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4 Ways Flatbed Shippers Benefit by Using a 3PL

Flatbed Shippers and Technology

While flatbed shipping is extremely important to our economy— industries like oil and gas, construction, and manufacturing depend on flatbed shipping— it involves a lot of challenges; procurement can be difficult, there is rampant decentralization, and technology tends to be overlooked. To combat challenges and optimize flatbed shipping processes, use a third-party logistics provider (3PL).

By leveraging a 3PL’s expertise and capabilities, flatbed shippers have the potential to increase visibility to freight, and develop consistently across all modes of transportation. Here are five key ways a 3PL can improve the flatbed shipping process, as well as dramatically impact the visibility of transportation activity:

Gain Business Intelligence―Shippers take advantage of business intelligence (BI) tools when it comes to the majority of shipments, but often miss the same opportunity when it comes to flatbed shipping. By utilizing a 3PL’s BI tools, such as a TMS platform, shippers have the ability to drill down into their freight and break down information across all modes. The utilization of BI allows an organization to perform a mode-specific cost analysis to help ensure they make the best decision when it comes to selecting the appropriate mode of transportation. Lastly, accurate seasonality forecasting across the business can be a major benefit, especially in the flatbed industry.

View Real-Time Tracking & Tracing—Improving efficiency is a focus for all shippers. A 3PL can provide on-demand, simplified tracking, and automated alerts for increased awareness of shipment status. Proactive tracking also allows for better utilization of jobsite crews giving full visibility to the current location and delivery estimated time of arrival (ETA) of a particular shipment. Utilizing a 3PL’s website/mobile app can be a great tool for on-the-go notifications.

Assess Risk―In the flatbed industry, it is critical to stay up to date on current liability terms, especially with over dimensional and other unique shipments in the mix. A 3PL allows shippers to obtain the most recent information available through active score carding and carrier insurance and authority reviews. These practices help organizations actively mitigate their risk and confirm all parties are on the same page.

Streamline Payments—A consistent process for invoicing and payables can be achieved via a 3PL. The ability to obtain PODs online offers convenience that will make business processes more efficient. On the carrier side, carriers can receive payment up front, which is increasingly important in a high-fuel market.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, 3PL technology can have a profound, beneficial impact on flatbed and transportation business. A growing number of flatbed shippers want to dig into their shipment information and find ways to make positive changes. Working with a 3PL is the key factor that allows them to do so.

Learn more about the flatbed services a 3PL can provide your business.


Rosalio Ibarra

The new thechnology has changed all, knowdays in the transportation industry the applications is very usefull, but there is a gap when we cross borders because the link could be broken by an autorithy from the importer or exporter countries due the regulations that most of the time cut the communications between the customer adn trasnportation way (any)so to apply the technology to all the process will be very hard...Importer/exporter/anytransport/customs/importer/exporter, we will the same technoloy for the customs process.



Patrick Boughton

Everyone always wants to write articles about how to save the shipper money. But rarely do we see anyone try and make the carrier money.

There are good loads through CHRW, as well as other brokerage firms, however each of their first responsibilities is to save the shipper money.

Meanwhile the carriers are trying to ship the freight with fuel prices in constant flux and shippers and brokerage firms are always two months behind in adjusting prices to cover the flux putting that on the backs of the carriers. We are also facing increases in heavy duty taxes, fuel taxes, and everything else that goes with this industry. Not to mention the lack of drivers in the business creating a demand for drivers thus, increasing their pay.

If you watch the boards, loads are frequently given at $1.20 to $1.75 mile, and it is awful hard to make money at those prices with todays inflation and uncertainty.

We use a formula for our loads we take, and I am sure other companies have done the same thing. With fuel and other expenses, we figure our truck is worth $4.30 a gallon with the current average price of $4.00 for fuel and $0.30 a mile for oil, tire, and the other good stuff. We divide the miles by 5, then multiply it by the $4.30 then multiply that number by two. If the rate offered doesn't meet that price, we won't take the load, unless for some special reasons.

So that formula again is (Miles divided by 5 x $4.30 x 2 = Fair Rate.

Everyone else gets to pass on the expenses to their customers. Shouldn't the carrier be able to do likewise?




Patrick Boughton, i like your comment and you thoughts on viewing things from Carrier perspective. Can you elaborate more on the formula as to why the mikes are divided by 5 etc...



    Patrick Boughton

    The 5 represents to us our average low point in fuel per gallon. Everyone has an average low point, when you are loaded heavy in the mountains, stuck in stop and go traffic, and so on.

    When you go through the equation, stop right before you get to multiplying by two. The number you have their represents what you are paying in the ballpark for fuel and general maintenance. So we multiply that number by two so we can pay the driver, taxes, and all the other good stuff. When we are done, our goal is to put 7% of each load into the owners pocket.


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