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4 Steps to Simplify LTL Shipping

LTL Shipping

LTL shipping is an excellent way for shippers to increase profitability and efficiency. But how to successfully capitalize on LTL capabilities can pose a challenge for shippers. LTL shippers want to know how they can utilize LTL shipping to save money and make their supply chain more efficient, they are just unsure of how to get there on their own.

Let’s face it, LTL is multifaceted. Overseeing your LTL shipments takes a lot of attention and industry expertise. I’ve discovered that many companies have difficulty dealing with the complexities of freight classes, tariffs, discounts, and fuel surcharges that come along with LTL.

Many common in-house ways of administering LTL don’t typically reduce costs, such as shopping around from carrier to carrier asking for rate quotes and manually tracking LTL rates and lanes on spreadsheets. Frequently, these tasks fall to more than one person in an organization- shippers who coordinate their own LTL without centralized purchasing or the technology to have complete visibility of their entire network. For them, the quest for supply chain efficiency can be elusive.

That’s why some shippers turn to an experienced outsource provider. By outsourcing LTL, businesses can automate LTL functions and reduce system complexity while integrating their companywide information. Ultimately, the process becomes easier to handle and they can enjoy complete transparency.

4 Steps to Simplify LTL Shipping

Want proof that utilizing a 3PL in your LTL processes is the way to go? Here are 4 ways you can gain supply chain efficiencies and reduce your costs by outsourcing LTL shipments.

  1. Create Uniform LTL ProcessesCompanies with decentralized models often manage LTL across several different locations, with each location making its own transportation decisions. This may seem practical and a good way to spread responsibility across job titles and the organization, but, in reality, this typically results in marginal supply chain performance; one location may be doing well with their LTL purchasing while others miss the mark. An outsource provider can standardize rates and create routing guides so shipper pricing—and customer deliveries—become more uniform.
  2. Get Expert Help with Varied Weight Cut Offs:The optimal weight cut-offs for converting between small parcel and LTL, or LTL and truckload, can vary by commodity and U.S. region. For shippers managing their own LTL in more than one region, and especially across different classes of freight and weights, securing the best rate and mode can be a guessing game. An outsource transportation provider with systems integration can instantly access rates to all modes, as well as any carrier requirements to maximize your transportation dollars and optimize freight movements.
  3. Know When to ConsolidateOutsource providers can dynamically determine when to look at consolidation as a shipping option; you as the shipper tender the freight as LTL, and the provider can consolidate flexibly and as necessary. So whether or not shipments ride standard LTL, small parcel, or are consolidated into truckload, the shipper moves their freight to take advantage of the parameters— from the lowest cost method or preferred transit times—that suit their customer and supply chain needs.
  4. Ensure You Ship with Preferred Carriers
    Vendor compliance today restricts the operating parameters of many companies. While a supplier, for example, might use approved carriers to run LTL shipments to their consignees, they can still incur fines or additional fees when they don’t use the consignee’s preferred carriers. By partnering with an LTL outsource provider that already has relationships with thousands of retailers, as well as pricing agreements with their preferred carriers, it’s easy to economize your LTL and meet your vendor’s carrier requirements.

Final Thoughts

Simplifying your LTL shipping often requires the expertise and industry relationships a 3PL can provide. When created and implemented properly, an LTL strategy is an effective way for shippers to reduce spend and boost efficiency. How does your company manage LTL to save money or streamline your supply chain? Please share your comments below.

Learn more about how an experienced 3PL can help develop an LTL shipping strategy that will work to optimize your supply chain.