A business’ shipping volume changes throughout the year based on customer demands. Shipping volume can also be impacted by unplanned events, such as the pandemic. This creates fluctuations in the supply chain that can leave anyone operating their own private fleet or working with a small carrier in peril. If a time of flex arises you can be left with a fleet with nothing to move. Or, if a surge occurs, you may have to scramble to cover loads and miss a great opportunity to grow your business. If you needed to grow or shrink your fleet today, could you?
Our Dedicated Contract Services® is prepared to help support our customers when they may need to flex or surge their fleet during fluctuations in the supply chain. We’ve been able to provide stable supply chain solutions to our customers in times of both planned and unplanned demand changes.
Planned Demand Changes
Consider a customer like a major online retailer. They can plan for supply chain fluctuations throughout the year based on consumer buying habits. The peak season for online retailers is usually around the holidays – lasting from the end of November and extending a week past the winter holidays at the end of December. But identifying seasonal peaks must accompany solutions for handling it, and that requires flexible capacity planning. A surge can be extreme and planning needs to be dynamic.
J.B. Hunt works closely with our customers to plan for fluctuation, forming a surge and flex demand schedule. Some of our online retail customers need to increase their fleet up to 25% during their times of surge. We are uniquely positioned to expand their fleet and provide incremental increases that grow as product movement does. Support for this increase comes through our Dedicated trucking providers that we can leverage depending on other customers’ current needs.
Unplanned Demand Changes
But what about the changes we can’t plan for? Consider companies that sell fashion and retail clothing products. Fall and spring are peak seasons to be moving product for these customers but there can be unexpected shifts when forces outside of our control disrupt the supply chain in ways we cannot plan.
When COVID-19 unexpectedly impacted the supply chain, J.B. Hunt Dedicated had to be quick moving to adjust to the new needs of our customers. In some cases, our retail customers had to shut down completely for a time, making their carrier needs zero to none. Instead of seeing a setback, we were able to use this as an opportunity to flex their dedicated trucking fleet to other customers who were experiencing a surge. And once the original customers were moving freight again, their fleets were shifted back. These actions also aid in driver retention and offer job stability because drivers can keep working through fluctuations rather than being furloughed.
The engineering support that J.B. Hunt offers is a huge advantage in this area, especially during sweeping distribution changes. We can re-engineer our shipment solutions for a customer based on the business’ needs. This gives our Dedicated Services the advantage of timeliness and adaptability in our response. As a result, our customers know we can be available to them even during unplanned circumstances.
Flexible and Stable Dedicated Trucking Solutions
At J.B. Hunt, we pride ourselves on our size, scale and density to be able to handle both planned and unplanned fluctuations in the supply chain. We like to call these qualities our “secret sauce,” because each of them comes together to help us to provide the best supply chain solutions possible for our customers. Our secret sauce creates a perfect blend that’s ready to take on fleet management for your dedicated trucking – contact us today!
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