• LTL Freight Quotes with ABF Now Available

    04/26/2012 — Scott Frederick

    PaLTL Freight CarriersrtnerShip has a new alliance with ABF, making them the newest carrier partner available through our LTL Freight shipping programs (LTL stands for less-than-truckload). ABF joins our short list of reputable national and regional carriers, which also includes UPS Freight, YRC Freight, Con-way Freight, Old Dominion, FedEx Freight, New Penn, and Pitt Ohio. When PartnerShip customers use the Quote/Create Shipment tool on PartnerShip.com, they will now often see ABF shown as a service option depending upon the specific lane. ABF has been delivering LTL shipments since 1923, and they are one of the largest, most recognized LTL carriers in the industry today, providing both national and regional service. For more information about ABF, how to get no-obligation LTL freight quotes, or to request a free LTL freight shipment analysis, click the button below.

    PartnerShip also has an alliance with ABF to provide moving services for many of our retail customers. ABF does this through their U-Pack Moving service. If you are a PartnerShip retail customer interested in adding moving services to your shipping program, please give us a call at 800-599-2902.


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  • Small Businesses Cope With Rising Shipping Costs

    04/20/2012 — Scott Frederick

    Manage Shipping CostsWith ever-soaring fuel costs and the resulting rise in shipping rates, many businesses may find their profit margins shrinking even as production increases. Many small businesses use e-commerce in the start-up stages, but with the recent rise in shipping rates, owners are looking for ways to reduce shipping costs.  

    In-House Strategies

    • Postage meters are an inexpensive way to save time and money for companies that either ship very small light weight products or for which shipping is a smaller portion of their overall product delivery.  A Postage meter will weigh packages accurately, assess precise postage charges and print the shipping label. By taking the guessing out of shipping estimates, both your company and your customer will be satisfied, and shipping overages will be eliminated.

    • Compare services and pricing for each carrier on common shipping requirements. Factor in delivery time as well as shipping costs; customers satisfaction is higher when delivery times are shorter.  Eventually you'll gain a picture of what shipping criteria is best serviced by which service. For example FedEx Express has overnight and 2-day delivery options for small packages, but if your shipment is heavier (more than 10 pounds) and isn't under strict time constraints, it might be more cost-effective to use FedEx Ground service.

    Outbound Shipping Solutions for Larger Volumes

    • Consolidate your orders into less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipments (more than 200 pounds) could save you even more on shipping. If your company has multiple products going to the same customer, it might make sense to consolidate them into one shipment and use an LTL freight carrier like UPS Freight or YRC Freight. You'll pay quite a bit less than parcel or express service and your liability coverage will be much better as well should there be any loss or damage in transit. 

    • Work with a third party logistics (3PL) company. If you don't have the time or resources to figure out which carriers and services would be best for your shipping volumes, a company like PartnerShip can handle the logistics for you and often negotiate a better overall shipping rate for you.

    Inbound Shipping Costs

    • Small business owners may lump their inbound freight costs into the cost of goods, but poor inbound freight management can severely impact your gross profit margin.  Be sure every vendor invoice is reviewed for hidden fees. Vendors can inflate "Shipping and Handling" fees to compensate for lower priced items. 

    • Send routing instructions to your vendors specifying which carriers you want them to use when shipping you your products. You can also set up a direct billing account for vendors that ship to you via FedEx or LTL freight carriers through your 3PL partner. With a direct relationship, you'll be able to track shipping volume putting you in a place to negotiate a better overall rate. 

    Small businesses must continually adjust their practices to survive and grow in today's economic climate. Adapting to rising shipping costs is something your company can't afford not to do.


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  • Small Business Leadership Lessons

    04/19/2012 — Scott Frederick

    Steve Jobs BookThere was a great article by Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, in the April 2012 issue of Harvard Business Review, also posted on the HBR.org website. Mr. Walter summarizes some of the key leadership lessons that he observed through his work on the biography. I have bulleted-pointed them here:

    • Focus
    • Simplify
    • Take Responsibility End-to-End
    • When Behind, Leapfrog
    • Put Products Before Profits
    • Don't Be a Slave to Focus Groups
    • Bend Reality
    • Impute
    • Push for Perfection
    • Tolerate Only "A" Players
    • Engage Face-to-Face
    • Know Both the Big Picture and the Details
    • Combine the Humanities with the Sciences
    • Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

    Among these lessons are some great stories and anecdotes from which every small business can learn. Frankly, the author had me at "Focus" - and I absolutely love the white board story - but the rest are good too. Although the PartnerShip business model is radically different from the Apple situation, there are some parallels in terms of the entrepreneurial spirit we have, and the intense focus we place on our LTL Freight, Small Package, and Tradeshow shipping services.

