As we continue to navigate RFP season, where shippers and carriers are diligently shaping their procurement strategies, we turn to Joe North, the Director of Network Strategy at Transfix. Committed to bridging the gaps between carriers and customers, North asks both shippers and carriers to challenge the status quo and rethink traditional approaches that may no longer serve the industry.
Why is it important to have both shippers and carriers at the same table during RFP season?
During my time at Transfix, unlike any other time in my career, I’ve been able to get customers and carriers in the same room. I’ve taken carriers to shipper meetings, and that transparency goes a long way – for all parties.
I try to think through all perspectives involved instead of calling myself just “a carrier guy” or “a customer guy.”
For customers right now, the market is working to their advantage, and they’re pushing down rates and expecting high service. Shippers have options in terms of carriers and don’t necessarily need to maintain a relationship with a given provider if they’re not matching the shippers’ expectations for service and rates. It’s both or none.
The carriers, on the other hand, have bills to pay. They know the market is depressed and are working hard to stay afloat, but they must also be transparent about not maintaining a long commitment, because in 6 months they might be able to get paid significantly more elsewhere.
Getting everyone at the same table levels the playing field and creates a mutually beneficial future. Of course, our individual business priorities bear weight in the conversations, but the supply chain only improves if we all keep other players in mind.
How does Network Strategy contribute to creating consistent outcomes for both carriers and shippers?
Transparent and consistent conversations are what network strategy is all about: bridging the gaps, aligning motivations, understanding success, and considering risk(s) of both carriers and shippers.
How do we make sure we’re maximizing the available capacity we have with trusted carriers, and leveraging that to create consistent outcomes for the customers? These are the questions that arise out of open conversations, where the shipper sees the face of the carrier and vice versa. It’s much easier to forge a deeper, more equitable relationship after that happens.
My job is to help find solutions that work for everyone in both the short and long term.
If you’re a shipper or carrier and want to learn more about building a better network strategy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.