5 Freight Resolutions Shippers Should (Actually) Keep
New year, better shipping
It’s a new year, and we all know what that means! It’s time to better ourselves and our businesses by making promises to ourselves we probably (statistically) won’t keep. But unlike a crash diet, some resolutions are worth keeping – especially when it comes to your freight.
If you’re looking for easy ways to improve your shipping experience in the new decade, look no further. If you’re looking for ways to lose ten pounds, you probably clicked on the wrong article. Maybe try keto?
Resolution 1: Keep your lines of communication clear
Communication is key, and in the world of logistics that means you’re fielding anywhere from dozens to hundreds of emails every day. The first, easiest, and best way to avoid your messages getting lost in the weeds or forwarded into the abyss is to ensure they’re going to the right person.
Whether you’re working directly with a carrier, or using a 3PL, make sure you have the full roster of people responsible for your freight. A single contact isn’t going to cut it in an emergency, and you’ll sleep better at night knowing that if John Doe is out sick, his coworker Jane has your back.
But it takes two to do the email tango, so make sure your broker/carrier knows who they can reach out to on your end should an exception arise. This will save you both a lot of headaches if worst comes to worst, and it will cut down on the time it takes to rectify mistakes or respond to emergencies.
No one likes a game of panicked phone tag, so come prepared with a list of contacts and request the same.
Resolution 2: Guess less, measure more
Loading mistakes suck, no two ways about it. Sometimes they’re unavoidable, sometimes they’re out of your hands, and sometimes it’s because someone did some guess work on dimensions and freight class.
Keeping your dimensions and freight class as accurate as possible is an incredibly straightforward way to avoid costly fees and delays when it comes time to ship. If a carrier needs to readjust their load because of bad dimensions, it’s going to reflect in the price you pay and the time it takes to load. Which could cause you to miss critical deadlines and pay even more in lost profits and angry customers.
Getting freight info wrong is an easy mistake to make, especially for smaller shippers who might lack the equipment to properly measure and weigh their goods. But accurate freight dimensions and classes are crucial, especially for loading. Size and weight determine where your goods will be placed in a trailer. Freight class determines…basically everything else.
Properly determining dimensions and class is one of the few places where shippers have complete control, so it’s a perfect opportunity to set your carrier up for success.
It’ll also help you avoid overpaying to correct any mistakes.
Resolution 3: Put in the (paper)work
If you’re an international shipper (who isn’t using SCOUT by Forager to handle all this for you), our hearts go out to you.
Unlike domestic shipments (which usually require a Bill of Lading and nothing else), shipping into or out of the United States opens a whole new world of paperwork-based nightmares.
The US/Canada border is the longest undefended border in the world, but even still you need a laundry list of documents to get your load across it. Proof of delivery, commercial invoice, customs invoice, and certificate of origin – just to name a few.
There are also a lot of regulations, which can beget yet more paperwork or even legal trouble if not properly abided.
Long story short: get all your ducks in a row before marching them to the border. One wrong document can result in your freight being delayed or even turned away, so cross every t and dot every i even though it’s tedious and time consuming. Better to spend a day proof reading than a week putting out logistical fires.
Resolution 4: Stay on track with tracking
Once you do all the work of getting carrier/broker contacts, classing your freight, and perfecting your paperwork, it is extremely tempting to sit back and let the professionals do the rest. You’ve done your work, after all.
But a shipper’s work is never done. Not even when the truck pulls out of the dock.
Being proactive about tracking your loads is crucial if you don’t have a logistics provider to do it for you. Even if you and your carrier do everything right, there are still millions of things that can go wrong getting your load from point a to point b.
The sooner you know something has gone awry, the sooner you can react. Either by informing customers or passing new marching orders to your carrier.
Resolution 5: Embrace new solutions
It’s a new decade, which means it’s officially time to make peace with technology and embrace our inevitable robot overlords.
We’ve talked about automation and all the ways it’s changing the freight game, but there are other ways shippers can use technology to streamline their supply chain. New year, new solutions. Its got a nice ring to it.
Ask your providers if they have a booking/pricing portal, and request access immediately. Digital platforms give you the power to plan your loads wherever and whenever you need. You can even instantly price and book cross-border if you’re using SCOUT by Forager (wink wink nudge nudge).
It can be daunting to learn how to use new tools, especially if you’ve been using the same system for years. But sometimes change is good, and conquering the technology learning curve will provide countless opportunities for innovation.
So there you have it, 5 freight resolutions you should actually keep for a smoother shipping experience in 2020. Here’s to a new decade of better shipping for all!