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How to Become a Preferred Shipper in Your Region

by Murray Phillips,
Dec 9, 2022
Become a Preferred Shipper
Become a Preferred Shipper

Win more work from leading national carriers.

The pandemic led us all into a transport boom like we’ve never seen before. It also disrupted the complex ecosystem of manufacturers, carriers and third-party logistics (3PL) providers. Last-mile delivery in particular soared in demand with changing consumer behaviour.

Operating in a tight capacityconsider market means that carriers can carefully select who they want to work with. And businesses like yours are competing to win contracts. 

If you can’t be as flexible, fast or offer competitive rates, well, you’re less likely to win those contracts.

So how do you win more work (and get your foot in the door of some of the biggest delivery networks in the world)? It’s pretty simple: you become more efficient and get better at communicating with carriers.

Here’s how you can do that.

Steps to becoming a preferred shipping partner

Working with shippers of all sizes, we’ve noticed what works (and what doesn’t). There are things you can do to become known as a reliable and competitive shipping partner. Use them to earn the trust of leading carriers, so they’ll be lining up to work together again.

1) Be available when they need you

You’ll make it easy for carriers to commit to time windows when they know you are available and reliable. Work with flexible pickup and delivery times and 24/7 operations. Unless it is absolutely unavoidable, don’t make anyone wait.

2) Communicate realistic expectations

Timely and effective communication nurtures a solid partnership. Communicate timelines and set realistic expectations with carriers, and always notify them when plans change. You’ll become known for being reliable, no matter how much disruption there is in the network. 

3) Use the best technology available

Ensure complete visibility into your supply chain and share the benefits with carriers. Know where your freight is at all times (and where it’s supposed to go next). If you can identify delays in your network, you can improve overall efficiency and performance.

4) Optimise your processes (on the road and in the office)

Automating your back-end processes can have a significant impact on efficiency. Consider your dispatching, routes and loading techniques as well as admin tasks like invoicing, rate cards and fleet management.

Now let’s look closely at how you can do all of that. What specific actions can you take?

13 ways to appeal to national carriers

National carriers want to know that you’re efficient, reliable and will communicate clearly at all times. The best way to show them this is to automate your processes using a Transport Management System (TMS).

Here are 13 ways a TMS platform makes your pitch more appealing, with features like:

▶️ Ensure every item can be barcoded and tracked 

Use item level barcodes and real-time tracking for 100% visibility and easy notifications. Never lose a package again, and stop losing hours to customer enquiries. 

Look for comprehensive EDI and API functions to communicate quickly, clearly and easily between all parties (whether connected agents or on-forwarders). Integrate seamlessly and reduce human error.

▶️ Provide live alerts, updates and reporting

Keep your team and your customers updated in real time with automatic notifications. These can be sent by SMS and email. Look for powerful real-time data reporting to understand where to make improvements.

▶️ Provide electronic proof of delivery (POD)

Capture easy and smarter POD using recipient names, signatures and photo proof. Track with GPS coordinates for real-time visibility and faster customer enquiries. Set up automated customer notifications.

It means every delivery is fully tracked with photo proof, and contactless delivery is easy. Enable 100% visibility and save hours every day.

▶️ Optimise for high volume parcel freight  

Streamline your tracking, notifications and POD with features custom-built for high volumes – customised SMS and email notifications, smarter route optimisation and instant POD.

▶️ Deliver multiple jobs to a single receiver in one step

Make sure multiple consignments going to a single location can be automatically consolidated, just capturing one signature. Then, you should be able to instantly return POD back to every sender, in exactly the format they require.

▶️ Offer seamless and efficient dispatching

Make dispatching seamless with easy-to-use tools. Automate repetitive tasks like: route optimisation, GPS tracking, customer notifications and instant POD. You’ll save a lot of time and become more profitable.

▶️ Utilise automated fleet maintenance (never miss a deadline)

A full-featured TMS platform will have powerful, automated fleet maintenance and CoR tools for the ultimate reassurance right along your chain. Track fuel usage, and record maintenance and upkeep data in one place. 

Schedule rego, insurance and maintenance reminders and pre-start checklists no matter who’s driving. Just set it all up once and enjoy reminders every time.

▶️ Know where your drivers are, even when they leave the truck

Automated driver tracking means less disruption on the road and faster deliveries. You’ll see exactly where drivers are and whether or not they’re on schedule. Don’t interrupt them for customer enquiries.

▶️ Invoice quickly and easily

Load your rate card once. We automate and calculate the rest. Invoice as you go and integrate easily with Xero and MYOB.

▶️ See and everything in one place

From order, to allocation, route progress, POD, invoicing and fleet maintenance/CoR: using a TMS lets you see it all in one easy-to-use platform. No more endless changing between jobs, customers or tasks.

▶️ Integrate web and mobile

Take control of your system in two ways: the web portal and mobile app. They’re fully integrated so that your office team can communicate changes to your drivers and vice versa.

Easily create conforming labels, consignment notes and manifests. Integrate live data for SOG and returns, live tracking and POD data.

▶️ Make sure it’s easy to use

Enjoy all of these features in a simple interface. Don’t waste time learning complex systems, and don’t ask your shipping partners to either.

Use automation to minimise manual tasks

The key to being truly competitive is in Automation.

Automate your repetitive tasks to speed up every single one of your back-end processes. You’ll save time, lower costs and reduce human error. You’ll also become a valuable, reliable shipping partner that carriers want to work with again.

Any questions? Chat to our friendly team, we’re here to help you get set up and thriving.

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