Carrier management 2020 trends range from the need to leverage data through the ability to work together and save money. As reported by FreightWaves, collaboration allows businesses to remove excess costs from the enterprise. 

Robert Garner, vice president of supply chain for Republic Plastics, a privately held company that produces disposable tableware for private labels, said it’s not easy to secure that win.

“It’s now working with another shipper that’s in the same boat I am. I must get my product to market. They’ve got to get their product to market. You really don’t have that trust level built. ‘Are we going to use my carrier or are we going to use your carrier?’ ‘Are we going to use your dedicated resource?’” Garner said.

Instead of trying to go it alone, shippers need to understand the problems with maintaining the traditional status quo of independent operation and limited, if any, data sharing, how collaboration yields better results in the supply chain, and what to do with the top carrier management 2020 trends to achieve business goals. 

2020 Strategic Freight Management Trends

What’s Wrong With Carrier Management 2020 and Traditional Data-Sharing?

Part of the problem lies in the unwillingness to share data. Data can be proprietary, and all companies have a degree of suspicion when sharing data. However, the state of e-commerce and global logistics has evolved and requires shippers to rethink their age-old, disparate approaches to carrier management.

According to William B. Cassidy of JOC.com:

Some age-old obstacles to collaboration remain; a reluctance to share internal business data; siloed business verticals that make “horizontal” data sharing and collaboration across enterprises difficult; and difficulty determining who “wins” in any multi-party attempt at supply chain cooperation. That’s been a stumbling block in shipper attempts at “co-loading.”

US companies should take a page from European shippers, de Muynck said. “They have some consortia where shippers work together, all under the umbrella of the European Union trying to reduce emissions,” he said. That’s a different goal than straightforward cost savings, but lower supply chain costs often are a byproduct of attempts to lower transportation emissions.

Market Evolution Will Spur Top Carrier Management 2020 Trends

The spot market has been a primary focus of shippers for months, and that trend was originally expected to decline in 2020. Unfortunately, the market is now in the throws of the coronavirus and its various effects, so shippers are rapidly trying to force carriers into better rates without the hassle of contracts. Quite simply, the spot rate and contract markets are both in flux and are likely to remain so throughout 2020. Thus, shippers need to know how the market is forcing a retooling of carrier management 2020 trends. 

  1. Innovative load-matching tools will take advantage of available capacity to give shippers and carriers equal ground on finding capacity at the best rates possible, as explained by Ashley Coker of FreightWaves. Load-matching tools will also go a long way in helping shippers and carriers connect with the 90%+ small fleets of fewer than five trucks, as well as last-mile delivery services. 
  2. Freight consolidation will give shippers and carriers an opportunity to boost efficiency and throughput. Also, consolidation benefits carriers by lowering the transport costs and effectively reducing stress, but it can have the opposite effect without the right data. 
  3. Collaboration will become central to preventing the further spread of coronavirus. Since the coronavirus appears to continue its path of illness, shippers and carriers need to be mindful of shipping and how to keep risks at bay. 
  4. Centralized communications will replace outdated, even email-exclusive practices. As centralized communications and collaboration become more entrenched in digital systems, errors will decline. Meanwhile, accuracy and timeliness of freight management and scheduling will rise. 
  5. APIs will transform communication into a turnkey, automated process. Even EDI is on the way out with newer APIs. These intuitive, automated freight quoting will reduce inefficiencies and become mainstream. 
  6. Analytics and reporting will become the biggest drivers of system selection and implementation within carrier management 2020 trends. As analytics comb through more data, new trends and evidence-based best practices will become available for use to further enhance collaboration and efficiency. 

How to Realize the Carrier Management Trends’ Alignment in Your Organization

Shippers can also follow a few other tips to align strategies with the top carrier management 2020 trends, including:

  1. Diversify system use. 
  2. Take advantage of consolidation/deconsolidation programs. 
  3. Leverage web-based platforms and utilize managed transportation services from partners. 
  4. Ensure existing systems can integrate via an API, leveraging third-party services as necessary.
  5. Focus on moving to manage by exception. 
  6. Use visualizer tools and advanced functions, including business intelligence dashboards, to streamline data sharing and performance measurement. 

Deploy the Tactics to Survive and Thrive in Carrier Management

As the market starts to swing back toward contracted over spot rate freight management, carriers will retake some control. Of course, modern technology gives everyone an equal opportunity to work together and avoid the age-old “control” problems. In a sense, better control for everyone builds on rapport and helps everyone reach their business goals. The opportunities are clear, and as technology becomes more responsive and capable, the collaboration will naturally grow easier and more productive too.

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