Today we hear many shippers and carriers speak about collaboration, but what does this mean? According to Merriam Webster it is defined as: ‘to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor’. From a transportation perspective, today carriers have become more selective about the freight they want to move and the companies they want to do business with because there are not enough trucks to support all the available loads that have to be moved. Shippers need to understand that after years of having a one sided relationship the pendulum has now swung in the carriers favor. Shippers need to collaborate with their carriers and create a win – win partnership. They should consider the following in doing so.

The first thing that has to happen is that shippers must recognize their carriers, not as a vendor, but as a partner. Transportation should be viewed as a service not as a commodity. Shippers should be cognizant of the fact that although their finance team may want to push for extended credit terms, this has a negative impact on your carriers.

Given the choice between companies that make payment in 30 days vs. a company that has 60 day payment terms, extended payment terms are likely to impact your freight rates and your ability to get trucks.

Providing a longer lead time between the shipment bid and required pickup date allows carriers the ability to better position their equipment to meet your mutual needs. Also consider dwell time. It has been determined that 60% of drivers spend three hours waiting for a shipment. With the new Hours of Service requirements this is especially hurtful to carriers. Furnishing carriers with complete detailed information about the shipment is essential to avoid surprises. This includes addresses, weights and commodity descriptions. There should be a ‘go to person’ that carriers can reach out to when they have questions about a shipment Shippers have to recognize that not all freight is attractive. Freight that is easily susceptible to damage can be a problem for your carriers. Communicate and work with your carriers and your package design team to see what can be done to better protect these items.