When shipping freight, the cheapest price and an on-time pickup doesn't always translate into getting your freight where it needs to be, when it needs to be there. Here are three common factors that can contribute to your freight being delivered on time:
Schedule your pickup in time
Schedule your pick up 4 to 24 hours before the ready time is recommended; the earlier the better. Additionally, always try to provide:
- A four hour pickup window
- Special instructions regarding the pickup location
- Item numbers or P.O. numbers
- Accurate closing times
Pro-tip - a driver's route is mapped out the night before their shift. Often, the first leg of their journey involves unloading a truck full of freight during morning deliveries; on a busy day this can push the earliest pickup time to as late as 1:00 PM.
Know about your carrier's partnerships
There are three common carrier types to be familiar with: regional, consolidated and national — each introduce unique circumstances that can effect transit times.
For example: regional and consolidated carriers often use a network of two or more companies to get your freight where it needs to go. That means your freight will likely be stopped, transloaded, and re-billed several times causing an additional 2-4 days of transit time to be added.
In contrast, national carriers have a direct network & linehaul operations that reduce the number of 'hand offs' and streamlines schedules. However, linehauled freight cannot be stopped or rescued once it's loaded, typically on rail.
Properly package and label your freight
Freight that is properly packaged, labeled, and ready to go is key to shipping well. Your freight can be tansloaded, scanned, re-labeled, and stickered several times before arriving at it's destination. Additionally, consider the "human element" which is the scanning and loading part of the process. Set your carriers up for success by packaging your freight tightly in easy to load pallets, print out several legible labels, and have two BOLs printed out for the driver at time of pickup.