Is the economy driving you to revisit your transportation strategy?
How to keep products moving and control costs
In this post, we explore:
How the post-recession economy has shifted the logistics landscape, and what it means for companies impacted by the shipping industry
Two key components logistics managers must address to substantially cut transportation costs
Commonly overlooked process improvements – what companies know but aren’t doing
How to quickly implement improvements to maximize savings and increase return on investment
There’s no doubt about it: When it comes to transportation, economic fluctuations have made a huge impact. Within a decade, the logistics industry has done a 180 – from an overabundance of trucks and drivers vying for companies’ precious cargo by offering competitive pricing, to a smaller number of transportation companies hard pressed to meet their commitments despite considerable rate increases.
It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. The recession took its toll on the logistics industry, driving thousands of trucking companies out of business. Now that the economy is on the rebound, the gap left by these extinct carriers is tangible. With a significant shortage of both trucks and drivers, the market naturally answers to the highest bidder. How can you keep your products moving and still control your costs in this challenging scenario?
RATES ALONE WON’T CUT IT
With regards to transportation, substantial cost reduction incorporates two key components – Rate Reduction and Process Improvements. For many companies, emphasis has been placed primarily on rate reduction, which remains a key component. However, having the right logistics framework in place is just as, if not more effective in managing transportation costs.
Even skilled rate negotiators who, in years past, expertly bargained for the best deals, aren’t able to produce the same results in the current environment. Today’s marketplace is conspiring against them, and carriers now undoubtedly have the upper hand. According to Forbes, private US trucking companies posted their fourth year of higher sales in 2013 with net margins averaging 6 percent, compared to 3 and 4 percent in recent years. In fact, the trucking industry’s outlook is so peachy and the driver shortage so severe, that drivers are being snatched from school before getting their certification, while trucking companies are resorting to incentives in order to lure enough drivers to keep their fleets on the road. So unless an organization is planning to launch their own trucking division, it might be time to start considering other viable ways to improve their shipping process besides just benchmarking freight rates.
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