Time is right to expand fleet services

DALLAS. The current freight market environment offers for-hire fleets “a significant opportunity” to expand into third-party logistics (3PL), dedicated carriage and other related services, according to David Wangler, president & CEO of TMW Systems

DALLAS. The current freight market environment offers for-hire fleets “a significant opportunity” to expand into third-party logistics (3PL), dedicated carriage and other related services, according to David Wangler, president & CEO of TMW Systems.

Addressing some 1,600 fleet and 3PL users and suppliers at TMW’s user conference, Wrangler told them: “One of the hottest trends we’ve seen in the past two years is the growth in dedicated carrier operations. Some of those same dedicated providers are also expanding their service offerings to include more value-added services - like warehousing or even light manufacturing. They are transforming themselves into 3PLs - with assets.”

“Three years ago, there was plenty of capacity and rates were low, so shippers were able to shop around” for truckload carriage, Wangler told Fleet Owner. “Now with all the capacity that’s come out of the market, they’re looking to outsource transportation management, and it just makes sense to do that with someone who has the assets to provide a secure supply.”

While in many cases that’s driving a return to contract carriage arrangements with carriers, it’s also opening the door for fleets that want to move into 3PL services with one important distinction - a core of owned trucks to ensure high service levels, Wangler said.

“It’s a natural trajectory from providing carriage to doing more for them, to partnering more deeply,” he said. “For many fleet customers, logistics services are where they want to go.”

Providing those services requires the right support tools, especially in information technology. That natural evolution is one of the reasons for TMW’s recent acquisition of Appian Logistics Software, which has a diverse set of transportation customers among private fleets and 3PLs, according to Wangler.

“There is a significant opportunity right now to outperform the competition if you’re paying attention,” he said.

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