For shippers, the final part of the year is generally one of intense activity and, therefore, one in which it is more difficult to get access to haulage capacity. It is useful, therefore, to have a strategy for winning haulers' loyalty.
Let us start by recalling haulers' main requirements. They have four main pre-occupations:
- making maximum use of their production units and reducing down-time, which means that the rig must be on the road for the maximum possible time;
- controlling production costs such as diesel consumption, use of toll roads, labour;
- limiting production losses, particularly kilometers travelled without load which are equivalent to production remains in that they are kilometers which generate no revenue;
- being paid on time on the agreed terms.
These requirements are very much like those of a manufacturer, a trader or any other company! For shippers, therefore, it is wise to integrate them into day-to-day procedures so as to foster a win-win relationship. Here are some examples:
1. From an operational point of view, be careful to reduce any down-time which is within your remit. It delays transport capacity unnecessarily and increases haulers' costs. A lorry which has to wait to be loaded or unloaded or is immobilized waiting for validation is one which is not earning money.
2. Avoid creating unnecessary constraints which reduce haulers' flexibility and/or capacity, for example, by insisting on certain types of equipment which, in reality, are only used in a limited number of instances. This increases transport costs unnecessarily.
3. Give transporters visibility over transport order planning (and not just over the regularity of orders since this represents only one kind of visibility). The better the visibility, the better transport missions can be coordinated and kilometers without load kept at a low level.
4. Pay on time and on the terms agreed for the transport mission carried out. A loyal shipper has a better chance of having a transporter who is also loyal.
These four requirements might seem obvious but the measures needed to obtain real improvement are in certain cases complex. It can be tempting sometimes to let a problem repeat itself at the risk of one day finding it has come to breaking point.
The right strategy, therefore, involves working seriously and on a partnership basis on these four points and communicating openly and transparently. By reducing transporters' risks, shippers clearly make themselves more attractive to their service providers. They can also improve their own efficiency in the process. The returns are guaranteed!