• 5 Foolproof Ways to Take on Manufacturing Shipping Challenges

    01/11/2022 — Jen Deming

    5 Foolproof Ways to Take On Manufacturing Shipping Challenges

    The manufacturing industry is vital to our economy, but producing components and materials is just the first step in the fulfillment process. Manufacturers have to make sure products are shipped efficiently, arrive on time, and don’t experience damage. In addition to rising costs and other issues we’ve seen across all industries, manufacturers face a unique set of logistics obstacles. You may be shipping large, fragile shipments that are expensive and hard to handle. Services and equipment needs can vary day-to-day, so it’s important to find the right shipping solutions that meet your specific needs. Read on to learn five foolproof ways to take on manufacturing shipping challenges.

    1. Prioritize the safety of your loads

      Manufacturers ship a wide variety of commodities, from small parts and components, to fully-assembled heavy machinery. For any-sized load, you need to take the safety and security of your shipments into consideration in order to limit damage and other issues. Start with regularly auditing your parcel and freight carriers to ensure their service levels meet your business expectations. Spec out your shipping safety “need to haves,” such as security during transit, carrier reputation, and damage statistics. Keep track of what’s working, as well as any issues you are experiencing with current carriers. If they aren’t making the cut, do some research. Who do your customers and colleagues prefer working with and why? Try out new carrier options and look into alternate service levels that may better offset your shipping challenges. Most importantly, ensure that your preferred carriers are communicated to your shipping department and warehouse team as well as any outside parties such as suppliers who may be arranging your shipping.

      Because security is of the utmost importance, ensure that your packaging is perfected, whether you are shipping small parts via parcel services or large freight orders. You should use quality materials and keep some basics in mind:

      • Don’t reuse packaging to ensure structural integrity
      • Limit extra space to avoid shifting and breakage during transit
      • Use pallet wrap to keep loose components together
      • When shipping assembled machinery, consider using custom crates rather than pallets

    2. Double-down on service options that encourage timely delivery

      Manufacturing any type of product typically involves several different parties who tackle specific steps during fabrication, from start to finished product. If anything goes wrong logistically during that process, it can disrupt the entire supply chain and lead to more shipping challenges. It’s crucial that your business is utilizing shipping providers and services that prioritize timely, expedient delivery. 

      Both FedEx and UPS offer different service levels depending on the urgency of your parcel shipment. If you’re in a crunch, FedEx can help make a speedy delivery with options like FedEx Priority Overnight® or FedEx 2Day A.M®. UPS also offers expedited services, such as UPS Express Critical® and UPS Next Day Air®. 

      If you have a true freight emergency, take a look at estimated transit times between carriers and their services. It’s probably not the time to use low-cost or asset-light carriers, as they typically have longer transit times. Many LTL freight carriers offer time critical, expedited, and guaranteed options. Just-in-time delivery options can also ensure your shipments are delivered as soon as possible. Because these services often use dedicated trucks or air/ground solutions to maximize efficiency, they can be pricey. Be mindful of your budget, and stay on top of any emergencies when you can. If expedited services are necessary, make sure you quote with several carriers and explore all options in order to keep costs low.

    3. Confirm your freight class before you ship

      Manufacturing businesses ship diverse products or commodities to any number of delivery locations. Whether your business is in the field of precision medical equipment, mold builders, automotive engineering, or any other specialty field, a major manufacturing shipping challenge is being an expert on your products’ specific freight class and NMFC codes.

      The challenge with not knowing these codes can affect everything from your total freight cost to the result of any claims filed. A common mistake many shippers make is using an outdated or blanket NMFC or class code. For example, the ‘machinery’ group NMFC code is 11400. There are over fifty major categories that specify exactly what type of machinery, and they range anywhere from class 55 to 500. That’s hundreds of dollars difference in a final bill. The class for your specific shipment is determined not only by the product itself, but also density, dimensions and weight, packaging type, whether it’s assembled or in parts, and other factors. On top of that, these designations and codes are updated regularly. If you haven’t shipped this product very recently, you need to check it again, especially if any packaging specs have changed.

      In the event that you enter the incorrect class code on your BOL, your freight will likely be flagged by the carrier. This will lead to an inspection, and some additional fees that are going to both inflate your bill and delay your delivery. Because freight class can be complicated, especially for manufacturers, it’s important to have more than a basic understanding of how LTL freight rates are determined. If you have any trouble finding the most accurate class code for your shipment, and you probably will, don’t hesitate to call the carrier or work with a freight broker who can help you.

    4. Make sure the value of your load is covered 

      Damage is a huge concern, especially based on the types of products being shipped. Freight shipping involves tons of handling and frequent stops at terminals. As a result, it’s probably not a matter of if, but when, you’ll get hit with damages. We don’t want to jinx your shipment, but let’s explore the event that your load encounters some damages or loss while on the road. 

