How Technology Is Improving Profits For LTL CarriersWritten by Neal Willis
Freight carriers have always lagged behind other industries when it comes to embracing technology; however, with the focus on yield management, they are using new technology to improve their bottom line. Dimensionalizer machines, which scan and weigh a shipment, are gaining popularity in the transportation industry. They provide carriers with accurate freight data and help them better understand the freight moving within their networks. These machines also aid the carriers in their efforts to better cost and purge unprofitable business. (Here is a link to a good video about dimensionalizer machines.)
Most LTL carriers have been using dimensionalizer machines for quite some time now. Performing an inspection (W&I) is no longer a manual process and, according to one article by William Cassidy from the Journal of Commerce, it only takes 7 seconds to figure things out. These machines make it quick and easy to inspect shipments and the information obtained from them is highly accurate and precise.
Carriers will continue to use these machines to inspect shipments and shippers will continue to be hit with class changes and invoice corrections if accurate information is not portrayed on BOLs. In order for shippers to minimize the odds of the headaches that come with unexpected freight charges, accurate shipment dimensions along with the correct NMFC # and corresponding freight class must be written on the bill of lading. Shippers must also remember that packaging (pallet, box, skid, etc.) is included in the density calculation of a shipment.
The cost of delivery for carriers can change drastically when a shipper’s product mix and/or customer base changes, and carriers are increasingly walking away from unprofitable business that wasn’t originally anticipated and properly priced. Collaboration throughout the supply chain is the key driver of lowered costs and improved efficiency, and clearly communicating detailed information among partners is necessary to help lower and keep costs down while keeping the quality of service at a high level.
Accurate data is being captured by carriers to help them cost the freight, so it certainly makes sense for shippers to provide as much data as possible about their freight to their service provider (carrier / 3PL) when discussing and negotiating pricing. Not only will providing candid information to your service provider about your freight help you earn their trust and secure aggressive pricing, being truthful about your freight data can help ensure you’ll have a provider that’s willing to pick up your freight should market capacity become constricted.
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