Being a Shipper of Choice is beneficial in any environment; however, its importance is even more pronounced in a tight trucking market.
Achieving the designation can help you more easily find capacity for your shipments. That is especially true when conditions are challenging for shippers like those that we are currently seeing.
In today’s and similar markets, carriers are more likely to turn down freight that they have previously moved.
Since April, we have seen freight rapidly recover, which has thinned capacity and driven up rates across the country.
In many year-over-year comparisons, booming conditions have exceeded what we saw in 2018, which was notable for its capacity crunch stemming from the ELD Mandate.
With challenges abound for many vendors, becoming a Shipper of Choice can ease some logistics difficulties.
So, what is a Shipper of Choice? And how can you become one?
What is a Shipper of Choice?
A Shipper of Choice is a vendor whose loads, locations, and business practices are desirable to carriers.
Being recognized as a Shipper of Choice will elevate your orders above others and make your moves easier to book with trucking providers.
Typically, suppliers that respect carriers and demonstrate a commitment to long-term logistics strategies are considered Shippers of Choice.
Why Should I Care to Be a Shipper of Choice?
Aside from signaling to the marketplace that your business employs best and ethical logistics practices, it is beneficial to become a Shipper of Choice to ease transportation difficulties.
Becoming a Shipper or a Receiver of Choice will help your freight become more appealing to truckers and help you secure better capacity in today’s tight trucking market.
We have briefly touched on the what and the why. But how is it that you become a Shipper of Choice?
How Do You Become a Shipper of Choice?
The most universally accepted way to become a Shipper of Choice is to enact best logistics practices. Operating with these principles in mind indicates to carriers that you intend to conduct your transactions in a mutually beneficial way. Here is what Shippers of Choice do:
Communication is critical in transportation. You must communicate expectations with carriers ahead of time and notify them of any changes during an order.
It is essential that you relay order requirements and facility guidelines. A driver can only execute on what directions they are given. Providing clear and concise communication can help lead to successful delivery.
Promptly Respond to Issues
All too often in transportation, things do not go exactly as planned. Trucks breakdown, weather impedes an order’s progress, or highway congestion causes drivers to miss appointment times.
These things can all lead to rejected orders at receiving facilities. If faced with this situation, you must respond accordingly and give drivers instructions on how to handle your performance exception.
Proactively intervening goes a long way to show you are serious about assisting drivers with delivery issues and being a Shipper of Choice.
Act with Integrity
Some suppliers chase cheap trucks even after booking a truck. While a somewhat common practice, it is not how you become a Shipper of Choice. Being honest and acting ethically is imperative when working to build trust and a positive reputation with drivers.
Treat External Partners with Respect
Carriers and drivers deserve the same high level of respect given to other business service providers. This sense of respect includes all communication points—checking capacity, negotiating rates, asking for delivery updates, etc.
Make Timely Payments
Outstanding freight bills can hurt your reputation with carriers—Shippers of Choice process and pay invoices promptly.
Working with a 3PL of Choice
If you are like most CPG brands, you work with a third-party logistics provider in some capacity. Whether through a full outsource or on a shipment-by-shipment transactional basis, your organization likely involves a 3PL on some level.
When working with a third-party logistics service provider, it is crucial to ensure that you work with one that values these principles. After all, they will be the ones interacting with carriers on your behalf.
A 3PL of Choice functions the same way a Shipper of Choice does. Working with one can reflect favorably upon your brand. You can become a Shipper of Choice without ever interacting with carriers by using with a 3PL of Choice.
At Zipline Logistics, we take the accolade 3PL of Choice very seriously. The principles behind the designation are part of our operational values. We work to improve the lives of transportation professionals in every interaction we have.
That means we respect our carrier partners and treat them with the same customer service level that we provide to our clients.
Interested in seeing how a 3PL of Choice can help you navigate a tight freight market? Reach out to us today.