Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments can be a perfect augment to your shipping abilities, especially when you don’t have enough freight to send a full truckload but don’t want to delay a shipment. However, as with anything, the more moving parts you have, the more opportunities you have for things to go wrong.
The bad news is, LTL mistakes are pretty common, and those mistakes can add up quickly, eroding your shipping budget. The good news is, these mistakes are rather easy to avoid. Here is a list of the ten most common mistakes shippers make when shipping LTL freight as well as solutions to correct the problem.
Going it Alone
Most organizations have a “can-do” attitude about everything within their organization. While the spirit of independence is great, it can also create a near-sightedness within their operations. In order to save money, many shippers attempt to manage all of their LTL shipments on their own, which leaves plenty of opportunities to make mistakes.
Solution: Simply put, you’re not going to be good at everything you do. Freight brokers and 3PLs are a fantastic addition to your company. Freight brokers can help you to consolidate LTL shipments into FTLs, saving lots of money and reducing the environmental impact of shipping. 3PLs, on the other hand, are dedicated logistics managers, and can take the bulk of that responsibility off your shoulders letting you focus on your day to day operations.
Not Insuring Your Freight
Theft, traffic accidents, and natural disasters; any one of these potential incidents is waiting to attack your freight, leaving your company to pay for the damages.
Solution: Just like your car and your body, insurance is there to cover the result of a “what if” becoming a reality. Having the right amount of coverage can give your company peace of mind during a shipment, as well as protect your profit margins should the worst come to pass.
Loose Loads Means Damaged Product
Typically, an LTL shipment will go through multiple locations, being loaded and unloaded from a number of different trucks until it reaches it’s final destination. Until we find a way to break the laws of physics, shipping freight will always run the risk of damage. When a truck has to stop short, or rounds a corner too quickly, anything loose essentially becomes a projectile and no amount of packing peanuts will protect the product within.
Solution: Palletize your freight. While it might add to your process time, it will protect your freight during shipment, making sure it all gets to its destination in the best possible condition.
“Where’s this going again?”
It happens to the best of us. Data entry errors can easily result in a costly delay of your shipment.
Solution: Double check your shipping addresses (both beginning and final)before any shipment is scheduled. It sounds obvious, but you might be surprised by the number of shipments that end up in the wrong location because of this.
What Happens when You Assume
Delivery schedules are nice because it gives you a time frame as to when your package will arrive at its intended destination. A common mistake shippers make is to assume that freight will arrive by the estimated delivery date.
Solution: Employing a visibility software solution or utilizing those of a 3PL partner can give you accurate, real-time data that allows you to see where your shipment is during all phases of transit. You’ll know where it is and when it will arrive, allowing you to better communicate this information with your customers. Guaranteed delivery dates can also help to ensure a timely delivery.
Don’t Ignore Ground Freight
Many shippers believe that air freight is always faster. That’s not always true.
Solution: Every mode of transportation has its strengths and weaknesses. Depending on where it’s going, ground freight can actually be faster and more efficient than air freight (not to mention cheaper)! Explore all your options and choose the best one for your freight.
The “Set it and Forget it”
This is fine for a rotisserie chickenbut not a good habit for your freight. Shippers tend to trust their carriers implicitly and believe that shipments will be fine once it’s loaded on the truck.
Solution: Again, visibility is key. Working with a software that allows you to follow the progress of your shipment and get up-to-date notifications of the delivery process will allow you to adjust your supply chain accordingly.
Paying Too Much For Shipping
Rates fluctuate on the regular, and are influenced by a number of ever changing factors. Shippers can easily blow their shipping budget by shipping freight with the wrong carrier.
Solution: Shopping for rates can be a time consuming endeavor. Use a shipping platform that allows you to compare all the rates of carriers in one place so you can pick the right carrier at the right price.
Choosing the Wrong Service
When deadlines get tight, mistakes happen. Too many mistakes can leave a customer with a bad taste in their mouth.
Solution: It’s good business to ensure that your customer’s shipping expectations are met. Do your best to not only find the best rate for you, but also the best solution for your customer’s needs. Sometimes paying a little extra on your end is best if it keeps a good customer coming back for more.
“Guess the Size. Win a Prize!”
This is one of the most common errors shippers can make and is one of the most easily avoidable. LTL carriers charge based on dimensions, weight, and density of a package.
Solution: Make sure you collect your freight dimensions and certify them if possible. Armed with that, it’s easier to refute a re-class fee if the carrier decides that your package isn’t in spec.
Why Choose BlueGrace for Your LTL Shipments?
Looking for a comprehensive solution to your LTL woes? Thinking about incorporating a new strategy and opportunities with your LTL business? Look no further than to Bluegrace Logistics. A market leader with a robust LTL platform, our Blueship LTL technology allows clients tools that many suppliers don’t have.
Bluegrace can give shippers options to select their carrier based on various attributes such as transit time and costs to name a few. Tracking is visible through our Blueship tool via EDI and API connectivity.
If LTL is something you would like to get off your plate and into the hands of experts please message us today to begin your discovery discussion.