Shipper of Choice – Short Term vs. Long Term Thinking

Shippers have seen increased capacity to get their products to their customers in 2019. Because of this, shippers have told me that the “shipper of choice” mentality is on their radar screen but not a high priority like it was in 2018. History buffs will tell you though that history is usually a pretty good guide to help you plan for the future-what to do or what not to do-and what has history shown? That the trucking industry is cyclical.

It makes me wonder if shipper of choice is a nice label to have, but not a “must” label to have because of short-term thinking.

Billy Cox, world renowned author and peak performance strategist stated, “You can’t build a long-term future on short-term thinking.”

I’ve read that Short-term thinking leads to a better moment. Long-term thinking leads to a better life. But how do you think long-term in a short-term, quick fix world? Here are a couple recommendations:

1. Focus on what circumstances/challenges you have at your facilities that stop you from being the hero.

You must communicate better with your carrier partners and build a culture of continuous improvement.

You must not ignore improving yourself and your business. Share your hours, your amenities on site, and accept feedback/reviews on how you are doing.

You have to understand your competition will also grow and if you are not innovating and improving yourself and your business, you will be out of the game. If your competitor is easier to do business with and professional drivers would rather go to your competitors’ locations instead of yours, what is the result? You will consistently pay more to move your product than your competitor.

If you become the difference maker, you become the hero.

2. Consciously practice long-term shipper of choice thinking

If your goal in 2018 was to be a shipper of choice, why stop pursuing that goal?

You should constantly review your goals.

Every week spend some time to visualize and think about your future as a true shipper of choice. What does that look like to you? Truck turn times reduced by an hour or more? Saving you over $500 per hour? Drivers sharing reviews with other drivers that your facility is a great place to load/unload out of? Creating greater competition to haul your products, saving you more money? Thoughts become beliefs, so spend time thinking about how you can become the hero to your carrier partners and your organization.

3. Take your “now” out of the discussion

When it comes to thinking long-term shipper of choice, you might be tempted to think, wait, 2019 is not bad at all for me, no capacity concerns plus lower freight costs than I paid in 2018.

Remember history–trucking is cyclical-stay in front of the curve. When should you dig a well, before you are thirsty or only after you run out of water? What can you do today to help you be a true shipper of choice?

Think long-term shipper of choice and remove the roadblocks in your thinking first. Roadblocks such as:

  • Carriers always want to do business with me.
  • Carriers will always pick up my products when I need them to.

Really? Just think back to 2018.

So, to put it simply, do you want a better moment or a better life?

Feel free to let me know what you think.