Temperature Controlled Shippers—Boost Your Supply Chain Efficiency


In any environment, internal and external influencers regularly affect supply chain efficiency, while the increased need for adaptability and agility makes that an even harder proposition. This is particularly true for companies dealing with temperature controlled shipping, because carrying sensitive freight always makes timing more critical. Finding ways to remain flexible is key to maintaining efficiency and safety while dealing with influencers like new restrictions and continuously changing operational processes.


Implement strategic initiatives into your inventory management

Understanding where the freight market is in its cycle—and when it will shift again—starts by understanding which market forces are impacting how much capacity is currently available.

These external influences ebb and flow over time, each contributing to tension and slack in capacity. Ensure your transportation strategy is strong by accounting for many different situations, yet remains flexible when disruptions quickly shift the balance—making capacity more or less available than anticipated.

Discover unnecessary spending

Shipments that are relatively predictable can have shorter lead times. Recent research conducted by C.H. Robinson, MIT, and TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson, confirmed that lead time matters when tender patterns are less predictable.

Our research shows that lead time can be as short as one to two days where the demand pattern was highly predictable. This high level of predictability allows service providers to plan for capacity in these lanes even before the tender is received, which makes them more likely to accept the freight.

However, increasing average lead time to between two and five days on lanes with demand variability can increase first tender acceptance and keep truck transportation costs at or nearer plan.

Secure the capacity options you want via market conditions

Approximately 59% of carriers in the United States own and operate their own equipment. This causes available capacity of equipment in the United States’ truckload market to be highly fragmented.

It’s critical to understand when and how to engage carriers of all sizes—from 4,000+ truck operations to owner/operators, no matter your shipping needs. Segmenting a freight portfolio by the attributes of the freight affords for alignment with the market’s capabilities and interests. These transportation strategies contribute to the best experience any market can offer.

Improving holistic and detailed visibility

Anecdotal evidence suggests carriers have shippers they prefer to haul for and consignees to deliver to. The defined characteristics of these “favored shippers” have been debated for some time. Initial qualitative research suggests that “favored shippers” benefit from better pricing and service.

Research from C.H. Robinson, Iowa State University, and TMC found that one of the most important shipper characteristics in becoming a “favored shipper” is being aware of and reducing dwell time for carriers. Appointment scheduling, live loading and unloading in under two hours, and drop trailers are a few ways to decrease dwell time.

Gaining specific insight into demand volatility

No matter your industry, company size, or overall transportation spend—it’s important to keep these insights top of mind for a strong, resilient transportation strategy:

  • Market forces ebb and flow over time, pay attention to how supply and demand changes affect the strength of your transportation strategy
  • American truckload capacity is highly fragmented, understand when and how to engage carriers of all sizes
  • Lead time matters, especially when tender patterns are less predictable
  • Favored shippers and consignees have low dwell time, proactively reduce dwell time for better pricing and service

The transportation marketplace is constantly changing, as are freight rates. Work with a provider like C.H. Robinson that can reliably meet all of your logistics services and technology needs today and in the future.

Always be adaptable

Solutions that have been in place for a while may no longer make the most sense based on changes to your business or the market, because any number of influences on supply and demand can affect your temperature controlled efficiency efforts.

You may want to consider outsourcing your supply chain management as a solution. Not only can a quality outsource reduce resource costs and increase efficiency through expert optimization, working with a credible, aligned outsource supply chain provider can deliver the flexibility you need while reducing the time and energy needed from store operators to manage purchase orders and deal with claims.

Choose your providers and vendors carefully. Focus on those that offer clear communication and are willing to collaborate on the right solution for your business—not a one size fits all approach. Collaboration combined with the scale to offer new technologies and execute on advancements in temperature controlled transportation, refrigerated warehousing, and other operational areas can set your business apart.

Your temperature controlled supply chain has limitless potential. There is always opportunity for more efficiency and cost savings. As businesses and the market change and evolve, creating the most efficient supply chain possible will help you do more with less, meet consumer demands, and adapt quickly to changes.

No matter which area of supply chain efficiency you choose to focus on first, maintain an adaptable mindset in your approach and you’ll best position yourself to overcome disruptions to the market.