Less-than-truckload freight shipping can be costly for e-commerce companies with diverse shipment sizes. However, optimizing LTL shipping processes for cost efficiency can reduce costs and improve logistics performance. One way to reduce LTL shipping costs is through freight consolidation. Combining your shipments with those from other shippers to assemble full truckloads can cut shipping costs by reducing the number of trips your freight takes.
Ship on Low Traffic Days
LTL freight shipping is a practical transportation solution for many businesses, including e-commerce merchants, with diverse shipment sizes. However, rising LTL rates can make shipping more costly. Shippers can reduce costs and improve overall logistics performance by optimizing their less-than-truckload freight operations for cost efficiency. One way to minimize LTL shipping costs is to ship on low-traffic days. During peak shipping times, carrier demand is higher, and rates are typically more expensive. Consider shipping on Mondays or Fridays when traffic is typically lighter to avoid these rates. This can help your business save money and benefit the carrier by reducing congestion on highways and secondary routes.
Additionally, providing accurate shipment information and data to carriers is essential. Accurate pallet counts and shipments allow carriers to optimize their resources, like drivers, trucks, and warehouse space for pickup and delivery. Providing early, accurate pickup and shipment data can also help reduce dwell time, another driver of higher LTL rates. This is especially important when working with a logistics provider with a direct digital connection to your carrier, driving efficient communication that supports the capacity and optimization of your freight operation.
Consolidated shipments and travel to the same destination reduce overall transportation costs. This is because a single truck can hold more freight than several trucks, reducing the number of touches and transfers. Also, freight consolidation decreases the chance of lost or damaged shipments, which can add to your shipping expenses. Evaluate your shipments’ characteristics and transit time requirements to determine the best method for you. For example, consider how fragile or perishable your products are when deciding on a freight shipment consolidation method. It would be best to weigh the safety benefits of consolidated freight shipping versus unconsolidated shipment handling. Another critical step to reducing shipping costs is accurately reporting your freight’s weight, dimensions, and class. This will avoid unnecessary fees from carriers, such as reweighs or reclassifications.
Additionally, it’s essential to prioritize locations with low dwell times to minimize the time your trucks spend idling in traffic. This can save fuel, labor, and vehicle wear and tear costs. Additionally, a transportation management system that provides instant status notifications and customized performance reports can streamline communication and increase efficiency in your shipping operations.
Ship with the Right Carrier
Less-than-truckload freight shipping improves efficiency and delivery speeds by eliminating the need for every shipment to fill a full truckload. This makes it ideal for shipping shipments heavier than parcels but lighter than a full truckload. However, determining when to use this option for your shipments is crucial to avoid unnecessary costs and delays in the supply chain. When shipping a large freight volume, consider partnering with a logistics provider with a transportation network that can provide insight into carrier and modal choices. This allows you to optimize freight for current market dynamics while saving time and money on less-than-optimal routes. Maintaining a strong relationship with carriers is also essential for reducing LTL rates and improving on-time performance. Ensure your freight is accurately reported (weight, zip code, and freight class) and packaged based on its properties to save carriers time and resources. They can then efficiently route shipments to the next available local driver rather than losing freight due to inaccurate information or improper packaging.
Pack Your Freight Properly
Less-than-truckload shipping is the best option for most shipments that don’t require an entire truckload of space. But, your freight must be adequately packed to avoid costly rework and delays during transportation. Consider minimizing required pallet spaces by reducing bulky packaging or stacking your goods to maximize the space on each pallet. Also, ensure your product is packaged securely on a pallet to protect it from shifting during transit. Using load straps, bands, and shrink wrap is an excellent way to secure your freight. The more accurate information you provide about your shipment up front, the better a carrier can plan for pickup and delivery times. This includes accurately reporting pallet counts, weight, and critical documentation. As capacity remains challenging, working with an experienced logistics provider who can help you create a more innovative freight shipping strategy is more critical than ever. Combining the tips mentioned above with an innovative suite of LTL freight services can create a more resilient shipping process that helps you manage costs and meet rising customer expectations.
Communicate With Your Carrier
In LTL freight shipping, communication is critical. Working with a logistics provider with the technology to share shipment information directly with carriers can significantly improve operational efficiencies by streamlining pickups, reducing business risk, and securing shipment capacity. Shippers should regularly evaluate their carrier relationships based on performance and cost savings. The least expensive carrier may only sometimes be the best option as market dynamics change. In addition, the NMFC guidelines for freight classification must be strictly followed, as inaccuracies could result in costly delays and fines. If your freight is not time-sensitive, utilizing “economy class” carriers can significantly reduce your rate. However, it would be best to understand that these options offer longer transit times. Optimizing your LTL freight operations for cost efficiency requires a little effort. Shipping on low-traffic days, maximizing the space in your trailers, and adequately classifying your freight can save money in transit and handling costs.