Before you pick a dedicated contract carriage provider, make sure you ask these questions
The driver shortage, rapidly changing technology and tightening capacity are causing many shippers to rethink how they get their products to market. A dedicated transportation (or dedicated contract carriage) solution may be the answer.
When you are considering outsourcing your transportation to a dedicated contract carriage provider, there are some vital components you should look for.
Choosing a Dedicated Transportation Provider
Does the carrier have experience in your industry? To serve your needs, a dedicated transportation partner needs to have first-hand experience in your marketplace or be able to demonstrate that they have transferrable skills that can adapt to your requirements. "Think of inbound auto manufacturing and inbound appliance manufacturing; there are many similarities," says Tom Scollard, vice president of dedicated contract carriage for Penske Logistics.
Is the carrier financially stable? According to Scollard, it is important that any carrier you consider for dedicated transportation solutions has the ability to access new and replacement trucks, and that they possess the necessary resources to invest in the latest technology. Additional questions to ask include: Does the carrier have the scale to meet your needs? Can they add extra resources for peak seasonal needs, promotions and surge for the holidays? Do they have a proven record of stability?
Can they customize? Customization is a key element required by many shippers and the right dedicated transportation provider must be flexible enough to customize solutions to meet the specific needs. "'What is our version of white glove delivery? What are the important parts of the delivery? What are the expectations of our customers?' are all questions you should ask yourself," says Scollard. "And your dedicated transportation partner should be able to deliver on your promise to customers."
What is the carrier's model for minimizing driver turnover? Due to an on-going industry-wide truck driver shortage, there is tremendous competition for qualified drivers. Recruiting and retaining safe, professional CDL drivers is a big challenge for any carrier. Can the dedicated provider you're talking with demonstrate they are an employer of choice? To maintain continuity of service, you need a dedicated transportation partner who attracts and retains the best and safest driver talent.
How effectively do they use technology? Data flows from multiple sources at an unprecedented rate. Yet when you're looking to improve your company's bottom line, customer service and overall efficiency, data alone is useless.
Does the carrier you are considering know how to turn data into useful information? Will you have visibility into your supply chain? Can they supply reports customized to your needs? Can the provider offer modeling? Does the carrier have the tools to simulate a baseline, project resources and cost for two, three and four years out?
Do they keep your data secure? A study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute shows the cost of a data breach averages $4 million, or $158 per stolen record. And while that's surely a direct cost you can't afford, it pales in comparison to the indirect costs of such breaches. These can include customer turnover and a tarnished reputation for your brand. So, does the carrier have a proven record that ensures the safety of your data?
Do they run a safe operation? With dedicated transportation, the trucks on the road and the drivers in them represent your brand. Be sure to ask if the provider continuously trains their drivers in safety and customer service. Does the company itself have a strong set of CSA scores? Do they invest in state-of-the-art safety equipment for their vehicles, like adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, disc brakes, LED headlights or in-cab dash cameras? "Successful, world-class carriers make the investments in their business to be highly-efficient, low-cost operators and ensure that deliveries are made intact, on time, every time," says Scollard.
What Makes Penske a Leading Dedicated Transportation Partner?
When you're looking for guaranteed capacity, or need to provide a "white glove" level of service to your customers, a dedicated solution from Penske Logistics delivers answers to all of these questions and more. With your own fleet of branded trucks and well-trained drivers from Penske, you can count on:
- Industry expertise – Penske has decades of experience working across multiple industries including automotive, manufacturing, retail, and food and beverage.
- A vast network of resources – Penske Truck Leasing, the parent company of Penske Logistics, runs a fleet of more than 360,000 trucks, so we have the resources to quickly scale up when you need us. Our dedicated contract carriage service moves thousands of vehicles for hundreds of locations across 48 states and Canada.
- Custom solutions – Penske can create a strategic solution that right-sizes your fleet, keeps it safe, well-maintained and compliant and runs it all using a combination of operator expertise, proven processes and industry-leading technology.
- Safe and experienced drivers – All Penske drivers receive year-round training and instruction to keep their driving skills sharp.
- Industry-leading technology – Our safe and secure ClearChain® technology suite is built on industry-leading core platforms and enhanced with proprietary applications that deliver custom solutions that increase visibility, improve efficiency and keep your supply chain moving.
- Dedication to safety – Our expertise, dedication to safety, and cutting-edge transportation technology deliver peak service performance and superior visibility in transport status, allowing you to surpass your goals.