Managing airfreight cargo pickup grows even more challenging as disruptions plague the transportation industry. Industry experts are already predicting more demand and higher trucking rates throughout the first half of 2022. According to Transport Topics, “data shows total truckload rates year-over-year are holding around 12% higher. They are forecast to grow 2.5% to 3% throughout . (That compares with a 29% rate increase in the spot market and 14% rate increase for contracts in 2021.) But year-over-year results could start stabilizing later in the year because of a surge in rates [in 2020].” Unfortunately, there is massive uncertainty about what will happen.
New COVID-19 variants may emerge, and e-commerce demand could surge as politics heat up in the latter half of 2022. Still, there’s a simple reality shippers must face. They need to find the quality, dense capacity to pick up air cargo and get it to the next warehouse, distribution center, retailer, or end-user. And the ability to do that rests on how your expedited trucking company partners apply technology to help you stay informed, find available capacity and do it all without disrupting your existing operation.
Common Issues in Managing Expedited Trucking
One of the biggest problems airfreight trucking companies face is delays in picking up airfreight. Several things, such as traffic congestion, weather conditions, and accidents can cause delays. When they occur, the ensuing ripple effect can lead to further delays and backlogs. This can be very costly for airfreight trucking companies, leading to missed deadlines and penalties from customers. Of course, it helps to know a bit more about these problems.
- Miscommunication. Miscommunication between airfreight trucking companies and their drivers can often result in problems with pickup. For example, suppose the driver is not aware of the specific details of the shipment (such as weight, dimensions, or pickup location). In that case, the pickup might be delayed or missed altogether. In addition, miscommunication can also lead to misunderstandings and conflict between airfreight trucking companies and their drivers. This strife can impact the timely pickup of freight and the overall relationship between the two parties.
- Missing or Incomplete Documentation. When airfreight pallets are ready for pickup, there is often missing documentation. This can cause delays in the pickup process and confuse the truckers. It is important to have all the necessary documentation to ensure a smooth pickup process. Nothing is worse than having airfreight sitting around waiting for the drivers to show up, but airfreight stuck due to incomplete or missing documents is second-to-last in the worst-case scenario.
It is important to have airfreight pickup software to manage all your air cargo documents efficiently and with all documentation intact. This automation makes it easier for truckers to collect and have documentation ready upon arrival.
- Differences in Airport and Terminal Requirements. Airports and airport terminals can vary in their procedures for freight pickup. For example, one airport might have a specific freight pickup area where truckers must collect cargo. In contrast, another airport might have different procedures that allow truckers to pick up their cargo directly from the plane. It’s important to be familiar with the specific guidelines of each airport or airport terminal and use technology to know what to expect regardless of the airport or terminal.
- Limited Capacity. The airfreight trucking industry has been facing a challenge in recent years with the limited number of expedited truckers available on the road. This shortage has caused capacity issues at airports and led to longer wait times for cargo pickup. It’s important to work with a trucking company that has strong relationships with more expedited drivers that can get your cargo moving as soon as possible to ensure on-time delivery.
- Lack of Accountability and Ownership. Another significant issue airfreight carriers face is the lack of accountability among air terminal personnel. Air carriers’ responsibility tends to end at the point of landing, so truckers are often at their mercy. Furthermore, a lack of accountability makes it even more troublesome to determine when a pallet arrived and is ready for pickup. This can lead to missed pickups and late deliveries, which can impact your business in several ways. Not only can it cause delays in getting your products to market, but it can also result in higher shipping costs.
Instant Access to a Diverse Carrier Network
Since the capacity crunch and a lack of drivers are very real problems for all freight, not just expedited trucking, a diverse carrier network is an absolute must-have. Diversity in your driver pool will help ensure that you always have access to the trucks you need when you need them. This flexibility can help you avoid costly delays when there is a lack of available trucks.
One way to help mitigate these delays is by using the best software for your airfreight needs. Software designed for more driver diversity is critical. This software can help you manage your expedited trucking operations more efficiently and effectively. It can also help you collaborate better with expedited truckers to arrange pickups quickly and without falling victim to the capacity crunch.
Additionally, the right software should make extending capacity easier by enabling more accurate RFPs and help your team know when to bring in more drivers. This is especially true when initiating relationships with regional drivers.
The airfreight trucking companies that leverage the best software providers should also have intuitive interfaces, detailed reports, and a straightforward way to request airfreight pickup quotes.
