5 Reasons Why Small Carriers Need Supply Chain Planning Tools

As a smaller carrier, is your digital toolkit feeling a bit light? Here are five reasons why you should be building up a robust arsenal of supply chain planning tools.

5 Reasons Why Small Carriers Need Supply Chain Planning Tools

The freight market in early 2024 is like a roller coaster—lots of ups and downs, and not always the fun kind. With low spot rates and mixed sentiments heading into the summer, it’s more crucial than ever to find ways to stay ahead. Here’s how supply chain planning tools can be your best co-driver.

Current Freight Market: Navigating the Storm

The start of 2024 has been tough for the freight industry. Spot market rates have plummeted, squeezing margins for small carriers. Although the start of produce season brought slight regional relief, and FreightWaves highlights that freight volumes are up 16% over 2019 levels, an oversupply of trucks continues to suppress rates.

Moreover, a survey by Truckstop and Bloomberg Intelligence indicates that 55% of small fleets and owner-operators are taking fewer loads compared to last year, with many considering exiting the industry. This challenging environment makes operational efficiency more critical than ever.

The Struggle is Real: Why Digitalization Feels Like Climbing a Mountain

Small and mid-sized carriers often find digitalization a bit like trying to thread a needle while riding a roller coaster. Here’s why:

  • Investment Hassles: Dropping a chunk of change on new tech feels risky. 
  • Implementation Overload: Installing and getting used to new systems can feel like you're learning to drive all over again.
  • Skill Gaps: Not everyone on your team is a tech wizard; training is necessary.
  • Questionable ROI: When it comes to returns, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But trust us, once you make it over the digitalization hill, the view is worth it.

The Digital Advantage: Why Going High-Tech is Your New Secret Weapon

From 2023 to 2026, 93% of logistics providers plan to maintain or increase tech investments, up from 87% between 2020 and 2023, highlighting growing commitment to digital logistics (McKinsey Digital Logistics).

1. Recognition for Leveraging Tech Tools: 

Want proof that tech tools are a game-changer? C.H. Robinson's 2024 Carrier of the Year awards specifically recognized carriers who are killing it with tech. This shows just how crucial tech is for staying competitive and efficient. 

2. Future Shifts: Nearshoring and Regionalization: 

With companies shifting towards nearshoring and regionalization, small and mid-sized carriers are becoming even more vital. Those using advanced tech tools? They're going to thrive as this trend grows. This shift reduces risks and takes advantage of local opportunities 

3. Technology Race Only Gaining Momentum: 

The tech race is on; don’t get left further behind. A McKinsey survey shows that shippers and providers are laser-focused on the value of tech and how it fits into their daily operations. Using supply chain tools can seriously boost efficiency and data management. 93% of providers surveyed plan to maintain or increase their investment in digital logistics tech over the next three years. 

4. Improving Earnings: 

Want to boost your EBIT by 15 to 30 percent? Leverage data for decision-making. Advanced analytics and data-driven strategies let you optimize routes, manage fuel use, and improve overall efficiency.   

5. Higher Customer Satisfaction:

Happy customers are repeat customers. With better planning and real-time tracking, you can deliver on your promises every time. This means more smiles, more business, and fewer headaches. Studies show that companies using advanced supply chain tools have a 35% higher customer satisfaction rate compared to those relying on manual processes. 

Must-Have Tools for the Road Ahead:

  • Route Optimization Software: Cuts down on fuel and time.
  • Fleet Management Systems: Keeps track of your vehicles and drivers.
  • Real-Time Tracking: Allows you and your clients to know where shipments are at all times. 
  • Automated Reporting: Makes it easy to show off your performance.

How to Get Rolling with Supply Chain Planning Tools

Starting your digital journey doesn’t have to be a bumpy ride. Here’s how to smooth out the process:

  • Start Small:  Begin with one or two key tools and expand from there. 
  • Training Wheels: Invest in training for your team. The more comfortable they are with the tech, the smoother the implementation.
  • Partner Up: Consider working with a provider who offers support during the transition. Companies like CtrlChain make it their mission to ensure you’re not left in the dust.

Looking Ahead: The Future is Bright

As the freight landscape continues to evolve, small and mid-sized carriers who embrace digital tools will find themselves miles ahead of the competition. Not only will you be more efficient and reliable, but you'll also be ready to tackle any curveball the market throws your way.

Why CtrlChain?

For carriers, CtrlChain provides a free system to help digitize your operations and generate valuable data to optimize your fleet while also practicing sustainability. What does that mean for numbers? CtrlChain carrier partners benefit from: 

  • 20 Hours Saved Per Month
  • 64% Revenue Increase
  • 57% Fleet Growth
  • 87% Time Savings

The design of CtrlChain’s system is straightforward and user-friendly. It features an onboarding process that supports carriers of all sizes. Plus, you get ongoing assistance from a dedicated account manager to ensure seamless adoption and smooth over any potential obstacles. 

Head over to CtrlChain.com to learn more about stepping up your tech game. 

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