By Ashley Coker | FreightWaves Associate Editor
Published June 8, 2021
Logistics is a notoriously volatile industry. During market shifts, it can be difficult for shippers to decide which modes, providers and contract/rate types will serve their business best. In the constant race to keep up, many default to the most common solutions, unable to set aside the time required to look deeper into their options. Ultimately, this approach leads to lost time, lost money and lost opportunities.
In a tight capacity market, it can be difficult for shippers to effectively score and manage carrier performance. This is especially true when variables affecting carriers – such as hours of service, traffic volumes, COVID-19 and safety protocols – are taken into account. In a pressurized environment, it’s difficult to know which suppliers are serving shippers and carriers well and which are not.
“In a constrained market, every single truck has a previous shipment and every single driver is grappling with hours-of-service issues,” Bryce Williford, BlueGrace’s senior director of logistics, said. “Accurately managing a carrier’s performance is a challenge. Trucks and drivers aren’t just sitting around waiting for freight, and conversely, the warehouses are also not just waiting around waiting for trucks to arrive.”
Partnering with a fourth-party logistics provider (4PL) can help shippers focus on service and stability while optimizing their supply chains to make execution easier, not harder. The 4PL model takes the third-party logistics (3PL) model a step further by helping shippers manage their resources, technology and infrastructure. This approach provides shippers with an added layer of aggregation, integration and execution.
“The 4PL model gives you the ability to look at a group of incumbent providers across multiple modes and gain visibility to all relevant and actionable data,” Williford said. “It is so valuable to a shipper to gain visibility to things like cost to serve, inefficiencies and opportunities for automation. Visibility into data helps them choose the right modes and the right providers to achieve their goals.”