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What Every Food Manufacturer Should Know About Working with Expedited Carriers

Jan. 10, 2023
Contributor Tyler Wiard offers 5 critical factors food manufacturers should consider when selecting an expedited carrier.

Nearly 80% of the food industry’s freight spend is made up of full truckload and standard LTL. It makes sense that these two modes are the core service offerings for most brokerages. What doesn’t make sense is that most food manufacturers don’t partner with an expedite service provider.

For someone scheduling multiple lines with different technologies, one might argue that nothing ever runs as planned. One could argue back: what’s more important? Paying several thousand dollars an hour for unplanned downtime due to a mechanical breakdown or raw material stockout, or paying a premium to expedite your freight to minimize the downtime?

Here are 5 critical factors food manufacturers should consider when selecting an expedited carrier:

  1. Proactive communication
  2. A robust carrier and driver vetting process
  3. 24/7/365 dispatch & GPS tracking
  4. Cost savings by pairing equipment type with load size
  5. Transparency

Whenever I get a price objection from a client or a prospect, I ask them to consider what they are most concerned about – cost, or price? It helps to ask: Would you rather pay thousands of dollars in cost for unplanned downtime, or a few hundred for the price of a premium service to know that a part or raw material is going to deliver quickly, and when your team expects it?

Many companies are focused on cost savings associated with 90% of their freight spend but forget about the 1-10% of their time-sensitive shipments. This bucket is usually the most critical.

This is why it is so important to have a service provider that you trust to handle your most critical shipments. This is especially true in the food industry where so many companies host an annual RFP for their truckload and LTL needs but fail to consider onboarding expedite carriers. Unfortunately, they utilize their contract carriers to handle their expedites, and many of them are not equipped, experienced or lack the resources to meet their clients’ expectations in these situations.

A few key benefits of partnering with an expedite broker include

  • Bread-crumb GPS tracking
  • Proactive communication
  • 24/7/365 dispatching
  • A network of vetted carriers that can service your needs nationally.

Clients can often save money with companies that have the capability and resources to pair the load size of a shipment with the most efficient piece of equipment. Your cost-per-mile is going to be significantly less if you utilize a sprinter van to haul a couple of pallets of minor ingredients or packaging, instead of booking it with a 53 foot dry van carrier that you contracted with during your RFP process.

These are all things that companies and their supply chains should consider each year when they are reviewing their transportation vendors.

I also recommend making sure you have a robust vetting process in place for your carriers and brokers, just like you would have for any other vendor. Pick a company that you trust and spend time building a relationship with their key personnel prior to doing any business with them.