Takeaways from Parcel Forum 2014 & JOC Inland Distribution Conference

During the past few weeks we have attended JOC Inland Distribution Conference and Parcel Forum 2014. These industry events provide a good opportunity to stay current with logistics trends and freight costs forecasts, as well as a chance to connect with current and prospective clients. They were also a way to learn about new developments that are driving the shipping and logistics industry forward.

Driver Shortage Is Affecting All Modes of Freight

This was our first year attending the JOC Inland Distribution Conference during October 22-24 which focused on intermodal, rail and drayage. The biggest takeaway is the continuing driver shortage. This is affecting all modes of freight and causing more volume to be placed on rail which is tightening the already stretched rail capacity. As a result, LTL carriers are raising rates. Drayage carriers are raising rates. Everyone is raising their rates! So, now more than ever, it is important to have good data to understand how these market conditions will affect your bottom line.

New strategies are going to have to be developed, and having a robust TMS like RateLinx’s ShipLinx will allow the shipper to deploy the necessary strategies with the ability to measure and monitor the performance of these strategies. The measurement will be key to ensuring that the entire enterprise is complying with the strategy.

Freight Gets More Complicated and Costly

Earlier in the month we were at the Parcel Forum, which was our second year in attendance. Turnout this year was great. Highlights from the event included transportation, technology and operation trends with a portion dedicated to customized last mile logistics. Reoccurring themes across the event were similar to the messages at the JOC conference in that freight is getting more costly but also more complicated. Companies need technology to combat this. We were able to present a session called ‘No More Static Weight Breaks – Mode Optimization.’ This focused on how difficult it is to determine the correct cut-off between shipping small parcel and LTL. Because the modes are priced differently you have to use technology like RateLinx’s ShipLinx to find the correct cut-off. It should be done on a shipment by shipment basis because it will change based on where you’re shipping from and to.

It was surprising to learn how many other vendors look like they offer the same robust solution as RateLinx, but they seem to be missing one or more pieces. For example, many shipping systems can do small parcel but they can’t rate LTL. RateLinx does both.

What’s Up Next

We would like to thank everyone who made it to our presentation and booth. We truly enjoyed these shows and talking to a wide variety of shippers. For those that had the opportunity to speak with us, we loved answering the question ‘What does RateLinx do? Given the breadth of shipping and logistics solutions and software tools we offer, a better question is actually ‘What can RateLinx do for my company’s situation? If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email. We will also be attending next week’s Logistics and Supply Chain Forum, November 2-4, and presenting a case study at the Chief Financial Officer Summit 2014, November 13-15.