How to boost the bottom line by saving on freight shipping.
April 19, 2017
As you evaluate ways to cut down on costs, you may begin booking freight shipments based on the lowest rates you can find. However, booking shipments based on cost alone could lead to a myriad of issues and unforeseen post-shipment charges.
With cost-savings in mind, here are some steps that should be considered when identifying ways to boost the bottom line:
- Provide good data
- Use proper packaging
- Accurately document shipping information
- Think about the type of location you are shipping to
- Plan ahead
1. Provide good data.
To get the best rates, you should consider working with an online freight service provider. When doing so, it’s critical to provide good data about shipping patterns, commodity, size, frequency, current rates paid, etc. Once this data is obtained by the service provider, a freight spend analysis can be completed to determine the optimal shipping mode (LTL, partial truckload, truckload or rail) and set forth the most competitive price that fits your needs.
There are many factors that play into determining freight rates, but it all starts with good data.
2. Use proper packaging.
Using the right packaging and packaging techniques when shipping freight can minimize damage to the goods and reduce the likelihood that a claim may arise.
As an LTL shipper, you should load your freight onto pallets or in crates prior to sending them off, as this will minimize movement of the goods and reduce the chances of items becoming lost in transit. Intermodal and truckload shipments are handled less than LTL shipments, but packaging is still important. When booking a full trailer shipment, consider blocking and bracing techniques that minimize movement and reduce the chance of damage.
3. Accurately document shipping information.
Preparing and accurately filling out documents and shipping information should never be overlooked. One misstep could result in dollars coming out of your pocket. Examples such as inaccurately notating the freight class of the goods or inaccurate weight could lead to unexpected price adjustments.
While the bill of lading (BOL) will be required for any freight shipment, you will need to make sure other documents, like the commercial invoice, are accurately filled out before shipping outside the United States. The commercial invoice describes the particulars of the shipment crossing the border and who is responsible for duties. A holdup in the border crossing could delay your shipment and lead to unhappy customers on the receiving end.
3. Think about the type of location you are shipping to.
When booking freight shipments, you need to consider the type of destination you are sending to. Anything beyond a simple dock pick-up and dock delivery could result in costly accessorials and surcharges when the bill arrives. If you’re shipping to locations such as residences, trade shows, or job sites, be sure to let your carrier know ahead of time so they can make the necessary adjustments and get your shipment delivered without having to overcome unforeseen obstacles.
It’s also very important to ask yourself, “Can a tractor trailer access the dock I’m shipping to?” Neglecting to think about how a 53’ ft. truck can get to a location like a store’s dock behind a strip mall could result in paying more last minute for smaller equipment. To avoid this, ask for “limited access service” when booking, so the carrier will send out a smaller truck.
4. Plan ahead.
At the end of the day, simply planning ahead can pay dividends and boost your bottom line. Waiting until the last minute to think about shipping could be a costly mistake as it will force you to pay more for expedited services or even air freight charges. Having a solid shipping plan in place will open the doors to more affordable options that still meet your deadlines. When planning ahead, be sure to research and identify the shipping windows that create the most profit for your business, or work with an online freight service provider to help you through every step of the shipping process.
Delivering shipments on time can lead to satisfied customers and an improved bottom line. While these aren’t the only cost-saving steps that need to be considered when shipping freight, we believe they are some of the most important.
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