Regardless of the mode of transportation, the question remains the same: how can I get my product to market as fast as possible and at the lowest cost available, without sacrificing service? Like ocean or air freight, trucking is another extension of this timeless quandary. Long gone are the days when everyone owned their own trucks and those trucks went to a handful of warehouses and distribution centers. Shipping has become more fragmented and spread out over further distances. A drop ship here, a fulfillment center there, and all points in between.
Shippers are presented with three different yet distinct options whenshipping via ground. Their choices are parcel, LTL (less than truckload), and TL/FTL (full truckload). If you’re unfamiliar with shipping via LTL, unaware of LTL as a service, or would simply like to know more then read on.
Here are Five Key Benefits of Shipping LTL Freight:
- Time To Market: The single greatest advantage of LTL shipping is that you no longer have to wait for a full truckload to get your product to your buyer. Instead of waiting for enough orders in a region to maximize your load, or send a half empty truck, you can book your goods immediately and have them on their way to the consignee ASAP.
- Less Warehouse Space: Every shipment you send out frees up space for new inventory within your warehouse. Why sit on freight and let purchase orders age when you can churn product and ship on-demand to your customers? Not only does this allow for a lean process flow within your warehouse, but it also allows the consignee to purchase in shorter cycles while reducing their own inventory.
- Cost: With LTL, you’re only paying for what you ship. Your freight charges are based on the class, space, and weight that you take up on the truck instead of the entire haul. These are substantial savings that actualize themselves, not just over time, but every time you ship. There is a myriad of ways to further reduce costs via consolidations, common routing, back haul loads, etc. However, LTL freight isn’t without capacity issues or surcharges.
- Service Options: When negotiating LTL rates, carriers can and often will provide services beyond dock to dock. Shippers can specify needs like liftgates, inside pick-up and delivery, cross docking, non-commercial shipments, event notifications, cargo tracking, etc.
- Tracking & Security: Your buyer is going to want to know where and when they’ll receive their shipment. Many LTL carriers provide tracking details that include event notifications which will allow them to see in real time when their goods are picked-up, in transit, on time/delayed, and dropped off. Tracking can be tailored to customer needs based on BL, PO, reference number, or even a date range. In addition, unlike parcel service, your goods will often be palletized which prevents damage, pilferage, and other loss.
One of the keys to negotiating LTL shipments is knowing which carriers provide the service needed, how accessorial charges work and how to negotiate them, understanding base rates, FAK structures, FSC, etc.
A freight management company that understands your needs can unlock these benefits and act as your GPS on the road to success. Ready to learn more about LTL shipping and think it may be the right fit for you and your customer’s needs? Reach out to FreightPlus today: Contact Us