      Freight damage is frustrating from the start because it’s expensive, can hold up the fulfillment of an order, and potentially complicate relationships with your customers. Because many manufacturers’ shipments are extra fragile, hard to maneuver, and worth a lot of money, the problem can be compounded. It’s the shipper’s responsibility to prove the carrier is at fault if damage occurs, and frankly, a freight carrier will do everything they can to avoid responsibility. Even if you do win a claim and receive reimbursement, there are limits to carrier liability coverage and payouts. They may not meet the entire value of your load.

      To avoid extra headaches, make sure that you have your own freight insurance that will fully cover the value of your load. It also does not require that you prove the carrier is at fault for damage or loss, just that the damage occurred. While there is an extra charge for the insurance, it’s usually based on the declared value of your freight, and it is extremely worthwhile should damage occur.

    5. Use a freight provider that offers custom shipping solutions

      There’s not always enough time in the day or people in your shipping department to stay on top of the many manufacturing shipping challenges. Let’s face it, a one-size-fits-all approach is not going to work for an industry that has to constantly reinvent itself and adapt to consumer needs, tech advancements, and other changes. A third-party freight provider can help identify the unique needs of your business, without cutting any corners. 

      Cutting costs is always at the top of the priorities list, and taking a fresh look at your shipping procedures can be a fruitful place to start. A 3PL can help leverage carrier relationships and buying power to acquire better shipping discounts for your business. PartnerShip is connected to many manufacturing and industrial trade associations, like NTMA and PMPA. As a benefit provider to members, PartnerShip helps manufacturing businesses save on shipping costs with competitive rates with carriers who prioritize safety and better shipment handling. 

      Working with a freight provider can take on several of your shipping challenges at once.

      • Conducting carrier audits for better pricing and service. 
      • Managing claims and acting as your advocate, by touching base with carriers and making sure proper documentation is in order.
      • Determining if and when you may need to use expedited freight services, and helping to quote and schedule your day-to-day shipments.
      • Finding special equipment options that will balance cost and safety if you have an extra special load.

    Turn your manufacturing shipping challenges into full-scale improvements

    There are a lot of shipping obstacles to keep track of, and they can be a burden to navigate. Depending on your business size, your budget, and the time you have available, it’s not always possible to become an expert on your own. PartnerShip has the experience and proficiency to help take on your greatest shipping challenges, so you can get back to business. Download our all-encompassing guide to freight claims to learn more about how you can effectively resolve a top shipping obstacle for manufacturers.  


    Freight Claims White Paper

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  • Manufacturing Day 2019 is Friday, October 4th!

    10/01/2019 — PartnerShip

    PartnerShip Celebrates 2019 MFG Day

    PartnerShip is proud to support and celebrate MFG Day 2019!

    The first Friday in October, MFG Day was created to show the reality of modern manufacturing and celebrate the large role manufacturing plays in the US economy. Thousands of companies and educational institutions across the country open their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders to connect with America’s future creators to create an interest in a career in manufacturing.

    PartnerShip is proud to work with many organizations that support and promote manufacturing, such as NTMA, MAPP, PMPA, Manufacturing Works, and many more.

    Today’s manufacturing jobs are high-skill and high-tech, but there is still a skilled labor shortage in the manufacturing sector. MFG Day is an opportunity for people, especially students, to learn what modern manufacturing really looks like and to discover that manufacturing offers high-quality and high-paying jobs and career choices. Consider these statistics:


    Last year, 275,000 people attended more than 3,000 MFG Day events.

    PartnerShip helps hundreds of manufacturers ship smarter and we’re proud to spread the word about the importance of manufacturing. If you’re a manufacturer that wants to work with a shipping partner that understands your business, contact PartnerShip for a quote on your next shipment!

    Get a Free Quote


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  • Just-In-Time Delivery Options You Need to Consider

    11/07/2018 — Leah Palnik

    just-in-time delivery options you need to consider

    If you have freight that can’t afford to wait, just-in-time delivery can sometimes feel like a gamble. Will the carrier deliver on time? Will my freight be safe? Will it cost me an arm and a leg? Knowing your options before the need arises can make all the difference.

    Many carriers will offer expedited or guaranteed LTL services. These vary based on transit times and delivery windows. Guaranteed services come at an additional fee and you can typically choose between morning delivery or end-of-day delivery. Expedited LTL freight services help to shave off one or two days from standard transit times. However, sometimes hot loads require even more assurances.

    For just-in-time delivery, dedicated moves by sprinter vans, cargo vans, or straight trucks can often be a smarter option. Cargo vans and sprinter vans are great for moving smaller loads for short distance trips. Straight trucks are ideal for medium sized loads and can handle longer trips. Since these vehicles vary from your traditional tractor trailer, it’s important to be aware of their capacity:

    • Cargo van capacity is typically 2,000-5,000 lbs. and up to 8 ft.
    • Sprinter van capacity is typically 3,000-5,000 lbs. and up to 12 ft.
    • Straight truck capacity is typically up to 12,500 lbs. and up to 22 ft.

