Less than truckload (LTL) is a beneficial and cost-efficient option for shipping goods. However, it’s often challenging for the shippers to manage it in the right way. It can be complicated to recognize the opportunities for better LTL freight performance. If you often face shipment delays, disruptions, or spend too much on LTL freight, you probably want to improve the effectiveness of the process. There are several useful practices you can implement to improve LTL efficiency.

How to improve LTL efficiency?

Extend lead times

It’s not a secret that advanced planning leads to a more consistent, high-performing delivery. There are numerous benefits to prolonging your lead times, at least to a few days extra. With limited LTL capacity, the earlier you start planning, the more access you get to the pool of top LTL carriers. Consequently, you have more diversity and flexibility in choosing an LTL carrier that will match your requirements, and not settle for options that are left on the market. With having better carriers, and more time to plan, you can get an accurate delivery time estimate, communicate all the additional services needed and eventually get high on-time performance. It’s recommended to leave 5-6 days of lead time to successfully plan an LTL shipment.

Freight weight and packing

Freight weight and shape also play a critical role in how attractive your shipment is to the carrier. Essentially, your freight has to be palletized and properly packed so it’s easier to stack. Any inappropriate packaging will probably lead to a delay, extra charge, or a failed shipment. Also, too light or too large volume of LTL will lose priority over average shipments weighing from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds.

Communication with carriers

Finally, communicating all the details to your carrier is essential for a high on-time delivery rate. You should accurately state all the shipment information, like precise weight, dimensions, and freight class. In case you need any additional services, like shipping to remote locations, using a liftgate, or more, it’s critical to communicate it to the carrier. This will match you with the exact transportation option that you need and will leave both parties satisfied.

Ultimately, looking into your current strategy and operations should provide a useful insight into efficiency and freight spend. After conducting a comprehensive analysis, it’s easy to determine where you can improve the process and boost LTL efficiency.