Why an Efficient LTL (Less Than Truckload) Shipping Process is Critical

Posted On 29th June 2017

If you ship LTL every day, you are not necessarily doing it efficiently. To ship LTL efficiently every day means optimizing your time and resources to produce great results for your Company and for its clients. An efficient LTL process ensures the shipment consistently arrives to your customer’s door without wasting unnecessary resources, money or time. With transportation accounting for only 3% to 15% of a product’s delivered value, and more spent on sales, marketing, customer service and manufacturing, the fundamentals of LTL shipping are often overlooked by a company.

How many shippers these days even know their proper NMFC codes, sub classes and matching classes? How many invest in scales to measure the actual weight of their shipment and therefore avoid surprise charges from carriers? How many have sufficiently trained their employees and have a checklist for each shipment, which includes weighing and measuring the final wrapped skids or boxes? How many put their product in a box that meets common carriers’ standards for sufficient toughness? How many shippers check carrier ratings and choose not on price alone but also on reputation and reliability? How much do claims cost your company? How much do late deliveries hurt your reputation and slow your product cycles? How much time does your customer service waste when there is a claim or order that needs to be replaced and how much of that claim is also a hit against your reputation? Most shippers do SOME of these things SOME of the time – but therein lies the problem: achieving an efficient LTL program which adds to customer satisfaction and long term company profitability requires applying these basics every day, like an exercise program. When you choose to go with that incredibly cheap carrier but then end out paying for it for the next three weeks, you have gone backward not forward, and reduced not just your efficiency but your company’s prospects.

Many shippers do not bother to use the available technology that will help them maintain a disciplined, efficient LTL program. Online brokers make all the features of sophisticated Transportation Management Systems available, plus add the power of their community, which strengthen the data inside their carrier reviews. There is no shipper in the world that has the time to check prices and the track records of every carrier on a consistent basis. TMS and online systems like FreighRun.com do this for you. If used properly, it can be the “central brain” or control center of a system of obtaining great prices from a myriad of companies in a transparent way, and a quick way to evaluate those carriers to know if your freight and your reputation should be entrusted to them.

To properly leverage your resources, let your TMS system and the Shipping Specialists connected to it update your receivers on the progress of the shipment and manage the delivery. This regular communication from your 3PL partner will significantly reduce calls to you and to your customer service team. Sufficiently empowered by the shipper, your 3PL’s Shipping Specialist becomes your company’s brand ambassador and will work extremely hard to make a favorable final “last mile” impression on your client.

In the end, a great 3PL partner, combined with their TMS system, is a resource multiplier for you and can help you focus on other important aspects of your operation. With great daily help from your 3PL partner, you will focus your and your company’s resources more efficiently, and achieve a more streamlined operation. An efficient LTL operation is vital in achieving customer loyalty, an important goal since in these competitive days “customer satisfaction” is no longer sufficient; your company needs that re-order!  An efficient, well-communicated and executed shipment is the “last touch” your company has with the client: it is critical that you make it a great experience for them!

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