Refrigerated Freight

A Guide to Navigating Obstacles in LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) Shipping

11 Minutes

A Guide to Navigating Obstacles in LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) Shipping Success

Navigating the complexities of Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipping may pose challenges, but by leveraging appropriate LTL shipping solutions, businesses can convert these obstacles into advantages. This guide explores the nuances of LTL shipping, presenting efficient strategies and solutions to optimize your operations.

1. Preventing Freight Damage and Loss in LTL Shipping Operations

Challenge: LTL shipments entail being grouped with other shipments, thereby often involving multiple touchpoints, which heightens the potential risk of damage or loss while in transit.
Solutions: An effective resolution for LTL shipping includes investing in proper packaging and labeling. Utilizing durable packaging materials and clearly marking fragile goods can help reduce risks. Moreover, selecting reputable carriers with a history of handling shipments diligently can further decrease these risks.
For items necessitating more specialized shipping conditions, alternative solutions may involve utilizing specific freight damage-monitoring devices. For example, 1% Logistics Inc. collaborates with Samsara and Tive, which produces instruments that monitor environmental changes in shipments, such as light, temperature, and shock. Gaining visibility into this shipment data regarding delicate items is crucial for ensuring that carriers handle these shipments with care throughout the transportation process.

2. Ensuring Accurate Dimensional Data for Effective Transport

Challenge: Providing incorrect measurements or inaccurate dimensions for your cargo can result in pricing discrepancies and shipment delays.
Solution: Implement technology solutions like Cubiscan for precise freight dimensioning. This LTL shipping strategy guarantees accurate measurements, seamlessly working with your shipping software to prevent data input mistakes and improve operational efficiency.
A distinctive solution lies in dimensioning hardware providers like Cubiscan. Their hardware swiftly dimensions pallet shipments with complete accuracy within seconds. This ensures data precision and allows for direct integration of information into your shipping software, minimizing data entry errors and cutting down on labor costs.

3. Simplifying Freight Class Determination

Challenge: Determining the appropriate freight class for your shipments can be complex, leading to potential pricing discrepancies.
Solution: Leverage LTL shipping solutions such as the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) guidelines and consider teaming up with a transportation management system (TMS). These resources can help you identify the accurate freight class based on your shipment's characteristics. Additionally, some shippers have established arrangements with carriers to always ship their goods within a specific classification, even if the freight class specifications are not entirely met each time. This reduces the carrier’s workload while also ensuring consistency and predictable pricing for the shipper.

4. Improving the Process of Quoting and Pricing Freight

Challenge: Securing precise and competitive LTL freight quotes can be a laborious and intricate task. The complexity often leads shippers to opt for one of the initial quotes received instead of comparing prices, resulting in substantially elevated freight expenses.
Solution: Collaborate with a reliable carrier that is attentive to your concerns and established a strong relationship with you. Request references from your carrier and reach out to other shippers they have previously worked with. It is essential to keep in mind that the lowest-priced option may not always be the most cost-effective choice - a reputable carrier values their equipment and driver compensation over securing business from a shipper at any cost.

5. Strengthening Monitoring and Transparency of Shipments

Challenge: Ensuring the monitoring of LTL shipments and offering customers instantaneous visibility can be daunting. In today's environment where customers demand swift delivery and complete transparency in tracking shipments, a lack of visibility can result in dissatisfied customers and harm your profits.
Solution: Utilizing robust tracking and visibility functionalities can help address this prevalent challenge. Through real-time tracking and notifications, both you and your customers can stay updated on the status of shipments.

6. Selecting the Right Carrier

Challenge: Selecting the appropriate carrier for your Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipments can be a challenging endeavor. Various factors must be taken into account to identify the ideal match, including pricing, service level, on-time delivery (OTD) rate, and more.
Solution: All carriers in Canada operate under the National Safety Code. 11 out of 16 standards are in complete control by the Professional Driver operating the tractor unit. Hence, a carrier who invests in their Professional Driver Group wins! It's a lot simpler said than done, but the unfortunate truth is that there is an overwhelming lack of training and investment in Professional Drivers in the trucking industry.

7. Supervising Extra Costs in Freight Management

Challenge: Dealing with accessorial expenses, like liftgate fees or inside delivery charges, can result in unforeseen expenses for LTL shipments if not anticipated by shippers.
Solution: Properly communicate your shipment's needs to carriers in advance to prevent unexpected fees. Utilizing specific LTL shipping options can assist in recognizing and overseeing common accessorial charges, including the capability to access and automatically factor in historical charges for particular delivery locations.

8. Thorough Review of Billing Statements

Challenge: Reviewing LTL freight invoices for precision can be labor-intensive and highly susceptible to human mistakes. Studies indicate that anywhere from 15-66% of freight invoices contain inaccuracies, with a similar percentage going unnoticed by internal manual auditing processes.
Solution: Opting for an LTL shipping solution equipped with an integrated invoice audit feature can lead to substantial savings in freight expenses and reduce the manual effort required to cross-verify each invoice with the initial shipping estimate. These audit tools automate the verification process by flagging carrier invoices that do not align with quotes and pausing payment until they undergo internal review.

9. Developing Solid Relationships with Carriers

Challenge: Establishing and nurturing positive connections with carriers is crucial for shippers. Ensuring transparent communication, fulfilling obligations, and demonstrating mutual regard are essential for fostering enduring partnerships, yet can prove challenging without appropriate frameworks in place.
Solution: Start slow with carriers, and don't give them the volume they want unless they put in the necessary effort to prove themselves. There are over 19,000 carriers in Alberta alone, and there are certainly some bad apples. However, be assured the few that are willing to work with you and problem-solve for you will enhance your business.

10. Adopting Sustainable Practices

Challenge: The growing importance of minimizing the environmental effects of LTL shipping highlights the unique opportunity for shippers to make substantial contributions towards a greener future. Not only can shippers help the environment, but they also have the potential to create positive societal impacts, a lesser-known aspect of their role.
Solution: To support environmental preservation, opt for carriers with a strong focus on sustainable initiatives and practices. Additionally, utilize sophisticated tools to consolidate shipments, effectively reducing carbon emissions. It is the future.

Bonus Insight

Another essential aspect of comprehensive LTL shipping solutions is the societal impact they can have. Collaborate with carriers involved in nonprofits. Identify these certified carriers by being open to new relationships or word of mouth.
Efficiently managing the unique challenges of LTL shipping requires the right tools and solutions. By adopting advanced LTL shipping solutions, businesses can streamline their shipping processes, cut costs, and enhance customer service. Embrace these strategies to optimize your LTL shipping needs and take your logistics to the next level.
At 1% Logistics Inc., our commitment to a customer-centric approach in logistics is not just a philosophy; it's a proven practice. What sets us apart is our consultative approach. Many shippers turn to us to address and improve inefficiencies in their shipping operations, aiming for comprehensive optimization. Partnering with 1% Logistics Inc. goes beyond having a transaction. We deeply engage with your business' unique dynamics to ensure that your shipping operations are optimized thoroughly.

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