Tips to Save on LTL Shipping

Less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipments involve deliveries that are too large to be considered as parcels yet they are not big enough to fill an entire truckload. When you need to save on LTL deliveries, finding the right shipping option can be a daunting task. With LTL shipping rates being complex and confusing, finding the best option is part science and part art.

Tips to Save on LTL Shipping

The science

Fortunately, over the recent past, technology has simplified the previously complex process of finding the right LTL shipping in terms of cost savings and conveniences.

There are various factors that affect the cost of your LTL shipment:

Density: The bulk and weight is often influences freight classification. Density determines whether your load can get damaged easily.

Freight class: Choosing the right freight class can go a long way in saving money on LTL shipments. Factors that determine the freight class include density, liability, handling, and value; the lower the class, the lesser the fees. Moreover, choosing the right class will help you avoid additional costs and fees.

Distance/Location: Distance of the haul and the locality where the shipment is being taken to/from significantly affects the cost. The longer the distance the higher the fees. Moreover, proximity to a large metropolitan can significantly affect the rates. Some carrier service specific regions while others cover an entire country. Those shipping over short distances have plenty of options to choose from and therefore more bargains. More often than not, the LTL carrier from one region seamlessly transfers the cargo to another LTL carrier that serves the destination region.

The Art

The art in saving shipping costs comes by adding the human element in the equation. This involves allows you to customize shipping to suit your positions and needs. Here are some few tactical ways that can be instrumental in helping to save on LTL deliveries:

Know what your shipment entails

Ensure that your bill of lading is filled out correctly. Counter check the weight and the size of the shipment because entering the wrong freight class or other wrong estimates will attract additional fees and penalties.

Choose a reliable is the carrier

You should look for a reliable carrier that offers simple pricing. Avoid carriers with complex pricing options because you are likely to pay more for shipping due to confusion and also waste a lot of time redoing the paper work. Reliable freight services simplify the shipping process by presenting you with the suitable shipping options that match your goals, budget and timelines.

Choose efficient packaging

Efficient packaging entails packaging that guarantees safety on arrival and also cuts cost. This can be achieved through palletizing and crating.

The need to customize your shipment

Some of these customization options include goods tracking capabilities, liftgate service, expedited delivery, and delivery notification.

In Closing

Achieving significant savings in LTL shipping is all about presenting yourself with options. This way, you not only save on cash but also have higher odds finding a carrier that suits your needs. However, just as earlier mentioned, to find the best choice that addresses your budget, timelines, and safety is a challenge because you have to sift through numerous options. Fortunately, expert freight service providers will save you the hassle. The will help narrow your options to find the best LTL shipping that suits your needs.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Top 4 Technologies Determining the Direction Supply Chain Management Will Be Taking In the Future

With the kind of advancement being experienced in technology currently, newer and more advanced solutions that will catapult warehouse management and shape the supply chain of tomorrow are coming up every day. Supply chain stakeholders and third-party logistics service providers (3PLs) all around the world are looking to find the best footing so as to make both outbound and inbound logistics both flexible and adaptable to the changing times. Right from the potential spectacular changes if the power of the cloud is harnessed to the applications of Big Data, there is a need to know some of the top warehouse management solutions that will determine your future. Check out our compilation of the top four below:

The Omnipotence of the Cloud in Warehouse Management

As we have mentioned above, the power of the cloud in propelling warehouse management into the future is immense. All indications are that the cloud is set to become omnipotent in this regard. The cloud is already positioning itself as a go-to solution for the supply chain in cases where data storage challenges are rampant, and it is growing at an awe-inspiring pace. By 2020, over three-quarters of supply chain processes will be hosted in the ever-connected technology, with more and more companies migrating their systems to the cloud. In the meantime, the quick pace in migration will continue pushing entire supply chain systems toward a platform-based approach to successful warehouse management. In addition, the enhanced cloud cybersecurity is set to make it easier for companies to move their operations from the riskier on-site storage facilities to the cloud.

Technological Advancements in Robotics & Automation Will Lower Physical Strain

With robotic systems quickly taking over and bringing automation to warehouse management, this will tremendously reduce the overall workload and physical strain on supply chain workers, eventually replacing pickers’ labor demands. With both packing and shipping also moving toward automation, warehousing is truly on the verge of going fully technological. The Internet of Things (IoT) is also expanding, with more and more mobile devices taking advantage of the Internet. Some of these include wearables that enable the reduction of equipment costs, as well as risks and challenges associated with visibility in both factories and warehouses. As warehouse robotics move toward becoming more technically advanced, drones and autonomous vehicles will make the fulfillment of customer orders a more seamless and cost-effective 24/7 activity.

