Each year we speak to carriers to ask them what new and emerging trends they think will play an important role in the coming months. The list often makes for interesting reading, especially when contrasted with the equivalent survey we do with our shipper community!
The first finding, is carriers are aware of the need to further optimize their transportation planning. Tighter margins, driver shortages, more stringent CO2 emission quotas… with these challenges, the best way to keep costs low is to continually optimize processes. Just under half of respondents said transportation planning optimization was a key focus.
And since optimization goes hand in hand with visibility, it’s no surprise to learn that live vehicle tracking was the second highest placed trend. That’s in line with what our community of shippers said and further highlights the need to adapt a continuous improvement approach to transportation.
Without visibility it’s impossible to optimize and collaborate and it’s also a great way to improve customer service levels. And while it’s good to see shippers and carriers on the same page, the similarities between them end here.
The biggest difference between the shipper and carrier surveys is how each community ranked the importance of sustainable solutions. While CO2 emissions and fuel consummation were at the bottom of the list for shippers, they came in third for carriers. Now it makes sense that carriers are more concerned about emissions, after all they shoulder direct responsibility, but shippers will likely be affected too.
There are more and more environmental regulations being brought into force (for good reason!) and carriers will have to be very careful to ensure compliance. In the case of IMO 2020, for example, switching to low-sulphur fuel or installing scrubbers are options that carriers will need to weigh up. And while these costs will directly impact carriers, you can guarantee shippers won’t be immune.
In the same vein, carriers were also more interested than shippers in self check-in facilities for loading and unloading, as well as vehicle capacity management. And again, while these are all elements that impact carriers, you can bet any gains (or lack of!) will be passed on to shippers.
In joint last position, picked by less than a third of carriers, is market benchmarking in relation to capacity and price indexes. It seems many carriers aren’t keen for their performances to be held up against the market. Something for shippers to take note of!
Joining benchmarking at the bottom is end-to-end process automation. This unsurprisingly ranked higher with the shipper community, where picking carriers based purely on data is an attractive proposition. Less so for carriers who may feel their service will be boiled down to a few KPIs that don’t capture the value they offer.
At Alpega,we are confident that our solutions can help shippers make sure they always pick the carriers best adapted to their needs. Carriers will also benefit from this, as shippers will be able to select them based on their strengths, resulting in stronger relationships, data driven process improvements and mutual gains.