Successful inbound freight management depends on a strong logistics management program. Shippers need to have a robust set of controls in place, a high-quality inbound freight routing guide, automated tracking technology, reporting capabilities, and much more. Shippers need to understand the trends throughout the industry affecting inbound freight management and how to plan accordingly.
Congress Will Affect Successful Inbound Freight Management
According to Truckinginfo.com, changes within the economy will be a significant driving force for upgrades and inbound freight management throughout 2019. Also, the new Congress will likely pass new regulations affecting truck drivers. As the economy ramps up, drivers wages will need to increase, which will place an added burden on shippers. However, shippers that successfully leverage the services of third-party logistics providers can overcome the struggle of offering better compensation and benefits. The industry expects regulatory relief following demand for revision to the hours of service regulation. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the upheaval since the HOS regulations went into effect has been a period of the highest level of engagement with the agency since its inception.
How Technology in Logistics will Shape Shipping in 2019
New Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Scores Will Continue to Evolve
Another factor affecting successful inbound freight management will revolve around compliance, safety, and accountability. Although the compliance safety and accountability scores were created in 2010 to enhance fleet management and improve the safety of truckers and civilian drivers, Congressional action in 2018 resulted in the hiding of this data from the public. Initial reports rain sketchy, but the scorecards and data will likely make an appearance this year. This will result in changes to how shippers view inbound freight management and use technology to streamline processes.
Electric Trucks Should Reduce Trucking Rates
The invention of electric trucks was a breakthrough for the trucking industry, and with spot rates expected to continue to rise (and sometimes decline) throughout 2019, the emergence of electric trucks is a welcome relief to stability. Shippers and carriers will both look to Tesla and major corporations, including Amazon, which may unveil new electronic truck designs in the coming year.
Smart Data Management Will Lead to Better Inventory Management and Inbound Freight Planning
As explained by Inbound Logistics, smart data management involves the collection and analysis of data from multiple sources. Intelligent data management in inbound freight will lead to better forecasting, planning, yard management, and much more. Since the trucking shortage is growing worse, shippers will face additional pressure to ensure docks are clear, and they will be expected to have palletized shipments ready for loading. In other words, smart data management will enhance load planning and reduce total time yielding “Shipper of Choice” status for many shippers. Essentially, don’t forget the yard and the dock for successful shipping!
More Companies Will Look to Leverage Storefronts to Reduce the Burden of Inbound Freight in the Distribution Center
According to Jane Wanklyn of A.T. Kearney, reports Inbound Logistics, inbound freight management will also evolve to focus more on brick-and-mortar stores as the omnichannel shopping experience matures. With more brick-and-mortar stores functioning as distribution centers and pickup locations, the need for inbound freight management will experience a slight decline. However, the rapid growth of e-commerce is expected to push any drop into retreat, catalyzing renewed growth and focus on effective inbound freight management for warehouses and distribution centers.
Collaboration in Freight Management Will Increase
With the globalization of supply chains, inbound freight management will need to evolve to include concerns over new trade deals in changes in policy. One of the significant changes to expect in 2019 will revolve around bracts it, as well as the proposed United States, Canada, Mexico free trade agreement, which has yet to be ratified.
The Big Picture
Successful inbound freight management is about understanding supply and demand, and in the world of e-commerce, successful inbound freight management will depend on the proper use of data and all available resources to reduce costs and streamline operations. As a result, more companies will turn to 3PLs to tap into more extensive carrier networks, more drivers, fewer overhead charges and better accountability in their operations.