5 Steps to Make LTL Improve Your Bottom-line in 2015

At the end of every year, I ask the following two questions to both carrier/brokers and companies shipping freight.

  • Have you reviewed your year-end supply chain GRIs?
  • And as you look into 2015, how is the health of you supply chain?

The answers I get often vary. Some know, some don’t. Either way, I often recommend taking a few minutes at the end of the year and making a plan to secure the health of your supply chain.

Here are 5 simple steps every company can take today to make 2015 more profitable.

1. Review Your Supply Chain Health

Check with every company in your supply chain. Ask about any changes they’re making – or anticipating – next year. Ask about GRIs.

You want to identify any gaps now, either in services or pricing. Finding out now avoids unnecessary expense and service disruption once the new year begins.

And if you’re uncertain about any link in your supply chain, don’t hesitate to contact a plan B. Better to have a Plan B ready to go if needed, than go through the stress of a ‘fire-drill’ should a problem arise.

2. Identify your 2014 Weakness

Something didn’t go the way you planned this year. Did you spend too much time finding the services you needed? Did you spend too much money? Did you find yourself shipping Partial Truckload too often…and losing money doing so?

When you review your supply chain, look for areas where your company struggled. And identify the areas you want to, or maybe need to, change.

3. Set a Goal

I tell all of my customers this every year. Set a goal. You’ve identified where you want to improve. Now define that improvement with a number.

Make it a profit margin you want to achieve. Make it time spent coordinating. Whatever you choose, set a number to achieve.

This number will stick to the top of your mind, and help guide your decision-making. Plus, it gives you a metric to measure every shipment. But make sure it’s realistic. If it’s not, you’ll know it and give up.

And that only returns you to the make-it-up-as-you-go mentality.

4. Make Volume LTL a tool for 2015

Ok, it doesn’t need to be volume LTL, but it’s one option you should be aware of. Why do I say volume LTL? Well, because whether you’re a carrier/broker or a company with product to ship, volume LTL gets the job done at less than the cost of partial truckload.

There are other tools you can employ. If you’re not sure what they are, see the next point…

5. Find a Logistics Partner before 2015 starts

There are a lot of carriers, freight services and ways to ship freight. A highly skilled employee can learn many secrets to getting loads around the country. But a good logistics company makes for a great partner, in those instances when you need an insider secret.

Of course, work with a third party logistics firm (a 3PL for short) and they can do all the heavy-lifting. They can match you with the best services and prices for every shipment, and all you need to do is decide.

Earlier I mentioned a way to avoid GRIs. Partner with a 3PL and you’ll always be able to find the lowest available rate. And you won’t spend hours looking for it.

Plus, a 3PL can provide comprehensive reporting, to help you meet your defined goals.

To get 2015 off to a fast start, I recommend taking a few minutes to walk through these 5 steps. If you don’t have the time, and simply need a Plan B, then contact a 3PL like BlueGrace Houston. Whatever your need, remember a good 3 PL partner succeeds when you succeed.

Have a Very Happy Holiday and a Safe and Prosperous New Year!