Absolute Transparency Into All Capacity
Using digital airfreight recovery software is always better than using paper tracking methods if you need consistent airfreight pickups within a certain period. There’s no reason to waste company resources with unnecessary steps, creating a get-capacity-now ability that only technology can provide. Of course, that’s only truly possible when shippers have absolute transparency into all available capacity and cargo pickup needs.
The right software will give shippers visibility into trucking capacity, allowing them to collaborate more effectively with expedited truckers. This will also result in more on-time deliveries and a better reputation for airfreight trucking companies. But how often do shippers think about the costs of limited visibility in the first place?
It’s easy to underestimate the cost of poor visibility in trucking. Problems with visibility can lead to cargo being misplaced or lost, which can cause a business to lose money. Poor visibility can also lead to increased costs due to the need for additional resources to locate misplaced cargo. Meanwhile, the risk of returns increases as delays become more likely.
When cargo is delivered late, it can often lead to customers returning the items they ordered. This is because they may have needed the items for a specific purpose and could not use them due to the delay. In some cases, businesses may even have to issue refunds to their customers because of the late deliveries.
Tools to Sort Freight by Different Tags
Throughout shipping, especially in expedited trucking, there will be times when different conditions affect the timely delivery of airfreight, its planned pickup, or follow-through process. This lifecycle has three phases: planning, shipping, and billing. The right expedited trucking company will have the technology to easily recognize the top factors affecting individual shipments and use that information to stay strategic. Seeing all shipments in need of planning is easier when broken down by those that:
- Need coverage.
- Need appointments scheduled.
- Need dispatching.
In the shipping phase, using tags makes it easy to recognize when freight is:
- Ready for pickup.
- On the verge of becoming late.
- Already late.
- Needing an update.
- Awaiting final delivery.
Lastly, shippers need to know which shipments are past the actual shipping phase and moving into administrative functions. In other words, where it is in the billing process, and these tags help to identify those shipments that:
- Truckers still need to upload proof of delivery.
- Already have the BOL and POD attached.
- Need to have the BOL and POD added or lack one of these two primary documents before invoicing.
- Are ready to invoice.
- Have been paid.
- Were incorrectly marked as paid but are still outstanding.
- Require external intervention when a manual change to the invoice was detected, including deletion.
Sharing Tender and Rate Information With a Simple Click
Trucking companies must be kept in the loop with accurate freight tender information. Sharing this information in real-time allows for a more streamlined cargo pickup process. This can be beneficial for everyone involved, as it can lead to more timely deliveries and a better overall experience for all parties involved.
When cargo is picked up and moved as expeditiously as possible, it can benefit all parties involved. But again, this hinges on accurate information. Complete cargo data ensures that shipments can move through the system easier and allows cargo owners to have more control over a shipment once it has left their location.
Cargo pickup can vary depending on several factors, including cargo pick-up locations, time of day, and shipment size. When this information is evident in the original tender, expedited trucking companies can use software to streamline the pickup process. If cargo pickups are not handled efficiently or if accuracy is not a priority during these processes, the services provided by expedited truckers fall by the wayside. But using software makes sharing the full view of the shipment easy with a simple click.
Flip-the-Switch Integration See All Needs
The shipping tech stack is the backbone of any cargo shipping operation. Businesses can optimize their cargo pickup and expedited trucking processes by integrating different software solutions into a cohesive whole. Airfreight companies can improve their bottom line and keep their cargo shipping operation running smoothly by using the best software for the job.
Shipping technology stacks have been traditionally reliant on EDI or other outdated communication methods to provide the necessary integration between different systems. But now, APIs play a significant role in boosting collaboration, making it possible for various stakeholders within the shipping industry to work together. By providing a platform for data exchange, APIs allow distinct parts of the shipping tech stack to work in harmony. This robust technology results in a more efficient and seamless shipping experience for customers. Also, using an open-standard architecture, the API can integrate with any system, including legacy technology. As a result, digital transportation is the term of the new supply chain.
The cargo shipping industry is undergoing something of a rapid digital transformation too. Gone are the days when cargo pickup meant putting cargo into the bed of a truck or onto an airplane, with no further coordination required by shippers. Now cargo companies must deal with the extensive transportation planning process; cargo shipments can involve multiple trucks and planes heading to various locations, all at separate times.
This increase in complexity has made it necessary for cargo companies to digitize their cargo logistics operations using software solutions to coordinate all this information and work seamlessly together through an integrated stack. To keep up, airfreight companies need to find software packages that can help optimize their cargo pickup and expedited trucking processes from initial shipment booking through final delivery.
