The Slow Road to Recovery
The trucking industry continues to face strong headwinds as it works to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, which marked the start of a prolonged downturn. Some optimistic analysts predicted a significant rate jump in the fourth quarter of 2023. However, current data paint a different picture. High-frequency indexes housed in FreightWaves SONAR indicate trucking company closures are ongoing. If the current pace continues, capacity is unlikely to normalize until 2024.
This uncertain environment makes it difficult for shippers to lock in rates during the all-important annual bid season. With the potential for market volatility, any long-term agreements risk being rendered useless if forecasts fail to hold. Therefore, building flexibility into transportation plans is absolutely crucial at this time. In fact, ongoing volatility can be an opportunity for shippers to make more efficient decisions.
Shared Truckload: An Efficiency Solution
Several forward-thinking industry partners have emerged in recent years, offering shippers more options to cut waste and improve efficiency. One example is Flock Freight, which provides a shared truckload solution designed to give shippers the reliability of a full truckload with the ability to only pay for the space actually used. This is made possible through patented technology that allows compatible LTL shipments to be consolidated into shared truckload trailers.
By switching from shipping via partial truckloads to using Flock Freight’s shared truckload service, shippers can realize savings of up to 20% compared to full truckload rates. Additionally, LTL shippers who make the change enjoy better service and lower damage claims with a shared truckload. It’s a win-win for both efficiency and costs.
Capturing Data for Optimization
To fully take advantage of the benefits of shared truckloads, shippers need visibility into pallet counts and dimensions for their shipments. Many large companies lack this granular data, as their legacy systems and processes were not designed with optimizing partial loads in mind. Without tracking pallet data, it’s impossible to identify and eliminate waste.
By making an effort to capture this information, enterprise shippers can unlock major efficiency gains. Flock Freight’s machine learning algorithms play a key role here. They work tirelessly to evaluate over 1.2 trillion shipment pooling combinations and analyze over 5 million potential routes to identify ideal shared truckload opportunities in near real-time.
Change Management for Logistics Innovation
Transitioning to a shared truckload model requires change management across operations, technology, and business processes. According to Flock Freight’s Todd LaFond, “For large enterprise shippers, a lot of the roadblocks come from the operations side.” Most companies simply don’t have visibility into exact pallet counts until orders are picked and loaded at the dock.
To fully optimize loads, shippers must be open to modifying their management of orders, shipments, and inventory. This includes gaining transparency into pallet data and being willing to shift LTL volumes to shared truckloads when it makes economic sense. Support from executives is needed to drive adoption of these innovative solutions.
The More Flexible, the More Savings
The potential for cost savings and emissions reduction through shared truckload varies substantially based on each company’s uniqueness. Shippers that can be flexible in how they utilize truckload trailers and that don’t require full trailers for every shipment tend to maximize savings. According to LaFond, “The more open customers are to alternative solutions, the greater their potential for savings.”
Rethinking long-held practices offers shippers the opportunity to materially improve their transportation efficiency and bottom lines. Those willing to embrace change will be well-positioned to thrive in the years ahead.
By leveraging their expertise and resources, Lading Logistics aims to provide efficient and reliable international shipping and logistics solutions for their clients.