Managed Freight Services: When You’re Ready to Up Your Game
Managed freight is a service in which a shipper or manufacturer works with a logistics team that manages the full spectrum
of a company’s day to day shipping needs in order to streamline the supply chain.
Do you pay attention to politics? Yes, no, or who cares, the simple fact is the 24-hour news machine makes politics impossible to ignore, and the truth is we shouldn’t. As distasteful as politics sometimes are, we have to engage. But all the noise, right? Especially during an election year when everyone’s out to get your vote.
But it’s not just politics is it? If they’re not trying to get your vote, they want your business. And the past couple of years have been difficult for manufacturers and distributors. Supply chain disruption due to Covid-19 and a variety of weather events has contributed to truck and truck driver shortages and elevated freight rates. You can’t get away from the supply chain news or emails from folks competing for your logistics business.
There are hundreds of 3PLs looking to capitalize on the near-constant disruption. And some of those 3PLs have big names. They are large companies with vast resources, big voices, and endless marketing budgets offering something called managed freight services.
Why would a small to midsize manufacturer like you decide to go the managed freight services route? You might be:
- overwhelmed by an out-of-control freight budget, but have no idea how to fix it.
- losing customer respect due to service failures.
- tired of reacting to transportation issues instead of planning for the future.
- worried that sourcing carriers is exposing you to excessive liabilities that could shut you down.
- frustrated by a lack of visibility in your supply chain.
- seeking a provider who can help you predict future rates.
- confused by supply chain technology and need the flexibility and agility of a transportation management system (TMS).
And if this describes you, how do you find a 3PL likely to be aligned with your business and equipped to save you money while boosting your profits? It’s a little tricky. Because some of those big 3PLs can overwhelm you with shiny promises and fancy technologies (that you might not need). To choose the right 3PL, you need a partner culturally and strategically aligned with your business. A 3PL with experience, technology, infrastructure and a long-term commitment to relationships, accountability, and education.
Are big 3PLs better?
The short answer is NO.
However, a big company will promise vast financial and technological resources. The truth is you probably don’t need everything they’re promising. And here’s something else. Once you sign with a big company, they’ll assign your account to a team. And very likely that team will be composed of recent college graduates following a decision tree.
When you sign with a smaller 3PL like AM Transport Services, the team assigned to your account is composed of cross-trained career logisticians. Our team members aren’t following a decision tree, so when problems arise, they have the autonomy and authority to act quickly. And our tech team is in the same building–we’re not sending trouble tickets across campus (or the continent).
If bigger isn’t better, then how do you choose a 3PL for managed freight services?
When you’re shopping for a 3PL who can provide you with super managed freight services, customized to your unique needs, there are a few things you can look for.
First of all, find out what kind of Transportation Management System they recommend and whether or not they use it themselves. Here at AMT, we use the same technology we recommend. That gives you the security of working with a provider that understands the capabilities of the TMS and how to harness its power for your benefit.
Secondly, you’ll want to know if the TMS is cloud-based. A cloud-based TMS offers flexibility (easy to scale according to your needs), is accessible (works on a PC, mobile device, and home-based device), and is secure (sensitive information is stored in remote, cloud-based networks).
Thirdly, find out what they mean when they talk about visibility. It’s not just tracking loads, although that’s mighty nice. Visibility also means you can improve your processes because you are receiving greater insight into each shipment which allows you to reevaluate and reconfigure your processes for greater efficiency.
And finally, for true alignment, ask potential 3PL providers about their core values. Do these values align with yours? If you want to grow your business (and that’s an excellent reason to partner with a 3PL for managed freight services), you deserve to work with a team that shares your vision for the future.
AMT: a different kind of 3PL.
Sure, there are lots of 3PLs out there, and they want your business. But don’t let the choices overwhelm you. Managed freight services can take your business to the next level. You just need a 3PL with expert knowledge of the industry, advanced supply chain technology, and a team aligned with your values.
If you’d like to know more about managed freight services at AM Transport Services, give us a call today. We’d love to talk.