You need to send your freight quickly but don’t want to pay for expedited freight – it’s a dilemma all shippers face. Many companies rely on expedited shipping, but, with some simple operational changes, you can contain transportation costs and meet service expectations at the same time.
Expedited shipping services are a sure way to consistently provide high service levels, and in some scenarios, it makes sense to pay extra for fast delivery, but expedited shipping will quickly blow a hole in your transportation budget.
So, how can you improve shipping speed without paying extra for expedited services? Follow these 5 tips:
- Standardize Dock Procedures. Truck drivers are often forced to wait a few hours at a loading dock because companies aren’t ready to load or unload freight. You can speed up the shipping process by preparing freight for loading before a truck arrives and by ensuring crews are ready to load/unload freight when a truck is scheduled to pick up or drop off. Standardizing dock procedures will cut a driver’s wait time and will benefit your customers and carriers.
- Communicate with Carriers. Use a small number of carriers for regular lanes and inform carriers of your schedule. This way, carriers can schedule accordingly and you can request the same driver per lane. Using preferred drivers allows them to become familiar with your origin facility, the route, the freight being hauled and the destination facility. This will improve service and speed by reducing delays due to mishandled freight or truck drivers taking slower or wrong routes.
- Ensure All Information is Correct. Double checking your bill of lading (BOL) only takes a minute and could save you a lot of time. Misinformation about the weight, density or classification of freight can have financial consequences – not only in fines but in lost time due to carriers reweighing, reclassifying or refusing to carry mislabeled freight. Accurate BOLs ensure your freight won’t incur fines and will be carried and delivered properly.
- Employ Just in Time (JIT) Shipping. JIT shipping most commonly refers to receiving inbound freight just at the time it is needed, although it can also refer to outbound shipping that’s highly coordinated with production schedules. JIT is very common in the industrial sector and successfully creates much needed operational efficiencies. JIT saves shippers’ money by reducing inventory costs. It keeps employees working on profitable activities such as loading and unloading freight. JIT shipping keeps products moving through your organization efficiently and regularly, which helps with pickup and delivery schedules. Ultimately, it increases the speed of outbound freight through more efficient handling and scheduling.
- Use a Transportation Management System (TMS). A TMS helps you ship freight cheaply and quickly. It is necessary for the optimization of transportation. The most important benefit of a TMS is visibility into operations. With TMS software, you can see which parts of your shipping processes are inefficient and slow. You’ll gain access to data on loading and unloading times, average length per haul, carrier performance metrics, and average times in transit. This data enables you to make informed decisions on which lanes, modes, and carriers to use to find the best combination for speed and efficiency.
Poor planning, lack of communication and overlooking data can result in rushed shipments at a high price. Keep expedited costs down with these 5 methods, along with the commitment to implement them over time, will enable you to ship freight efficiently and quickly without relying on expedited shipping.
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