Why Logistics Teams Need Winning Carrier Partnerships

For companies of all sizes, reliable carrier partnerships are essential. After all, profits, efficiency, and customer satisfaction depend on them—as do new business opportunities in global markets.

Today, that’s especially true—and both businesses and carriers need help. Thanks to the pandemic, supply chain disruptions are rising, with carriers struggling to accommodate volume after a long period of dwindling demand. As driver shortages and tender rejection rates exacerbate existing congestion and delays, logistics teams worldwide are scrambling for new, dynamic solutions.

The right choices pay dividends

When selecting carriers, businesses often look to the biggest, best-known industry names—if they aren’t priced out of doing so. However, building the right relationships is a far more effective strategy in the long run. Beyond pricing concerns, shippers must consider performance ratings and delivery time, as well as offerings that can meet both internal and customer needs.

Transportation management systems can help. Equipped with powerful data reporting capabilities, this dynamic platform can provide valuable insight into carrier efficiency by verifying reported delivery times. Moreover, a TMS can determine the best carrier for each unique delivery—in terms of service offerings and cost-efficiency, which may vary by location—and mode of transportation.

Over time, this powerful technology can help shippers optimize and deepen carrier partnerships. For example, after reviewing data associated with previous shipments, logistics teams may select the same carriers to transport similar freight. Moreover, by accounting for location-dependent needs and offerings, TMSes can identify carriers best suited to helping businesses break into new markets.

With freight brokers, businesses can build vast carrier networks

Optimizing carrier partnerships isn’t just about choosing the right partners—it also means gaining access to as many as possible. By maximizing their options, businesses can rest assured that the right choice is within reach—no matter the destination or shipment-specific requirements.

Freight brokers, or third-party logistics providers who serve as intermediaries between shippers and carriers, can supply that much-desired network—and the guidance necessary to navigate it. Typically armed with years of experience, brokers guide businesses toward the most job-appropriate, cost-efficient carriers, with whom they’ve already developed a relationship. Over time, the return on investment only increases: companies can leverage these networks to cut costs and improve efficiency and flexibility, speeding up the scaling process.

High-tech tools can streamline payment processing

Efficiency and accuracy are crucial when it comes to invoice and payment processing. Carrier partnerships are rooted in trust: shippers can minimize freight disputes and cultivate valuable relationships over time by honoring their contracts.

But it’s rarely that simple. Miscommunication and human error present countless challenges, such as disorganized data, rate renegotiations, and inaccurate bills of lading. These can drastically slow down shipping and payment processes. In extreme cases, shippers might reject carrier invoices altogether.

CTSI-Global’s online invoicing tools radically improve transparency by giving carriers a detailed look at all pending invoices. These tools serve high-volume carriers through electronic data interchange (EDI), a form of data transmission that automates invoicing, payments, and information exchange. For lower-volume carriers, Online Data Entry (ODE)—which allows shippers to enter invoices directly into an online system, preventing payment delays—might be a more feasible choice.

When carriers are partners, everyone wins

Given today’s supply chain volatility, transactional shipper-carrier relationships—partnerships devoid of communication, trust, and long-term intentions—should come as no surprise.

That’s all the more reason why shippers must reimagine their relationships with carriers. Data transparency and real-time tracking—made possible by TMSes and other powerful digital tools—can minimize misunderstandings. Feedback sharing processes can also transform partnerships: a growing number of shippers are adopting carrier scorecards, for example, which evaluate carriers based on performance and communication. In time, carrier scores may begin to inform contract negotiations.

Strong carrier partnerships begin with decisive action

Building meaningful carrier partnerships is a long-term investment—one that almost always pays off. With today’s most groundbreaking resources, such as TMSes, EDI, and 3PL providers, businesses can connect with the carriers they need to succeed.

With CTSI-Global’s leading-edge technology and services—including Honeybee TMS—businesses can cultivate the lasting relationships they’re looking for. In the face of unpredictable supply chains, the right resources can lead to extraordinary results—as well as the partnerships necessary to drive them.

Contact us today.