The popularity of flatbed carriers increases in the summer months. With the onset of the summer season, small to mid-size shippers usually face a huge demand and finding units becomes harder. This leads to a lot of shippers delving deeper into their route guides. They also resort to spot market bidding as their route guides become exhausted during the road. As a result, the costs per unit increase and more time is spent trying to procure enough units for shipping.
How the Summer Months Affect the Flatbed Carrier Market
According to research conducted by the Iowa State University regarding flatbed carriers, market conditions continuously fluctuate. The truckload market faces varying demand throughout the year and has to reshuffle its capacity to align. However, this fluctuation in demand is much more rampant for flatbed trucks than for the rest of the truckload market.
Hence, flatbed trucks tend to adhere to routes that prove more profitable. They accept loads that are more profitable and have a greater ROI. It’s not uncommon that they turn down a shipment at their contracted rate only to accept at a greater rate. This is known as a spot market bid.
3 Tips to Prepare for the Flatbed Season
Here are 3 Ways to Prepare Flatbed Carriers for the Shipping Season
1. Scorecard Carriers
You should develop a scorecard that highlights your key performance indicators for flatbed carriers. Then you can present the scorecard to your customers to highlight which can relay your expectations to your load providers. The scorecard will hold carriers accountable for the overall performance that they exhibit. This will also help to better route guide compliance and spot quote activity. It will also help you maintain a greater ROI and costs when you need them the most.
2. Maintain Relationships with Major Customers
It’s important to keep old, returning, and bulk ordering customers happy because they make up the bulk of your business. It’s important that you deal with their shipments in a smart way rather than servicing all the needs yourself. Instead of maintaining a fleet of 20 to 30 extra trucks, consider using a third-party logistics provider. This will help to source your flatbed carriers capacity needs and manage various carrier contracts. This will reduce costs overall and will help you generate a better profit.
The third-party logistics provider will audit changing insurance rates, assure government compliant and adhere to DOT safety laws. The services of that logistics provider can also insulate you from the consequences of the maintenance of the carrier contracts
3. Reduce Lead Times
Research conducted by MIT has shown the relationship between the time period of a shipment to the rate, The longer the time period between a freight tender and the actual shipment date, the lower the rate charged. Hence, if you ensure flexibility with the shipping or delivery dates, your freight will become more attractive. You should try above all else to avoid the struggle of inconsistent inventory. This includes Just In Time orders, especially during high demand season.
These tips will help to improve flatbed carrier operations.