Shipping is an integral part of your company and directly contributes to its success, so it is important to really take a step back and ensure you are operating as efficiently as you possibly can. There are some common shipping mistakes that you can avoid to improve your all overall shipping processes.
Using the incorrect NMFC number or freight class
You can’t expect to receive an accurate rate if you are not entering in accurate information. Carriers rate and ship freight based on freight class. Freight classes and NMFC numbers are defined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). The NMFTA is responsible for maintaining industry-wide guidelines and an NMFC catalog for everyone to abide by.
Getting a proper rate up front will help prevent receiving billing corrections and re-class fees. These will add up quickly. If you’re shipping the same commodities often keep a record of the class and NMFC number assigned. If you’re using Freightview, your product catalog can do this for you.
Not auditing your freight invoices
“According to the 2016 Third-Party Logistics Study, 31 percent of companies surveyed use outside freight bill auditing and payment services. That doesn't mean the remaining 69 percent do their own in-house freight auditing; they may do no auditing at all.”
Auditing can seem like a really big undertaking-- but without it you are likely overpaying on at least a portion of your freight bills, which is like throwing money directly into the fire.
We’ve already put together a post that gives you a few tips for auditing your own freight invoices. This ties back to our first point-- if you are consistently getting re-classed by a carrier you may need to adjust how you are entering information to get a rate-- which you may not have ever realized if you weren’t auditing your freight invoices.
You want to ensure your freight is arriving undamaged and all together. Once your hand over you freight to your carrier you are trusting them to ensure it delivers in perfect condition. However, there are things you can do to aid in this, and part of that means proper packaging your freight for the journey. This means the packaging can protect the freight from damage in most cases, and labeling each piece to help avoid any loss or separation.
Encountering damaged or lost freight results in cargo claims which can be very time confusing and may not end in completely recouping the cost of your damaged or lost items.
Not utilizing a TMS
There are countless benefits to using a transportation management system, and some of those go beyond your shipping department. But, in the name of simplicity, I’ll talk exclusively about shipping here. There are a few really key problems that using a TMS can alleviate.
Having instant and accurate access to your freight rates for every single lane can save you time and money. Without a TMS, you’d have to either quote the same shipment several times on several carrier websites, or use a static route guide which goes out of date quickly and can’t factor in some of the finer details like accessorials, fluctuating fuel schedules, and expedited services.
Scheduling your shipments and having access to them, and their tracking information, all on one platform creates a more organized and streamlined way to manage your shipments. If a customer calls and needs a quote or tracking information you only have one place to go to get that information quickly. Your shipping documents will be generated at this time as well. Print your BOL and labels for each shipment. Digitizing your BOL has its own set of benefits as well.
Booking all of your shipments under one platform also means unified reporting. Easily see all of your shipping data from one source. You don’t need to combine information from various sources to get an accurate picture of your spend or other useful shipping data. That raw data can be helpful in negotiating even better freight rates with your carriers.
You can check out our complete guide to Transportation Management Systems here for more information and use cases.
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