Transportation Strategy and Tactics - The Value of Aligning With an EX: Shipper

by Mike Starling

OK, how many 3PL salesmen call you each week? How many of them promise to help you find ways to reduce your freight spend? How many of them have ever worked on your side of the desk? How many of them have actually had the experience of being tasked by their boss to optimize transportation spend management… OR ELSE? A few, but probably not many.

Let’s take a look at where most of these 3PL salesmen got their transportation and freight expense management experience (if they have any at all).

We can divide these 3PL sales representatives into several groups:

1. Transportation Sales– ex:  small package carriers and LTL/TL carriers:

> Most spent their entire careers working for carriers who represented a single mode of transportation.

> Most have no practical transportation operational management experience.

> Most have never had the responsibility of being in the shipper’s shoes. They have never been responsible for planning, budgeting, managing, and executing transportation operations.

2. Freight Invoice Audit and Freight Payment Vendor Sales

> Most have spent their entire career selling freight invoice audit and payment services to shippers.

> Most have no practical experience managing transportation operations.

> Most have no experience taking the transportation shipment history and freight expense data for a particular mode and analyzing it in light of the shipper’s transportation goals and objectives.

On the other hand, there is a small select group of professionals out there offering, among other things, the opportunity to work with shippers to help them find ways to optimize their transportation spend and reduce freight expense. Where do they come from? What makes them a better alternative for a shipper to align with?

3. Supply Chain Practitioners and Professionals

> Most spent their entire career working in Transportation Management positions.

> Most understand and can relate to the roles and responsibilities of Transportation Management within the organization, and the challenges and pressures posed in selecting and utilizing multiple modes of transportation in direct support of the organization’s customer requirements.

> Most are well versed in managing and dealing with multiple modes of transportation, and they understand how carriers can take advantage of a shipper via freight rates, discounts, minimum charges, FSC rates, and a whole host of nickel-and-dime charges.

So, if you are seeking 3PL help to find ways to reduce your freight expense, who would you rather align yourself with? Who would you rather have on your team as a force multiplier, to help your company achieve a solution that not only supports your project goal, but compliments your company’s goals and objectives as well?

And, remember, the Supply Chain Practitioner’s expertise is not limited to transportation spend management. They understand and speak SUPPLY CHAIN. End-to-End supply chain activities of every kind. Inbound, Outbound, inside the four walls. They have experience and expertise, having done before what you may be trying to do for the first time.

As for me, I’d choose the Supply Chain Practitioner/Professional.

Seek them out. Have a conversation.

Learn from their EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE.

What have you got to lose?

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