LTL carriers provide services for shipments that are too large to be sent as parcel but too small to fill an entire truckload, thus making it a complex shipping method. Less-than-Truckload might not be as widely used as Full Truckload, but it remains as one of the intrinsic option in the array of freight services. The LTL freight rate is complicated and driven by many variables, some internal variables like – shipment weight, density, NMFC classification, distance, base rates, FAK, accessorials etc. and some external variables like – route optimization, Fuel charges, labor and evolving government policies like ELD Mandates etc, making it only harder to keep the margins competitive.
In the face of growing competition in marketplace the carriers are turning to the last mile delivery market, which ensures influx of business but the expectations of end-users to receive the shipment in time, without damage and with no extra cost can become quite daunting challenge in itself.
Some of the companies that rely on EDI ( Electronic Data Interchange) that standardizes business information like – order placement, acknowledgment, shipment notifications and invoicing etc between supply chain partners, however it does little to provide information when the goods are in-transit. Now, EDI might work wonderful for Full Truckload shipments where single truck is headed towards a single or at most two delivery points. However, the problem is compounded in the LTL and last-mile deliveries because a single conveyance has consolidated large number of smaller shipments that needs to be tracked separately. More often, these small loads are tendered on-spot that contributes to limited visibility of shipment at various stages of transit. Therefore, through no fault of their own, the entire logistics team players – shipper, carrier or 3PL can lose sight and become vulnerable to number of risks.
Loss or Theft
Delay on expected delivery
Low Customer Satisfaction
Low efficiency and bad performance
In midst of all this, a logistics provider whether be 3PL, carrier or shipper cannot afford to be blindsided while delivering even a single order. End to end real-time visibility of day to day operation is not an option but a necessity to survive in the industry. The smart companies are already opting for smart solutions that leverage technologies like IoT, mobility and cloud to track even a needle within a haystack of needles at any point of time.
The internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation are the new worlds that will only augment the benefits of existing processes and LTL management systems. Together, these technologies ensure fast, predictable and cost efficient deliveries with complete visibility of the shipment throughout the transit. The benefits are crystal clear :
Self Vehicle Diagnostics
Automated HOS and DVIR Compliance
But what if the data created by multiple trucks, via multiple routes for shipping multiple loads for various shippers can be further analysed for better decision making and what if, the decision making itself is ever-learning and automatic too.
The many aspects of today’s tool such as Freight rate calculator, Route and Dispatch planner, Load Planning etc have static algorithms that account for only the known variables in their equations. What if, the day to day operations of a fleet company can indeed be the fodder to AI engines that learn new variables impacting freight rate, discover more efficient algorithms to optimize the route for better fuel mileage, maximum picks and drop within the HOS mandated by ELD, and apply this learning in planning cargo load in trucks and containers.
The LTL and last mile industry is changing fast and is at mercy of many factors. The companies that are apprehensive of these technologies and its impact on their business are welcome to have a free consultation with DreamOrbit (DreamOrbit it is a technology service company that focuses on providing solutions to Logistics, Transportation and Freight companies around the globe). The consulting team can be contacted at email@example.com or reached out at +1-302-907-9068