The Strategic Shipper Program is an outgrowth of the response to NASSTRAC’s popular Perfect Storm Webinar series, as well as the findings from the Logistics 2030 Transportation Study. It has been conceived to help shippers and carriers improve their interactions with one another and ultimately create and maintain trusted relationships. The program will offer shippers a clear and direct path to attaining the often talked about (but less often acted upon) “Shipper of Choice” distinction.
What is it?
The Strategic Shipper Program involves shippers agreeing, on a voluntary basis, and of their own volition, to a code of conduct that they will follow in managing their carrier and driver relationships. Once those companies have become a NASSTRAC Strategic Shipper, carriers will know that these shippers have chosen to follow the code of conduct befitting a quality transportation operation with integrity and transparency.
“The driver is the most valuable aspect of today’s logistics system,” says Bob Voltmann, president and CEO of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) which is a partner in this new program. “It is essential that shippers and receivers recognize the importance of the driver and the very finite nature of the driver’s on-duty time. We salute NASSTRAC in their effort to convey this message to their shipper members. TIA has worked to convey this message to our members and will release this program as part of our ‘Win-Win-Win Report’ at our upcoming April conference,” Voltmann added.
Why are we doing it?
For some time, the current transportation environment has created a tightening of truck capacity and rising rates. Industry experts are telling shippers they need to be a “Shipper of Choice” or become more strategic in their approach to carrier procurement and relationships if they want to continue to attract reliable carriers to handle their business. Since “Strategic” is our middle name, NASSTRAC wants to lead the charge. NASSTRAC believes that the issues facing shippers today are systemic and not cyclical and require strategic change in order to affect lasting change among shippers and carriers. “Associations like NASSTRAC and CSCMP exist exactly for this reason,” says Rick Blasgen, CEO of CSCMP. “We are uniquely positioned as a neutral gathering point for shippers who seek to improve their transportation practices. Our Strategic Shipper Program is designed to help shippers, carriers, and distribution centers ensure quick a turnaround of truck drivers and equipment which is fundamental in managing transportation costs.”
The primary goal of the program is to focus on continuous improvement of shipper/carrier relationships. Another important goal is to have shippers self-regulate their dwell time at their facilities to avoid government intervention and overreach. The Democratic controlled House has indicated that dwell time at shipper facilities is on their radar.
NASSTRAC will be leading the way in formalizing the Strategic Shipper program making it easier for shippers and carriers to identify companies they want to work with.
NASSTRAC has formed a committee to oversee this program. Chaired by Matt Ehlinger from NCH Corporation, the committee is comprised of NASSTRAC members representing shippers, a truckload and LTL carrier, as well as a member of TIA’s Board of Directors. One of the tools we will be using in conjunction with the program is the Dock411 platform. Dock411 allows shippers to control their brand and the information published. Shippers control their shipping commitments to provide transparency to their carriers. They also receive analytics to help negotiate freight rates.
We are pleased to share that SanMar Corporation of Issaquah, WA and LifeWay Christian Resources as our first official members. “We are looking forward to implementation of Dock411, as part of the Strategic Shipper Program says John Janson, Global Logistics Director. “Providing carriers more information and allowing direct feedback on our sites and process can only help to improve efficiencies for us and our carrier partners.” "LifeWay is excited to join the Strategic Shipper Program. As a shipper, it's our desire to develop and maintain valued and trusted relationships with our partner carriers. The Strategic Shipper Program is an ideal platform to do just that." - Brian Heflin, Transportation Manager, LifeWay Christian Resources