Trust = a firm belief in the truth of something
Where does trust break down with LTL? For starters, the invoice. Shippers do not trust that the carrier invoice will match their quote, even when they do their very best to provide an accurate weight and dims. Carriers do not trust shippers to provide a BOL with accurate data, so they invest millions of $ on equipment and manpower to verify said info and correct invoices.
What if carriers by default incentivized shippers to step up their game, or keep their game tight? What if carriers offered shippers an on-bill credit for every shipment tendered with an accurate EBOL? I hear a couple of well-run LTL carriers do this already. How about a $2 – $3 credit for every shipment tendered in this fashion. With the equipment and manpower carriers deploy to weigh and measure freight, they can readily tell whether a particular shipper is providing accurate data. An accurate EBOL is worth much more than $2 – $3 to an LTL carrier, so share the savings. Heck, shippers can save up this credit and use it to reward their hard-working supply chain team. Pizza party!
Seriously, think about the benefits here. Shippers providing an accurate EBOL allows the carrier to instantly begin planning their nightly linehaul routes. It even helps ensure they make all of their pickups. Carriers are better prepared to effectively load trailers and planning their delivery routes. It helps carriers gain predictability and thus optimization. Carriers can perform better if they have better data provided by the shippers. Think about the parcel industry, where PLD (Package Level Detail) is king. UPS and FedEx could not function like they do without PLD telling them the dims and weight of each package. The LTL industry needs their own PLD, Parcel Level Detail. And they need that detail before they even pick up the freight.
Couple this on-bill credit for an accurate EBOL with a “window of grace” that overlooks small differences like 15 lbs on the BOL weight or an inch on a dimension can have a compounding impact. Carrier measuring equipment, particularly dimensioners, can be too accurate. Stop sweating the small stuff and focus on helping shippers gain real predictability. Now we are eliminating administrative expenses for both shipper and carrier. Invoices match quotes, invoices get paid faster, and there are no surprises.
The LTL industry is moving more towards density and profile based pricing. For shippers, you really can’t now your freight charges unless you know our weights and your dims. You want to eliminate surprises, right? For carriers, you really do want your shippers to know their weights and dims, right?
So how can shipper and carrier work together in real partnership fashion to get to that promised land of predictability, where expectations = reality? Now seems to be a great time for some positive internal disruption.