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by Jared Spude
Jared Spude

4 min read

How to Build an Exceptional Freight RFP Strategy

January 12, 2024

Jared Spude
by Jared Spude


In today's soft freight market, shippers need to utilize advanced technology that can quickly run analyses and scenarios. As shippers approach RFP season, it is the ideal time to identify opportunities to capture savings, improve time-consuming processes, and reduce emissions. To do this, it is imperative for shippers to meticulously assess their processes, identify areas for improvement, and streamline operations. Shippers who adopt a comprehensive approach to the RFP maximize savings and enhance network performance.

The most effective RFP starts with a clean dataset. According to a report by IBM, businesses in the United States lose an estimated $3.1 trillion annually due to poor quality data. This results in inaccurate and unreliable information, leading to incorrect decision-making and missed opportunities for cost savings. Therefore, shippers must invest in technologies or partners to ensure their data is accurate, complete, and up to date before starting the freight RFP process.

Shippers can improve data quality through technology, and more importantly, detailed scenario analysis. With frequent data validation checks, shippers can swiftly identify and rectify any data discrepancies. This also allows for the real-time monitoring of data quality, ensuring that the most accurate information is used during the freight RFP process. This is why Breakthrough uses primary data, not market assumptions, in their analyses and scenarios for shippers. By using advanced technology and market expertise, shippers can be confident they have the most accurate and reliable data for decision-making.

Essential Components for a Robust Freight RFP Strategy

Once a shipper's dataset has been deemed reliable, they can proceed with the development of a robust freight RFP strategy. It is important for a shipper to establish an end-to-end strategy that ensures a successful year ahead. This encompasses a pre-event research strategy, which aims to identify market trends and risk factors, followed by a post-event strategy that prioritizes sustaining high network performance and effective communication with carrier partners.

Pre-Event Strategy

To ensure effective decision-making during the RFP, shippers must prioritize pre-event research. This entails leveraging a reliable dataset and consulting trusted market experts to gain visibility into external factors, including market trends, regulatory changes, accurate rate benchmarks, and carrier operating areas. Armed with this valuable knowledge, best-in-class shippers can devise an optimal sourcing strategy that maximizes efficiency and mitigates risks, ultimately driving success in their transportation network.

Strategy During the RFP Event

During the RFP event, best-in-class shippers rely on individual lane benchmarking and leverage best-fit carrier search tools to identify the right partners at the optimal price. This strategic approach not only ensures transparency in conversations but also empowers them to make well-informed decisions. In addition to factors such as cost, capacity, and service, carbon has emerged as an increasingly prominent network priority. By integrating carbon considerations alongside other key factors, shippers can decarbonize their networks while meeting cost and service requirements, all through the RFP event.

Post-Event Strategy

Following the RFP, best-in-class shippers maintain a high standard of network performance and transparent communication with their carrier partners. Given the likelihood of a deviation from the plan, it is crucial to leverage advanced technology and data-driven support to monitor network performance. Keeping a close eye on compliance and performance to plan allows shippers to quickly change course when necessary to maintain optimal cost and service in the network. Best-in-class shippers don’t think of an RFP as a single event at a point in time, but consider the year-round strategy needed to deliver the best results.

Optimize Your Transportation Network with Proven RFP Strategies and Technologies

The RFP process provides shippers with a valuable opportunity to enhance efficiency, strengthen relationships with carriers, and unlock significant cost savings. Breakthrough supports hundreds of bids annually by leveraging its market expertise, breadth of experience, and robust dataset to provide best practices and greater transparency to shippers’ decisions. By implementing Breakthrough’s comprehensive RFP strategy, shippers can successfully achieve their transportation network objectives and maintain optimal results throughout the year. As the industry evolves and presents new challenges, best-in-class shippers will adapt and optimize their freight RFP strategies to maintain a competitive edge in the ever-changing market.

Are you seeking a reliable advisor to support your team’s RFP strategy throughout the year? Discover Breakthrough's freight RFP solution. Schedule a meeting today and experience the expertise and technology that sets us apart!

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