How to select a Carrier Partner

When searching for a solid carrier partner for your business, research is important to make sure your partner can successfully meet your business needs. Carriers have their distinct strengths, technological capabilities, and logistical priorities. Evaluate the strengths of prospective carriers against your current and future needs. For this article, we will focus on security, technology, and strength alignment.


Check for their TAPA Certification

TAPA stands for Transported Asset Protection Association. This is a unique forum in which global manufacturers, logistics providers, freight carriers, law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders establish leading security standards for the supply chain. The purpose of TAPA is to minimize transport crime, cargo theft, and the loss of goods. Your freight carrier should serve as a trusted transportation partner that ensures your products' security and meets the needs of your customers.

A few standard protocols required by TAPA include:

  1. The facility must have a security manager that holds ongoing training for employees

  2. Access to all parts of the facility are controlled

  3. Security cameras on a closed-circuit and pointed at valuable cargo

  4. Perimeter security and barriers are in place

  5. Trucks are secure using GPS tracking, seals, or locks

Each of these standards are intended to put your mind at ease regarding security and theft.

A TAPA certification should act as a signal to your decision-making team that the carrier in question prioritizes fostering a secure facility. This will be key in your efforts to meet your customer's delivery expectations.


Examine the caliber of their technology

Carriers with best-in-class technology are best equipped to promise you a secure, reliable experience. For that reason, please take a close look at the technologies each option has in place while visiting their site.


One of the most critical technologies for carriers in their relationship with you is a transportation management system (TMS). These technologies contain information about carriers, transactions, and communications between the parties. Carriers with a system in place can work with you to plan and track shipments most transparently.

Experts assert that a TMS can improve the following aspects of your business relationship:

  1. Lower distribution and warehouse costs

  2. A more responsive shipping process

  3. Visibility of real-time information

  4. Increased predictability of inventory and more accurate forecasting

Additionally, a warehouse management system (WMS) can be employed to structure daily operations within the carrier facilities. Both systems should be integrated to achieve the best possible output.

The presence, integration, and proper utilization of these technologies are sure to boost the quality of your relationship with your carrier. So, when deciding on which service provider to select as a partner, closely examine the caliber of their technology.


Determine their capacity and key strengths

To achieve alignment with your potential carrier, you must pinpoint their shipping capabilities and specializations to discover if they match your firm's requirements. Make sure you understand what kind of carrier fits your needs. Before speaking to potential vendors, do some research, narrow your search with your requirements.


If you are a small shipper, less than truckload (LTL) carriers and their "car-pooling" capabilities can reduce costs, but often at the expense of timely delivery. Similarly, full truckload (FTL) carriers can offer more precise timelines, but if you don't use the vehicle's full capacity, it can be much more expensive.


Also, many carriers are stronger within specific regions on certain freight lanes; it is up to you to identify these carriers.


After your research, begin evaluating carriers and their strengths. Remember, you are looking for a carrier partner, often the public face to your customer. Your agreements, rates, and operational norms must be sustainable to ensure a consistent service level for your customers. If you would like to learn more or gain some assistance in this exercise, RCSG is ready to assist you.