Shipping Faux Pas to Avoid

Shipping Faux Pas to Avoid

Shipping Faux Pas to Avoid

The New Year has finally arrived, and we learned a lot from last year’s challenges. Don’t let the supply chain and business shipping issues you had in 2020 weigh you down in 2022. We’re counting down the top 8 shipping faux pas to avoid going forward, so you can get started on the right foot regarding your shipping strategy!

8 Shipping Faux Pas to Avoid

#8: Inaccurate Weight and Dimensions

Carriers will always measure, weigh and inspect your cargo using their sophisticated equipment, so they know exactly how much space your shipment will take on a truck and how much it weighs. Guessing the weight and dimensions of your shipment during the freight quote process can lead to you getting an inaccurate shipping quote and billing adjustments post shipment, which means increased costs to you.

However, you can avoid this shipping faux pas by carefully weighing and measuring your item once it is fully packaged. And no guesstimates! Be precise and accurate. Invest in an industrial freight scale if you need to. The cost will cover itself in the long run. Also, be sure your cargo is clearly labeled if it is considered hazardous materials or perishable items.

#7: Not Having a Business Continuity Plan

If 2020 taught us one thing, it’s to be prepared and plan for disruptions to business and shipping, and having a business continuity plan helps you do just that. What is a business continuity plan? A business continuity plan outlines how a business will continue to operate during an unexpected event or unplanned disruption. This plan is designed to help you keep critical business functions working with minimal downtime during an unanticipated disaster or interruption.

You have a business to run, and the top priority is customer satisfaction. The last thing you need is a disruption that causes all business operations to halt. Having a business continuity plan in place is a must.

#6: Unclear Return Policies

Thanks to COVID-19 more consumers than ever are shopping online for everything from essential items to gifts. After one of the busiest online shopping holiday seasons in 2020, many predict a higher-than-average amount of returned items. Retailers must prepare for this influx of returned items by reviewing their return policies and revising them as needed. That means it’s time to remember reverse logistics or how your shipped goods will be returned to you. But why should you consider revamping your return policy?

An Optoro study found that 97% of consumers are more likely to be repeat customers after a positive return experience, and 46% of those consumers stated they typically returned between one and three gifts received during the holidays.

While an important goal of reverse logistics and clear return policies is for small business owners to recover value from returned products, it’s equally important to consider your customers’ satisfaction and experience. This helps you develop a thoughtful reverse logistics strategy and keeps your brand reputation positive.

#5: Improper Packaging

What can happen when your freight isn’t packaged correctly? Punctures, abrasions, compression, environmental exposure, and damage can occur. Even normal shipment handling, shock, and vibration can damage your shipment or hurt someone else’s shipment on the back of a truck.

Additionally, improperly packaged shipments are often outright refused at pickup by a driver who deems the packaging insufficient. These lead to additional freight costs that waste time, money, and energy and lead to unhappy customers. The key is knowing how to package your freight correctly, and you can do that by following our Guide to Freight Packaging.

#4: Not Adding the Right Accessorials

Accessorials are add-on services that go above and beyond the carrier-provided curbside drop-off and pickup. And, since any shipment weighing 150 pounds or more is considered a freight shipment and requires a liftgate, your shipment will likely need at least one accessorial, if not more.

The most common accessorial needed for freight shipping is the liftgate, required for shipments weighing 150 pounds or more and not being loaded or unloaded at a loading dock. Another common accessorial is the limited access location accessorial, which is required for residential shippers or home-based business shippers because these locations are extra tricky for truck drivers to navigate.

If your shipment is urgent or time-sensitive, you may need to add expedited shipping services since this add-on gives your freight priority over regular freight. Additionally, freeze protection services may be required for cargo vulnerable to extreme cold conditions. Depending on what you’re shipping and how time-sensitive it will help determine what kinds of accessorials you need. Skipping the process of adding any necessary accessorials can lead to unwanted billing adjustments post-delivery. Avoid this faux pas by ensuring all add-ons are added during the booking process with your shipping agent.

#3: Incorrect Freight Classification

Incorrectly or misclassifying your freight can lead to more pesky and costly billing adjustments. This is also a matter of safety because misclassified cargo can lead to a dangerous situation concerning weight distribution in the back of a truck or incompatible freight types.

Here’s what you need to know about freight classLTL shipments are assigned a National Motor Freight Classification code, or NMFC code, which helps carriers determine the cost to ship freight. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) developed the NMFC code to ensure that customers get fair pricing with a standardized freight shipping process. Shipment can be sorted into 18 freight classes based on its ease of transportability, ranging from low (class 50) to high (class 500). The four main factors determining freight class are stowability, liability, ease of handling, and density.

#2: Mismanaging Expectations

Having incorrect expectations about what should or shouldn’t happen in the freight shipping industry can lead to headaches and frustration. We’re talking about pickup and delivery times. While carriers are working hard to pick up and deliver shipments on time and as quickly as possible, certain factors outside their control may cause shipping delays. Factors such as weather increased shipping demand, and shipping during peak seasons can impact transit times. It’s important to remember that all pickup and delivery times are estimates and not guaranteed.

Be transparent with customers if your shipment is delayed and reach out to your shipping provider for additional support, such as assistance with tracking.

#1: Not Working with a 3PL

Going it alone and not working with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) like FreightCenter means you won’t be taking advantage of all the cost savings from the extensive networks that 3PLs have. You will have to do more work than is necessary. What we mean is this—you are busy running your business, providing services to your customers, managing the day-to-day details, and having a partner you can trust to handle the shipping lets you focus on running your business. Shipping can be time consumer and a lot to take, and it pulls your focus away from your company. When you work with a 3PL, one significant aspect of your business is covered: shipping.

FreightCenter has been helping businesses ship smarter for over 20 years. We can help you save and manage your shipping costs, figure out what freight class your shipment is, find the best freight rates, connect you with trusted carriers, identify what accessorials you need and more. When you partner with FreightCenter, you won’t have to worry about shipping faux pas, so give us a call at 8007167608 or get started with a free online quote.

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