May 3, 2023

Shipping success: Why smart shippers and 3PLs turn to private load boards

Private load boards can spark heated debates within the transportation industry. Some industry professionals swear by them, while others exclusively use private boards. The question then arises: which option is best? The answer, as it turns out, is not so clear-cut. Public and private boards each have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best option ultimately depends on each shipper’s unique needs. 

Fortunately, the Shipwell TMS platform offers access to both options, allowing shippers and 3PLs to select the approach that best aligns with their goals. By partnering with leading public DAT and Truckstop load boards while also operating a private load board integrated into the Shipwell TMS, users are able to take advantage of a comprehensive solution that streamlines processes, reduces manual work, and optimizes performance. It's like having a personal assistant that takes care of all the details, so you can focus on the big picture. 

So with access to these massive public options, why are more and more shippers and 3PLs making use of private load boards today? In this article, we'll explore the factors and scenarios that influence their decision.

They want to work with a select group of carriers

If you're in the business of managing a supply chain, you know that finding reliable carriers is key to your success. However, when you cast your bids into the vast ocean of a public load board, you could end up with a boatload of carrier responses from unknown sources — and it can be tough to separate the trophy fish from the nibblers and the toothy predators. That's why many shippers and 3PLs opt for their own private load boards, seeing them more like their own secret fishing spot where they can net their most trusted and prized hauls. After all, who wants to waste time sorting through the chum when you can easily reel in the keepers?

And while Shipwell does make weeding out the undesirables easier by allowing users to benefit from data and analytics on carrier performance, many shippers and 3PLs may prefer working with the carriers they’ve built relationships with — making private load boards their go-to option. And who can blame them!? Building a relationship with a carrier takes time and effort, and whether you’re shipping fine china or sacks of potatoes, it's important to know that you can trust them with your precious cargo.

That's where private load boards like Shipwell's shine. With our private load board, shippers and 3PLs can curate their own list of preferred carriers, ensuring that they only receive bids from carriers that they trust and have an established relationship with. This not only helps to ensure that they get the highest quality service for their shipments, but it also maintains the relationships they've worked hard to build with their preferred carriers.

They want to automate their workflows

Let's be real — manually managing a load board can be a daunting task. Loading each shipment one at a time can take hours out of a day for those responsible, and it’s a clunky, stressful, and error-prone task that feels like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. So it’s no wonder that many shippers and 3PLs look to private load boards like Shipwell’s in order to automate the process. 

With their private load board directly integrated into their TMS, they can easily load all of their monthly shipments into the board with a single click of a button, allowing them to quickly and easily book shipments without having to manually post each and every one. Just one click to get multiple customers' shipments in front of carriers instantly, completely eliminating the need for constant emails, phone calls, and follow-ups. Imagine a game of whack-a-mole, but your mallet is big enough to hit every mole with a single whack, and they only pop up once a month — that’s how easy automation makes the task of load board management. 

Plus, with access to Shipwell’s robust network of carriers, access to real-time visibility, and the ability to manage every shipment from a single platform, shippers and 3PLs can rest assured that any shipment they put up on the load board will be in good hands from start to finish. 

They want to receive competitive bids or instant booking rates

Unresponsive carriers are the supply chain equivalent of a flat tire on a road trip or a silent date who never calls back. Not only are they frustrating and inconvenient, but they can seriously derail your plans and leave you feeling stranded and alone — and every public load board comes with some degree of this risk. The difference being that a flat tire can be changed and another date can be found, but for shippers and 3PLs operating on tight timelines and budgets, being left stranded like that can have serious consequences.

Acting like a sort of VIP lounge for your freight, private load boards like Shipwell’s help shippers and 3PLs to put those issues behind them by presenting their loads solely to the carriers who are interested in working with them and are more likely to prioritize their loads and provide timely and reliable service. By populating the board only with their own cargo, it’s basically like rolling out the red carpet for carriers who are interested in working with them. 

