by Mike Starling

Ok. So you've got your transportation strategy planned out and aligned to directly support one or more corporate strategic goals. You've mapped out your current and anticipated transportation network for the near term. You have investigated, assessed, and selected the best mode(s) based on service requirements and operating expense budget available. Now comes the challenge of selecting the carrier(s) that will execute the transportation tactics that will be employed. Sounds simple? Right?

Well boys and girls, let’s take a look at some of the considerations that go into carrier selection. What selection criteria is most important to ensure consistent execution of the tactic employed to optimize service performance and operating expense? What are the key performance metrics you will require to measure carrier performance, service compliance, customer satisfaction, and operating expense control? What is your fail-safe plan in the event of a service failure? Which lanes provide you with multi-mode alternatives, requiring close scrutiny for carrier selection? What is my primary objective to ensure tactical execution that will deliver the ROI/ROA that directly contributes to achieving aligned corporate strategic goal(s)?

Within each mode you have carriers who represent the transportation method used to physically accomplish the shipment. This can get even more complicated when there are multiple methods within the mode, for example, Road = package ground, less-than-truckload (LTL), full truckload (FTL); and even further complicated by geographic service area (i.e., National vs. Regional vs. Local). And even further complicated by service type (i.e., Common carrier, contract carrier, and dedicated contract carrier). All are considerations to be taken into account when developing your transportation strategy, in order to ensure optimization of both service and expense.

When in doubt, reach out. Consider how hiring an accomplished supply-chain coach, experienced at helping clients through the process of carrier selection, can pay you dividends in terms of smoothing out day-to-day operational execution, sustaining transportation service performance, and ensuring optimized expense control.

So, next time someone tells you that carrier selection is easy, like throwing darts at a dart board, or says all carriers are alike, or uses XYZ Transport because Uncle Harvey recommended them, you'll know better. And you'll know how to do this right.

Who you gonna call?

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