The complex issues surrounding trucking and COVID-19 vaccine distribution have been in the news for weeks. And as states, cities, and localities across the country intermittently lock down and open again—and holiday shoppers take to e-commerce shopping like never before—freight surges are creating one of the most complex freight environments we have seen in years:
- Many U.S. shippers managed during the early stages of the pandemic. But driver scarcity for truckload (TL) and less-than-truckload (TL) freight has gone from a chronic problem to an acute problem, due to closed truck driver schools and clampdowns on federal regulations surrounding drivers’ drug and alcohol use.
- According to a recent Logistics Manager’s Index Report, skyrocketing transportation costs jumped 30.5% since March 2020, due to strong freight demand and a low supply of drivers and capacity.
What COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Has Taught Us
What has COVID-19 vaccine distribution taught us about securing truckload (TL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) capacity?
As the U.S. economy heads into an uncertain 2021, what can transportation managers and logistics managers do to keep abreast of surging consumer demands and ensure they have the capacity they need?
Many companies are overhauling inventory management and logistics network design and carriers are aware they need to stay agile to keep freight moving for customers. But carriers can take a few steps to thrive despite the challenges:
- Lean your operations. An optimization-based transportation management system (TMS) can optimize a transportation operation’s performance, making sure it is not too lean or too fat.
- Choose the right driver for the job. It’s critical to pick the right driver for the job by using a TMS that connects to load boards listing all available jobs so you can find drivers to take the load at the best price.
- Digitize your processes. Some steps can be digitized and automated by using freight-tracking technology for locating and reallocating assets and to provide more real-time visibility into overall operations.
- Re-evaluate vendor contracts to confirm robust business continuity plans. This step will be important if the pandemic drags on for many more months.
- Maximize your transportation budget. Choose a TMS that gives you access to all freight rates available for a particular load. By connecting to load boards that have all the loads and prices, you can select the most profitable load for your business and the trip.
- Choose contactless delivery. Your freight will move more seamlessly and minimize touchpoints if drivers use mobile apps for proof of delivery.
- Switch some steps from paper to digital. The trucking industry still relies too heavily on paperwork, but many processes can be digitized. The Axele TMS automates many manual processes that small-to-medium-sized truckload carriers use Excel spreadsheets for. Eliminating the paper processes reduces errors, avoids loss of paperwork, and provides data that can be collected for continuous improvements.
The pandemic has created many disruptions. Trucking and COVID-19 vaccine distribution are just one of the challenges. But transportation managers still need to move freight. Learn how the Axele transportation management system provides a one-stop-shop to run your business, automate your day-to-day manual tasks, and help you find the most profitable loads through optimization. Your result: more-efficient operations and better financial performance.