Order Streaming to Boost Warehouse Management

With order streaming activities like picking and slotting being impacted by newer technologies, this will tremendously reduce the time taken to stock and pick for each order. This way, businesses will be able to enhance productivity without raising overhead costs, subsequently providing higher benefits and creating more investment opportunities in other parts of the supply chain. The funds saved via better warehouse management techniques could be used to, for instance, upgrade fleets or service tiers for their customers.

The IoT, Big Data & Inventory Management Accuracy

Harnessing the power of Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT), automation can be used to enhance accuracy in inventory management by reducing errors to create intuitive and responsive warehouse and supply chain systems. Better and advanced data analyses will lead to the processing of more data and information using cloud-based computing power. This will bring forth new possibilities that will lead to the improvement of supply chain standards and the adoption of best practices in warehouse management.

So, What Else?

Currently, the world is experiencing an evolution of warehouse management technologies, with global supply chain systems on the verge of a major revolution. IoT-enabled gadgets are soon coming to our homes. The operation of entire supply chains is being redefined. Opportunities for growth and advancement are becoming limitless. With all these technological changes, the question you should be asking yourself is: will you sit on the fence and let others pass by as they leverage on these technologies or will your business be part of the major paradigm shift coming?

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

3 Reasons Why 3PLs Are Here To Stay

There is no getting around it – the words broker and outsourced have gotten a bad rep. But even amid this negativity, 3PLs (third-party logistics) providers continue to grow in popularity and permeate every industry in the United States. The question is how.

But first of all, it is important to understand that 3PLs are the brainchild of this century. The poor image they had at the beginning is starting to seem more like an issue of the small 3PLs companies making their debut in the industry having a few teething problems.

3PL Here To Say

Proof of this lies in the fact that many organizations fully embrace the services these companies offer. In fact, a majority of Fortune 500 companies (80%) and Fortune 100 companies (96%), use the services provided by 3PLs companies. So, outsourced transportation and logistics is becoming a serious issue for all companies.

But why? Why are 3PLs so popular, even among large, well-funded organizations that can handle these issues themselves? Here are three reasons why.

3 Reasons 3PLs Have Gone Mainstream

Economies of Scale
Third-party logistics companies can do the same thing companies can, but for less money because they are larger. It also helps that they are into the business for good, not for a season like most companies would be if they handled this part of the business in-house.

This puts TPLs in a better position to negotiate better payment terms with shipping companies, and these cost benefits are eventually passed on to the companies that use their services. And another thing, 3PLs are better suited to handling the uncertainties (financial or otherwise) that typify this industry, which often require skills beyond what an in-house logistics team can handle.

Third-Party Logistics Companies Better Technology

A typical company has a lot of things to worry about besides logistics. For this reason, it can fall behind when it comes to keeping its logistics services up-to-date. But since logistics is all 3PLs deal with every day, they are better equipped technologically.

Today, they have at their disposal options like Transportation Management Systems (TMS), which help with a whole range of logistical needs. These include better shipment management, handling of complex scheduling, freight consolidation, and so forth.

Such a system would be too big of an investment for a company’s logistics department. In any case, most companies would not be in a position to fully exploit the whole range of benefits such advanced logistic management systems have to offer. Furthermore, such systems need to be managed properly and updated from time to time, which is a little more work a company can avoid by choosing to use a 3PLs provider.

3PLs are More Suited to Versatile Logistical Needs

Some companies have very diverse logistical needs. They may need to move things from distant and varied overseas destinations, or special products that need unique handling. Trying to do all this within the organization can prove hectic, expensive, and error-prone.

This makes the use of 3PLs the best option for them as these companies have a better reach and better skills and equipment to handle all kinds of transportation. Any organization that would choose to do this on its own would end up spending a fortune on logistics.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Have you checked out our online system yet?

Brighter Logistics Shipping Made Speedy

Brighter Logistics

Have you checked out our online system yet?

Once Logged into CarrierRate 2.0 you can get rate quotes, set up shipments and get your BOLs, along with track and trace shipments. You can also remit payment online under the Financials tab.

Have you ever tried paying online?

As you work through the payment steps, watch for pop up blockers as you will need to allow these to move forward to input your payment information. Please also note, if you do pay by credit card, Globaltranz does charge a 2.5% surcharge but you can pay by Echeck and there is no fee.

Please go to our website,  and click on the client login in the top right corner. This will then direct you to CarrierRate 2.0 and to your login screen. Please note, it is recommended to use Google Chrome, Firefox, or the latest version of Internet Explorer as your browser.

If you do not know your username and password, please feel free to contact a Brighter Team member today!

