• National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

    09/19/2012 — Scott Frederick

    Please join PartnerShip and the American Trucking Association (ATA) this week to honor the 3.1 million professional truck drivers that deliver America's freight safely and securely, every day. If you're not familiar with this event, read the information below as pulled from the ATA news release from earlier this week.

    —Professional truck drivers deliver our nation's essential freight safely, every day,' said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. —As a result of this commitment, our nation's highways are the safest they have ever been and our grocery shelves are stocked. We as a nation, owe a great deal to the truck drivers out on our nation's roads, as well as the families of those behind the wheel.'

    During this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week of Sept. 16-22, ATA, its state affiliates and America's Road Team Captains will mark the celebration by holding events across the nation.

    The celebrations this week will be hosted by motor carriers, logistics companies, shippers and other trucking related industries. Ways in which said entities show their appreciation include million-mile and safety awards, cash bonuses or gifts, an extra paid day off, a cup of coffee or windshield cleaning at truck stops, goodie bags with fresh fruit and water, free health checks and numerous celebration meals. Several events will last all week, until every driver cycles through company headquarters. Office personnel at some companies are also encouraged to spend a few days out on the road to see the driver's side of their business. Many celebrations will be kicked off with a video tribute to the professional truck driver (see the ATA "Bring It" YouTub Channel).

    There are over 3.1 million professional truck drivers delivering life's essentials, nationwide. These professional men and women log close to 398 billion miles each year. In 2011, trucking professionals delivered 67 percent of the U.S. freight tonnage, equivalent to 9.2 billion tons of freight. 80 percent of U.S. communities depend solely on the trucking industry for the delivery of goods. Professional truck drivers keep America moving.

    ATA began celebrating National Truck Driver Appreciation Week in 1988 in an effort to honor those hard working men and women who deliver life's essentials, every day. Follow National Truck Driver Appreciation Week on Twitter and Facebook.

    Once again, on behalf of PartnerShip and our 16,000+ active customers, we'd like to express our total gratitude and appreciation for the drivers who are critical to our all of our businesses - and especially for the drivers who deliver our goods every day as representatives of our core carriers: FedEx, UPS, Con-way Freight, YRC Freight, Old Dominion, ABF, Pitt Ohio, and New Penn!

    Thank you!


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  • 8 Excuses for Not Working with a 3PL Provider

    09/14/2012 — Scott Frederick

    PartnerShip LogisticsWhen a member of the PartnerShip sales team talks with a prospective customer for the first time, they occasionally are met with some resistance to the idea of working with a 3PL provider. For small and medium businesses, working with a 3PL can seem like a daunting notion. Here are some common "excuses" cited as reasons for not working with a 3PL partner:

    1. "I can't afford to switch carriers." In some instances this may be a good reason to stay the course if you are getting really good pricing that can't be matched by the 3PL. However, in most cases a 3PL can use its buying clout to negotiate better rates on your behalf. A 3PL can also audit and consolidate freight bills, and provide claims filing assistance, saving additional time that the small businesses can use to focus on more critical tasks. Additionally, some 3PLs offer additional liability protection on your shipments that you may not be receiving today (for instance, PartnerShip provides $25/pound liability coverage, whereas many carriers offer only $10/pound).
    2. "Freight costs are not a big deal because my customer pays for the freight." Unless you're product is totally indispensible, this is extremely short-sighted thinking. The total landed price if a product always influences the final sale price. Your customer may not care now, but if they find a cheaper alternative - one that can possible be sourced from a local vendor instead of you - their business will be at risk.
    3. "I buy all of my inbound materials vendor prepaid." If you are the customer, then you are probably overpaying for your inbound goods if you trust that your vendor is always giving you the lowest freight price. Wouldn't it at least make sense to explore both "inbound prepaid" and "inbound collect" options to see which yields the lower overall cost of goods? The reality is that there's no such thing as "free shipping," so don't be fooled into thinking those costs aren't hidden somewhere.
    4. "Freight costs are not of a concern since my profit margins are good." Sure, margins may be good today, but they won't be good tomorrow if your customer finds a lower-priced alternative. Even if they don't find a lower-priced alternative, what's wrong with the idea of improving upon your already good margins? You never know when those additional profits may be needed down the road.
    5. "I pay my staff good salaries, so I shouldn't need a 3PL to do their jobs for them." If you are a small or medium business, then in all likelihood transportation decisions are only a small portion of your employees' overall responsibilities. When you work with a quality 3PL, you aren't duplicating their work - you're giving them the tools and support to do their jobs more effectively. A 3PL partner will allow you and your people to focus on your core competencies which are probably marketing, merchandising, and selling your products.  
    6. "I already have great pricing with my current carrier." If your only evidence of this statement comes from your current carrier, they may be guilty of a conflict of interest. Would they really admit it if you had bad pricing? Definitely not. Additionally, some carriers can be price-competitive in some lanes, but not competitive in other lanes. When you work with a quality 3PL partner, you generally get a few options for each of your shipping lanes ensuring you enjoy the lowest possible cost on every shipment, every time.
    7. "My business is down and so I'm not shipping as much." If your business is down like so many others in today's economy, your "buying power" is probably down as well. This makes it all the more imperative that you leverage the buying clout of a 3PL. They can ensure, no matter if your business is up or down, you maintain low-priced freight rates that are consistent with the most competitive, prevailing shipping rates in the market.
    8. "My business is up and I simply don't have time to deal with a 3PL." No one can deny that entering into a new partnership with a 3PL - or any other supplier - takes a certain amount of time. However, if you do the real math, quite often the nominal time investment it will take to bring a quality 3PL on board will more than pay for it in future freight and time savings. Additionally, having this foundation in place will allow you to continue to maximize your business growth going forward, without having to get bogged down with the nitty-gritty details around shipping and carrier relations. 

