The busy summer season is typically a mixed bag for shippers. Although revenue and cash flow are at best starting in the summer months, the higher temperatures also bring higher rates and higher demand which can cause supply chain professionals plenty of headache.
But with the booming economy, stricter hours of service enforcement through ELDs, and the ongoing driver shortage, this busy season could be much more hectic than ever. Here are 3 things to expect from this year’s busy season.
- There will be even more sticker shock. Rates are always expected to be high during the busy season but all of the aforementioned factors will cause the spot market to be higher than anticipated. Try to lock in dedicated rates and lanes if you can, but expect extremely high rates if you have to hit the spot market.
- Drivers won’t be able to do as much. The stricter hours of service enforcement means drivers won’t be able to do as much as they were able to in the past, so keep that in mind when giving quotes or expected delivery dates. Work with your customers as well to manage expectations for this busy season and be transparent with your company’s capabilities.
- Independent owner operators and small fleets will be pickier. With all of the demand coming their way, drivers have more power than ever. Make yourself appealing as a preferred shipper – give drivers parking, start trying to improve your loading and unloading times so drivers don’t have to sit waiting at the docks all day, and increase your rates. At the end of the day, drivers will return to work with shippers who treat them well, improving your capacity during this busy season.
This busy season will certainly test shippers’ capabilities (and patience), but it will help logistics teams become smarter shippers and guide them to improve their supply chains for the next busy season.