Why a Diverse Carrier Pool For Inbound Retail Shipping Defines Success in Peak Season

MercuryGate Blog - Freight Category

The issue of peak season performance remains a critical concern for supply chain professionals. With the 2019 shipping peak season in the rearview mirror, shippers witnessed peak season sales break all prior records. What’s more, customer demands for faster, more affordable, and more efficient shipping continue to increase. The problem for retailers continues throughout the supplier supply chain, and inbound retail shipping forms a major challenge for effective inventory management and meeting the needs and expectations of customers. However, a diverse carrier-supplier pool, or more simply, “supplier for this discussion,” such as a manufacturer that uses its own fleet to deliver freight, can make all the difference in determining success throughout peak season and beyond.

What’s Wrong With Existing Carrier-Supplier Pools During Peak Season?

Consider the reasons why carrier suppliers may not fulfill your needs. Is your dock schedule managed poorly? Do drivers routinely incur dwell time at your facility? Is your company able to handle multiple inbound shipments? What happens if your primary supplier cannot fulfill your orders? These questions reflect the huge role suppliers play in defining success throughout peak season. The problem is simple. A limited supplier pool for inbound retail shipping results in delays and bottlenecks. And even worse, empty store shelves for retailers.

Diversity Enhances Inbound Retail Shipping

Diversity within the inbound retail shipping supplier pool effectively eliminates the concerns over product availability, driver willingness to deliver freight to your facilities, and offering a diverse product selection to your customers. Supplier diversity is a best practice for shippers. As consumers continue to purchase in multiple channels, expecting seamless shopping experiences and delivery, retailers need a stronger, wider pool of suppliers. The number of suppliers further increases as companies look to move order fulfillment closer to customers as well. Consider this example.
“Many e-commerce companies have responded to this new normal by purchasing or leasing real estate near secondary markets, or by partnering with logistics providers with these resources. By diversifying distribution and fulfillment assets, internet retailers hope to reduce shipping times and remain competitive.”

How to Leverage a Larger Supplier Pool to Prepare and Respond to Changes in Peak Season

Leveraging a larger supplier pool is about much more than simply securing more carriers to handle inbound freight. With the proliferation of online shopping, available carriers, and shipping modes, carrier procurement must run efficiently and with the least human intervention possible. Traditional methods of managing inbound freight, including email and chat services, are ineffective for fulfilling the needs of peak season. Shippers and logistics service providers should follow these additional steps to leverage a larger carrier pool and achieve success throughout peak season. These steps include:
  1. Stop managing inbound logistics with manual processes like spreadsheets, faxes, and email to procure carrier suppliers.
  2. Deploy a TMS with a dedicated carrier supplier pool that effectively outsources the management of carrier scheduling, reordering, and other tasks to the actual carriers.
  3. Use advanced analytics to understand demand and better manage inventory.
  4. Manage by exceptions using a TMS that provides automated exception management.

Unlock the Secrets of More Suppliers Before Peak Season Arrives

The adage, “more is better” applies to inbound retail shipping for peak season success. Shippers need to recognize the problems with limited carrier suppliers, and they must begin the process of implementing an advanced TMS that streamlines carrier management and enables total transportation leverage.

Schedule your demo now to learn more about the value of a dedicated TMS platform and supply chain solutions provider during peak season.

Phil Melton

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