Viewpoint: Put collaboration into action

By Michael Levans · February 1, 2013

The concept of collaboration is nothing new. The idea of opening doors, dropping defenses, and improving how shippers and carriers work together has been kicked around for decades as a sure-fire cure to the annual rate and capacity-negotiation dance.

And while collaboration has been written about and discussed at conferences ad nauseam over the past several years, it’s time to put this concept to work—especially for shipper/LTL relations.

After being battered by three years of recession that decimated profits, LTL carriers, not surprisingly, are now laser-focused on improving yields and profitability in order to make decent enough returns to recapitalize their businesses and rolling stock. In fact, some carriers are already showing margin expansion as a result of re-pricing in their poorest-yielding accounts.

Now that the LTL market has pretty much stabilized, it’s no secret that shippers are coping with a new era of tighter capacity, higher rates, and tougher carrier negotiations. This month we offer a piece designed to help shippers get closer to their carriers and take that first step to better managing in this environment.

Titled “ABCs of improving LTL relations” (page 36), this practical how-to by Contributing Editor John Schulz offers shippers four time-tested methodologies to help carriers ease shipments through their systems. “Some of the tips that were shared with me by carriers and analysts are pretty simple,” says Schulz. “but they’re vital now that LTLs are focused on controlling customer expense and eliminating unprofitable freight.”

According to Schulz, the shippers who head the advice of this article are the ones who will have the capacity they need when they need it—at the right rate. Would you like to join them?

Editor’s Note: Last month I used this column to announce the bold redesign of our print issue; and now I’d first like to thank the many readers who dropped us a line over the past month to compliment our Creative Director, Mike Roach, on the fresh representation of our masthead, the updated feature and column layout, and the cleaner, crisper type.

The new columns by Group News Editor Jeff Berman and Executive Editor Patrick Burnson have met with positive early reviews as well. So if you haven’t yet taken the time to digest these offerings, Berman’s Newsroom Notes can be found on page 20 and Burnson’s Pacific Rim Report is on page 64.

And while we’ve upgraded the print experience of LM, more and more shippers are turning to logisticsmgmt.com to supplement their learning. In fact, LM’s website set a new traffic record in January, and we now have more than 10,000 followers on Twitter (@LogisticsMgmt). During last month we also attracted more than 1,700 registrants for our 2013 Rate Outlook Webcast (logisticmgmt.com/2013RateOutlook)—that’s more than half the number of in-person attendees at CSCMP’s recent annual conference.

So, it’s up to you on how you’d like to digest LM: print or online. We’ve simply made sure that regardless of the media you choose, the content is there to help you do a better job of managing your operations in today’s new realities.


About the Author

Michael Levans
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]

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