    The advantages of using a 3PL freight partner are clear, and it is important to choose the right one. As a dependable and reputable 3PL freight partner, PartnerShip is your shipping connection to substantial discounts and customized solutions for your business.  For more information contact us at 800-599-2902 or email select@PartnerShip.com. You can also download our short, electronic white paper below on "The Advantages of Using a 3PL Freight Partner" by clicking the button below.


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  • Small Package versus LTL Freight

    09/06/2012 — Scott Frederick

    A common dilemma for businesses is deciding the appropriate shipping mode to use for their important shipments. Shipping mode choices include LTL freight, small package, ground, air, ocean, rail, intermodal, and others. When deciding whether to use a small package or LTL freight carrier, for example, shippers must take into consideration the weight and characteristics of the shipment, including delivery urgency. The old —150-pound' rule is not an absolute guideline anymore, but obviously the weight of the shipment must be a major consideration in choosing a shipping mode.

    Shipment Characteristics

    The size, weight, and shape of the materials you are shipping can also impact your decision making. Are your boxes big and bulky, small and compact, unitized or loose? LTL often is a preferable choice when the shipment's boxes are oddly shaped, as in furniture. LTL is also the way to go when your shipment is palletized, as small package carriers only handle individual boxes. Being less automated than the small package shippers, the LTL carrier will often use forklifts instead of conveyor belts. Strange as it may seem, moving odd-shaped boxes and pallets with a forklift produces fewer damages than moving them on a conveyor belt with thousands of other packages. The shape of the carton may cause it to fall off the belt or at least be tumbled around a good deal. Also, when you ship multiple loose boxes, the chances of losing one or two them are greater than had you shipped them together on a pallet.

    Shipment Destination

    Another area to consider is the receiving facilities for the shipment. Is there a dock? Does the shipment need to be delivered to the tenth floor of a building with no freight elevator? Is inside delivery even necessary? LTL freight carriers will generally be better delivering dock-to-dock and business-to-business, while small package carriers are better able to handle inside and residential deliveries.  

    Service Needs

    Service must also be taken into account. If your shipment must travel 2,000 miles and be delivered the next-day, you're going to have to consider an air express service (unless it's Friday, in which case some ground carriers can use the weekend to get your shipment across the country). Generally, if you don't need your shipment delivered within one or two days, LTL freight is going to be less expensive than small package carriers who have more urgent delivery capabilities built into their systems — particularly as your shipment weight increases. LTL freight may also be a good option for shipments moving less than 500 miles, because you can often get next-day delivery on those distances.  

    Pricing and Fees

    Of course, the primary consideration is quite often price. Most of you are painfully aware of the charges small package carriers assess for services such as rural delivery, address correction and Saturday delivery. LTL carriers have similar charges as well, especially for inside delivery or delivery to a recipient who has no loading dock. Carriers in both industries continue to charge fuel surcharges, which also have a material effect on your shipping price. On a percentage basis, LTL carriers generally charge higher fuel surcharges (about double that of small package carriers) but, in the end, it's the total price you need to look at, since LTL is often less expense on the —line haul' portion of the invoice.

    Loss and Damage Concerns

    The risk of loss or damage to your precious shipment is always a concern, regardless of what type of carrier you use.  Small package carriers have a higher loss and damage ratio than LTL carriers, but neither is altogether immune to the issue.  LTL carriers provide the advantage of providing significantly more liability coverage than small package carriers (which are often capped at $100 per package). So a small package carrier will have only $300 worth of liability on that 3 package, 300 pound shipment; whereas, an LTL carrier would provide liability coverage of $750. That's more than double the protection of the small package carrier.

    Making the Decision

    Sometimes the best course of action is to seek help from transportation professionals (like those at PartnerShip) to help you make the right decision. There is no set formula for the best service-price ratio, but as a general rule of thumb, shipments over 200 pounds that don't require urgent delivery are best handled by LTL carriers. Shipments less than 200 pounds, those that can't be placed on a pallet, or those that require urgent delivery over longer distances, are often best handled by small package carriers.

    Interested in learning more?                                             

    Let PartnerShip help you to determine when and where you should be using small package and LTL freight carriers. Contact us today.

    No matter the package size or shipment mode, it's important to be using the proper techniques for your packaging. Learn how to prevent costly and time-consuming mistakes by downloading our ultimate guide to proper packaging

    Free white paper! The Ultimate Guide to Packaging Your Shipments


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