Anyone who has experience with LTL (less-than-truckload) shipping knows that it carries a much greater deal of risk than FTL (full truckload) shipping. This is due to the fact that LTL has way more touch points (the product being handled, transloaded, packaged, moved, etc.) and it is on a transportation vehicle for significantly longer than FTL freight. With today’s consumers and businesses wanting goods faster than ever before, time is money, and the extra days your goods sit in a trailer during transit may mean a hard and fast decrease in sales. Luckily, for those concerned LTL shipping risks, full truckload shipping may provide a real solution to address these potential issues.
We understand why businesses are cautious to consider full truckload shipping when they have been shipping LTL primarily. There are concerns over cost, efficiency, convenience, and timing. If you don’t have enough goods to fill a full dry van every time you ship your goods, what’s the point in renting a full truck? Here are some tips on how you can manage your freight consolidation to make full truckload shipping methods more cost-effective, mitigate risk, and drive revenue:
Full Truckload Freight Consolidation
There are a few different ways that businesses with LTL freight can take advantage of full truckload shipping benefits. Consolidation programs, shipment schedule management, production management, and so many other practices can make full truckload shipping relevant, cost-effective, and efficient for businesses that usually only ship LTL cargo. Here are a few tips:
Through the use of something called “consolidation programs” businesses with LTL freight are able to fill full trailers and reap the security and cost benefits of full truckload shipping. Here’s how it works:
A consolidation program is a processes of consolidating LTL shipment to a full trailer. How is this different than normal LTL? Generally speaking, a consolidation program is created to work between one or a couple of suppliers that work closely together in business. Rather than having your LTL or parcel shipments loaded into a trailer solely on the basis of destination location and space, consolidation programs aim to assemble full trailers through communication and coordination between a couple of close suppliers.
If you do not produce enough goods to fill a full trailer but would like to ship via full truckload (FTL) methods, consolidation programs may be your best bet. However, if you do produce enough goods to fill a full trailer, you simply can’t due to what you have available to ship at each pickup, you may need to focus on changing your shipment scheduling.
Shipment Schedule Management
Many businesses choose to move LTL shipments on a frequent basis rather than stacking up their goods for a larger haul. This has to do with shipment schedule management. Suppose you produce 1/5th of a full trailer of goods every 3 days. Every 3 days, you have a truck show up to load your current LTL shipment into the trailer. However, through shipment schedule management, you could re-arrange pickup time to be every week or two so you can fill a full trailer.
The biggest difficulty with decreasing the frequency of your shipments is forecasting sales and buyer need. Hypothetically speaking, adjusting schedule doesn’t change the production supply or demand needs – it only changes when the goods arrive. Before changing your shipment scheduling, make sure that you have done adequate supply/demand research so you are not coming in short or being left with a surplus of unsold/unused goods.
Shipment schedule management can greatly cut your freight spend, but it requires a lot of detailed research and adaptability.
LTL shipping gets expensive quick. It’s sometimes hard to connect the receipts to take notice of the final numbers, but in the end, LTL shippers spend quite a bit more than FTL shippers. If you are still shipping LTL and are facing issues with costs or shipment damage, it may be time to consider full truckload shipping. Generally speaking, most businesses are able to switch from LTL shipping to full truckload shipping through consolidation practices including consolidation programs and shipment schedule management.
If you still have questions on the topic and would like to learn more about how you can save money on your freight spend, contact one of our team members. We are very experienced on the subject and are happy to help anyone with questions!