Truckload lead time is often a major contributor to increased freight spend, but it can be difficult for shippers to identify and address ways to improve this metric. Lead times can vary widely when a shipper is forced to spend more time securing a rate and booking a load. This can lead to unpredictability that makes it difficult for shippers to secure capacity and can lead to a chain of repercussions such as poor dock scheduling and cost implications. To keep freight spend under control, shippers and logistics service providers need to understand how to optimize lead time and how automated real-time rates can make a difference.
What Causes Poor Truckload Lead Times?
Each step of the routing guide can take multiple hours of back-and-forth to see if the next carrier in the guide will accept the load. Each rejection and subsequent request for tender acceptance will cause additional hours of back-and-forth, and can lead the shipper to securing costly last minute spot coverage. Shippers can avoid this time-consuming back-and-forth and increase lead time by locking in automated real-time rates with guaranteed tender acceptance with Convoy through its integration with MercuryGate. Convoy, a digital freight network, has guaranteed tender acceptance allowing shippers to book instantly, improving their lead times so they can lock in real-time rates and avoid higher last minute spot prices.
Other factors that contribute to poor lead times are delays at the dock, poor packaging, inaccurate documents, and other influences. Granular, transparent operations data from Convoy can provide shippers with a more detailed view of their transportation logistics. This information can help shippers make smarter decisions and improve some of the leading causes of last minute freight booking.
How to Optimize Lead Time and Reduce Costs
To optimize lead times, shippers need to follow a few best practices:
- Leverage Real-Time Prices in Your Backup Routing Guide. Shippers spend hours working through their backup tree; automated real-time rates, such as those provided by Convoy inside the MercuryGate TMS, can provide instant rates with guaranteed tender acceptance to reduce time spent sourcing coverage.
- Integrate your supply chain management systems. Visibility is paramount in today’s freight management environment. Integrate your TMS with your ERP, WMS, and other supply chain systems to remain proactive.
- Leverage analytics to validate performance and continuously improve. Analytics and performance measurement are critical to modern supply chains by providing insights into facility drop off and pickup detention, layovers, and other factors.
- Avoid delays by staging pallets and having everything ready for loading. Efficient dock management and warehouse processes can help improve lead time.
- Be flexible with pick up/drop off times. Flexible dock schedules can improve lead time and build rapport with drivers. Flexibility still needs to be tracked to avoid its misuse.