Traditionally, carrier management is viewed as a part or an extension of a transport management operation where managing carrier KPI’s, contracts and handling claims are the core functions.
The highly complex logistics environment of today which is subject to many changes, challenges and ‘internationalization’ drives the need for more visibility of what is exactly going on in a carrier network beyond the operational aspect of it.
You need to stay in close contact with your carriers to understand their dynamics, make changes in the network when at the same time you need access to potential other carriers as well. Carrier networks tend to shift and need often change due to the changing dynamics of the shipper.
The 5 things you need to know about carrier management
So here are 5 key points I feel are important to highlight what carrier management is about today.
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5 things you need to know about carrier management
- Shippers poorly keep carrier contact data
Many shippers keep a list of commercial contacts and gather e-mail contacts from previous tenders. But often in sales and account management roles in logistics, people move around and may have left the company. Carriers may have been acquired and e-mails do not function anymore. This creates extra work for the logistics manager as he needs to check or find new contacts or will invite less carriers to a tender which may hurt receiving optimal tender results.
- Shippers have limited access to smaller and midsize carriers outside of their comfort zone.
When you would like to get in contact with small specialized carriers in 10 different countries in a 100 km radius of your factories or distribution centers, what options do you have? Not many, most managers lack the time to do extensive search and vetting of carriers which would fail often as local carriers can only be found by local language. They also do not always have a (good) website. So you would rely on your local colleagues or you rely on the networks of the big carriers who subcontract to smaller carriers. In both cases you are not sure if you get the best out of the carrier community.
- Shippers have limited means to stay updated and connected to news and updates on carriers.
Although Linkedin has become more popular in the logistics community the past couple of years, it has become quite crowded in general and messages and postings are easily missed or not seen while Linkedin does not offer any specific functionalities for logistics. The regular logistics news channels are not read by everyone and many are fenced off by type of transportation or by geography. The logistics industry needs their own vertical channel for matchmaking and streamlining of communication and building relationships.
- Staying closer to your carriers become more important in uncertain times
Shippers nowadays have many challenges to deal with and with understaffed logistics teams this is increasingly hard to do, so naturally the reliance on good partners that can help you out in in difficult times has drastically increased.
- Carriers have limited means to reach you
Yes carriers are looking for new business all the time but can only do so much via their own network and Linkedin. It has to be said that shipper contacts also change often so it becomes unclear who to contact and how. Next to that it is even harder when carriers want to get in touch with smaller shippers who tend to work with large carriers instead of working with smaller carriers due to the lack of staff to manage a large number of carriers. Carriers in their turn would like to be more visible to potential customers without making huge changes to their sales and marketing expenditure which for small and midsized carriers is often an underdeveloped function.
Carrier management with TendrX
At TendrX we believe that digitization of carrier management empowers logistics managers to easily manage their carrier network and build better relationships with logistics providers. At the same time TendrX gives carriers a unique opportunity to promote themselves and have the right platform to present themselves in an easy way to the shipper community to build new partnerships.
About the author
Pieter Kinds (1975) is CEO of Freightender, a fast growing logistics procurement platform, and TendrX, a spin-off of Freightender and a carrier management platform for shippers and digital sales & marketing platform for carriers.