How to Become a Shipper of Choice: 6 Essential Tips for Shippers
Becoming a shipper of choice can help shippers secure transportation capacity easier and at lower rates. This, in turn, helps them increase their shipping efficiency and reduce transportation costs. Continue reading to learn about 6 tips on how to become a shipper of choice.
Knowing how to become a shipper of choice has become imperative today because of the shift in the logistics environment from a shipper’s market to a carrier’s market – meaning freight transportation demand is much higher than its supply, leaving shippers to compete amongst themselves for a carrier’s services. This article discusses what a shipper of choice is, its importance, and a few tips on how to become one.
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What is a Shipper of Choice?
The term “shipper of choice” refers to a business whose freight and business practices align with what carriers consider desirable. Today, carriers prefer working with a shipper of choice because of the value their partnership provides. In other words, those shippers who take deliberate steps to build trust with carriers, make their freight more desirable, and invest in facilities to make the shipping process more efficient are considered shippers of choice.
The following section provides more insight into the importance of being a shipper of choice.
Importance of Becoming a Shipper of Choice
As mentioned earlier, there has been a change in the demand-supply dynamic for freight transportation. Demand for freight transportation surpasses supply today and is only exacerbated by driver shortages, new regulations, and rising equipment costs. Therefore, carriers today have the option to be selective about the shippers they choose to utilize.
This is the reason shippers learn how to become a shipper of choice. Additionally, they get better access to transportation capacity and better freight rates in tight markets, giving them an advantage over other competing shippers.
Now that the role of shipper of choice is evident, the following section provides six useful tips that shippers can use if they are interested in knowing how to become a shipper of choice.
6 Tips on How to Become a Shipper of Choice
Shippers who provide flexible appointment times open up a greater pool of available drivers, thus making their freight more desirable. Providing 24/7 dock access or weekend/off-peak hours options can increase a shipper’s access to capacity even greater.
Appointment times are usually set in one of three ways:
- At – a specific time on a specific day,
- On – an appointment with only a set date, or
- By – before a particular time on a particular day, allowing for early delivery.
Shippers who extend their flexibility to accommodate “on” or “by” appointments will increase the chances of their freight being accepted and are more likely to become a shipper of choice.
Provide Sufficient Lead Time
Shippers who provide carriers with sufficient lead time and communicate early is another step how to become a shipper of choice and securing capacity faster. Besides securing capacity, these shippers may even receive priority in capacity allocation over other shippers. Providing carriers with ample lead time allows them to schedule their operations more efficiently. In turn, this helps shippers increase their chances of becoming a shipper of choice.
Easy Location Access
Shippers who make it easy for drivers to access or navigate a complex system of gates and docks is another way to become a shipper of choice. This is because ease of access is a significant factor that carriers take into account when evaluating shippers. Two tips for shippers to help drivers navigate easily are:
- Ensure that locations have sufficient space for trucks to maneuver easily and
- Provide clear signage to help direct drivers when they arrive.
Reduce Dwell Time
Shippers who regularly detain drivers will find it hard to get a carrier to transport their freight. This is because drivers wish to get in and out of facilities and quickly and efficiently as possible due to the HOS rule and ELD mandate.
Every driver’s time is monitored strictly through the ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices). This means that every extra minute spent on the dock – waiting – takes away from the time they could be earning on the road. According to a survey conducted by DAT, most carriers consider detention a severe problem, and the majority of them rank it in the top five challenges facing their business.
Thus, shippers who build a good reputation for short loading/unloading times keep their carriers happy and have better chances of becoming a shipper of choice.
Shippers who treat drivers well and provide them with necessary amenities are regarded highly by carriers. This is because drivers spend a long time on the road, and providing them restrooms/lounge facilities goes a long way. Most carriers evaluate shippers by how well they treat their drivers, and by creating a comfortable and welcoming environment for drivers, shippers stand a higher chance of becoming a shipper of choice.
Additionally, providing overnight parking facilities helps drivers avoid the inconvenience of leaving the lot to find parking, saving time and fuel. This reflects positively on a shipper’s evaluation by a carrier.
The final tip for shippers trying to learn how to become a shipper of choice has to do with payments. Shippers should ensure that payments are made within the agreed-upon time with the carriers, especially since on-time payments are the number one request to become a shipper of choice. The average sweet spot for payments is 30 days, and it is essential for shippers to include fuel surcharges and accessorial charges as well.
By making payments on time and in full, shippers help carriers avoid costly factoring companies and increase their chances of becoming a shipper of choice.
In summary, knowing how to become a shipper of choice can help shippers gain better access to transportation capacity at lower rates. This, in turn, increases their shipping efficiency and reduces costs. By following the tips mentioned in this article, shippers can increase their chances of becoming a shipper of choice and enjoy the benefits that come with it.
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