2019 New Year’s Resolutions for Manufacturers with Shipping
New Year’s resolutions are fine and dandy – but without an effective plan and realistic expectations, most of them fall short. Such is the case with navigating the complex LTL industry for many manufacturers. Whether your manufacturing company serves a global market or those in the same city or state as you, there are a few important items that any manufacturer should consider when planning their LTL freight needs for 2019.
Noted below are 3 LTL freight best practice resolutions that are specific and unique to manufacturers that if followed can save your company money, improve customer service, and prepare you for financial success in 2019.
Resolution #1 – Define Your LTL vs FTL vs Parcel Shipment Needs
One of the biggest mistakes made by any shipper is understanding what shipment option is best. In a perfect world, your manufacturing company would ship entire truckloads to one customer at a time. However, very few manufacturers are blessed with this volume of business. So, the first resolution that any sized manufacture should make for 2019 is having a clear understanding of the factors that should determine which shipment method is best.
Here are three items to consider when preparing your 2019 shipping needs.
- What is the fulfillment requirement? The first thing any manufacturer should consider is their customer’s needs. If they need your products delivered as quickly as possible, this will limit your shipping needs. However, while expedited shipping often falls on the financial responsibility of the shipper, a smart manufacturer understands that saving their customers money on shipping, while meeting demand can establish strong relationships.
- What is the size of the shipment? Generally speaking, a manufacturer has three options for shipping products to consumers – in respect to size: Parcel shipments will be individual packages that weigh less than 150 pounds, LTL shipments will range from one pallet to 10, while FTL’s are usually 11 or more pallets to one direct shipper. If it’s possible to consolidate your shipments to full truckload or volume-based, try to do so – without compromising your service.
- Where is your customer located? For those lucky manufacturers who service a smaller consumer base in a close geographic area, finding locally-based LTL or parcel carriers might save you money over national-routes.
Resolution #2 – Don’t Fall in Love with Single Carriers
In years past, the golden rule of logistics was to establish relationships with a few, dependable carriers that you could trust. While this is still a good idea, the key is to diversify your carrier network – and expand the relationships to specialists. This resolution is especially critical for manufacturers who have specific requirements for their supply chain operations. A few examples include:
- Find reliable cold-storage carriers: If your company makes perishable foods or products that require cold storage, it’s a smart idea to build relationships with multiple providers that specialize in this type of services.
- Locate dependable international carriers: Whether you ship parcels, a few pallets or an entire container load, in today’s competitive and ever-evolving international supply chain, working with a team of reliable carriers is critical to legal, smooth, and affordable shipping of your products.
- Determine if your shipments require tracking: Some carriers are simply better at tracking your products than others. The key item to remember about 2019 is the integration of on-the-fly or instant updates to the consumer. Today’s shipment recipient is becoming increasingly dependent on quick communication with regards to their shipments. Whether it’s a single package, or a full truckload, maintaining a network of carriers who can provide your customers with instant updates.
Resolution #3 – Be Proactive About Accurate Weights
2018 saw a rapid increase in the use of DIM weight-based shipping – especially in the LTL space. The DIM system of freight charges was initially created by express parcel shippers like Fed Ex Express but has expanded into LTL thanks to the introduction of dimensioners or dimension-measuring equipment. If you’re not familiar with this type of measurement, it factors the size along with the weight of the freight, to determine the most accurate and fair rate. Due to this fact, smart manufacturers should place an emphasis on accurately measuring and setting up shipments (especially LTL) that are optimized for efficiency and reduced freight charges.
For a manufacturer, navigating the supply chain can be complex, frustrating, and time-consuming. Working with an experienced 3PL or third-party logistics provider can significantly reduce the hurdles and struggles that most manufacturers struggle with, allowing them to focus on quality control, building their consumer base, and improving customer service. An experienced 3PL has relationships with hundreds of carriers, understand all the best practices, and finds creative ways of not only saving their clients money but ensuring on-time delivery of their freight shipments.