How to select a Carrier for your freight transportation needs
A freight carrier should serve as a trusted transportation partner that works in alignment with your team to meet the needs of your customers.
For that reason, among others, they need to be an organization that you know will get the job done.
Aside from security, your company undoubtedly has unique standards and requirements in your own workflows.
When bringing a carrier into your operation, alignment is essential. That’s why thoughtful preparation and an intentional vetting process.
If you’re currently searching for a new carrier, here are some tips to use when selecting a carrier who would be the best fit for your company.
A TAPA certification should act as a signal to your decision-making team that the carrier in question prioritizes fostering a secure facility. This will be key in your efforts to meet your customer’s delivery expectations.
A study from Comcast shows that 1 in 4 people have been a victim of package theft or know someone who has. Package theft can occur at any point in the supply chain, so it’s important to ensure that your operations are secure from top to bottom.
Unfortunately, it’s also common for packages to get lost during the delivery process.
You need to team up with a thorough, security-minded carrier to avoid the many repercussions of package theft. Connecting with a TAPA-certified carrier is an excellent way to take preventive action in your selection process.
TAPA-certified carriers are more educated on, and proactive about elevating supply chain security, which will mitigate any current problems you may have with cargo theft.
A few common protocols required by TAPA include:
The facility must have a security manager that holds ongoing training for employeesAccess to all parts of the facility are controlledSecurity cameras on a closed-circuit and pointed at valuable cargoPerimeter security and barriers are in placeTrucks are secure using GRPS tracking, seals, or locks
Each of these standards will put your mind at ease regarding security and theft.
As a business leader, you have too much to worry about to let cargo theft in your carrier’s facilities occupy your time and energy. By hiring a partner with a TAPA certification, you can rest assured that their staff is trained on security and follow existing protocols to prevent any issues with packages loss or damage.
Determine their capacity and key strengths
In order to achieve alignment with your potential carrier, you must pinpoint their shipping capabilities and specializations to discover if they match your requirements.
To start, make sure you understand what kind of carrier fits your needs. Before even speaking to any potential vendors, do some research on logistics. Then, narrow your search with your requirements.
For instance, say you’re on a tight budget but aren’t intended to ship high-volume loads of merchandise. In this situation, to save money and reduce emissions, its best to look into an LTL partner. A less than truckload carrier will ship freight from partners who’re looking to transport under a truckload’s worth of freight in each shipment. It acts similarly to a car-pooling system for freight.
While there are clear benefits to this option, you have to determine the freight classes that direct how cargo must be shipped to utilize this option. LTL providers typically serve regional areas. You won’t find much success in hiring an LTL carrier to ship merchandise cross-country in a timely fashion.
As a car-pooling system of sorts, freight from other companies will accompany yours within the truck. You can expect the driver to make several stops before your cargo is delivered to the next point in the supply chain.
An alternate option is FTL, or full truckload, which requires you to ship an entire truckload of cargo. This option is more effective for those requiring a time-sensitive delivery because, unlike LTL, your freight isn’t sharing the truck space with other shipments.
At times, LTL carriers can also lack the capacity needed to effectively handle their demand without raising costs. There are also cases where shippers need to use intermodal solutions to handle a large amount of freight. This involves relocating freight, which can be costly.
When comparing LTL and FTL options, be sure to overview and examine the key strengths and capacity of each vendor, taking seasonality into account when making your decision.
Examine the caliber of their technology
Carriers with best-in-class technology are best equipped to promise you a secure, reliable experience. For that reason, take a close look at the technologies each option has in place while visiting their site.
One of the most critical technologies for a carrier in their relationship with you is a transportation management system (TMS). These technologies contain information about carriers, transactions, and communications between the parties. Carriers that have a system in place are able to work with you to plan and track shipments in the most transparent way.
Experts assert that a TMS can improve the following aspects of your business relationship:
Lower distribution and warehouse costsA more responsive shipping processVisibility of real-time informationIncreased predictability of inventory and more accurate forecasting
However, in order to get the most out of a TMS, the given carrier needs to have other technologies in place. For instance, an order management system (OMS) is typically used to receive inbound orders.
Additionally, a warehouse management system (WMS) can be employed to structure daily operations within the carrier facilities. The TMS should be integrated with both systems to achieve the best possible output.
Working in conjunction with each other, they can minimize the risks associated with loading, preparing freight, cargo damage and cross-docking.
The presence, integration, and proper utilization of these technologies is sure to boost the quality of your relationship with your carrier. So, when deciding on which service provider to select as a partner, closely examine the caliber of their technology.
Align your needs with those of your future carrier
All carriers have their own distinct strengths, technological capabilities, and logistical priorities. In your search for a solid match for your business, it’s your job to do some research to make sure your partner can successfully meet your needs. Focus on their security certification, technologies, and specializations to begin making the connection.
Sydney Wess is a the lead supply chain and logistics Content & Editorial Associate for Clutch.