You’re already aware of how tough it is to reach your growth goals and increase earnings, and finding a carrier company that you can trust at a reasonable rate is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue that isn't making your growth goals any easier to reach. This level of truck availability and the higher rates associated with them has been happening for longer than anyone expected, and we’re coming to learn that it’s probably going to be around for the long-haul (no pun intended)—leaving a permanent mark on your cost structure. What’s the driving factor behind this seemingly permanent tight market, you ask?
Some of it has to do with ELD mandates that have essentially ended up making trips longer for drivers. A trip that used to take one day now takes two days, which means there are less trucks available when you need them. Additionally, the rise in e-commerce is requiring shippers and producers, like you, to ship more product in smaller loads as you try to quickly keep up with your customers’ demands. This, in turn, drives up rates. So how can you adapt to these market changes without having to entirely re-arrange your supply chain? Drumroll please…the answer is RELATIONSHIPS!
NOW is the time to start building long-term relationships with carriers! A good relationship leads to a partnership with a carrier that you can always rely on. The last thing you want is to be the shipper or producer who is left struggling to find someone for your shipping needs while your competitors are easily shipping their loads with carriers whom they have an established relationship with.
It takes time to build a trustworthy relationship, and it’s not something that can be rushed. Your competitors who have established carrier relationships didn’t start yesterday. But if you haven’t started building those relationships yet – don’t worry! Many producers and shippers are turning to 3PLs for help. The advantage of working with a 3PL is that they have an existing network of reliable carriers with whom they’ve been building relationships over many years. Working with a 3PL will save you the time it takes to develop a trustworthy carrier relationship.
Ultimately, being able to find an available truck when you need it comes down to how networked you are with carriers. Start building your relationships now so that you never have to worry about finding a carrier again in the future!