Running a Search in MCI
MCI is simple to use, with plenty of ways to view the data. Let’s take a peak.
For starters, you want to select the Equipment Class you have or need. Your options are between
The next decision you have is the Area. Here you can choose to view data by
- Market Area
- Extended Market Area
- 3 Digit Zip
3 Digit Zip is the most narrowed-down of the views representing a city, where Region is the widest view possible as it incorporates several states. A very popular view is the Market Area as it represents specific economic markets in the United States.
Next you will pick your Timeframe. You will be able to select from the following
- 7 Day Forecast
- Prior Business Day
- Prior 7 Days
- Prior 30 Days
MCI is also able to forecast out a full 7 days to predict what the markets should look like each of the next 7 days! More on that in just a few...
Lastly, if you are interested in a specific city, fill out the Origin field to zoom directly into it. If not, leave the field blank and you will see a clean view, no matter which area you chose, of the entire U.S.
Interpreting the Data
As you just learned, you can choose to view current or past data, but you can also choose to see forecasted data. We’re going to go over both.
When viewing the data, don’t forget about the legend, seen at the top of the map. This helps to explain the colors in the different areas and how they relate to the MCI score.
Let’s dig into some data!
We’ll start by taking a look at what you’ll see for Current data.
In this example, we are looking at the Medford, OR market area for flatbeds and we are seeing what is currently happening. What are the takeaways from this data?
- The market is hot, with a very high MCI score. This means that capacity for trucks is tight
- There are a lot more loads than trucks here… 121 to 1 ratio
- Tight capacity means it’s harder to find a truck
- When demand for trucks goes up, rates go up as well
If I’m a broker trying to find a carrier in this market, it’s probably going to be a little tougher. I might have to pay more on a load I have there today.
If I’m a carrier on my way to this market, I know I have a good chance of finding a load that pays good.
MCI lets you see yesterday’s data or you can go back 7 or even 30 days. This is an example of the 30 day search of the Salt Lake City, UT market for reefers.
In this example the market has been cold and capacity for trucks loose. So, what are the takeaways with this?
- The market is cold, with a very low MCI score. This means that capacity for trucks is loose
- There are not many loads compared to trucks here… 1.6 to 1 ratio
- Out of the 128,869 load searches ran in that market in the last 30 days, only 18,008 were for reefers, so there isn’t a lot of carriers looking in that area
- Loose capacity means it’s easier to find a truck
- When demand for trucks goes down, rates typically go down as well
If I am a broker seeing a cool or loose market, I should expect to find a truck in this area as the ratio of loads-to-trucks indicates. I shouldn’t expect to pay too much as reefers are just not that in demand here.
As a carrier, I might struggle more to find an appealing load in this area. I see that other carriers are searching this area for reefers, so I know that there is competition for a load there and that usually means a lower rate. Based on this 30 day history, I may look for a more profitable, or hot, market to navigate to.
And as promised, we have forecasted MCI’s as well, for any area or equipment type you specify.
So when would you use this forecasting model to your advantage? Let’s take a look from both a broker and carrier perspective.
I’m a broker with a load in the Lubbock area that’s scheduled to move next Friday. I check out MCI and see a relatively high MCI score where the market is going to be pretty hot. I check out Thursday instead and see a much more neutral market. Knowing that the rates will likely be lower on Thursday than on Friday as capacity is looser, I work with my shipper and we get the load moved up by one day. I saved my customer some money and myself.
And what about a carrier. Let’s say I’m a carrier and a broker is offering me a load to Lubbock. I’m scheduled to drop it off on Friday. I check out the MCI to prepare myself for what the market is like and I see a pretty hot market… capacity is tight. Looks like I’ll be in demand once I get there. I know I can take my time and find the right load out of there. I might even get a higher rate than I expected with all this demand for my truck.
Data is a powerful tool. Analyzing past and future MCI can be one of the best tools to help anyone in the industry to be more successful.