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Securing Capacity When Peak Season Demand is Strong

Balancing demand and capacity has become increasingly difficult in recent months. In February 2018 - a historically low-volume month - pricing and load-to-truck ratio were at levels higher than any time throughout 2017, while intermodal capacity was 100% utilized.* Businesses are struggling to adapt to the new normal of less capacity and higher costs, particularly due to a number of factors converging all at once, including electronic logging device (ELD) implementation, driver and labor shortages, and unprecedented demand. As businesses prepare for any peak season, it's important to consider the impact of increases in production and consumption. For example, during spring peak season a rise in shipment volume for beverages, lawn and garden, and produce drastically reduce available refrigerated and dry van capacity from the market, causing an increase in cost and a decline in service. To help make sure your products move, we've compiled a list of best practices you can use to find capacity and ensure your customers are taken care of.
  1. Plan Ahead

    Communicate your forecasted volume ahead of time to plan for capacity needs and develop contingency plans which can help mitigate disruptions. Providers that offer predictive delivery insights can address delays before they occur.
  2. Optimize Modes

    Utilize transportation options such as premium or expedited intermodal; less than truckload (LTL); or expedited highway service to find the right capacity at the right cost at the right time. In addition, providers can improve mode selection and secure capacity by increasing lead time and transit time.
  3. Utilize Technology

    Improve service, visibility, and efficiency by leveraging digital freight matching technology that identifies the right truck for every shipment. Data collected through such platforms can reveal opportunities to create capacity and eliminate waste in the supply chain.
  4. Remain Flexible

    Create agile processes at the dock that streamline loading/unloading procedures, which may reduce driver detention and maximize productivity. Research shows that 75% of drivers are detained for two or more hours every week; freeing up one hour of a driver's time can unlock an additional 12% of available capacity.*
  5. Be Relevant

    Capacity will flow to the shipping and receiving locations that help carriers be the most productive. Work with your providers to know what changes you can make so your shipments are relevant to the capacity in the current market.
Supply chains need to remain adaptable and maintain delivery expectations. With this in mind, companies should lean on the innovation and expertise of a supply chain solutions provider to help plan for seasonal fluctuations. Our advanced J.B. Hunt 360 platform, market knowledge, and more than 56 years in transportation provides businesses with the technology and support necessary to source capacity, optimize routing, and meet your expectations. Get ahead of the peak seasons with insights and services from J.B. Hunt. Contact your sales representative or request a quote.
*According to J.B. Hunt data.