Optimizing your truckload shipping strategy for the back to school season

July 25, 2019

Anyone with a student at home knows that back to school shopping is an absolute imperative every single summer. In fact, it is the second-largest shopping season of the entire year (second only to holiday shopping). And as a truckload shipper, you’re no stranger to the impact back to school shopping has on your industry.

Even though the school supplies might change, the demand for them will surely last forever. As we head into the back to school season each year, you must take a closer look at your current truckload shipping strategy to ensure you’re fully prepared. 

Taking a moment to brush up on back to school freight shipping best practices will help you take a closer look at your own process. Let’s dive into how to optimize your truckload shipping strategy during this busy time.


Breaking down the back to school season.

According to the National Retail Federation, families that have children in elementary school up through high school plan to spend an average of $696.70 this season. It’s important to keep in mind that back to school shopping is not just a K-12 event, however. Families who have college students are expected to spend more, with an average total cost of $976.78.

Students can go back to school as early as the end of July and as late as the end of September, so the truckload shipping industry has to stay aware of how this timeline will make an impact. Keep in mind that shelves will have to be kept stocked at all times. Pencils, pencil cases, markers, binders, folders, laptop cases and more need to be on the shelf and ready to go. If a customer doesn’t see a fully stocked selection, they may head to another store altogether. (After all, their little ones are going to want their pick of the litter!)

To ensure you’re able to keep up with the demand, you’ll have to continuously optimize your process and flexibility will remain key. Your supply chain has to run like a well-oiled machine to achieve maximum success, or else back to school season could set your business back.


Best practices for optimizing your shipping strategy


Ways to improve your current truckload shipping strategy.

Many of the holiday season best practices ring true for the back to school season, so think of how you adjust your strategy during that time. Ask yourself a few questions to jog your memory. When you’re at your busiest, what do you find is the most important aspect of your truckload shipping process? What is the one thing that absolutely cannot break down or else your supply chain will unravel?

For many, the answer is communication. Keep communication lines open across the board to ensure that your entire team is on the same page. If there is an issue at any point down the line, you need to be the first to know. Whether this is through improved trackability or proactive shipment alerts that notify you throughout your freight’s journey, taking advantage of emerging technology will help improve your current communication strategy.

Here at Freightquote by C.H. Robinson, we encourage our customers to take advantage of self-service online tools that allow you to do just that. This way, you will be able to receive the answers and guidance you need throughout the shipping process while also having access to a wide selection of carriers. 

Another way to improve your current truckload shipping strategy is to maximize the space you have. Packing and preparing as efficiently as possible for the back to school season could end up saving you multiple shipments. Ensure you’re using the correct pallet size so that everything fits on the truck with ease.

Take advantage of freight management services in order to strategize how to best take care of your freight. After all, the last thing you want is a shipment of damaged freight or any empty space on the trailer. This way, you can get the job done more efficiently and you will likely minimize the number of trips that have to be taken. 

At the end of the day, our technology can help you make sure you’ve got everything you need by having the ability to communicate specific requirements to carriers and end-recipients. You can also create detailed BOLs and track shipments with ease. The ultimate goal is to be able to boost your strategy as technology evolves so that you are always at the top of your game.


As you navigate the season.

With the back to school season being the second-largest shopping period of the year, you may feel as though you have some room to breathe after it’s over. It is very important, of course, to never become too comfortable. Soon enough, you will be rolling right into the grind of the holiday season.

No matter what time of year it is, however, be sure to always look for new ways to optimize your truckload shipping strategy. Considering best practices and incorporating new technology will continue to give a boost to your bottom line. If you’re unsure of where to start, feel free to contact us today. We are always ready to provide you with the tools you need to achieve maximum success through the back to school season and beyond.


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