Tips for Navigating Problems with FTL Shipping

FTL Shipping Truck

Contrary to popular belief, volume does not fix every problem. Nor does that change when talking about things like Full Truckload versus Less Than Truckload shipping methods.

While full truckload (FTL) shipping is much cheaper and more efficient, it features its own shortcomings. As a matter of fact, there are a few FTL problems that all shippers experience at some point.

In this blog post, we are going to outline a few of these more common challenges associated with FTL shipping. Better yet, let's discuss how proactive shippers meet these issues head-on and resolve them quickly and efficiently. 

So, get ready to take a few notes as we give you tips for navigating FTL shipping in the best way possible.


Create a Reliable List of FTL Carriers

As there remain nationwide ongoing issues with hiring qualified truck drivers, FTL shippers face surmounting challenges. Whether it’s due to a shift in our culture, increasing age of current truck drivers, or difficulty in finding new recruits, it is a very real issue in the shipping industry.

However, there are still a massive amount of well-qualified and reputable FTL drivers out there. All you have to do is find them... and then make a list!

Finding an experienced carrier to work with, no matter the shipping mode, is always the logical first step. Carriers are the lifeblood of the shipping industry and with fewer and fewer drivers every year, we need to support and work with the reputable ones we already have in the field.

One piece of technology helping shippers find and hire the right FTL carriers is transportation management systems (TMS). Alternatively, there are also carrier management systems (CMS).

These programs are generally cloud-based, and they are built with multiple useful tools and apps. These tools allow shippers to search for carriers by custom criteria such as the location and shipping rates of potential FTL carriers.


Understand How FTL Rates are Created

Another common issue with FTL shipping is inconsistent or inflated shipping rates.

Supply and demand dictate pricing in most industries, and it’s even more applicable with full truckload carriers. A little known fact is that FTL rates are not regulated by the NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association). And since that is the case, how is a shipper going to know whether the rates they are estimated are fair and accurate based on the market?

Shippers can simplify this common problem by using TMS platforms to research the FTL rates for carriers serving their region.

The TMS searches for rate estimates based on your location, load size, or other customized preferences. An important tip to remember is to use the TMS platform to book FTL carriers who offer shippers the best value... not necessarily the lowest rate.


Integrate Best Practices for FTL Shipping

Did you know that there is a proven list of best practices for FTL shipping?

In case you aren't up to speed, FTL best practices are a unique set of ‘general rules’ that shippers should follow. These rules help them ensure they receive the best service, timely delivery, and consistent FTL freight movement.

Here are three items that any shipper should consider as they look for, book, and depend on FTL carriers to move their freight to customers.

Establish Consistent FTL Schedules

Repeat business is a great thing in any business – but FTL carriers especially love consistent business. When they can count on your business frequently, they generally reward shippers with discounted or reduced shipping rates. 

Integrate FTL Technology

Staying ahead of trends in FTL technology can be a time consuming and challenging task for a busy shipper. However, when new technology comes along, it’s important to integrate it into your operations.

Having the latest technological platforms on-hand ensures that you stay ahead of the game. Additionally, when dealing with FTL carriers, you should strive to use the same communication and reporting tools that they utilize. This just keeps everything concise and streamlined.

Be Flexible When Scheduling

It’s well understood that customers want and need your products as soon as possible. However, if you have some flexibility for routing your FTL shipments, you can save a tremendous amount of money.

This is simply something that you should discuss with your carrier. Once again, this flexibility is sometimes a perk given you receive from our first tip; establishing a consistent FTL schedule.


Final Thoughts

Another FTL shipping best practice is to work with a professional 3PL to help you integrate new technology, book the right carriers, and help navigate the common hurdles associated with full truckload shipping.

If you decide to go the FTL shipping route, and would like to learn more about how 3PL’s can help you improve your FTL operations, give us a call today!