- Consumers are looking for accurate and quick shipments, so a possible solution is less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers to address order fulfillment in several locations.
- Consolidation is an excellent solution for storing and shipping goods. A manageable supply chain boasts greater efficiency than a distributed network of warehouses, suppliers, and shipments.
- Rail freight is typically slower but more affordable than land freight, while air freight is the best solution for high-value and time-sensitive shipments, but it may be too expensive for some goods.
by David Buss
One of the biggest challenges to come out of the pandemic is the ongoing labor shortage and its impact on several industries, including supply chains. On top of demand for capacity, high fuel costs, and continual disruptions and congestion in global supply chains, manufacturers are struggling to attract and retain talent. Strategic planning offers a solution to deliver land cargo on time, despite the ongoing labor shortages.
Key Factors in the Labor Shortage
Based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unfilled positions reached a high of 11.5 million in March 2022. Durable goods manufacturing is one of the key sectors struggling with unfilled job openings. Naturally, this creates bigger problems for supply chains. Though technology and innovation offer options to meet the demands, this creates a bigger need for talent to fill the gaps.
The supply chain industry is not the only one affected, of course. Employers have to offer competitive wages and appealing benefits packages to attract the talent — a cost they must offset with higher prices. Furthermore, if retailers continue to receive orders but lack the staff to fulfill them, the lead times only increase.
Demand for Cargo Capacity
Issues with capacity are a continual problem for shippers. Following the pandemic and compounded by the labor shortage, the deficit of skilled drivers only adds to the problem. The demand for raw materials and completed products is not slowing, but companies do not have the drivers to ship and deliver them. Without drivers, retailers struggle to deliver products on time. Consumers are looking for accurate and quick shipments, so a possible solution is less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers to address order fulfillment in several locations.
Employing LTL carriers help to improve efficiency and reduce costs without a significant impact to customers. They want to get their products quickly, and LTL can deliver on this expectation. Another challenge is the fuel prices, which are only increasing. Consequently, the price of goods and shipping is increasing, and these are not likely to slow any time soon.
Potential Solutions for On-Time Land Cargo Delivery
Staying agile in the face of challenges and increased demand is par for the course in the supply chain industry. Shippers and carriers can deliver on customer expectations with proper planning, no matter the changes in the labor market, prices, or minimal cargo capacity.
1. Consolidate Shipments
Consolidation is an excellent solution for storing and shipping goods. A manageable supply chain boasts greater efficiency than a distributed network of warehouses, suppliers, and shipments.
By consolidating suppliers and vendors, retailers can reduce the number of suppliers they need to source and stock goods and materials. Whether it is done by reducing the total suppliers in the network or staying with local companies, small business owners have an opportunity for improved risk management, improved professional relationships, and more consistency.
LTL and partial truckload (PTL) shipments also fill the gaps and provide on-time deliveries, as well as reduced shipping costs. LTL can share space with other businesses and PTL keeps all goods on the same truckload. Creating a modular solution reduces the truckloads while allowing high-value shipments to take priority.
2. Optimize Routes
Road freight is complex and expensive in the wake of current supply chain challenges. In this situation, retailers can combine land delivery with other freight options, such as air or rail freight, as needed.
While each option has its advantages and disadvantages, strategic planning allows business owners to maximize the benefits of each. For example, rail freight is typically slower but more affordable than land freight, while air freight is the best solution for high-value and time-sensitive shipments, but it may be too expensive for some goods.
Combining the strengths of each of these freight options, plus LTL and PTL, allows retailers to optimize their shipping processes and routes to deliver goods on time with minimal disruption.
3. Develop and Maintain Strong Partnerships
Both shippers and carriers can benefit from strong professional relationships to address the supply chain disruptions and help one another succeed. These partnerships should be evaluated, however, to ensure that they pay off in reduced costs, time, and stress. Reconfiguring partnerships or building new ones should be done only if there are advantages to the shipping process, costs, or distribution without compromising on customer service or reliability.
Consider a Third-Party Logistics Provider
There is no end in sight for the supply chain disruptions, so retailers need to get creative to navigate them effectively. Developing a partnership with a third-party logistics provider combines innovative technology with an extensive network of carriers, warehouses, and solutions to deliver your land cargo on time.
David L. Buss is the CEO of DB Schenker USA, a 150-year-old leading global freight forwarder and 3PL provider. David is responsible for all P&L aspects in the United States, which is made up of over 7,000 employees located throughout 39 forwarding locations and 55 logistics centers.