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2024 Freight & Logistics New Year's Resolutions

December 29, 2023 Kevin Baxter

2024 New Year's Resolutions

As the world welcomes the beginning of 2024, a common tradition in all walks of life is to resolve to improve in some form or fashion in the coming year. So in that vein, let's make a few New Year's resolutions for freight & logistics that may apply to shippers, carriers, logistics service providers (LSPs), or all three. And let's try to keep them beyond a few weeks into January.

Freight & Logistics Resolution #1: Focus on Infrastructure

A focus on the infrastructure of a freight operation, no matter whose it is, should be a priority in the ever-changing marketplace. While volume has been slow in the midst of a lengthy freight recession, the relentless two-year peak still wasn't that long ago. Shippers, carriers and LSPs should take the (hopefully small) remainder of this slow period to ensure they are ready for a rebound and not left scrambling when it comes to cost, capacity and service when the equation shifts more firmly into demand territory. 

That focus on infrastructure means maintaining adequate staffing - keeping employees trained and not cutting because of where the market is today, investing in technology - to help streamline operations and supplement human expertise, exploring contract rates - to lock in certainty (at a still low price for shippers) ahead of an expected second half rise in the spot market, and ensuring open lines of communication - both within the organization and to partners in shipping.

Freight & Logistics Resolution #2: Prepare for the Expected

Related to the infrastructure piece above, is the need to be prepared. You'll often come across advice to ready yourself for the unexpected, but after wars, natural disasters, labor issues, border troubles, cyber attacks and a pandemic all occurring within the past few years, variables should really be considered expected - no 'un' necessary. So how do you do prepare? The aforementioned operational infrastructure helps quite a bit, allowing your business to be ready to tackle whatever supply chain challenges come its way due to that solid foundation.

But beyond those pieces, it means having a plan. We just mentioned several circumstances that can no longer realistically be described as unforeseen. Make time to develop an actual strategy for cases such as these. If war breaks out or a natural disaster occurs in one location, where can you pivot? If you're hit by a cyber attack, do you have security and backups in place to avoid disruptions? If COVID-19 or another virus emerges to disrupt daily life, how can you handle lockdowns and changes in consumer patterns? All of this recent series of unfortunate events should have you using lessons learned from them to prepare for the next inevitable one, so you're not flying by the seat of your pants in triage mode.

Freight & Logistics Resolution #3: Win on Service

Winning on service should be an annual resolution in freight - and business in general. From a carrier perspective, it means reliably getting loads from point A to point B, both on-time and intact. From a provider perspective, in addition to those aspects relating to the carrier, it means finding the right solution at the right price to fit each individual shipper's needs. From a shipper perspective, it means following some of those tenets that get you into the shipper of choice category, like ensuring a smooth and efficient dock experience, planning ahead and considering the needs of the carrier.

The other service item that applies to all three of these freight stakeholders - and is already mentioned under infrastructure - is communication. Communication is vital in a number of ways, including:

  • Visibility into shipment status, every step of the way
  • Sharing any changes in circumstances right away (even if they're due to mistakes), so partners can adjust
  • Offering options, whenever possible, to make the experience better for all involved
  • Planning ahead, sharing those plans, and getting (and incorporating) feedback on them
  • Availability - always having a person available to answer a call, text or email, even if it's just to show that they're listening

All of these communication practices also relate to transparency, as in, being open, honest and proactively sharing with partners throughout the shipping process. Such a philosophy would serve any business well this year, and every year.

As you ring in 2024, resolve to make your freight and logistics operation drive a competitive advantage for your business. And after making that resolution, reach out to us, and we can help put those words into action. For more information about InTek, or logistics and supply chain issues in general, check out our Freight Guides.

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