3 Quick Tips About Freight Management

Written by Neal Willis

When it comes to freight management, shippers should always be conscious of the fact that 1.) accurate data is important, 2.) hard dollar costs aren’t always the only price you’ll pay for a shipment, and 3.) technology can give you an edge on the competition.

Accurate Data Saves Time & Money

warehouse-scanner.jpgTaking a little time on the front end to obtain and provide the carriers with accurate shipment information can save both carriers and shippers time and money. Armed with accurate shipment information, carriers can more efficiently plan for and cost (price) the freight within their networks. It will also help shippers keep rates low, quote freight more accurately, and reduce the amount and frequency of unexpected balance due invoices received from the carrier(s).

For example, if a customer requires a lift-gate at delivery but the carrier is unaware of the requirement, they may attempt to deliver the freight on a truck that isn’t equipped with a lift-gate. Upon arrival at the consignee, the carrier will realize that a lift-gate is needed and have to return to the local terminal to transfer the freight onto another truck that is equipped with a lift-gate and attempt to re-deliver the freight at a later day/time. Additionally, the carrier will also need to issue a balance due for the lift-gate service on top of the original freight bill invoice. What could have been one trip to the customer winds up being two or more, all of which involve additional handling of the freight, increasing the risk of possible damage, and a more expensive freight bill.

Lower Rates Aren’t Always The Better Option

shipping-boxes-warehouse.jpgThe old saying “You get what you pay for” holds true in the freight world. Especially if it’s satisfying to your customers and their delivery requirements, paying a few dollars more for a reputable carrier with a solid track record may actually prove to cost a shipper less in the long run versus simply routing freight via the least cost carrier. It’s oftentimes difficult to measure customer retention. Slow transit times and damaged freight can contribute to unhappy and, ultimately, lost customers and business. A lower rate might mean less money spent on the line-haul itself, but the overall landed costs of delivery with a lower quality carrier could end up costing you way more than just the cost of the freight invoice if damages and missed deliveries become factors in the equation.

Make The Most Out Of Technology & Automation

Carriers like shippers who make things easy. Shippers who can make things more efficient for both themselves and for the carriers will reap rewards of stable rates, lower freight costs and improved process efficiencies that save time and headaches. It’s an expense for carriers to employ the manpower necessary for fielding customer service requests for rate quotes, tracking, and billing and payment issues. By collaborating with your carriers and integrating with technologies wherever possible, such as EDI, to retrieve information automatically and electronically, you can help them reduce their costs of servicing your account. Utilizing technology and automation will also speed the flow of information and make data available on demand, which can improve your response time to your customers and improve overall customer satisfaction.