When companies just start getting into the shipping world, everything is new and confusing. It’s great to have a logistics professional on board to help guide the company through the shipping challenges. Unfortunately, not every company has the luxury of having a freight guru on their team if shipping hasn’t been a big deal for them.
What happens when there is the need to start shipping? Shipping duties often fall on the shoulders of an existing employee, for example, a sales person. There are a couple common mistakes “fresh” shippers make due to their lack of hands-on experience.
It may seem obvious that the best way to save money is to cut out the middle-man. Technically, by going directly to the carrier you save money by not having to pay a 3PL to arrange it for you, right? Very wrong! You have to look at the big picture: a good 3PL is typically getting much better rates because of their volume and buying power, and is able to offer you a better rate (even with the upcharge) than a carrier directly.
Caught up in the overwhelming feeling of trying to arrange your first LTL shipment, you may forget about certain details – or not even think that this detail matters. Failing to provide extensive information to the carrier or your 3PL representative will most likely result in surprise upcharges, or simply, in-transit issues. Make sure to provide as much info about your product, packaging, pick-up and delivery hours and requirements, as well as any special services.
Forgetting about insurance
First time shippers often think that their freight is insured by default. Technically, it is – but does it always cover the full value of your shipment? Before handing your freight over to a carrier, make sure to research their insurance coverage policies. If your freight isn’t fully covered, it’s a good idea to purchase additional insurance. If you are working with a 3PL, let your representative know the shipment value and let them do the research.
Shipping your first load may be stressful and challenging. Many tiny details and variables go into the shipping process, and it may be hard to stay stress-free and cost-efficient without enough logistics experience. The good news is, we are always here to provide advice and help you handle your freight like a pro.