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Kevin TaylorVP of Carrier Operations, FourKites

As the transportation industry grows increasingly data-savvy, carrier evaluations are getting more robust, accurate and effective. This week marks the rollout of FourKites’ sixth quarterly Premier Carrier List, and there seems no better time to discuss the impact – both present and future – of greater availability of data on the global carrier selection process. 

But what exactly makes FourKites’ Premier Carrier List special? In the short time I’ve been with FourKites, I’ve seen rave reviews roll in from existing customers and prospects alike, all itching to get their hands on the list. I’ve seen carriers approach my team just to let us know about all the new business they’ve been able to secure from leading shippers simply, by virtue of being named a Premier Carrier. We’ve even had a growing number of customers make being a Premier Carrier a requirement to do business.

The FourKites Premier Carrier List fills a void in the industry that has existed for far too long. For years, the transportation industry has suffered from a lack of good data around carrier performance. Unless you were a shipper of sufficient magnitude to work with some of the names off of the Transport Topics Top 100 For-Hire Carriers list, you likely had little more to rely on than word of mouth, past experience and gut instinct when evaluating potential carrier partners. This was the landscape when we created our first-ever Premier Carrier List back in January 2019. For the first time, the global transportation industry had a single source of truth for making freight decisions, regardless of mode, region, industry or even carrier size

Since then, our list has continued to grow, both in terms of the number of carriers represented and the value that both shippers and carriers stand to gain. With this quarter’s list, we’re releasing a number of new changes and features that I’m excited to tell you about. These are designed to benefit both the carriers on the list and the shippers who use it.

Enabling Data-driven Procurement

I come from a Procurement background, so when I was helping to redesign the latest edition of the Premier Carrier List, I did so with procurement professionals firmly top of mind. What kind of information would I want at my fingertips if I was running my annual RFP, or carrying out my annual carrier evaluations? What kind of value would I get out of knowing which of my carriers provided me with outstanding data quality over my most valuable or time-sensitive lanes? 

The bottom line is that If I were a procurement professional looking to get my visibility scores up, I’m going to identify carriers that aren’t meeting my requirements. Once I do that, I’m going to either offer that carrier a detailed improvement plan, or go find carriers who can better meet those needs.

FourKites’ data is one more piece of the puzzle when you’re putting together the full picture of your supply chain, and with this latest iteration of the Premier Carrier List, we wanted to make that insight as accessible as possible. It’s a tool for shippers to find capacity and get access to carriers with high-quality data, regardless of mode, region, carrier size or even services and capabilities, such as HAZMAT, cross border, and others.

Building Premier Tools for Premier Carriers

We want to make sure that we’re giving maximum exposure to those carrier partners who went the extra mile required to make it on this list. In a very real sense, we want to promote them to our shipper customers. But we know that marketing isn’t something that every carrier is interested in. By giving them access to certain features and insights – additional value besides promotion – we’re giving them more ways to improve their operations, stay on the list in the future and otherwise strengthen their business.

This is why, for the first time ever, FourKites is offering members of our Premier Carrier List free access to our Tracking Quality and Sustainability dashboards, which had previously been reserved only for customers. In doing so, we’re raising the bar throughout the global transportation industry as a whole; we’re giving every carrier in our network a greater incentive to make it onto our list, and granting them tools that will help them continue to succeed once they’ve made it on.

Achieving a Global, Multi-Modal Standard

More than ever, a data-driven approach to supply chain management is where this industry is headed. As Terry Finnegan of Sysco said during our recent Carrier Summit, “Visibility has become a point of differentiation between different carriers.” 

I couldn’t have said it better. Hand-in-hand with the growth in real-time visibility throughout the supply chain is the ability to better evaluate carriers, and let those who are doing a stellar job shine through — and to give those who are doing poorly a clear, actionable roadmap for improvement. 

The Premier Carrier List is pivotal to the transformation in the industry. Our list was the first to begin recognizing those forward-thinking carriers who took the extra step in bringing visibility to their operation and, more importantly, to their customers. The list has always been global and multi-modal, but it’s been limited by the nascence of the industry itself. Early on, we made the decision to never compromise on the standard of data quality required to make it onto the Premier Carrier List, which is why it’s so encouraging to see that as visibility itself gains traction throughout the global transportation industry, so too has the number and quality of our Premier Carriers continued to grow. This year, I expect to see many more outstanding companies continue to raise the bar for this industry, and I will be honored to welcome each and every one of them to the FourKites Premier Carrier List when they do.

If you have any questions about the list, or how you can qualify for inclusion, get in touch! You can reach us at [email protected].

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