Predicting Unpredictability: Expert Advice for 2024 Freight Operations, Benchmarking, and Procurement Preparation

As the freight industry gears up for another year, the whirlwind of uncertainty continues to influence the logistics landscape. 2023 left an indelible mark, characterized by many challenges and some stabilization within certain industry segments. When looking ahead to the future, it’s crucial to reflect on the past year, identify emerging trends, and strengthen strategies for benchmarking and procurement. Join us as our experts delve deeper into the intricacies of the current freight benchmarking industry and uncover how artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and real-time data analytics are shaping decision-making and operations in logistics and benchmarking in 2024.


US Freight Market Updates in 2023 and Beyond

2023 painted a picture of uncertainty, particularly in the US truckload dry van market. This segment grappled with significant rate losses, leaving even long-standing carriers in uncharted waters. While profitability remained elusive, improvements were seen in emerging and long-standing carriers as the year progressed. On the flip side, the truck bulk and LTL markets adopted a more specialized approach. The focus shifted towards salary and personnel-based internal strategies, allowing them to stabilize in comparison.

However, the linchpin of these challenges was the manufacturing sector. As it fluctuated in response to factors like inflation, the entire freight industry felt the ripples. An inflation surge or a manufacturing boom held the potential to reshape the trajectory of the industry. The question then becomes, how can we predict these unexpected twists and turns to stabilize budgets without impacting operations? One promising solution on the horizon lies in AI and ML-improved forecasting pattern recognition. This innovative approach translates data into actionable insights that help to unveil hidden patterns that would otherwise remain unnoticed. When such technology comes to fruition, as expected in the approaching years, this would be a milestone step in anticipating the industry’s ebbs and flows.


Essential Freight Benchmarking KPIs to Monitor

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the North Star by which we navigate the freight industry. Among these, the delta to market stands tall. It allows us to gauge how freight, fuel, or other rates fare compared to market rates. Sometimes, a slightly higher rate might be justified if it guarantees better performance. It’s all about paying for performance, a metric that is integral to maintaining profitability in the ever-changing freight landscape.

Another critical KPI is assessing the mix of carriers. Within the transportation realm, carriers come in two classifications—asset and non-asset-based. The mix of these carriers can significantly impact your rates in comparison to the market. Understanding this mix is crucial in making informed decisions.

Fuel expenditure as a percentage of the total spend is another vital KPI. Often, it’s a factor that can be negotiated with the shipper. By knowing where you stand on this line, you can make more informed decisions regarding your fuel strategy to optimize both budget and performance.

In a landscape as dynamic as freight benchmarking, control is paramount. If you’re not in control, the industry controls you. The ability to assert influence and maintain control is essential for any player in the chemical freight industry and every sector.


Finding Freight Industry Stability in 2024

The transition into 2024 marks a pivotal moment as the industry leans toward predictive analytics. Predicted trends emphasize streamlined route identification, punctual deliveries, and optimal cost management. The spotlight falls on the anticipated role of AI and ML in addressing these industry needs. Adapting to the ever-evolving logistics landscape and integrating real-time data analytics stand out as pillars in optimizing freight benchmarking practices in the near future—and leveraging better technology is the key to optimizing logistics operations across the board.


Addressing Pain Points and CLX Logistics’ Unique Approach

Understanding the pain points and challenges shippers face is a crucial aspect of our approach at CLX Logistics. Among the most prevalent challenges is the pressure from the finance team. They demand results, and rightly so. The potential for double-digit savings often beckons, and it’s vital to demonstrate these savings post-implementation.

Our industry-leading solution as recognized by Gartner®—CLX LaneLogix, has been instrumental in addressing these challenges and ensuring a strong ROI for our customers. It’s not just a tool but a strategic partner in improving procurement and benchmarking. Our analysts meticulously examine the procurement model versus execution, helping you answer critical questions that cut costs. Are you choosing carriers that offer the most competitive rates? Are you effectively controlling non-contracted lanes and associated costs? These are the very questions that weigh heavily in the minds of those planning their budgets for 2024, and we can provide answers.


Real-World Results

A noteworthy success story stems from a client’s journey that commenced with a benchmark analysis of US bulk truck rates.

The outcome?
Significant cost savings and a subsequent exploration of comprehensive procurement strategies. The collaboration post-implementation has since expanded, now encompassing the client’s European division. This expansion focuses on optimizing supply chain efficiency and cost savings, showcasing the versatile optimization potential of CLX products like
CLX LaneLogix and CLX Gravity.


Closing Out the Year Strong

In the freight industry, change is the only constant. 2024 beckons with a myriad of challenges and opportunities, and it’s imperative to understand the forces driving this ever-evolving landscape. With AI, ML, and real-time data analytics at the revolutionary forefront, the industry is poised for a transformation. The potential to predict and anticipate market shifts, optimize benchmarking strategies, ensure complete supply chain visibility, and embrace innovation is key to thriving in these dynamic times.

At the heart of CLX Logistics lies a dedicated client-centric approach. Addressing client needs and focusing on solving key questions are instrumental in setting the tone for 2024. Understanding opportunities, forecasting spend, and meeting logistics directors’ expectations are pivotal in ensuring a smooth transition into the new year. The emphasis remains on streamlining budgets with benchmarking and procurement expertise. In a landscape that remains ever unpredictable, trust in CLX Logistics to navigate the uncertainty. We’re committed to redefining benchmarking and procurement strategies, empowering our partners with cutting-edge solutions, and reshaping the future of logistics.

To further explore how CLX Logistics supports clients with innovative products like CLX LaneLogix™, contact a CLX representative today and see how we can assist your business.


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