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flatbed shipping

9 Tips for Flatbed Freight Shipping

Nathan McGuire
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November 19, 2021
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9 Tips for Flatbed Freight Shipping
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Managing flatbed freight shipping has always been difficult, especially during periods of massive growth and strong manufacturing of heavy, construction-like goods. Such factors move in tandem with market dynamics, including the increased demand on the construction industry that accompanies any hurricane season and the gradual recovery of the economy. According to DAT.com, “Flatbed capacity eased slightly last week following a $0.01/mile decrease in the national average spot rate to $2.65/mile. Spot rates are now 15% or $0.40/mile higher than the same week last year. Compared to the same time in 2018, flatbed spot rates are $0.55/mile higher and even $0.17/mile higher than the peak in June that year.” However, it is possible to reap some gains in flatbed freight shipping by following these tips. 

Gain Radical Transparency Into What Needs Transportation

To best monitor and manage flatbed freight and logistics, shippers need to understand what is being transported clearly. Different loads require different levels of preparation and specialized services during transportation. Perishable freight shipping requires different considerations than dry goods, construction, or equipment shipping does. The end-to-end transparency of the supply chain makes this insight easier to tap into in the long run.

Know Your Trailer Capacity, Location and Type

Flatbed shipping also becomes easier when shippers know what they are hauling and where they are headed. Preparing flatbed transport trucks is also critical to the proper management of freight. Different loads need different trailers, and each trailer type requires slightly other things when it comes to hookups, loading, driving, and delivery. Knowing how to combine loads and trailers properly can go a long way in improving fulfillment and distribution results.

Stay Apprised of Changing Market Dynamics

The status of the market, both economic and freight, can also have a tremendous impact on how freight shipments are managed and how flatbed shipping services are implemented. Flatbed freight can rely heavily on market dynamics as demands for certain products and goods can cause specific flatbed shipping options, trailers, and services to be in higher order. Economic pressures and increased competition can also affect freight shipments.

Leverage Simulation Tools to Stay Ready for Sudden Market Swings

Predictive planning, even beyond budgeting, can significantly impact freight shipping and flatbed trucking services. Utilizing real-time tracking and monitoring tools and accurate and timely data analysis can highlight trends and routines within the supply chain. Noting past trends and cycles can help shippers better prepare for market swings and reduce the impact of sudden rate increases and changes in customer demands. 

Take Advantage of Analytics and Business Intelligence Tools to Measure and Improve Your Performance. 

Along those same lines, keeping a close eye on internal performance levels can significantly improve overall productivity within the flatbed shipping industry. Real-time analytics and innovative tools make it easier to improve performance and maintain a competitive advantage. Business intelligence tools, automated systems, AI machines, and collaborative platforms all make it easier to flatbed drivers to maintain high productivity levels. 

Conduct Regular Risk Assessments to Identify Weaknesses and Opportunities for Improvement

While monitoring the market for external disruptions and potential issues, looking inward is also critical as risk assessments allow shippers to identify weaknesses within their own network efficiently. Minor problems that waste time and money can more easily be noted and addressed sooner rather than later. This, in turn, improves overall performance and keeps flatbed freight shippers in the know about where they stand.

Take Advantage of Cloud-Based Tools to Manage Flatbed Freight Needs 

Flatbed delivery service providers also improve their overall performance and competitive advantage by tapping into the managerial power of cloud-based tools, automated communication systems, and real-time tracking platforms.  Managing flatbed freight and flatbed transport services becomes much easier when data is easily accessible and can be shared throughout the supply chain network when and where needed.

Digitize Your Flatbed Freight Routing Guide Modules

What worked in the past is often not adequate to handle the increased pressure of flatbed shipping in today’s demanding market. Going with digital freight tools can help streamline essential processes throughout the supply chain while also improving routine guide adherence. Digital processes and automated functions allow drivers to better manage their load and improve the relationship between shippers and carriers and other team members. 

Lengthen Your Lead Time Whenever Possible to Get the Best Rate Furthest in Advance

The final option flatbed shippers and logistics managers have to improve performance and secure the best rates and services are to increase the lead time as much as possible. The sooner shippers can react to shifts in the market or within consumer demands the easier it is to scale and adapt as needed to maintain the highest possible level of shopping services. For flatbed freight shippers, faster reaction time improves overall supply chain optimization

Do It All by Outsourcing Flatbed Capacity Procurement to an Expert in Logistics

Managing flatbed freight shipping often comes with its own unique set of challenges. This is especially true during market volatility, sudden shifts in consumer demands, and changes in domestic and global economies. Changes in demands within specific industry niches and specialized service areas can also impact flatbed capacity and services. Improving performance and tapping into profits with flatbed freight shipping can be made more accessible by outsourcing flatbed capacity procurement to the logistical experts. Contact the pros today at Wicker Park Logistics to get started.

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