1. Partner with customers: Treat your customers as partners and brainstorm freight savings opportunities that would yield a win-win. There are a myriad of possibilities once you have a common goal.
  2. Partner with suppliers: Fierce negotiation isn’t going to “win the race”. Instead, treat your freight carriers as partners. Share goals and expectations. Brainstorm win-win’s that will reduce your costs and yet provide a “win” for the carrier (a preferred route, etc).
  3. Consider pooling: If you have several customers located in a city or geographic area, you might be able to combine their shipments to the hub and then break the loads and deliver to the individual customers from the hub.
  4. Consider milk runs: If you have a few customers that are on a lane (perhaps one customer in Northern California and two others in Portland), see if you can combine their loads into a standard milk run (for example, set it up to deliver customer 1 on Tuesdays, followed by customer 2 and 3 on Wednesdays). This provides a reliable, standard route for the carrier and a typically lower cost, more reliable service for you and your customers.
  5. Consider all modes of transportation in combination with customer requirements: why ship over the road if the customer is happy if the load is delivered on time and reliably via a less expensive alternative. Ask questions to find out your customers’ priorities.