LTL (Less-than-full-truckload) capacity shipping can be advantageous in some cases when carrying a full truckload is either not safe. Generally, however, companies may incur a lot of losses by carrying LTL. Efficiency and cost effectiveness are paramount aspects to the overall success and profitability of a logistics business. Problems and challenges will always be there in dealing with LTL, but it is important to stop these problems dead in their tracks. Anticipating where along the supply chain these mistakes occur can allow companies to have deliveries made according to their expectations and customers’ needs. Without further ado, here are the mistakes which every sensible logistics company should avoid.
Picture this. A fleet vehicle is traveling on a relatively less congested freeway and gets into an accident with another truck. The initial damages may be paid by the other driver but not to the full extent. Unless you have full insurance coverage, the tens of thousands worth of shipments that were destroyed will not be covered by the other driver, even though most or all of it was their fault. If you do not have insurance for your vehicle and your merchandise, because you decided that it was a good cost cutting strategy, then you will be at a huge loss in case an unforeseen event does happen. It is best to have insurance for your assets at all times.
Using pallets to group your shipments is a time consuming process, especially if it is done manually. But it does pay off in case you do have to go LTL. A loose stack of shipment orders on the back of a truck gives them just enough room to make them a mobile wrecking ball. A small swerve to avoid an accident on the freeway, and the truck will likely topple under the sheer weight of the items being pushed to one side.
If your shipments have small items, they should be bound together so that they do not fall over and make a mess. Increasing sizes of items in the shipment necessitate the use of palette for not only keeping the items in place but also decreasing the risk of damage to your vehicle.
Some carriers are of the view that ground transit times are excruciatingly long. Air transit may appear less as it takes lesser time to be transported from Airport A to Airport B. It is still no guarantee that the shipment will be delivered earlier to the customer’s doorstep.
The process of air transit may take longer. The plane awaits confirmation from air traffic controllers, has to follow cargo unloading procedures meticulously and may even need further sorting before being reloaded and shipped to its final destination. Sometimes some of the cargo may be rerouted on another plane. All alternatives should be evaluated for transportation of shipments, carefully considering time as well as total costs.
Not Remembering to Track Shipments (especially when outsourced)
Don’t ever send a package and forget about it; especially if you are outsourcing your carrier. Sure, there is an element of trust between the company carrier and the customer. But that doesn’t mean that it should be taken for granted. The real world is far from ideal, and customers who don’t get what they want, or how they want it will burden you with refund requests and complaints, driving down your revenue and your reputation. Therefore, it is best to monitor your shipments to make sure they are delivered on time and in perfect condition. It shaves down shipment audit time for delivery guarantees.
Guaranteeing Schedules of Delivery to the Dot
Speaking of delivery guarantees, delivery schedules may serve as tentative benchmarks for guarantees and not be guarantees themselves. Logistics companies should not make the mistake of labeling a delivery schedule as a delivery guarantee,. Instead they should take into account some ups and down and use a benchmark to make appropriate and realistic guarantees as to the time taken for delivering the shipments. If there needs to be a specific guarantee that a shipment has to be at a location by an appointed time, then the decision for the guarantee should take the service level, quality and external factors surrounding the delivery into account.
Estimating Shipment Dimensions
Incorrect estimation of shipment dimensions is probably the most common of errors made by logistics companies. They may use data from customers to make the assessments but their carriers may readjust and reclassify the rates according to the market when they leave your warehouse. Dimensions such as weight and volume need to be determined by the companies for each of the shipments that they process. This ensures accurate estimation and enables time and money saving for the company. Billing problems also come up during audits later on, where the incorrect rates and dimensions cause over or under booking of costs. These problems will be reduced if the legwork (which involves recording dimensions) has been done correctly beforehand.
Forgetting to confirm the address
This may sound silly but is actually not. This actually stems from the previous point of incorrect recording of data. The address of the person to whom the goods are being shipped should be confirmed in order to provide deadhead, excessive shipping costs, time and a whole myriad of other costs from being incurred. It may be the case that people are not able to be reached on their phones when contacted. Due diligence and vigilance on the part of the company becomes necessary. If someone thinks it’s a joking matter, just search for Beaumont, Aylmer, Alma, Borden and Belmont here.
We hope you can learn from these mistakes and avoid them in your operations. The latest in integrated cloud based management systems may help you avoid many of these mistakes altogether. To learn more or get these systems for your organization, feel free to contact us at Routeique.