The Value of a Trucking Company Offering 3PL Services

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Did the truckload arrive on time?

As we discuss the many intricacies and complexities of the trucking and logistics industry, it’s important to remember that for almost everybody involved — from shippers to supply chain engineers to drivers to those on the receiving dock — on-time delivery remains the top priority.

In today’s ever-changing marketplace, having the versatility to leverage your own assets or other 3PL carriers can be the difference between making or missing a deadline — and keeping or losing a customer.

Improve service with a multi-modal model

Trucking companies spend years, or even decades, building a fleet. They’re proud of it. But they also know its limitations better than anybody. They know when they’re unable to meet ever-growing capacity demands.

As a result, many companies are supplementing trucking assets with 3PL services for a multi-modal strategy that gives shippers more capacity options and consistency. There’s still only one source of freight service. One contact. One rate. One contract. Everything largely remains the same, except for who owns and operates the delivery truck handling the freight. In addition, there are a few distinct advantages for combining assets with 3PL services, including:

Seamless processes, faster deliveries. Whether it’s an internal asset or outside carrier, every truckload follows the same internal workflows. Invoicing and billing are handled exactly the same. There’s still clear communication and feedback between shippers, drivers and dispatchers. In fact, often the only thing that changes is faster delivery, because there is more capacity readily available at any given time.

Larger network. Most trucking companies try to expand operations throughout a specific region. Reputable 3PLs have cultivated a large network of carriers, with expertise readily available in an even larger area. This allows them to select from a larger pool of fresh, ready-to-go drivers with more hours to log when their own drivers have reached their quota or have other loads already scheduled.

Proven partners. With its reputation (and account) at stake, a trucking + 3PL company is going to vet its carrier network thoroughly. They may lean on owner/operators with smaller fleets (2 – 5 trucks) instead of larger carriers, because both parties will be heavily invested in impressing the shipper. They’re also more likely to build loyalty with proven carriers, using them again and again. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that gives both parties — owner/operator and trucking company — compelling reasons to establish trust with one another.

Trusted technology. With today’s technologies, shippers expect to know where their freight is at all times. That shouldn’t change whether a trucking company is using its own assets or another carrier. New apps allow the company to integrate GPS and other details into internal systems to follow every truckload from pickup to delivery.

Competitive pricing. When not worrying about freight arrival times, shippers worry about cost. A multi-modal strategy enables companies to keep expenses in check by finding the most accessible assets, drivers and other resources. Remember, pricing has already been established. There are no sudden rate hikes or add-on charges. This approach simply offers more flexibility in delivering freight on time to meet contractual demands.

Experience. Trucking companies have gained a wealth of insight from having assets on the road, day after day and year after year. They’ve experienced the unpredictable nature of the open road — and how to overcome challenges to deliver freight on time. That collective knowledge can help when 3PL carriers encounter issues and need tips and guidance from the experts.

A proven strategy for smart, sustainable service

Combining trucking assets with 3PL services is not an entirely new concept. But it’s one that’s been refined and improved over time as less-than-reputable providers have lost market share to proven companies that can seamlessly blend assets with logistics for a comprehensive and true multi-modal model.

Often, a trucking company using a multi-modal strategy has more knowledge, experience and insight into moving freight than 3PL-only companies because they’ve encountered (and resolved) virtually every scenario with their own fleet many times. As a result, they can offer more options to meet your most challenging timeline and budgetary needs.


Jared Moore, Vice President, AMX Logistics

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