Biggest Freight Shipping Challenges: Managing Transit Times
05/27/2015 — Matt Nagel
Keeping customers informed and improving services are two of the main focuses of PartnerShip. That’s why we regularly seek feedback from customers and tailor our offerings and content to your needs. We recently asked a group of customers about their biggest challenges when shipping freight and received "managing transit times" as the third most mentioned challenge at 14% of overall responses. We’ll address this concern and provide some best practices to keep your mind at ease when scheduling and shipping your time-sensitive freight.
Managing the logistics for a company can be a trying task with multiple, and seemingly endless, steps along the way. Gathering materials, being sure to correctly package, and accurately completing your paperwork seemed like a lot in itself, but the most important step lies ahead – making sure it gets to where it needs to go on time. All previous work is rendered pointless if this stage is not completed.
Before shipping your freight, here are items to keep in mind to ensure there are no hiccups in your transit:
- Accuracy on your bill of lading (BOL) is key to keeping your shipment on track and avoiding time consuming reweighs or reclassifications from carriers. Knowing your freight classes as well as accurately weighing your shipment is extremely important to getting your shipment to it’s destination on time.
- No one likes paying more for their shipping, but knowing which accessorials to add when scheduling your freight shipment will save you from situations like a refused delivery that could have been avoided by including a lift gate. Accessorials like advance notification can also help you and your company better manage your time when shipping freight.
- Considering guaranteed options from carriers will provide you with a little more insurance when scheduling a shipment where you may be unsure about the time-frame's likelihood. While the guaranteed options cost a bit more, paying a little extra when you know you need it is better than the fallout that comes from the alternatives.
Setting yourself up for a properly timed shipment mostly occurs before the carrier is even dispatched to your location, but there are a few measures you can take during and after your freight is in transit:
- Late pickups can be frustrating, but they occasionally happen as drivers get detained with earlier pickups, encounter trailer capacity issues, are caught in heavy traffic, etc. Our customer service team at PartnerShip does a great job staying on top of pickup times and securing a time commitment from the carrier's dispatch when needed. However, often times it makes sense for you, the customer, to call the carrier directly in the event you need to work out a new time or solution.
- Stay on top of your shipment by using our track shipment tool to check the status of your shipment and get an estimated time of delivery (ETA). All you will need is the tracking, pro, or BOL number and the carrier you used for your shipment.
- If you find yourself sending multiple shipments of similar specifications to the same consignee, as many companies do, making notes and keeping a close eye on your shipping history can help you effectively prepare for the future. Track your experiences with certain carriers as they use different lanes to transport shipments. PartnerShip also works with many regional and local carriers that specialize in certain geographical regions.
When all is said and done, planning still only amounts to a portion of the battle. It’s important to remember that freight carrier transit times are estimations and can vary due to weather, traffic, and mechanical issues. Yes, a carrier’s goal is to stick as closely as possible to the transit times provided and deliver to a happy consignee. However, we live in an imperfect world and things don’t always work out that way. Plan ahead and give yourself the best chance possible of a timely shipping operation.
As always, PartnerShip is here to help manage your company's logistics and keep your shipping operation a smooth running process. Feel free to contact PartnerShip with any questions or concerns.