Transport Revolution: How Self-driving Trucks Affect Your Supply Chain

Recently Alphabet-owned Waymo announced that it was developing a self-driving semi-truck. This comes as no surprise as more automotive companies are thinking about introducing autonomous trucks. It will be interesting seeing a truck driver on a tablet or reading a book while their truck rolls along the highway, right? About eighteen states have already passed legislation related to self-driving vehicles. These states include Nevada, Alabama, California, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Dakota, Washington DC, Vermont, South Carolina, Utah, Texas, New York, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Colorado, and Michigan.

Self Driving Trucks

Autonomous trucks are revolutionizing a big industry in the American economy- the Supply Chain industry. The logistics industry employs over 1.7 million drivers, with trucking corporations experiencing an annual driver turnout of over 90%. The median truck driver’s age is a high 49 years old. With such a large number of truck drivers in the US, I can bet that you know a truck driver or a friend or relative who acquitted with one that is probably worried that the onset of self-driving trucks will drive them out of jobs, no pun intended. But will it? Flesh and blood truck drivers will be needed to maneuver the city streets, highway exits and to back up to the loading dock.

Autonomous trucks will make life easier for truck drivers by reducing the stress of long-haul driving, the primary source of fatigue for drivers.
Self-driving trucks will have a great impact on the Supply Chain and logistics industry. Here a few areas that you might notice shifting with the introduction of autonomous semi-trucks.

1. Road safety- Most people are concerned about computer-driven vehicles, but autonomous trucks will significantly improve highway safety by reducing driver error and fatigue from long-haul driving. People need not worry about accidents caused by distracted driving or human error when self-driving cars can travel over 700,000 miles accident-free.

2. Delivery speed- Experts predict that there’ll be increased speed in delivery due to a reduction in congestion and ability to cover longer distances in 24 hours. Moreover, trucking companies will be able to save maintenance costs, fuel consumption, emissions and vehicle downtime.

3. The cost of goods- We can expect reduced prices for products with autonomous trucks. Since transportation costs are a huge determinant of the cost of goods sold, most companies carry forward the costs to the consumers. With reduced transportation costs comes reduced prices.

4. Network design- Most organizations typically set the location of their distribution centers with the underlying assumption that trucks can’t cover more than 500 miles in a day. However, with the onset of autonomous trucks, the distance traveled is substantially increased. This will affect the size, number, and location of distribution centers. For example, an organization with five strategically placed distribution centers can shift to two large distribution centers that cover a larger geographic area.

Self-driving trucks technology will improve traffic efficiency and cut expenditure for organizations while reducing the cost of goods in marketplace. The trucks will still need flesh and blood drivers to maneuver the city and highway. So, if you know any truck drivers, you can tell them not to freak about this new revolution.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics 

3 Surefire Strategies For Saving Money on LTL Shipments

LTL yields for carriers were up 2.4% in 2016 after revenue was down in 2015 due to a much softer market the past two years and newer challenges faced by carriers.

Pricing is expected to increase in 2017, and according to estimates from Stephens Inc., one can expect those numbers to be up from those of the last quarter by low single-digit increment rates.

Most LTL carriers are not flexible on their pricing models and while many shippers think they can save money by negotiating lower rates, there are more effective strategies to cut expenses on less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments.

Surefire Strategies To Save Money On LTL Shipments

As LTL pricing is set to increase further in 2017 due to fuel costs potentially going up too, shippers would be better off cutting trucking costs on LTL freight shipping by employing surefire cost-saving strategies. Some of the strategies proven to be effective include, being exact with packaging and palletizing the freight properly, considering consolidation, working with a 3PL and using better transport management systems.

Packaging and Palletizing

Aside from being accurate with measuring the weight and dimensions of shipments, proper packaging is a great way to ensure carriers can move your shipments safely and easily. Shippers who are palletizing their freight need to put boxes in upright position use slip sheet and stack the pallets in a way that protects the contents.

A major concern for shippers is that the condition of freight is undamaged at its destination. By making sure that pallets are packaged to increase strength and stability, these additional shipment charges that are often incurred can be avoided.

Here are some steps to take in packaging:

  • Shrink wrapping the shipment together with the pallet to avoid sliding
  • Maximizing the shipment’s density to allow stacking by carrier
  • Decking the freight with an extra layer to support stacked weight
  • Maximizing space by packaging pallets to the exact height and edge requirements specified

Consolidation

Consolidation of LTL shipments can significantly increase savings. It is a proven method for shippers to cut down on costs and decrease emissions while doing so.

Creating a system that ensures that shipments to the same location are consolidated into a single daily shipment, helps companies lower transportation costs and inventory while driving consistency and efficiency.