Contextual Messaging Platform to Understand What’s Happening, Will Happen, and Should Happen to Achieve the Best Result
When it comes to cargo pickup, expedited trucking, or any other airfreight needs, it’s important to have all the relevant information at hand to make the best decision possible. This is where contextual messaging comes in handy. Providing a complete view of the shipment from its origin to the present moment makes it easier to understand what’s happening and why. With this level of understanding, shippers can make more informed decisions about their cargo and freight transport needs.
The right cargo pickup software platform should offer users a unique dashboard to access all the relevant information about their cargo in one place. From here, shippers can view detailed reports showing cargo progress, gain insight into the entire history of the shipment, and plan accordingly.
This software solution also helps expedite shipping by providing real-time GPS tracking capabilities that provide real-time alerts to cargo location updates if anything goes wrong during transport. For example, when shipments are left unattended for too long at locations other than their intended drop-off points, the system will immediately send notifications to drivers that are assigned to arrange pick-up or change-up delivery options. Without knowing the context of what has happened and what’s needed, it’s not easy to determine the next step in moving the load.
Optimized Scheduling to Avoid Missed Pickups and Deliveries
When cargo is waiting at an airport, the pickup process must be as smooth and efficient as possible. Therefore, many airports now offer truckers the ability to self-schedule appointments for cargo pickup. This system allows truckers to pick up cargo without going through the hassle of dealing with multiple schedules. As a result, cargo pickup is much faster, with fewer delays. Cargo will be ready to go, the cargo owner won’t have to worry about it sitting around at the airport, and cargo owners can avoid losing cargo.
Using a self-service appointment system is a remarkable improvement from waiting in line or out on the tarmac for cargo orders. Truckers will find that their deliveries get completed quickly, thanks to this increased efficiency, and cargo owners will not have to worry about whether cargo has been damaged during shipment.
Cargo pickup appointments also allow truckers enough time to prepare and arrive at the airport with everything necessary for smooth cargo pickup and final delivery. When cargo needs an expedited shipping option, this has become even more beneficial because there’s no risk of delays due to scheduling conflicts or miscommunications, which forms the basis of a truly optimized pickup schedule.
Easily Sharable Status Reports by Links
Link sharing makes trucking more efficient and effective, reducing the cost of managing the shipment. Links allow anyone with internet access to see all shipment information and data.
The best part about it is that it doesn’t require any new technology. Link sharing can be done with the existing technology and can be scaled in any direction, providing insight and reports for business-to-business partners and sharing information with consumer-facing “where’s-my-order” trackers.
Link sharing would allow drivers to instantly access and share information regarding the loads and routes on their trucks, and the same applies to shippers. Shippers that can convey a complete picture of a load and its needs could effectively reduce the number of hours truckers spend looking for information and increase their rest time. This system could also help reduce accidents because there will be less fatigue from driving long distances in one day. That becomes a win-win for everyone involved, and it occurs without sacrificing the ability to act on information or manage cargo pickup and delivery.
Access to a Live Person When You Need Extra Help
What is a shipper to do if their cargo is going by air and it arrives at the airport without all the documents needed to cross customs? What if the shipment is misplaced? Regardless, the key is to have a backup plan and an expert to help.
A few shared challenges often require a shipper to call for help in scheduling expedited freight pickup. These challenges can include missing or misplaced cargo, customs delays, and driver shortages. When faced with any of these challenges, it’s crucial to have a backup plan in place so that your shipment doesn’t get held up. A live assistance agent can come in handy to help you find a solution and get the load back on track.
An expert can contact the airport or terminal operator, find capacity, and plan action much faster than most shippers. Remember that shippers focus primarily on sales, not necessarily transportation and optimizing it. That’s why it’s critical to have an expert on your side.
Actionable Intelligence to Better Prioritize Airfreight
Achieving a prescriptive analytics platform is within reach of trucking companies ready to take advantage of the technology. Moreover, gaining an early advantage will pay dividends through lower costs, faster deliveries, and happier customers.
While prescriptive-analytics platforms are still emerging from their infancy, they are quickly maturing into powerful tools that help shippers manage the most high-priority of freight.
There are three main types of freight analytics: descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive. Descriptive analytics view what has happened and why. Predictive analytics show what’s likely to happen. Prescriptive analytics takes things a step further and recommends actions to achieve certain outcomes.
