Businesses offering expedited shipping options know the importance of establishing efficient, reliable resources within their supply chain. In an evolving logistics environment, where ecommerce is booming, shoppers don’t want to wait around for products. They want fast and affordable shipping options, so expedited shipping is becoming a “must-have” for online businesses.
Whether you’re shipping to another business or direct to the consumer, these expedited shipping best practices are sure to help.
1. Stay grounded
There’s a general misconception that expedited means shipping freight in the air. The reality? Most expedited freight stays on the ground, and for good reason. Sure, you can fly from one end of the country in a fraction of the time it takes to drive, but that doesn’t mean putting freight on a plane is the most efficient way to ship it.
Air shipments rarely make non-stop flights from the shipping origin to its destination, plus sometimes flight schedules themselves can be a bit up in the air. Also, freight still needs to be placed on trucks when moving from warehouses to airfields and from airfields to the final stop. Cost is also an issue, as ground transportation tends to be less expensive than air. All in all, sometimes a dedicated truck really is the fastest method from point A to point B.
It may be the case that air transport is best for an expedited shipment, but it should never be the default option. Unless a dedicated plane is chartered, there are certain size limitations and some commodity restrictions associated with air freight.
2. Understand freight classifications and dimensions
The dimensions and NMFC classification of freight not only affect shipping prices, but they also impact the type of equipment used to haul them. There’s a world of difference between cargo vans and 53’ semi-trucks and, depending on the products and how many are being shipped, different equipment may be better suited for the shipment.
It’s imperative that shippers properly measure their freight’s dimensions so that the correct equipment can be secured for transportation.
3. Bigger is not always better
As a general rule, the best way to do expedited shipping is to use the smallest available equipment. Though this doesn’t apply to 100% of situations, shipping via straight trucks, cargo vans and other small vehicles can decrease shipping time for a number of reasons:
- In general, drivers of small delivery vehicles are not subject to the same Hours of Service rules as semi drivers.
- Smaller vehicles can usually move a little faster because they’re carrying less weight and are more aerodynamic.
- Smaller vehicles are not subject to stops, inspections, and weigh stations.
- Smaller vehicles fuel up more quickly and travel longer distances between fueling stops.
4. Timing is everything
The timing of pickup and delivery windows are crucial to planning expedited shipments. Some destinations offer delivery windows for pickup and drop off, while others require that appointments be made. It’s also important to confirm that the consignee will be open and available when the freight arrives. If the person or team is not there to receive the shipment, the delivery driver will need to make another attempt at a later date, causing a delay in delivery.
Depending on where the freight picks up and where it’s going, time zone changes can also play a factor in delivery times. Hours gained when traveling west, hours lost when traveling east – drivers are in a veritable time machine out there.
5. Be prepared for emergencies
Not every shipment goes as planned, which is why it’s important to be ready for anything. A couple of things to keep in mind:
- The “drop-dead” time. In a worst case scenario, when is the latest a delivery can arrive? Knowing this helps make necessary changes that, yes, may delay a shipment, but still get it to its destination before the hard line.
- Emergency contacts. Who’s the best person to contact at the pickup location and destination? Who can be contacted if issues occur while freight is on the road? It’s best to have a list of these people that can be called at a moment’s notice when things don’t go as planned.
6. Choose the right partner
Do you know which method of shipping is best for your freight? Are you confident you’re minimizing your expedited shipping costs? Do you have a logistics management plan that accounts for emergencies?
At King, we’re experts in special transportation services that include expedited shipping. With our 99% on-time delivery, you get peace of mind knowing that your freight is well cared for all the way to its destination.
Ready to fast-track your expedited shipping strategy? Contact me ASAP.