Load consolidation between different facilities and divisions can be achieved by forming a program or consortium that improves truckload utilization. Getting more people on board will increase shipment volumes and allow companies save money by converting LTL shipments to cost-effective full truckload shipments. More volume will also provide shippers with more leverage when negotiating a collective discount with carriers.

LTL Technology

Smaller companies that rely on untrained hands or one-person transportation/shipping departments, will find that working with a 3PL company will provide them with the LTL technology that they otherwise may not have access to.

Without logistics managers or well-trained employees, a small or mid-size business will save money on transportation costs by partnering with 3PL companies. Efficient management systems and better technology will streamline the LTL shipment process by providing shippers with assistance on rates, invoicing, carrier selections and most other aspects.

These systems will in turn decrease the inbound and outbound freight expenses for companies and reduce administrative costs by automating most of the processes involved with transporting LTL shipments.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Delivering What Customers Want Through Freight Forwarding

Two things separate the best performing freight forwarding companies from other shipping companies.  Number one, the mastery of standardized processes and number two, the use of integrated IT.  By applying automatic procedures, a company can cut the costs of freight transport, decrease errors and accelerate speed to the marketplace. While integrated IT creates transparency for both freight broker companies and their customers.

Freight Broker

When a shipping company is looking to have freight moved they have high expectations of transparency. This is and has become more mainstream and expected based on other markets both online and offline. A good example is passenger cruise lines now routinely offer flexibility, choice and transparency to all of their customers from well before the trip is booked and throughout their entire experience.

There are very few freight forwarding companies in the industry that can meet these high customer expectations. The only way of providing the speed and agility that customers want is to make substantial fluctuations to IT systems and put technology in the forefront of the business. This allows consistent freight transportation updates to customers on a timely basis.

An additional way that a freight services broker can use IT to deliver what their customers need is to deliver guidance and direction. These businesses want to be able to turn to their shipping company for a guiding hand. By making use of a virtual private network, freight brokers can offer flexible working to their employees, so the staff can work just as efficiently wherever they are at the time. This can mean faster, improved freight transportation services for clients as well as making it easier for broker companies to provide 24/7 customer services which is really in high demand in this day and age.

To really be on the cutting-edge shipping companies will have to make regular use of video conferencing in their engagements with customers, making their freight services feel more personal. Through the incorporation and creative use of IT, a freight brokering company can stay ahead of the curve, giving their customers what they want and then some.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Third Party Logistics (3PL) Vs In-house What’s the Right Path For Your Business

Logistics refers to the management of goods flowing between the origin and consumption point in order to meet specific requirements. This process can either break or make e-commerce businesses. For boxes to be correctly delivered to customers on time, exceptional logistic skills are required to meet customers’ expectations.

3PLversesInHouse

Third-Party Logistics Company

Quite a number of start-ups opt for the outsourcing option to fulfill their order through a 3PL company. A third-party company that offers these services manages all the functions in the supply chain on behalf of the consumer. Under the Third-party model, three parties must be involved for a product to reach a customer, i.e., the customer, the manufacturer, and the Third-party firm.

The providers of Third-party firm mainly specialize in warehousing, operation, and transportation services that can be customized and scaled based on the needs of the customers, market conditions and the delivery service, and demand requirements for materials and products. When choosing a third-party provider, it is important to inquire how many locations the firm has to ensure that they can efficiently cover territories with target sales. Also, find out their competitive price, competitors, and area of specialization.

Advantages of a 3PL Firm

Third-party companies have large warehouses with multiple locations from where shipments of products can be done faster. A 3PL allows people to focus on their company’s core competencies and strengths since the handle warehousing, distribution and order fulfillment.

Working with a third-party firm enables customers to scale up or scale down operations as per the volume of an order. Scaling up is useful when a company needs to expand its business into new areas or seasonal and growth periods like the holidays.

Another advantage of a 3PL firm is the availability of accessing a larger resource network that provides fast and high quality as well as volume discounts. The use of a 3PL provider saves on time and the cost of investing in technology, transportation, warehouse storage, and staffing. The 3PL providers are experienced and help companies to cut down on paperwork, audits, and billing. The freight broker from the specialized provider is up to date with the latest technology, software, developments, and techniques in the industry.

Management of In-house Logistics

It is important to ensure that there is enough space to layout paperwork and orders apart from box storage. Setting realistic expectations will guarantee that the customer will be aware of exactly how long it will take for the product to be delivered. Also, customers should be informed if the shipment will be done by a designer or a warehouse. Whenever there is a delay, customers should be updated on the progress. Discounts and dress shipping can also be considered to compensate a screw-up or a customer’s awful shipping experience.