Additionally, Shipwell’s "Book Now" feature ensures that carriers can quickly and easily book the freight they want without the need for extensive negotiations or communication. Ultimately, this helps shippers and 3PLs avoid the risk of being ghosted or having carriers waste their time on back-and-forth negotiations — as well as the associated costs and headaches that this can bring — leading to a smoother and more profitable supply chain operation.

They want to maintain control over who can view their board

When it comes to managing supply chains, shippers and 3PLs have many different reasons for why they may not want to make their loads public on a load board. For some, it may be a matter of confidentiality, where they want to keep their shipment details and customer information private. Others may have specific carrier relationships that they want to maintain and do not want to risk competition from other carriers. And yet more may have their own secret recipe to carrier selection that they guard as fiercely as Coca-Cola guards their formula from their competitors.

By using a private load board like Shipwell’s, they can provide access to these "special" carriers and ensure that their specific needs are being met. This not only helps to streamline the shipping process and safeguards against exposing themselves to risk, but as highlighted earlier, it also helps to build stronger relationships with their preferred carriers. 

Ultimately, the ability to maintain control over who has access to their board is just one of the many reasons why shippers and 3PLs may choose to use a private load board like Shipwell's. By doing so, they can ensure that their shipments are being handled by trusted carriers, their confidential information is being protected, and their unique freight requirements are being met. Once again it's like a VIP lounge for carriers, where only the best are allowed in.

So what’s the difference between public and private load boards?

We’ve had quite a few analogies in the article so far, and this seems like the perfect place for another. So let’s think of public load boards like open-air markets: they offer a wide variety of products from different sellers, but there's no guarantee that the quality from every seller will be consistent. Private load boards, on the other hand, are like exclusive boutiques: they offer a curated selection of high-quality products that are tailored to the buyer's specific needs. While public load boards can provide shippers and 3PLs with a large pool of carriers and loads, private load boards offer more control, customization, and visibility. 

With a private load board, shippers and 3PLs can build strong relationships with trusted carriers, access unique capacity, and receive real-time updates on loads and carriers. However, public load boards can still be a valuable resource for companies that need to quickly source capacity or expand their network of carriers — especially when paired with automated tools that look into the performance of those carriers to assist in selection. Ultimately, the decision to use a public or private load board will depend on the company's specific needs and goals.

Benefits of private load boards:

Increased control: With a private load board, shippers and 3PLs can have greater control over the carriers they work with, ensuring that only preferred carriers are given access to their boards.

Quality service: Private load boards allow shippers and 3PLs to curate a selective list of preferred carriers, ensuring the highest quality service for their shipments.

Competitive rates: Private load boards enable shippers and 3PLs to receive competitive bids or instant booking rates from preferred carriers, helping them to secure the best possible rates for their shipments.

Automation: Private load boards can help automate the quoting and booking process, making it faster and easier for shippers and 3PLs to get their loads in front of carriers.

Benefits of public load boards:

Wider network: Public load boards offer a wider network of carriers, making it easier for shippers and 3PLs to find available trucks and secure capacity for their shipments.

Flexibility: Public load boards offer greater flexibility in terms of carrier selection, allowing shippers and 3PLs to work with a variety of carriers and find the best fit for each shipment.

Real-time information: Public load boards provide real-time information on available trucks and loads, helping shippers and 3PLs to quickly find and secure capacity for their shipments.

Increased visibility: Public load boards can increase visibility into the market, helping shippers and 3PLs to stay up-to-date on industry trends and make informed decisions about their shipments.

What’s next?

Whether you’re looking to curate a hand-selected list of top-quality carriers for that VIP lounge experience of leveraging a full-featured private load board or prefer the wider range of options that come with the open-air market style of public load boards like DAT and Truckstop, Shipwell offers the best of both worlds. With our intuitive platform, posting loads and finding the right carriers has never been easier. And when you factor in the other features of the Shipwell TMS, managing your supply chain becomes an absolute breeze, allowing you to focus on what really matters: growing your business.

So, why waste another minute? Schedule a demo today and discover how Shipwell can help you save on costs while putting precious hours back into your day. 

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