Picking a shipping carrier can be a difficult task for mid-market companies that don't have a dedicated traffic department. Someone has to take the time to find carriers, vet the carriers, get the bids, and evaluate them. And then there is the challenge of measuring results. This is why many brands find themselves with only 2-3 carriers, which may not be the optimal amount for your business.
While the process of evaluating carriers can seem time consuming, there are very valid reasons why a shipper should look at new carriers. In this post, we'll walk you through the process of how to pick a shipping carrier, what to do once you've made your selection, how to evaluate their performance, and what benefits you can look for.
1. What Problems Could a New Carrier Solve?
Shipping costs are a huge portion of a company's spend, especially when you are using LTL shipping. Being able to manage that cost and get a good return on investment is critical. You may need a carrier who has more competitive rates or provides your other carriers enough competition to allow you to renegotiate their rates.
We also know that mid-market shippers are in a competitive space--you must be agile and able to provide good service that is on-par or better than your competition. This means service is critical to the growth of your business. Carriers that ship the correct items on-time with low breakage can impact overall costs, but also repeat sales and even the quality of reviews left online (or the number of complaints driven through customer service.)
2. How Does the New Carrier Fit Into Your Multi-Carrier Strategy?
If you are like most brands, you have 2-3 carriers that you rely on for every day shipments. You may want to consider increasing this mix to 5-6 carriers. With 5-6 carriers, you can set up a national strategy with 2 national carriers and 3-4 regional carriers. If you already have 2 national carriers, consider adding regional carriers to the mix. Regional carriers can bring localized benefits, such as quicker delivery times and reduced costs.
One key thing to remember is that bringing on a carrier requires a relationship. This is more than just contractual, it's about reviewing performance and utilization and negotiating over time. We know 5-6 carriers may seem like a lot of relationships to manage, but Pacejet can make it easier for you. Find out how below.
3. How Do I Initiate Conversations with Potential Carriers?
First, start by downloading our carrier list. With a combination of parcel, LTL, and 3PL companies, you have hundreds of potential carrier options to consider. If you're looking to add a national LTL carrier, you might consider FedEx Freight, XPO (Conway), or YRC. If you're looking for a regional carrier, you may want to check out Estes, PITT OHIO, or SAIA. It really depends on what region you are looking to add coverage for. If you haven't tried regional carriers, we highly recommend adding a few to your network and evaluating the cost of actual shipments as well as other added benefits, like speedier delivery times.
After you've identified potential carriers, you're going to need data. Each carrier is going to want specific information about your shipping history in order to provide you with rates. If you use Pacejet, this information is easily accessible in reports. Ask each carrier when you contact them what kinds of data they need to provide you with the most competitive rates and terms.
Tip: Having good data can mean lower rates. Carriers may pad their pricing if your data isn't clean to make sure they don't lose money once you start shipping. Also, don't be afraid to let the carrier know that you are using Pacejet to competitively shop rates in real-time. This can make them more aggressive in their negotiations just knowing that you can easily compare them to other carriers for each shipment.
4. I've Chosen a Carrier to Try--Now What?
You've said the key word: try. We encourage you to find a carrier or two that you can try out. With Pacejet, it's simple to activate a carrier in our network with limited support time required. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and provide them the documentation for your carrier and they will walk you through the process of setting it up in the system.
If you aren't currently a Pacejet customer, but you're in the market for a multi-carrier shipping solution, we can help with that, too. A great place to start is with a free consultation with one of our experts.
Once your carrier is added into the Pacejet system, monitor your reports to see how competitive they are and how often they are getting your business. This information is important to keep track of so that you can renegotiate: either with the new carrier or with your existing carriers.
5. What Benefits Can I Expect?
By adding new carriers, you can see several benefits, which are magnified when you're using Pacejet.
You have access to quality data that can help you improve your relationship with carriers and negotiate more effectively
You can reduce your shipping and transportation costs by having more carriers to instantly rate-shop for each shipment
You can look forward to better service and delivery times—shipping items right on time the first time improves customer satisfaction, which means more repeat business and better customer reviews
Are you ready to consider some new carriers? Download our carrier list today or contact us and we'll get together with you for a one-on-one consultation.