RFX Blog

Your Lanes Are Your Assets

August 13th, 2014

Photo Credit: Paul Dineen | Flickr Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Paul Dineen | Flickr Creative Commons

What is your strongest lane?  Which areas of the country do you service the best? The most often?  The most effectively?  What aspects of your daily operation are executed like clockwork?  Have you ever thought about it?

As logistics providers, whether it be as a motor carrier, a freight forwarder or a freight broker, we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  We all have certain things that we can bring to the table that other logistics providers cannot.  Perhaps you can service reefer truckload freight from Seattle to Miami 15 times per week.  Perhaps the next guy (or girl!) can do that same load 7 times per week, but cheaper.  Or maybe someone else can expedite that freight using team drivers.  The point is, all logistics providers are not created equal.  We need to embrace our strengths and promote them.  However you choose to define your strongest lanes, whether it be by competitive pricing, high capacity, high volume, speed and efficiency… your lanes are your assets.

Do Your Homework – You probably already know which areas you service the most effectively.  In case you don’t, take some time to do the research.  Find out which lanes, by state or region you are able to service the most often.  If you already have a strong understanding of this, take the time to examine other factors related to these lanes.  What commodities are being shipped to and from those areas?  What type of equipment was used?  What time of year did you peak in volume?  What types of industries were you servicing in those areas?  Based on these factors, research and target other freight in the same lanes.

Strength in Capacity – For third party logistics providers, take the time to understand your carrier base. Collect data.  Don’t just look up your carriers’ load history to find out where they’ve run for you in the past.  Pick up the phone and ask them “Where do you prefer to run?  What backhauls can we help you with?  How often do you need a load out of Atlanta?”  etc.  Building relationships with motor carriers and providing them with great service is the key to growing that capacity strength.  Use the capacity data that you collect to not only determine which lanes can be serviced the most effectively now, but which lanes may be serviced well in the future.  Having predictive analytics at your disposal, and being able to forecast your capacity strength for an upcoming season will give you an edge above your competition and allow you to provide great service to your customers.

Recruit by Lane –  There is such a thing as growing too quickly.  As a motor carrier, if you make too many investments up front (equipment, recruiting, training) without having some good insight of the upcoming business landscape, you could find yourself headed for a slippery slope.  For example, recruiting truck operators without having steady lanes to place them in will only cause your driver retention to drop and your investments in advertising, recruiting, training and equipment will have been for nothing.  That is why it is important to analyze the lanes in which you could use more capacity and recruit by lane.  By doing so, you promote slow and steady growth at a healthy pace that your business can manage.  Recruiting by lane can also improve your driver retention percentage as truck operators sign on with the intention of servicing a specific lane every week.  Having a set schedule as a truck driver can be a very attractive proposition.  You may find it easier to recruit this way, rather than simply promoting sign-on bonuses and other financial perks.

To summarize, take the time to do your research.  Understand your strengths and weaknesses as a logistics provider.  Make a list of your core service regions.  Then build capacity and sell your services based on those lanes.  Remember, your lanes are your assets.

 

Posted on August 13th, 2014 in business strategy, freight agent, motor carrier