A third-party firm is a great support system for most companies and businesses because it allows them to focus on core competencies. However, it should be a company’s long-term goal to hire specialized company with highly qualified and experienced freight broker to handle their flow of goods from the producer.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Accessorial Charges That Affect Your LTL Freight Rates

There are many factors that can affect your general LTL shipping rates, accessorial charges are often overlooked and more times than not are one of the main factors.  Having a good working knowledge of what accessorial charges are and how to minimize each of the various occurrences will help reduce your LTL freight costs.  Many of our shippers have never heard of accessorial charges so below I have outlined a few of the most common ones for your review.

Accessorial Charges

Accessorial charges are added services that the transporter of your freight might provide above and beyond the typical shipping and receiving services they provide for a shipment. The fees will more than likely be evaluated and applied after the shipment has been made.  The makes it hard to estimate and account for in your transportation budget. Base rates under the accessorial category are the central portion of all LTL freight costs, accessorial fees can add up quickly, adding up to a substantial rise in your transportation expenses. Here are a few of the most common accessorial charges:

Lift Gate Service

Commercial trucks are specifically designed to be loaded and unloaded using loading docks. When deliveries are made to residential addresses there are no loading docks to quickly unload the truck, therefore a lift gated is used to lower the freight. This is an added expense for the truck, that is where an additional charge is required for use of a lift gate.  if the freight carrier is unaware that a lift gate is needed and they arrive without the required equipment to make the delivery, they will not be able to make the delivery, adding an additional re-delivery charge to your shipment.

Inside Delivery

In most lift gate delivery situations, an inside delivery will be needed. This carries another accessorial charge for inside delivery. It is an extra fee because it involves added equipment (a pallet jack), additional time and in many cases the carrier will need an additional person to help delivery the freight inside.

Restricted Access

Occasionally, the pickup or delivery is slightly more complex offering only limited access to the freight. This can happen with commercial and residential delivery sites. Typically, it’s because the location requires additional time or after hours’ service because they cannot accept deliveries during regular business hours.

Accessorial charges are always negotiable, but need to be considered when negotiating rates with LTL freight brokers into your total shipping cost. When looking to decrease your LTL freight costs, you must keep accessorial rates on your radar and don’t be fooled by low base rates.

To avoid unnecessary accessorial charges always work with a well-established 3PL. They should be able to negotiate rates on accessorial charges as well as the right questions about your shipment to save you the most money as possible.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Important Factors for an Optimal 3PL Experience

A lot of shippers prefer to first focus on the prices that a 3PL freight broker charges, while at the same time, the price is a matter of concern as most shippers can take this to their advantage and level up, so to speak. SO, how is it that shippers can make improvements to their 3PL experience?

3PL Freight Brokers

Upgrade your Proposal Request

You must ensure that all operational data has been included, and in detail too. This is important for thorough analysis before an informed response can be sent back. Mostly, 3PLs spend thousands in coming up with a response just to lose it. It is for this reason that they may choose to avoid pursuing a project whose proposal doesn’t include the relevant details for an informed proposal. Additionally, accuracy is important and if for any reason a 3PL under prices a project due to inaccurate data, budget and performance are going to be hurt in the process.

Set achievable Expectations

In case your company has been having the same problem year on year, you shouldn’t expect that your problems will immediately incinerate with a 3PL. Even though they are experts, they too will be facing similar challenges as you’d have when trying to fix the issue by yourself. Setting realistic goals and anticipations from the very start and collaboratively working together tends to solve the problem.

Set Terms of Contract Clearly

It is often rumored that the contract can never be an afterthought and most of the times, services, and billing disputes are ruinous to relationships. Indeed, contracts can be daunting not to mention lengthy and they also state precisely what you expect the contract to perform, performance measures and the terms of payment.

Use Resources Available to Manage the relationship

One of the most common failures of companies that use outsourcing is inadequate resources and effort dedicated to communication, management of changes and handing overs as well as performance management. Though it may seem like outsourcing takes away daily motions for logistics execution, it merely adds a need for management in other diverse areas. By working with you person on person, you will be both working towards the benefit of the partnership.

Communicate in regular timeframes sticking to the plan regarding communications matters is imperative and should be with the minimal deviation be it a daily call, monthly meeting or a quarterly gathering, you need to look upon this as a mandatory requirement.

Focus on Important Metrics

The amount of data to be analyzed and reported is virtually endless and there is no good if the data does not lead to gains or improvements in productivity, cuts in cost and the improvement of customer service. First, you need to take a keen look at some key performance indicators which is good, to begin with.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics