Ways To Determine Your Freight Class

The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) has made some significant changes to the less than truckload (LTL) classification system, one being the introduction of an 11 tier density breakdown. The density category now has a class 65 for heavier shipments. Packaged commodities, also known as shipments, are grouped into 18 possible classes from class 50 to 500.

Determine Your Freight Class

Policies and guidelines regarding packaging requirements are regulated by the Commodity Classification Standards Board (CCSB). Furthermore, it is the Classification Resource Committee (CRC) that submits proposals to NMFC policies in suggesting changes to cargo information. The NMFC distinguishes between these four transportation measurements:

Density

The density is measured in pounds per cubic foot. To calculate density, you should measure the dimensions of your shipment in inches including the overhangs. Remember to divide the volume by 1728 inches per cubic foot. Find the weight of the shipment using a calibrated scale. Use this formula: Density = Mass/Volume

Handling

Handling determines how difficult it is to load or unload the cargo. Shipping instructions are affected by factors like fragile warnings, forklift restrictions, hazardous materials, or the two-person handling label. Hand loaded cargo is classed higher than mechanically lifted ones due to the time-consuming labor.

Stow-ability

Stow-ability factors in shipments that have uncommon dimensions as they are difficult to load onto the trains. The cargo must be stacked into the trailer with no extra space to spare or else it counts as lost revenue. The three categories are, stackable/load bearing, oddly shaped, or stowing restricted.

Liability

Liability explains what to do in case you receive freights that are damaged, lost or stolen. Fragile and perishable items come with their own requirements in transit. Carriers are concerned with expensive items, damaged goods, or spoiled food items since they are susceptible to liability charges.

The NMFC is used to set the initial prices of LTL transports. Commodities belonging to one of 18 different classes are assigned a specific class number, as stated before, to decide if they are low-class or high-class shipments. This process determines the freight’s rate and carrier liability costs. It also accounts for up to 8,000 commodity descriptions, as the industry standard for carriers.

There are four ways to find out the proper class for your commodity:

  • Buy an NMFC Book from the NMFTA store which costs up to $310.00
  • Buy an account for the NMFC ClassIT system priced at $328.00
  • Buy an interpretation guide from the NMFTA, priced around $30-$450 per block of 25
  • Talk to another LTL carrier for advice related to these types of purchases

The NMFC is responsible for comparing freight shipping in interstate, intrastate, and foreign commerce industries. The NMFC helps simplify negotiations between carriers and shippers to evaluate the movement of goods across America. Lastly, they cover the Bills of Lading for filing government claims. Their standards are particularly detailed, to ensure bulk packages are handled in a safe manner.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

An Insight About Non-Asset Based Logistics

Non-asset based logistics providers can be defined as a third-party logistics (3PL) provider that does not own the assets required to implement and manage the chain of supply. These assets are the trucks or vehicles needed for freight movement, distribution centers and warehouses, and other facility or equipment that will play a huge part in the transport of the cargo. Because they lack these essential assets, non-asset based 3PLs are using their resources and networks to negotiate with major players in the industry.

An Insight About Non-Asset

They would have to make deals and sign contracts with main carriers to manipulate the supply chain. Non-asset based 3PL also have a unique program for carrier relationship management, which would provide the lowest cost for managing the supply chain. Cost efficient freight transport is important in businesses, because it would allow the company to move their products at the cheapest price possible.

Non-asset based 3PL knows that each client has a different demand for the services, which is why they are concentrating on providing different approach and styles that would fit the client’s demands. They also give priority to clients who are after the short time frame of transport, and they are working with several transportation companies for faster air travel, sea travel and land travel, making sure that the target deadline will be met.

Another advantage of non-asset based 3PL is that they do not need to do inventories, because they do not own any asset. They remain profitable this way, and they offer flexibility in the movement of the supply chain. Asset based 3PLs are the opposite, resulting in a higher cost of payment and the monopoly of the service. Many business owners are drawn towards the service provided by non-asset based 3PL, mainly because they give their clients the freedom to choose how they wanted their service to be customized.

The schedule, the route, and the time frame depend on how the client wanted it to be, and they can change it for the benefit of their companies. Once the plan has been finalized by the client, it is up to the non-asset 3PL to execute the plan given to them. It is very efficient and cost effective, and it can save businessmen lots of money for transporting their freight from one point to another. It also gives the client a piece of mind when using the services from non-asset 3PL because after providing them with the plan, all they must do is to wait for the service to conclude, and they can focus on doing a different task. Non-asset based 3PL will do the rest, making sure that they will finish the task given to them on the deadline that was agreed upon.

The technology that a non-asset based 3PL uses helps greatly in logistics. They can track down the transport of the cargo in real time, and they can provide information to their client about the condition of the supply chain instantly. Many businesses are now using the services provided by non-asset based 3PL because they know that each transaction made with them is successful and will cost them less.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Freight Agents -Top 8 Factors To Consider Before Finding Your Home

Freight agent job is a career that can deny you activities that regular people enjoy, such as spending time with your loved ones, having drinks with your friends, and more. You work for more than 60 hours per week doing whatever you can to retain your customers. The big question is, are you satisfied with being an employee of a reputable organization, or you’re tired and want out? If you feel like it’s time to move on, read on to learn more about what to consider before finding your new home.

Freight Agents

 

Culture

Have you ever walked into a building or an office and felt something that you can’t explain? The way you feel every time you enter your office is exactly how your customers will feel. In light of this, you need to invest heavily in culture.

Monetary status

As the CEO of your company, it’s your responsibility to know how your business is doing financially. Of course, you’ll have experts for that, but you need to make a follow-up and confirm what’s entered on the books of accounts reflects the company’s fiscal position.

Risk-Prone/Risk Averse

Some companies are willing to risk everything, and others are cautious about what they are willing to risk. Risk Averse businesses are more concerned about the people that they do business with, but risk-prone organizations are used to taking risks and doing business with almost everyone regardless of their credit history. You should find a way to balance these two factors.

Reputation

Reputation is everything. If your customers are satisfied with your services, they will help you market your business. If a brokerage firm does shady business, you can be certain that people will hear about it. Search for prospect organizations on credit reporting websites with key load posting services. See how they are ranked and what you can do to rank high. Also, make sure that they are members of Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) and find out if they are red flagged by TIA.

Carrier compliance policies

It’s in your best interest to ensure that the prospect business has strict carrier compliances policies. They should also have the most recent technology equipment to monitor the carrier. An average sized broker carrier’s list can accommodate more than 50,000 active carriers. It’s clear that there’s a lot to be done regarding the management of this database, but it’s vital for it to be up to date and 100 percent correct all the times.

Bad debt liability

Who will assume responsibilities and how will you be affected if anything goes wrong. For example, if a broker gives out credit and the customer goes missing, who will be responsible for this liability- the broker or the agent?

Operating system

A good operating system will help you to solve many problems and provide you with the necessary tools to make informed decisions, improve your workflow, and enhance efficiency in the workplace. Choose a system that guarantees you the safety and confidentiality of your customer’s details from other agents.

Additional services

If you to stay ahead of your competitors, you must find ways to offer your customers something more than just the usual services. You need to be creative and come up with new ways to satisfy the ever-growing needs of your customers. Today’s customers know what they want, and it’s your job to exceed their expectations.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

What to look for in a logistics advisor

There are many things that you should discuss with an adviser. They need to be aware of your goals, so they know how to help you improve. They can’t be afraid to hurt your feelings because you will not be able to make improvements from that. You need to make sure that both of you are working together, using the same processes. Sometimes they, need to be put in the same life scenario as you. Some dedicated trainers make their physiques like their clients to be more empathetic. This type of mentality is helpful to give advice to each other.

What to look for in a logistics advisor

Experience is very important, and your adviser should be very experienced in their field. A Martial artist doesn’t become a black-belt in a day You adviser’s value should be in the experience that they have. If you have experience in whatever you want to do, then you wouldn’t need an adviser. The importance of experience in dealing with a Spencerian many times to know what you should do. A coach with a lot of experience knows the best strategy to coach an athlete. Also, the adviser should have no problem giving you references if they are truly a trustworthy business partner.

Anything that you should consider is work ethic. If they have a past in an area of work, then logically everything should be fine. However, that is not always the case. Like stated before, their previous references will tell you what they were like and what they offer to a team. It’s a mutual process of working and communication. Both sides must know the goals of the other to make sure that they are going in the right direction. It’s not a process where your adviser can just be passive and expect to get good results.

Any adviser should have refined skills, this is another part of their value outside. Now in every field, it’s not something that necessarily requires a college degree. However, it is important to note that anyone you are willing to trust should have a substantial amount of credibility. If someone like a treasurer were bad at managing money, a group wouldn’t be able to trust them. Skills are great because there are ways to teach them to you. The passing of skills is usually more valuable than having someone doing it for you because you can use your own judgment.

Goals are very important, so maybe you need more than one person to help you. A big enough workload can discourage and defeat even the hardest of workers. Having a team can make sure that the work is divided, and you can have many different opinions. If you have one adviser and you happen to be in the same place of your goals another can change your sight. Another pair of eyes can give you a different insight into what you and your team can do to be productive. Goals are challenging, but with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider A One-Stop Shop For Logistics Solutions

The world of supply chain management can be taxing for many businesses. There are a number of considerations that have to be thought about when it comes to selecting mobility providers, including implementation, cost, and features. A one-stop-shop for logistics solutions, however, can allow you to bypass many of the issues associated with vendor selection and management.

OneStopShop-BL

Here are three reasons why you should consider a one-stop shop for your freight solutions needs.

SAVE TIME & HASSLE

It can be challenging having internal employees to dedicate resources to tracking and managing shipping bids. Each additional step in the process is a roadblock that erodes additional productivity and communication between agencies and business partners. An experienced solutions provider, however, can do all of the work behind the scenes and get your products in the right place at the right time.

Your time is much too valuable to waste. A one-stop-shop allows you to save time and hassle by coordinating all of these entities into a centralized location. The advantage is that you have more control over the logistics process, freeing your time to focus on core business needs and allowing your team to work at maximum productivity.

SAVE MONEY ON RATES

Did you know that increased shipments to a 3PL can allow you to save money on shipment rates? That’s right. It’s often cheaper to ship added freight together instead of going through multiple providers, giving you the ability to command lower prices.

Cheaper cargo rates keep more money in your company’s bottom line, where it should be. The ability to save money on rates is yet another example of how a one-stop shop can meet your business needs easily and more consistently.

SAVE PAPERWORK

In addition to preventing logistical hassles, a third-party provider is able to prevent…logistical hassles! No need for mountains of paperwork at your office anymore. No need to deal with contacting and sourcing new clients. With only one company to deal with, you pay one time, every time.

The administrative tasks of coordinating invoices and selecting carriers can be daunting. A single provider solves this problem by getting rid of the need to account for multiple invoices to a variety of carriers, helping to streamline operations.

ONE COMPANY, ONE SOLUTION

The all-in-one option allows you to transport cargo to many different locations in the most resource-efficient method possible. A third-party logistics service can handle many types of shipping, from international containers to truckload freight.

When you establish an account with our company, you will have a single-point-of-contact who can accommodate your needs for shipments and coordinate communication between vendors and distributors. The centralized communication allows you to save money both short-term and long-term by cutting down on delayed response times.

GET IN TOUCH TODAY

We can help with your shipping solutions needs. For more information, contact us at 586-630-5999 to request a quote today.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Something New is Brewing in the World of Beer & Alcohol Shipping

People around the world might be separated by country borders, difference in culture, language barriers and traditions, but one thing is for sure: Most cultures around the world, past or present, enjoy the leisure brought by drinking alcohol, and it is a very old tradition, especially in countries with very cold weather.

Something New is Brewing in the World of Beer

The alcohol business is a multi-billionaire industry in America alone, save it for countries like Germany or even Brasil, with a very wide array of alcohol consumers. According to the Beer Institute, people of legal age in the United States buy over $110 billion worth of malt-based beverages and beer per year. In 2016, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau recorded that America exported 6,490,423.81 barrels of beer and produced 189,184,843. This translates to around 28 gallons of beer and cider being consumed by people 21 years and older, per year.

Obviously, the beer and alcohol business is a giant business with clients of all ages, be it teenagers who drink with friends or adults. As I said, it transcends time. Something in beer and alcohol just keeps people buying and consuming, and it doesn’t matter what era it is in. Believe it or not, alcohol has been the reason some wars have been fought in the past and in a lot of eras, where kings, pharaohs, and emperors still ruled the land, alcohol has always been a major commodity. The Galleon Trade in the Pacific Rim primarily focused on alcohol freight trading too many other countries.

Hundreds of years have passed, and today alcohol is still a major item being shipped and traded each year between several or all countries. And this is why many have been attracted to the alcohol business because it is a business that doesn’t fade. Beer and alcohol will be consumed and enjoyed by people even hundreds of years from now.

With 35 years of experience in shipping beer and alcohol, 3PL understands very well not just the financial gain in the alcohol business but also the passion and feelings involved in it for each brewer. 3PL also realizes that each brewer just wants to contribute to every consumer of beer and alcohol in the world.  The 3PL does not really want any other hassle when it comes to shipping their beloved products, and, let’s face it, there’s a lot of hassle, even just in the United States, where laws concerning alcohol are regulated by each individual state. This means that in each state where you want to ship your product, you will be faced with many different permits. At 3PL, we aim to free you from all the hassle and let us handle all the trouble.

With 3PL’s LTL software, you can track your beloved products live, on board the freight while being shipped. The LTL software of 3PL is an innovation in alcohol product shipping that ensures the safety and promotes transparency because we know that the beer you can brew will always be your pride and joy.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Moving an LTL Shipment from Origin to Destination

When it comes to LTL (less than truckload) shipping, many options are available; however, the issue is choosing the right one for your business. There is sometimes more freight in need for LTL delivery than there are with available capacity. Nevertheless, options may exist in these situations, but those options may or may not be cost-effective.

Moving an LTL Shipment from Origin to Destination

Various factors should be considered when it comes to obtaining a decent rate. The best practices recommended include utilizing several carriers, understanding carrier tariffs, understanding other price determinations, working with a 3PL, and working with a direct or a hub and spoke transportation company. When establishing relationships with various LTL carriers, you will have more choices in regards to tariffs, rates, availability, and shipping lanes. A tariff is a paperwork outlining the details of the freight shipping cost between the carrier and the shipper, such as class rates, rules tariffs, and add-on costs. Other price determinations include how you packaged the items, the weight, dimensions, distance, base rates, minimums, accessorials, freight all kinds (FAK), base rate, minimums, perishable, handling, stow-ability, and liability. There are even rates associated with shipping furniture, for instance.

When it comes to reducing costs, you can mitigate or avoid accessorial charges, and you can work with a 3PL. Accessorial charges are organizational, transportation, and equipment. With the accessorial charges, the carrier can offer services beyond and above what they will normally do regarding standard shipping procedures. Organizational include charges that a carrier makes for reweighing a shipment, making an unnecessary appointment call, or adjusting the bill of lading (BOL). With transportation, it is an extra charge by the carrier for transportation when a driver must go to deliver a package inside a building, is traveling to a location that is difficult to get to, or when the items are not neatly fitted on a pallet or in a truck. And lastly, the equipment is the most common accessorial charge which includes fuel surcharge and additional charges if a forklift, lift gate, and other equipment are required for delivery.

Being very knowledgeable about this industry, a 3PL can assist you in avoiding accessorial charges. They also can negotiate with carriers to get the best rate with the best services for you. Other assistance they can give you includes the administrative task for shippers and carriers, the handling of TMS technology that simplifies the shipping process, and making special shipping arrangements. Other than those choices, you can either choose a hub and spoke or a direct transportation company. There are various advantages and disadvantages with both, and so, it just depends on which type is best for your situation. A 3PL can assist in those activities as well.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

The Benefits of Using 3PL Companies to Enhance your Business

More than 15 years ago, the company of Armstrong and Associates conducted a research which showed that about 46 percent of the companies included in the list of Fortune 500 are taking advantage of the services of third-party logistics or 3 PL for short, to assist them with their freight arrangements. This year in May, the number of those companies just about doubled and reached over 85 percent.

Benefits of Using 3PL

The study also found that companies doing shipping for their business turn to third-party logistics businesses in order to obtain some more control over the costs as well as to improve the efficacy of the supply chain. At the same time, larger establishment uses the services of their-party logistics on a regular basis for their daily needs for shipping management.

So, why are companies increasingly more often turning to third-party logistics businesses? For one, the economy is changing in one way or another on a regular basis and has a powerful impact on the market logistics. The changes in the economy also play a role in the way companies operate including what they focus on and where they are trying to cut corners with prices.

Using the services of a third-party logistics company comes with some benefits, but the most important is that it saves the client company time, money, as well as efforts. By delegating some or most of the freight management to a 3 PL business, the client company can focus on another aspect of their business, and it can direct the saved money to better products for example.

Third-party logistics companies can be used to work as a one-stop shop that handles all logistics. That can help save increase efficiency, save time as well as make it easier to track freight costs. This convenience has made third-party logistic companies a popular option. They also offer a level of flexibility in that it allows businesses to customize after their needs, as a third-party logistics company can provide services to nearly any kind of industry, often in all states, across state borders or even globally, reaching worldwide.

The use of a 3PL company is taken very seriously. Shippers could spend hours entering data manually as well as coordinating shipping with some carriers. That time could potentially be used for enhancing or creating new products which is why companies are using third-party logistics.

Another thing that a 3PL company can provide to its clients is visibility which is an essential aspect of doing business. Other benefits of using the services of a third-party logistics company are the in-depth account reviews which help better understand sales. Using such services can also help a business to cut down on some expenses which is one of the deciding factors that have companies using them in the first place.

To provide some solid facts as examples of the benefits, in a 3PL study it was discovered that 86 percent of the shippers surveyed noticed an improvement in their customer services. 73 percent stated that they believe that third-party logistics businesses have a lot to offer regarding innovative methods to improve the effectiveness of the logistics.

At this point, it is very likely that rising businesses will also be using the services of a third-party logistics company. If the trend continues, the logistics market can anticipate a prosperous time.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Hidden Freight Charges You Should Know About and How to Avoid Them

Unexpected changes to a freight bill due to inadvertent accessorial charges can be frustrating. Understanding common freight accessorials and how to plan your shipments and budgets around them will help you save on your LTL freight.

What are Accessorial Charges?

Accessorial charges are additional fees carriers charge for performing freight services that go beyond normal pickup and delivery. But accessorial charges are not all bad; in some cases, they are fees for value-added services. Carriers are most successful when they can efficiently transport freight from point to point. To keep line haul rates competitive for all shippers, carriers charge extra for services that take more time and resources to accomplish than a typical delivery.

Hidden Freight Charges Avoid Them

Understanding Common Accessorial Charges

Liftgate Fees

If you’re shipping a load that weighs more than 100 pounds and you don’t have the necessary equipment or tools to safely load or unload the truck, you may be required to use a liftgate. Charges associated with liftgates can be anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on the carrier.
A liftgate fee may also apply to a load more than 100 pounds, and with pick up or delivery at a residential location.

Limited Access Locations

You may have a shipment that needs to be picked-up or delivered to a limited access area where you can’t maneuver a 53-foot or 48-foot trailer with a liftgate. In this scenario, we can arrange for a smaller truck to intercept the load and transfer the cargo at a terminal or another convenient location. When you know a delivery must be made to a limited access location, find out as much as you can about the site in advance, so you can coordinate appropriately and limit any delays or additional charges if the driver is not able to make the pickup or complete delivery.

Trade Shows and Convention Centers

Shipping trade show booths and related equipment to convention centers can offer its own set of challenges. Shipping to busy convention centers must be carefully planned as thousands of trucks can converge on a convention center as a show is being set up. To manage the chaos, trucks are assigned arrival and unloading times (appointments).
Some trade shows will also have “preferred” carriers it wants you to use, so verify whether a show is mandating specific carriers. Make sure your company’s booth number is on every crate, so show workers who accept your delivery know exactly where to place them on the show floor.

Construction Zone Deliveries

If you need to deliver to a construction zone, a carrier will assess you a fee of $50 or more. Construction zones can be tricky because sometimes there isn’t a physical address. The address could be in the middle of a road that’s under construction. When this is the case, make sure you deliver your shipment at the agreed upon time to ensure someone is at the construction site to accept the delivery.

Administrative Accessorials

When a shipper has the bill of lading errors, omissions or changes that add additional costs to the shipment or slow transit times, accessorial charges are usually assessed. Entering inaccurate weight, NMFC or freight class to the bill of lading are some of the most common and avoidable examples of administrative errors that result in accessorial charges.

4 Tips to Reduce Accessorial Charges

Some accessorial charges, like additional equipment required to load and unload your shipment, can’t always be prevented. However, accessorials that occur due to the bill of lading errors or omissions can be avoided, and doing so, will reduce your freight costs. Here are 4 tips for reducing accessorial charges:

1. Get a baseline for your overall accessorial spend

Perform a freight audit of your last 6-12 months of shipments to understand how often and the types of accessorial charges you’re incurring. Once you know the frequency and type, you can create a plan for reducing accessorial costs.

2. Educate employees on proper BOL creation & shipment preparation

Many administrative accessorial charges can be avoided. Bill of Lading accuracy is critical to reducing unnecessary fees. Educating employees on accessorials and the importance of properly weighing, measuring and classing shipments, along with accurately completing BOL documentation can help you save.

3. Understand NMFC and Freight Class

NMFC or National Motor Freight Classification is the standard for evaluating the transportation characteristics of a commodity based on its density, handling, stowability and liability. Every commodity can be grouped into one of 18 classes – from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500. Become familiar with the NMFC so you can accurately class your shipments and avoid reclassification charges.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Logistics We All Are Affected Everyday

To classify logistics specifically to shipping of products would be an understatement because it is used in everyday life unintentionally. When making a product, logistics is crucial when handling the materials being used to produce the product. It is important to know how much of a product’s parts are being stored, and where the parts are located. A freight broker communicates with transporters to keep tabs on where a parts shipment is located and when it will be delivered.

Logistics We All Are Affected Everyday

Logistical service areas do include transportation, storage, Information services, even factories, restaurants, and shopping centers. Any consumer product in the world has at one time used freight broker services. The everyday products we all use wouldn’t be available without them.

The holidays are right around the corner. This means consumers demands for goods, and services for shipping goods increase. November through December are the busiest times of the year for shipping companies. The moment a customer walks through the door the logistical spotlight follows them. Any person trying to get their gift across the world is relying on logistical services in one way or another.

It starts with the box. It is crucial to make sure the item inside the box is packed securely with the right materials. Packaging materials might include a mixture of newspaper, bubble wrap, foam, or packing peanuts as filler. Packaging material will ensure that the item, whether it is non-breakable or breakable, will arrive in the same state that it was shipped. It is very vital to pick the right size of box. This ensures that there is no dead space within the box when it is sealed. Dead space is the reason why items become damaged.

The value of the item is also a key factor, along with what the item is. Some companies won’t allow you to ship items of high value which are irreplaceable. There are also restrictions on shipping hazardous materials such as batteries, dry ice, firearms and other flammable items. It is important that dangerous items are shipped by the specific department that handles dangerous items. When in doubt, ask a representative if the item in question can be shipped. A Freight broker will hold contracts to ship such goods that need special handling. Freight brokers will also help companies manage transportation demands to meet holiday deadlines.

If the shipper agrees to ship the box, a label and receipt are printed. The Customer is handed the receipt that contains a tracking number. The label includes barcodes, tracking information, sender, and receiver information, along with the box size and weight. After all this, the box waits for pickup. Once it’s picked up from the drop off location it then goes on a journey through drop off points, scanners, conveyor belts, airport security, airplane rides… through many hands, until the last moment when the final delivery host delivers the package. If in the very rare cases a package goes missing, tracking information is used to track the last scanned point, and most of the time the package is found with a bit of a delay.

There is a lot that can go wrong if a box breaks on a belt line it could shut down the whole factory, but ensuring that all boxes are the right size, with no dead space, and sealed properly, those gifts will arrive before December 25, weather permitting.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics