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6 Basketball Strategies to Create a Winning Supply Chain

6 Basketball Strategies to Create a Winning Supply Chain

March Madness

Each year, 68 teams compete in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, but only one champion is named. This year’s tournament is barely a week underway and already we’re down to the “sweet sixteen.” By now your bracket has been put to the test. Just as many teams have left the tournament, many fans have already lost their pools.

While no one has ever had a perfect bracket, the people who do better have one thing in common—other than luck, that is. Their brackets focus on teams whose offense and defense are equal parts of their playing strategy. Believe it or not, the same concept applies to capacity and rates within your supply chain. What’s your approach to secure the capacity you need at the rates you want?

Shippers who remember that capacity and rates go hand in hand will have better long-term results than shippers who focus on one or the other. When you take a minute to think about it, how much sense does it make to have great rates but no carriers to honor those rates? Or on the flipside, having all the equipment you need but at an exorbitant price? You need to focus on getting your products to your customers without breaking the bank. Below are six strategies you can use on and off the court to help achieve the balance between rates and capacity you need to win big.

1. Making baskets is only the first part of winning the game. Focusing only on scoring will leave you vulnerable when the other team has the ball. Look at the big picture rather than just the lowest rates for capacity or else your supply chain will be just as vulnerable. Rates should not be the only criteria for awarding business. Find carriers that closely match freight needs in a particular lane, then you’ll be ready to compare rates.

2. Teamwork is everything. Only when all players are in sync can you win. Your carriers should be a part of your supply chain team—and their goals should align with yours. When both parties get what they want, you’ll be more successful. If a carrier’s goals are also being met with your freight, their commitment to your freight will likely increase.

3. Study your opponents. When you understand the competition’s moves, you can develop a quality game plan to beat them. Knowing who your carriers work with (and where) provides valuable insight about the carriers’ capabilities by lane or region.

4. Get the easy baskets when you can. Transition baskets can go a long way to winning the game. Easy, attractive freight is the equivalent of your “transition basket.” Nothing speaks to carriers like consistent freight volumes and uncomplicated loads. Do what you can to add consistency to your process.

5. Use the Princeton offense. This strategy allows teams to maximize everyone on the court. Keeping all parts of your supply chain in constant motion reduces downtime for everyone—including carriers. You may be able to secure lower rates by streamlining your pickup and delivery processes.

6. Look to a sixth man when you need a spark. A team’s bench can be the difference between winning and losing. Shippers should utilize their “bench” by working with a transportation service provider or a third party logistics provider (3PL). Depending on your needs, an outside expert may be able to utilize ongoing relationships, specific technology, and proven processes to find the right carriers at the right prices.

For a more comprehensive look at capacity, rates, and transportation spend overall, download our free white paper, Strategies for Transportation Spend: Understanding the Dynamics of Carrier Pricing, Service, and Commitment. Which team do you think will win the NCAA championship this year? Share your predictions below!