    So - no matter what small business model you are in, if you are looking for some entrepreneurial inspiration, then you should definitely check out this article.


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  • Mark Your Calendar for National Student Day

    04/17/2012 — Scott Frederick

    National Student DayOne of the cool things about the affiliation that PartnerShip has with the National Association of College Stores (NACS, Inc.), is that we get to participate in some really good projects and events that support greater education and academics across North America. For instance, NACS recently launched its campaign for the 2nd Annual National Student Day on October 4, 2012.

    From a student standpoint, this day is about celebrating and promoting social responsibility. In addition to academics, students across the U.S. and Canada do some pretty amazing things - from volunteering to be a Big Brother or Sister, to helping out at homeless shelters. National Student Day is about celebrating the fact that they continue to study, serve, and grow as individuals.

    From a business standpoint, National Student Day offers stores and their vendors the opportunity to connect with their student customers in a unique and fun way. Although PartnerShip provides LTL freight, small package, and tradeshow shipping services to a wide variety of industries - college stores and their vendors are still an important group of customers for us. And so ... our calendars are marked for October 4, 2012, and we're ready to join the National Student Day celebration!


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  • Low Inventories Require Reliable Freight Shipping

    04/16/2012 — Scott Frederick

    The U.S. Department of Commerce recently released updated statistics on business inventories. While inventory levels continue to be somewhat flat, the rate of demand for reliable freight shipping services and on-demand types of shipping are growing - this according to Armada, an executive intelligence firm based in Kansas City, MO. Armada believes the low inventory trend will drive upexpected spikes in raw material and commodities demand, which ultimately may drive sales at the retail levels as well. But this short-term "whip-saw" effect may not be indicative of longer-term growth trends. They also contend that inventory replenishment continues to be at the very fundamental base of much of what is happening in the broader economy. The chart shown below helps show how business sentiment is keeping inventory balances very low, while maximizing "just-in-time" inventory strategies relative to sales -- ultimately keeping overall inventory-to-sales levels at near 20 year lows. 

    What does this mean for small business? It appears that retail growth rates will remain steady for the foreseeable future, but that some of the short-term spikes we may see in shipping could be related to inventory replenishment strategies rather than true consumer demand. Stay tuned, and check out the www.armada-intel.com website for more interesting strategic and economic insights.

    Inventory to Sales Chart


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  • NMFC Changes That Could Affect Freight Shipping Rates

    04/05/2012 — Scott Frederick

    The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) is a standard for thousands of NMFC bookcommodities likely to be shipped by carriers who agree to use this system. Factors such as weight, item type, dimensions, density, and valuation, among others, are used to determine the NMFC. The NMFC identifies what you are shipping and its freight class, which ultimately affects your freight shipping rates.

    Frequent freight shippers and users of the NMFC will want to take note of some changes to the classification system – which will be effective April 14, 2012:

    ITEM

    DESCRIPTION

    18260

    AUTO BODY PARTS – MOVING TO A FULL SCALE DENSITY ITEM

    44515

    NEW ITEM FOR FLAMMABLE SOLID, SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTIBLE OR DANGEROUS WHEN WET MATERIALS

    80580

    TO INCLUDE THEATER CHAIRS, REVOLVING CHAIRS AND STOOLS-FULL SCALE DENSITY ITEM.  CANCELLING ITEMS 80640 AND 80700

    90500

    STONE BLOCKS – ON RACKS (AS A-FRAMES) CLASS 150, SHIPPED FLAT CLASS 55

    109700

    WILL INCLUDE LAMPS, ARTIFICIAL SUNLIGHT, HEATING OR THERAPEUTIC – FULL SCALE DENSITY ITEM.  CANCELLING 109460

    114140

    AIR HEATERS – GOING TO A 3 TIER DENSITY

    158880

    TO INCLUDE ALL SINKS – FULL SCALE DENSITY – CANCELLING ALL LAVATORY SINKS AND SINK ITEMS.


    As always, PartnerShip is here to help you determine your commodity's NMFC. Contact us at 800-599-2902 or email select@PartnerShip.com
    with any questions. Our freight experts stand ready to help you with your freight shipping or to provide you with LTL freight quotes if needed.


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