March 16, 2024

Getting Ahead of the Curve in 2024: Data-Driven Strategy for Bids and Capacity Optimization

Like everyone in the industry, we’ve been hammering through RFPs the last several weeks and setting up contracts with customers and carriers for the next 12 months. Everyone has a slightly different approach to bidding and planning, and sometimes these approaches vary from year to year or even by account. Regardless of where you stand and what your processes and technology solutions are, the following are still highly likely:

       -   Relying on spreadsheets throughout the process

        -    Manually inputting and compiling data

        -    Lane and market prioritization is loosely based on data, but still a gut instinct call

         -   Internal teams, offices and business units are operating in their own zones/areas – without a single cohesive network-wide strategy

At SemiCab, we’re in the unique position of operating a freight network AND delivering technology for capacity optimization. In other words, we help brokers use data and intelligence to optimize their networks, capacity and bids; and we apply that same technology to serve shippers.

Here’s a look at how we tackle RFPs and capacity optimization, and how we enable other brokers to do the same.

Deep Dive into Past Load History and Contract Freight

SemiCab assesses and analyzes all past truckloads and contract lanes to capture and provide a clear picture of the facilities, markets and volumes being served across the entire transportation network. We monitor and know which customers were serviced by which carriers and trucks, along with underlying details such as performance, tracking requirement compliance, and load profitability. This granular load and lane level data is compiled and aggregated to provide a high-resolution image of market density and performance, highlighting strengths and weaknesses within our existing business. From both an operations and sales perspective, we use this data to guide ourselves (and broker customers) on market strengths and weaknesses. The SemiCab platform is used in between various business units as a collaborative tool, and it isn't reserved just for sales, carrier sales or ops. Within this broader scope of view and data, we can identify opportunities for growth from an operational perspective. SemiCab runs simulations to predict movements and backhauls. We can look at the granular execution of the past year or set of months and compare it to the predictive optimization data to find missed opportunities for efficiency, such as missed trips or continuous moves. Operations and sales are all working from the same core data and strategy, via SemiCab.

This data analysis provides insights and intelligence to guide execution and plan for the coming year. It also becomes a foundation for planning and strategizing when RFPs roll in.

RFP Analysis & Planning

SemiCab takes in RFP lanes, loads and frequencies for analysis and comparison to existing business and contract freight. SemiCab compares the RFP data and projected loads and volumes against the existing network and prior history. It runs simulations again, taking into account numerous parameters such as HOS limitations and miles between connecting legs of a trips, to provide predicted opportunities to optimize capacity. This uncovers a plethora of insights and opportunities, including:

-              Market opportunities and strengths to leverage in the RFP

-              RFP lanes that match up and complement the existing network and capacity

-              Potential to tap into density and key partnerships and capacity to best serve the customer while optimizing capacity

-              Identification of lanes that potentially fit into trips and continuous moves – across existing accounts and the new bid

Data Discussions

Aside from the network visualization, analysis and projected opportunities to better serve customers while optimizing the capacity network, a major benefit we enjoy at SemiCab is using our platform as a centerpiece for discussion with shippers, brokers and carriers. When we open a conversation in this way, it’s not about selling or probing for new opportunities. Rather, we like to open up the platform and show what the network looks like, show what the opportunities look like, and use that as a foundation for our dialog and partnership moving forward. When a carrier partner asks, “What’s been the most profitable lanes we’ve run with you guys this past year, for this particular customer?” We can pull it up and have a discussion. When a shipper calls out that he’s got a difficult customer in the southeast and asks what our capacity and experience is going in and out of Lithia Springs, GA, we can pull up the map and dig into the loads run, past history and overall network density in the area. The data doesn’t lie; if we have presence and experience there, it appears. If not, then we agree to focus elsewhere with that shipper (and then we tell operations to add capacity in that market).

It's no secret that this industry needs to digitally transform and become more data driven. Uncovering the right data to make the right decisions is the common challenge of the day. If you’re a broker, carrier or shipper working on figuring out your transportation network strategy, reach out to SemiCab and we’ll get you started with a complimentary transportation network assessment.  

Learn more about our platform today, by simply reaching out.


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