The less than truckload logistics market is becoming big business, as new systems and changes in management make for new efficiencies
It takes a special approach to take advantage of the benefits of LTL shipping on a large scale, though, and both shippers and carriers need to build new kinds of partnerships to take advantage of the increased efficiency on offer.
Are the views of shippers regarding Less Than Truckload Logistics changing?
As for now, LTL is underutilised, as many shippers only use it as a stopgap, or a backup option. Going forward, more shippers are seeing LTL options as a resource that can allow more flexible customer service and, if done correctly, lower prices. The key to realising these possibilities is to stop thinking of LTL carriers as generic, interchangeable commodities, and to invest time and effort into building long-term partnerships with favoured LTL carriers.
Too many shippers see all LTL carriers as the same, partially because of the way market competition has forced LTL carriers to develop standard rates that are no higher than any of the other carriers. The top-down enforcement of standard prices has led to a lot of inefficiency, and completely fails to consider any one carrier’s strengths and weaknesses relative to another’s.
The way forward is to treat LTL carriers more like any other logistics partner. Take the time to make strategic choices about which LTL carrier or carriers has the capabilities you really need, and which have flaws that you cannot work with. Open negotiations with the intention of forming a long-term partnership, and work towards real collaboration. If you can take the time to learn what makes a particular carrier tick, and you give them some insight into what kinds of services are of most value to you, you can work together to improve margins for each of you, and benefit from improved reliability besides.