COVID-19 and the subsequent economic fallout was a trying time for both businesses and supply chains in 2020. And while uncertainty still hangs over many businesses, others are adopting new practices to shore up their shipping strategies in a post-COVID marketplace. 2020 proved that there are still changes to be made if businesses are going to build shipping strategies designed to withstand any storms that come over the horizon.
Preparing a successful shipping strategy for 2021
1. Pay attention to market changes
It is easy to get swept away with everyday tasks and become reactive, but it is critical to stay proactive and be aware of the general changes going on in the market that can indicate how small businesses should function moving forward. For example, it is important to stay updated with the latest NMFC changes, especially if you are shipping LTL freight, or keep an eye on the general rate increases of significant carriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS.
Another trend that would hardly go unnoticed is the surge in digitalization. Of course, this is nothing new to the industry, but the COVID-19 pandemic made companies innovate ways to establish or maintain a strong online presence. A fitting example of such a shift was the grocery industry, where produce shippers and retailers joined forces and discovered new business models to reach their audience and most importantly, keep the sales going. It is important to stay focused on general industry trends, but it is equally important to consider the unique experience of your business when developing your 2021 strategy.
2. Plan your transportation budget
For many businesses, a good shipping strategy is the one that ensures staying in line with their budget while still delivering an excellent customer experience. While this is a challenge in the current market, a thorough transportation budget strategy will help set realistic expectations about the operations, further investments, partnerships, etc. We recently published a handful of tips on how to successfully set up a transportation budget for a small business in 2021.
3. Diversify your carrier network
After the pandemic and consequential economic shutdown, businesses are striving to make their supply chains more flexible and resilient. One of the best ways to achieve this agility is diversifying your carrier network so you have more choice with rates, service, operation area, and carrier specialty. This can be especially beneficial to shippers who use different transportation modes (both LTL and full truckload), and ship regionally, across the state, and even internationally.
Bonus: Kick start 2021 with GoShip
GoShip.com will be a vital tool to small business shipping strategy in 2021. We can help you access more freight carriers and reach better flexibility with your shipping efforts. We provide an online platform for quick and free comparison of freight rates. Try it out and get a free quote now!