As the New Year’s Eve ball drops, so do the stresses, frustrations, and worries weighing down on us throughout the year. Shortly after the kisses and hugs, we excitedly declare, “This year will be better than last year.” Next we make our New Year’s resolutions, to be healthier, to not take the small things for granted, to save more money, etc. But as February rolls around, it’s evident we are merely creatures of habit.
If you’re in logistics, you’re already familiar with this cycle—the highs and lows of supply and demand. At the beginning of 2019 and with a solid 2018 in the rearview mirror, many trucking companies made “resolutions” to increase growth and profit. They bought more real estate for expansion, more trucks, and hired more drivers.
Yet, as one article in Business Insider stated, “Thousands of truck drivers lost their jobs in the 2019 trucking ‘bloodbath.’” The article goes on to state, “It’s not just small businesses that struggled. Major trucking companies consistently missed and revised their earnings targets this year.” More than 600 trucking companies filed for bankruptcy.
Breaking the Cycle
So how do shippers and carriers protect themselves moving forward?
2019 saw record growth across many markets, even with geopolitical factors, such as tariffs and border wars acting as deterrents. According to projections from SJ Consulting Group, Inc., e-commerce growth increased 20% in 2019, with no end in sight. A record 8.6 billion packages were delivered domestically. Sure enough, 2020 sees no slowdown.
Now more than ever before, shippers should consider working with an experienced managed transportation service provider that has a large, dedicated network of carrier partners and deep relationships with these partners. In this modern, competitive, and ever-changing market, it is more important than ever before for businesses to be hyperfocused on their core competencies and foster deep relationships.
Many MTS providers are moving toward better technology experiences, including automation. Yet automation is merely a tool, not a solution. When a problem arises, as one always does, working with an experienced person who understands holistically the needs of the shipper and the carrier will ensure the most successful results.
That being said, MTS providers must implement the very best cloud-based TMS for shippers, offering full transparency from planning to shipping to billing. According to nVision Global’s article in FreightWaves.com, “Benefits of a cloud-based TMS include automation of the routing guide, management by exception, real-time insight, visibility into the ordering and shipment process, and improved communication with end customers.”
Additionally, scalability can stabilize market volatility. Regardless of how fast business grows or slows, shippers can rest easy knowing that their MTS provider will meet demands and costs, and drivers can take comfort in knowing that they will have more dedicated work at fixed prices.
Capturing capacity and keeping drivers engaged, loaded, and quickly and fairly compensated is the only way to keep a captive network of trucks ready when the market takes a turn, whether it is a short-term spike or a long-term shift. When operating at scale, it is on the MTS to create seamless communication among all the parties. Hopefully, when the ball drops in 2020, many more in the logistics industry will say, “I hope the New Year is as good as the last.”
Now more than ever before, shippers should consider working with an experienced managed transportation service provider that has a large, dedicated network of carrier partners.