Being a Shipper of Choice in logistics is like being Tom Brady in football. Sure, he has haters (who are probably just jealous of his super model wife and the fact that he’s just THAT good). But if any team had the opportunity and he wasn’t retiring, you know they’d clear a roster spot for him in a heartbeat. Especially in a tight market where trucks are gold, you want to be a Tom Brady – sorry, Shipper of Choice – in logistics.
Achieving that reputation can help you more easily find and secure capacity for your shipments. This matters most in times like these when navigating the market is challenging and carriers are more likely to turn down freight that they have previously moved.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen freight rapidly recover, thinning capacity and driving rates up across the country. This shows no signs of stopping with costs projected to keep rising throughout 2022.
With challenges abound for many vendors, becoming a Shipper of Choice can ease some logistics difficulties.
So, what is a Shipper of Choice in non-Brady terms? 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. These kind of vendors offer respect to carriers and demonstrate a commitment to long-term logistics strategies. Being recognized as a Shipper of Choice will elevate your orders above others and make your moves easier to book with trucking providers. Basically, you become the first draft pick.
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. It will help your freight become more appealing to truckers and secure better capacity in today’s tight trucking market.
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:
Quarterback it. 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, too. 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
Quite like the game of football, things do not always go as planned in transportation. 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. They’re your teammates. 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. There’s a lot of options out there, so make sure you work with one who 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, so working with one can reflect favorably upon your brand. You can become a Shipper of Choice without ever interacting with carriers by working with a 3PL of Choice.
Not to brag, but Zipline Logistics is kind of the Tom Brady of 3PL’s. The principles behind the title 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.