    Advantages of expedited ground services
    Capacity is just one way that dedicated vans and straight trucks differ from your typical freight services. Expedited ground services have some significant advantages for just-in-time deliveries:

    • You can get time definite delivery. Pick-up and delivery times are more accurate because your load is moved on a dedicated vehicle and often served by team drivers.
    • Your freight has less risk of damage. Your freight stays on the same vehicle the entire way and doesn’t share the space with other freight.
    • Your freight moves fast. Because of their size, vans and straight trucks can be loaded faster, can move faster, and aren’t limited by the same amount of restrictions that tractor trailers are.

    Are these services right for your just-in-time freight?
    Like any freight service, just-in-time delivery options aren’t a one size fits all. There are some types of loads that are better candidates for dedicated vans than others. Here are some factors to consider:

    • Size. What are the dimensions of your freight and how much does it weigh? Since sprinter vans and cargo vans are smaller than your typical tractor trailer, you need to know if your load will fit.
    • Destination. How far does your freight need to travel? Cargo vans and sprinter vans are better suited for shorter distance trips. Are you delivering to an area that’s hard to reach? Due to their small size and few restrictions, vans have better accessibility.
    • Delivery requirements. Do you have a specific delivery window you need to meet or do you have some flexibility? Shipping in a van will give you more control since the move is dedicated.
    • Risk of damage. Are you shipping fragile cargo? If safety is a significant concern, using a dedicated van can give you peace-of-mind. There are less stops and less freight on the vehicle to worry about shifting and impacting your cargo.

    Shipments for manufacturing businesses are often good candidates for just-in-time delivery with a cargo van, a sprinter van, or a straight truck. With production efficiency being extremely important, these services can help keep an assembly line running by delivering a replacement part or new equipment exactly when they are needed. Manufacturers can also save a significant amount of money by having raw materials delivered right when they are needed instead of dealing with storage costs.

    Another situation where dedicated vans or straight trucks can solve just-in-time delivery needs is with trade show shipments. Convention centers often have specific receiving times and restrictions that can result in hefty fees if not followed. Even worse, if your exhibit materials don’t arrive in time for the show or show up damaged, it can be hard to recover. No exhibitor wants to make an investment into a trade show only to be left without their booth materials.

    Just-in-time delivery carriers and brokers
    If you think you could benefit from just-in-time delivery with a dedicated van or straight truck, you need to work with the right partners. Not all freight brokers have relationships with carriers that have cargo vans, sprinter vans, or straight trucks in their fleet. Working with a broker that can’t offer these services can limit your options – and when you have a hot load, there’s nothing worse.

    The carriers your broker works with also need to be reliable and extremely responsive. Make sure your broker has standards in place that require the carriers they work with to have a history of meeting delivery expectations.

    Overall, a quality freight broker should help you ship smarter. When you work with our team at PartnerShip, you only have to make one call for all of your freight needs. We understand the urgency of your just-in-time freight and we know how to find you the delivery options that are best suited for your needs and budget. Contact us today for a free quote.


    Not using the right service for your freight is just one thing that could be hurting your bottom line. Download our free white paper to make sure you're not making any of these common mistakes!
    The 5 Most Common Freight Shipping Mistakes


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  • PartnerShip Celebrates Manufacturing Day!

    10/01/2015 — Matt Nagel

    PartnerShip joins North America in celebrating manufacturers! This year, MFG DAY will be celebrated on October 2nd, and is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. MFG DAY addresses common misconceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.

    MFG DAY is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate manufacturers that have common concerns and challenges. The rallying point for a growing mass movement, MFG DAY empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.

    Tomorrow is an important day for PartnerShip and the hundreds of manufacturing companies to which we provide shipping services. If you would like to learn more about MFG DAY, visit mfgday.com. There, you can find resources to help you get involved, sign up to host an event, view sponsors, and get up-to-date news. We would also recommend visiting the MFG DAY YouTube channel for great videos about events and manufacturing in general!




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  • Happy Manufacturing Day from PartnerShip!

    10/04/2013 — Scott Frederick

    To all of our manufacturing customers, including those that are members of groups we support such as NTMA, NATM, ICMAD, MAPP, PMPA, Wire-Net, and many others ... we'd like to wish you all a Happy Manufacturing Day! Without the products you manufacture, we'd have nothing to ship!

    Supported by a group of industry sponsors and co-producers, Manufacturing Day is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges. The rallying point for a growing mass movement, Manufacturing Day empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.

    To learn more, please visit www.mfgday.com where you'll find cool resources and videos like the one shown below from the folks at Manpower.

     


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