According to Steele’s Transportation Group, freight management services help companies more efficiently move freight from one point to an end destination. This cost-effective, strategic process involves the use of a variety of transportation modes, technologies and intermediaries.
Through these services, you gain the expert logistical and supply chain support your company needs. You also gain access to a variety of physical assets, such as warehouses, distribution centers, trucks and technologies.
Why is freight management important?
Freight management services enable companies to deliver freight and complete the supply chain on time and at the lowest possible expense. This efficiency is only part of the equation, however. Through freight management services, freight arrives free of damage and inaccurate quantities.
These services enable companies of all sizes to fulfill orders through just-in-time manufacturing, warehousing less and keeping shipping inventory lean. This, in turn, reduces real estate and labour costs, helps manufacturers meet tight delivery windows and adhere to e-commerce customer fulfillment expectations.
Freight management services can fulfill through a multitude of transportation options, creating the perfect chain of modes to fulfill unique needs. These shipments can incorporate air, rail, water and road freight in the ideal combination as part of intermodal transportation. In North America, a significant percentage of freight delivery needs are met through trucking transport companies.
Types of Transport Companies Used in Freight Management Services
Ground transportation is the most common method used for freight management across Canada and the United States. Within ground transportation are multiple shipping methods, such as parcel, full truckload and less-than-truckload. The full truckload method fills a whole semi-truck trailer with one company’s shipment.
Less-than-truckload enables multiple shippers to use the same trailer, comingling their freight. Parcel, the method used for e-commerce consumers, involves the transport of individual packages. Each of these methods requires a unique strategy for freight management.
Within trucking, there are three other freight management options. These include private, common and dedicated contract carriage. If you want to manage your own trucking fleet and drivers, you are choosing private carriage freight management. Using third-party trucking companies as needed is a common carriage option. Finally, dedicated contract carriage outsources all fleet management services to a third party logistics partner (3PL) or lead logistics provider (LLP).
How does freight management save clients time and money?
Freight management services can save a client company significant time and money. This usually occurs through the negotiation of the most competitive shipping rates, reduction of disruptions to the supply chain and greater efficiency in freight network operation.
To realize cost savings, improved efficiency and disruption reduction, it is very important that you find a great freight management partner. To meet this need, look for one with appropriate logistics expertise. You should also find a partner with cultural and organizational compatibility.
Screening a Freight Management Partner
Key questions to ask your prospective freight management partner include:
- How long has your 3PL/LLP provided freight management services?
- What are some of the success stories of clients with whom you are engaged?
- Does your 3PL/LLP respond promptly to market changes and trends?
- How do you respond to supply chain disruptions?
- How does your 3PL/LLP stand up against the competition in regard to infrastructure, personnel and technology?
- Does your 3PL/LLP client portfolio include companies across multiple industries, or do you focus on specific industrial niches?
- How does your freight management service innovate in the field of logistics, particularly in the arena of solution implementations and technologies?
- How are you ahead of the tech curve, and can you illustrate this technological position?
- Is your freight management company financially sound?
- Can you provide proof of insurance?
Of course, you should screen your prospective freight management company as you would any service provider. Review their reputation by talking to some of their existing clients. Through some careful review, you can find the right freight management service to help your company realize the greatest benefits.