fleet by 42% year-on-year. Walmart has embraced this shipping trend by using private cargo ships to avoid port bottlenecks.
When fares are higher, customer service levels decrease, so it makes sense to invest more in private fleets. However, private fleets are not immune to what contract carriers are faced with; the report pointed out that the turnover of private fleets is 14.25% – although a much lower rate than that of small and large fleets of rental trucks, which are 69% and 90% respectively.
Overcome fragmentation with visibility technology
Port bottlenecks and capacity shortages have made supply chain fragmentation more evident, leading more and more shippers to take advantage of the increased visibility of data provided by telematics systems attached to trailers, chassis, containers and handling equipment.
Working with a telematics provider with a broad portfolio of solutions such as PowerFleet enables shippers to gain actionable insights to improve safety compliance and asset utilization from bumper to bumper to forklift, reducing thus inefficiencies and costs. In early 2021, steel maker Nucor deployed PowerFleet telematics on its forklifts and instrument cranes to improve recording accuracy, safety and visibility. After all, in 2020 alone, forklift accidents caused 7,290 non-fatal injuries, causing workers to lose a median of 17 working days.
Nathan Fraser, vice president and general manager of Nucor, said that automatically sending critical safety and equipment information to its centralized platform allows the team to be more responsive, secure and efficient. .
In the general trucking industry, more and more shippers are expecting the benefits of visibility technology, especially the ability to track shipments for real-time updates. Sensors collecting billions of data points from the time a shipment leaves the warehouse until it arrives at its destination enables shippers to mitigate risk, make informed decisions and increase customer satisfaction. A Gartner report predicts that by 2023, real-time visibility solutions will have been adopted by 50% of large global companies.
Trailer tracking technology can provide real-time location, departure and arrival times, as well as serve as a hub for additional data points generated by sensors and cargo cameras that indicate whether a trailer is loaded or empty and by how much. Recently, PowerFleet submitted its patent pending chassis monitoring system, the LV-300 and LV-750, during the FreightWaves F3 virtual event that provides the location, container chassis status on or off, and container loaded or empty status. Having this kind of information helps fleets and shippers work together to create more speed in the supply chain.