Shippers can use all three types of freight analytics to manage air cargo pickup and execution. For example, descriptive analytics track shipment volumes and traffic patterns so that planners can anticipate delays and make necessary adjustments. Predictive analytics can help identify upcoming trends and forecast how they might impact freight pickup. And prescriptive analytics can recommend strategies for dealing with disruptions or delays.
App-Based Resources to Interact With Drivers
In the age of technology, real-time status is the pinnacle of efficiency for expedited trucking. With more technology, truckers can continuously share their status, including ETA, with the shipper and stay abreast of schedule changes.
This trend is also starting to infiltrate air cargo, especially since truckers also need to handle air cargo pickups or deliveries. Part of this includes trucker telematics that seamlessly shares information with your existing tech stack.
The use of telematics has led to more collaboration between truckers and shippers. Telematics provides a way for both parties to stay in touch and share information in real-time. As a result, this helps to eliminate the need for redundant check calls, which can help to speed up the process of airfreight cargo pickup.
Telematics is usually a cloud-based software solution that connects customers across their supply chains. With the help of this solution, companies can reduce operating costs, save time and improve customer service levels by providing real-time data visibility on every shipment. In turn, that information isn’t limited solely to ELD-transmitted data.
Drivers can also access it using their smartphones. Truckers can use an app to share their location, upload documents, take pictures for POD and interact with shippers in real-time. This technology allows freight drivers to streamline their operations, receive real-time shipment updates along the supply chain and plan for faster deliveries.
Gone are the days when cargo pickup was a haphazard affair. Today, with telematics data readily available via apps, companies can track shipments in real-time. Here’s how telematics is making airfreight cargo pickup easier:
- A connected driver app provides accurate location info of truckers on the road – complete with ETAs at various points throughout the route.
- The app automatically alerts shippers that transportation has begun.
- Shippers get notified about any deviations from the plan.
- The app prompts drivers to sign and share documents, including photos for POD and more.
Secure Freight Payment to Pay Drivers Faster
One of the biggest challenges for trucking companies providing airfreight trucking services is managing cash flow. This includes avoiding overdue payments to suppliers and ensuring timely payment to drivers, warehouse employees, and office staff.
One way of streamlining cash flow is to use a secure payment system for invoices. Truckers want to get paid on time and in full, just like shippers want to get freight delivered on time and in full. Using a secure payment system ensures trucker invoices are accurate and paid on time without impacting deliveries. This smoother process builds rapport with truckers too, which is critical for airfreight trucking companies where cash flow can quickly become a nightmare to manage. But consider the ways that a secure and complete payment system makes paying expedited trucking companies easier:
- A secure payment system ensures your invoices are accurate. If you’re billing in cash, you may know that you got paid, but it can be easy to lose track when counting bills in your head or the bank deposit bag. This can lead to delinquent payments, extended payment terms, and other contracts that aren’t as profitable as they could be. A secure payment system ensures you know exactly what is coming in and when so you can accurately plan your expenses.
- Managing cash flow can be a challenge for any business, especially for airfreight trucking companies that often transport high-value goods. While it is crucial for airfreight trucking companies to get paid on time, it’s equally important for shippers to ensure their shipments are delivered on time and in good condition. A secure payment system ensures your payments are made before remittance rather than after delivery, impacting cash flow. Meanwhile, shippers enjoy the benefits of integration that continuously ensures payments represent actual services rendered and are not artificially inflated.
- Keeping track of invoices can be a time-consuming task. Entering invoices manually into your accounting system takes up to twice as long as receiving the payment because you must enter your invoice, accept it, and record that entry in your ledger or bookkeeping software. Automating the process with a secure payment system ensures all of this happens automatically, making it easier to track your business’s cash flow.
Working with expedited freight logistics service providers that use technology to enable this level of secure and precise freight payment makes everything easier. In turn, shippers realize the benefits of better shipper-trucker relationships, access to more capacity, and a stress-free payment process.
The Big Picture: Carrier 911 Has the Tech and People Needed to Boost Expedited Freight Efficiency
The capabilities paint a clear picture of a high-visibility, high-actionability solution to shippers needing airfreight cargo pickup. Shippers should start by recognizing that their existing processes will fall short as capacity tightens, even if they haven’t already. Then, they can move forward by choosing a logistics services provider that understands the risks in managing airfreight trucking companies and puts the power of a combined people and technology-driven process to work. Carrier 911 is that company. Connect with Carrier 911 to get your next airfreight shipment covered faster, easier, and with less headache!