Sort by Value Instead of Price on Your Next Freight & Logistics Buy Blog Feature
Rick LaGore

By: Rick LaGore on April 17th, 2017

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Sort by Value Instead of Price on Your Next Freight & Logistics Buy

Intermodal | truckload | ltl | flatbed

A recent blog from Seth Godin entitled 'Sort by Price is Lazy' got me thinking ...

sorting freight & logistics companies on priceThe blog spoke on the topic of price being the dominant method of online shopping.  Price is a programmer's dream because price is a number that can easily be sorted.  Alphabetical order is also an easy sort method, but far less relevant for Zappos or Zima shoppers.  The reality is neither buying method, price or alphabetical, is the best way to purchase a product.  Ultimately buyers want a value purchase, but that is not easy to sort.  

I know ... I know ... many websites do sort on quality through buyer ratings, but not all sites provide that information.  If the site does have a quality rating, the product still needs to be relevant on price to get noticed to attract the first buyers to get the ratings which takes us right back to price.

While sorting on price is easy for buyers, the sellers love price too, even as they say they do not.  A seller can easily move price down without having to rethink their product design or build by beating up suppliers and / or giving up on margins.  

The long and short of all of this is freight & logistics buys are on the same price sorting merry-go round, as demonstrated in:

  • Execution of multiple round freight RFP's sorted by price.
  • Price driven marketing email campaigns pushing online freight buying.

freight & logistics spreadsheet monkeyUnder the sort by price RFP, freight professionals are spreadsheet monkeys with pivot tables embedded within pivot tables that are then graphically displayed on dollars saved by round to share the story with their internal Purchasing and Finance Teams.  The questions that go unanswered in a spreadsheet are: the cost to operations; charge-backs to buyers; accessorial to the P&L and the frustrated customers with service problems that are slowing retail sell-through.

Freight & logistics providers do not help themselves on getting off price, as they constantly bombard shipper's emails with promises of online freight portals that easily bring high value capacity to all, but these emails are forgetting "product freight" is not easily translated to "people freight".  The "FreightExpedia.com" type portals are also not provider agnostic.  The portals only include the carriers the particular company has within its database.  To go back to the FreightExpedia.com, airline carriers do amazing work moving people, but its not freight.  Airline customers arrive and depart from a finite number of hubs that they drive to themselves.  The finite hubs, also have a limited number of options, meaning CHI to LA or NY to LA which I would assume are some of the more heavily traveled airline lanes have only 80 flight options across the seven airlines that serve the route.  Imagine if freight was driven to or picked up from the same hub ... never mind ... it is called dray for intermodal and P&D agents for air freight forwarders, but it is still an infinite number of origins.  The point here is why try to make a horse a zebra, meaning freight looks similar, but it is not the same as moving people.  

freight & logistics charlie brown teacherSo, while logistics teams try to differentiate themselves on ... people, process, technology ... product, price, promotion, placement ... etc., etc,, etc., etc. the reality is shippers are telling us that we sound like Charlie Brown's teacher ... WAH ... WAH ... WAH ... with the same repackaged message, as they sort their RFP on price, create a login for the latest online portal email received and try to protect themselves by going with the biggest pack. 

Fortune5001-1.jpgTo continue, as shippers sort on price, freight & logistics groups do not help themselves on differentiation because they pump out endless marketing of the same re-packaged emails proclaiming an amazing website portal; sales continues to tell potential clients they are different, as they fight to bring in more business than goes out the back door; and the C-level works the M&A lines trying to get bigger faster so their companies rise above the noise to drown out the competition.   In other words, we help shippers fall back to price because innovation is tougher to get through.  The key to remember is the innovation and hunger that exist on the fringes of business today, coupled with technology churn companies out of the Fortune 500 faster than ever before.  No where in the listing to the right do we see Apple, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Facebook, Google, etc., etc., etc.

With that said, InTek Freight & Logistics is one of those companies on the fringe with a willingness to find innovative new solutions wrapped in an over-the-top level of service and tier-1 technology.  I know ... more marketing hype.  

Let us take a look at the uniqueness. along with some of the same.  The combination is taking hold, as more hear about what we have done for others:

Uniqueness:

  • Focus on alliances to form creative out-of-the-box solutions for shippers.
    • InTek was the only IMC to handle intact Hanjin boxes direct on the UP railroad.  This allowed many shippers to more readily get their boxes to their channel partners quicker and cheaper by eliminating the transload process so many others employed.
    • InTek is the only to offer shippers the ability to tap into the Chinese manufacturing company producing the 53' domestic intermodal containers used by North American railroads.  The importance is these containers are typically empty when entering the US, so shippers get a great value combining price and ability to put more product in a single container. 
    • Operate single pool of 53' intermodal door-to-door containers, when other IMC's utilizing class I railroad assets have to run a pool for each railroad.  This is where many IMC's lose out against the 800 pound competition.
    • Post rates for all to see online, which our competition believes to be way outside the box.  They cannot believe we would give up our pricing power to the buyer.  
    • InTek Freight & Logistics transportation management program is priced on on-time delivery versus a flat fee or volume based fee putting service out front for shippers.
    • Brought the real competition to Lazer Spot for spotting, local shuttles and YMS.
  • InTek - Suntecktts Place in the MarketBig Enough to Make a Difference, yet Small Enough to Care
    • The InTek corporate structure is that it is an independently owned and operated agent of Suntecktts ($1.0 billion logistics company) 
      • Operationally set up by customer
      • Service all freight modes
        • 35,000 active and approved carriers
      • Outsourced logistics management services
        • #1 cloud based TMS in MercuryGate, making InTek unique in the entire Suntecktts group
  • Marketing innovation that talks about key freight & logistics topics, which will impact NVO's and BCO shippers alike.  
  • ETC. ETC. ETC.

To learn more about how InTek Freight & Logistics can help bring innovation to the bottom line visit us at www.intekfreight-logistics.com and follow along on our weekly blogs to hear of the next service that may be a good fit for your company.

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About Rick LaGore

Rick is the co-founder and CEO of InTek Freight & Logistics, a company focused on being the place where companies come when faced with a logistics problem.

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