Which Transportation Metrics Should Shippers Be Tracking?

Every shipper should be tracking its metrics. But trying to track and analyze everything at once can result in information overload, making it harder for companies to spot trends and take action.

Choosing a handful of key performance indicators (KPIs) and other useful metrics and staying on top of them can help shippers stay focused on the data that matters most. Over time, these metrics may change, or the shipper may extend its focus as its capabilities grow and its needs evolve. But by focusing primarily on KPIs that are closely tied to the business’s goals, shippers can drive the most value from their data—helping them optimize their processes, save time, and put money back in the bottom line.

Every shipper has different priorities, and the metrics they choose to zero in on will reflect this. But for those on the fence about which metrics to track, here are a few to consider.

Perfect order rate

Perfection is a high bar to strive for. But by looking at what percentage of completed orders were error-free, shippers can figure out what went right with those shipments—and what could be going wrong with others.

If the perfect order rate is low, shippers can look at the most common incidents (like late deliveries or inaccurate orders) and focus on fixing those issues first. If the rate is high, they can aim to make incremental improvements to their processes that get them closer to a perfect score.

Average dwell time

When trucks spend too long at a shipper’s facility, all manner of problems can arise. The driver may struggle to deliver the shipment on time, resulting in a late delivery penalty for the shipper. Or, they may have to cancel a later delivery because they won’t have time to complete it, which can damage the shipper-carrier relationship. If this happens enough times, shippers may gain a bad reputation among carriers, making it harder to find capacity when they need it.

Tracking dwell time—the average time it takes for a truck to arrive at and depart from the facility—can help shippers spot any issues at the loading dock and resolve them before they get out of hand. In doing so, they can avoid paying unnecessary penalties and preserve strong relationships.

On-time shipping rate

Late deliveries don’t just result in late delivery penalties—they also hurt customer satisfaction.

If a company’s on-time shipping rate is low, this can be indicative of much wider problems with the supply chain, from a lack of visibility to poor communication and planning. Keeping a close eye on this metric can help shippers decide when it’s the right time to invest in better tools or implement new processes, like in-transit tracking capabilities.

Truckload utilization

When shippers send trucks out half-full, they’re paying for empty space. Calculating how much space on the truck was utilized can help them optimize shipments to improve efficiency and bring transportation costs down.

For example, imagine a shipment goes out on Monday that only fills half the truck. It’s not an urgent order, and another shipment is going out on Wednesday along the same route. By waiting and shipping both orders at the same time in the same truck, the shipper could have cut their costs in half—and all it would take was a little more visibility and better planning.

Freight bill accuracy

Dealing with inaccurate freight bills can be a huge time suck for shippers—or a source of lost dollars if mistakes go unnoticed. While the occasional error is understandable, constant mistakes should not become the norm. That’s why every shipper can benefit from auditing its freight bills and tracking its billing accuracy.

In addition to tracking overall billing accuracy, shippers can track accuracy by carrier to identify any outliers. This can help them spot any issues and implement appropriate changes, like improving communication with a particular carrier.

The right metrics require the right tools

It’s down to each shipper to determine which metrics are most important for the business and act accordingly. But regardless of which metrics a shipper prioritizes, it will need the right tools to track and analyze its data to gain actionable insights.

CTSI-Global’s full suite of logistics tools can help shippers gather data in real-time, generate fast insights, and drive meaningful change. To get started, contact us today.

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