When it comes to peak transportation needs, every business is different. Some industries have predictable peaks, such as retailers managing Black Friday demands. Other companies experience peaks based on less predictable factors, such as a natural disaster, when bottled water, lumber and drywall are needed in a specific area. And still others encounter completely unexpected peaks due to once-in-a-lifetime events such as our recent pandemic, when early on, medical equipment was being shipped as quickly as possible.
In every case, shippers need extra capacity during peak times. And when shippers’ sales numbers depend on parts and products getting to their destination in greater volume, it may seem like any solution will do. But brokerage solutions are not a commodity.
Finding the right brokerage solution for peak times is not simply a matter of price. Of course you want value, but you need to look for a transportation partner who can deliver exactly the service you need when you need it, reliably and efficiently — and that takes expertise.
What to Look For
Finding the right fit is key to peak transportation success. Here are just a few factors to consider as you examine your options.
- Experience — Building a dynamic brokerage operation requires resources and knowledge. Look for an experienced team on your side that can react quickly to requests, and ask the right questions to determine the best solution for your specific needs. Only an experienced partner can put together a peak transportation plan that delivers the service you need with the right combination of personnel, equipment type, schedule and budget. You must have confidence in the partner you choose — and experience goes a long way in that decision.
- Carrier sourcing — Some companies (like Covenant) have their own dedicated fleets, which often makes it easier to deploy peak solutions for customers. But when those assets are engaged elsewhere, we know exactly where to go for a brokered transportation solution. Remember, not all carriers are up to the performance standards you need, and there’s no reason to waste time and money if the promised solution doesn’t work. To avoid this scenario, you must find a trustworthy brokerage partner with the relationships and judgment to source the right carriers.
- Responsiveness — Peaks can be stressful, so good communication is a must. Look for a peak transportation partner who’s committed to thorough and frequent updates and confirmations and, if possible given the circumstances, a portal to give you visibility into your shipments’ progress. In fact, overcommunication is preferred in peak times.
- Flexibility — Many factors can affect deliveries, especially in peak seasons. For example, during the holidays, drivers may want a reduced schedule and weather can interrupt travel. Your brokerage partner must be flexible and well resourced enough to accommodate both your timelines and the unexpected disruptions of the season.
- Custom solutions — One size never fits all. Look for a tailored solution to meet your specific short-term needs, but also advance your long-term goals. Full-service logistics companies can mix and match solutions as needed, using a variety of options to meet your requirements.
We recommend reaching out to brokerage solutions providers before you have an acute peak need. By establishing a relationship before the need arises, you’ll have vetted various transportation providers and found the one that’s the best fit for you. When peaks come, both you and your brokerage partner will be ready to meet the challenge.
Covenant’s capacity solutions team leverages our own fleet, our deep pool of drivers, and our trusted carrier partners to create peak solutions that work for you. Let’s talk.