We got no service, we got bad rates, our pet's heads are falling off! (c'mon - you all have to know that line right?). That's about the funniest thing I have today as the rest of this is the same old story.
Below are a few interesting charts with some international data and I think the point we're trying to make is that this is a global freight "pandemic" that is impacting all the big boys just as much as it's impacting each of you. No one is immune.
LTL service continues to be bad at best, TL capacity is still extremely tight, rates are still elevated at record levels, international volumes are setting records, container ships are sitting out in the ocean and EVERYONE is upset. That's our new normal.
I'm often asked - "Okay, we get it, but what do we do about it?" Valid question. Well, no one is creating new capacity and no one can find drivers so the answers do not lie in hoping the industry gets better. That means looking inward. Here are a few suggestions:
- Become a "shipper of choice." What does that mean? Be nicer, be more accommodating to carriers, be more flexible, plan ahead, expand hours, don't hold carriers up, package freight better, get your information straight, treat ALL AS A PARTNER. etc, etc.
- Use the Recon TMS to its full capabilities - ASN's, dynamic carrier routing decisions, guarantee/expedite hot shipments, get familiar with the wealth of data/information in the system - just to name a few.
- Adjust AND communicate expectations. Call out BS like "you better get it here or..." Okay, that's harsh, but we really, really need to communicate supply chain issues. Everyone seems to understand and accept it if their favorite store is out of something or no one is working at your restaurant, but somehow everyone gets upset when a pallet moving across the country through an extremely congested network is late.
- Review shipping trends/stats in the TMS. Are certain customers causing more stress on your operations? What about consolidating orders, limiting sequential shipments, raising order minimums, shipping to regions on certain days? Consolidate inbound freight?
- What about your Prepay and Add markup strategy? Are you pricing freight equally to every customer? Why? Should a customer who orders minimums every day get the same freight markup as one who orders a larger shipment less frequently? Don't have a PP&A strategy? YOU SHOULD!
We see "freight" issues sticking around until at least 2022 so we don't recommend doing nothing. And, if we do get back to something more "normal", rates are going to stay on a new elevated plane so any internal optimization will pay off for the long run.