5 Ways To Help You Stay Aware of Freight Classification ChangesWritten by Paul Forand
If you’re a shipper of LTL freight, then you should be familiar with the National Motor Freight Classification system. The NMFC, which assigns commodities a freight class based on product density, stowability, handling requirements and liability exposure, is developed and maintained by the Commodity Classification Standards Board (CCSB) and published by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA).
Because carriers base their rates and tariffs largely on freight class, knowing the accurate freight class assigned to a product is vital to obtaining accurate rate quotes from carriers. A product’s freight class can change, as the CCSB normally meets three times each year to review, make and propose changes to the NMFC. This makes access to the NMFC a necessity for shippers who want to receive the most accurate freight quotes possible.
Here's a quick guide to some of the best ways to stay aware of the NMFC lists and their impact on you.
Five Ways To Keep Up With Changes In The NMFC
1 - Subscribe to the NMFC
Subscribing to the NMFC system gives you direct access to the most up to date changes in freight classifications, but a subscription alone is only a part of the process of ensuring accurate freight class. CCSB docket decisions are sometimes lengthy and contain the language similar to that of a legal contract, or lawyer speak. Additionally, you must make sure that you effectively communicate any changes or pending changes to everyone involved in the shipping process.
2 - Your Local Industry Association
If you're a part or member of any major industry associations, it’s possible that the group or some of its members subscribe to the NMFC. Industry associations can be useful resources for industry guidelines and standards, and they sometimes provide their members with resources for freight class and regulation changes.
3 - Your own vendors.
While they may not be a complete source of information, your own vendors and suppliers should at least be aware of the NMFC listings that affect their products, and thus affect yours in turn. If you're on good terms with them, they'll likely be happy to share some advice on shipping procedures - especially if it can optimize traffic between you and them.
4 - Your carrier(s).
If you're dealing with quality carriers and have a well-established relationship, they'll often let you in on some of the technical materials. This is especially true if your systems are automated and linked to theirs, however, their system is only as good as the information it’s given. Accurate product data up front including correct freight class is necessary for obtaining accurate freight quotes. You will still need to make sure your staff is informed and up to date on any NMFC class changes for when rating or quoting shipments requires manual entry.
5 - A third-party logistics firm.
A reliable 3PL can provide all the above benefits at reduced costs. A quality 3PL will have a person -or a full team- whose job is dedicated to keeping up with changes in the shipping industry, and updating procedures to match. Plus, they can easily help you implement technology solutions for linking your systems into national-level web services for shipment rating, document imaging, and more.
If you're looking to provide your customers with the best possible options for freight, while also ensuring that you're always up-to-date on any NMFC changes that might affect you, partnering with a 3PL is a good choice.
Don't Lose Money Due To Avoidable Shipping Issues!
The amount you spend on shipping is one of the most controllable expenses within your company, and much of that simply centers on optimization. With the right systems and a source of current information on freight classification and fees, you can greatly reduce your freight expenditures.
Contact us today for a free cost-savings estimate.