Shippers work with many carriers for their transportation needs. While you want to make sure the carriers you work with are capable of meeting your needs safely and at a fair price, it’s also important to use innovative carriers. Innovative carriers go above and beyond for their customers, looking for unique solutions to their shipping requests. We’ve put together the following list highlighting some of the traits that make carriers truly innovative.
One of the first things to look for when trying to identify innovative carriers is their technological capabilities. Ask if they use a transportation management system (TMS) to organize and evaluate their assets, facilitate with order distribution, and document all their transactions and communication. If your transportation vendor is effectively using a high quality TMS to organize their business, you should feel comfortable that they are innovative.
In addition to using a transportation management system, the best and most innovative carriers will provide shippers with multiple ways to track their freight. Whether in the form of GPS tracking, web-order tracking, proof of delivery online; or some combination of these services, innovative carriers help your business stay in the know by making it easy to track your freight.
Finally, innovative carriers send appropriate email notifications. While email isn’t considered a technological marvel anymore, carriers that stay in constant communication and provide timely updates on loads are invaluable to your business. These carriers truly strive to meet and exceed your transportation needs with effective communication practices aided by their technological capabilities.
Another commonality shared by the best and most innovative carriers can be seen in how they handle and respond to customer needs. Innovative carriers have informative and reliable account representatives. These account reps serve as an intermediary for shippers using carriers for their transportation needs. Generally, account reps are responsible for finding new sales, as well as generating pricing/quotes for current customers, managing the needs of their current customers, and serving as a liaison for communication between the shipper and carrier. However, truly innovative carriers will employ account reps that go above and beyond for their shipping clients.
One way account reps help their shipping clients succeed is by practicing effective communication. Account reps working for innovative carriers will provide timely and accurate responses to your questions and concerns. In addition, they will respond quickly to your outreach, answering questions directly, honestly, and in-depth. Finally, you know an account rep is truly innovative and is putting the needs of your business first if they are willing to say “no.” From time to time, maybe they will not be the best carrier for your given transportation needs. For example, what if you need to move an odd sized piece of freight, and the carrier doesn’t have the necessary equipment? A great account rep will be honest and up-front, telling you that it would be wise for your business to choose another carrier. This way, neither of you is wasting the other’s time if the job isn’t a good fit. If you have an account rep that isn’t afraid to say “no” if his company can’t do something, you know you are working with a great account rep and carrier.
Not only do superior account reps practice effective communication and minimize risk, but these habits will be seen throughout the entire company. Carriers with these traits are innovating customer service in the logistics and transportation industry, and will help your business succeed.
Always Trying To Improve
Finally, innovative carriers are always trying to improve, helping your business succeed along the way. For example, innovative carriers will add equipment and services to their business offerings in order to effectively handle the transportation of multiple types of cargo. By periodically expanding their business capabilities, carriers show their commitment to innovation while helping your company succeed.
In addition to adding equipment or services, innovative carriers look to improve in other ways. First, they learn new industry skills and information. This way, they can better work with their customers and understand their needs. They also put incentive plans in place to reward employees for innovative behavior. For example, innovative trucking carriers look to increase their fleet’s average mpg. One way to achieve this goal is to provide incentives for drivers that meet certain benchmarks or institute policies against wasteful habits such as idling. Finally, innovative carriers earn industry certifications to alert their customers and peers to their high internal standards.
All in all, working with innovative carriers helps your company to succeed as they go above and beyond for their customers. These carriers utilize current technology, have excellent customer service, and strive to improve in order to earn your business and meet your shipping needs.