The 12 Days of Christmas

  •  On the 1st day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, a full list of each commodity:

Capacity in freight shipping has increased dramatically in a short amount of time and the holiday season will be no different. Shippers, consignees, and freight carriers are all running skeleton crews especially as Christmas approaches. Take the time to plan ahead! Minimize mistakes by being thorough in your packing lists and especially in listing the contents of your shipments on your BOL (Description, Dimensions, Quantity, Packaging, NMFC and Class).

  • On the 2nd day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 2 Bills of Lading:

Keep accurate records of what you’re shipping! Keep this information indefinitely by utilizing a 3PL who offers a Transportation Management System (TMS) and store this information electronically.

  • On the 3rd day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 3 Competitive Quotes:

Quote with multiple carriers for not only cost, but also availability and transit time! There will be fewer drivers and less people on the docks of freight carriers as well as your consignee. Allow for extra transit time to ensure your products get to where they need to be. Save yourself the headache of comparing multiple direct carriers by working with a 3PL who can provide a TMS, which calculates multiple quotes and transit times from multiple common LTL carriers.

  • On the 4th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 4pm Pick-up:

Especially as Christmas approaches, there may be less drivers working and less ability to pick up freight. If you want to kick your warehouse guys early for the day, be sure to allow for a minimum 2 hour pick up window and perhaps more. If your warehouse usually closes at 5pm, schedule your pick up for an hour earlier but be prepared to wait! Delayed transit because of missed pick-ups during the holiday weeks are not abnormal!

  • On the 5th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 5-Day Guarantee!!!

Guarantee your shipments! It costs marginally more to guarantee your delivery, whether it is a one-day point, two, three, four or five, and avoiding late deliveries easily offsets that cost. Your consignee’s are closing early, letting their warehouse employees off on vacation, and you can seriously injure your supply chain by failing to have product arrive on time. Ask your sales rep for Guaranteed, Air Freight and Expedited options!

  • On the 6th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 6 days delayed invoicing:

Many people take vacation days this time of year, from the carriers, to your office, to your consignee. This can create for delayed invoicing and delayed payments. You don’t accept your customers A/P person being on vacation, as a reason for delayed payment, and neither does the carrier nor your 3PL. Stay ahead of the curve and don’t lose momentum in your cash flow. Use a 3PL who uploads images of shipping documents such as Proofs of Delivery (POD’s), Original BOL’s and Weight and Inspection Documents (W&I) so you can invoice faster! Ask to be invoiced electronically and pay via credit card or ACH. Expect the same from your customer!

  • On the 7th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 7 different packages:

Are you shipping mixed packages with multiple classes? Carriers will default shipments of mixed packages that are not itemized to the highest freight class. Save yourself some of that holiday bonus by using a 3PL whose technology allows you to itemize multiple class shipments. Be sure to provide packing, count, description and weight on the BOL.

  • On the 8th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 8 PCF:

Are you shipping density items? Save yourself from incurring re-classification charges and understand density! Understand that density is calculated “as packaged” so it does include the pallet, crate, corrugated box, etc. BlueGrace Logistics has participated in the NMFTA and is fully trained to consult in this area. Be sure your 3PL can advise you on proper packing, classing, density, etc. 

  • On the 9th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 9 POD’s:

Ensure proper delivery of your products by viewing the Proof of Delivery (POD) as soon as it is provided. The POD will indicate that the shipment has arrived in full and good order. Utilize a 3PL whose technology can provide digitally uploaded images of all of your shipping documents to provide complete accountability to your supply chain. 

  • On the 10th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 10 minutes to inspect your freight:

Be sure that both you and your consignees take the extra 10 minutes to inspect your freight. Increased capacity and less manpower can account for more damages. Never sign clear for a shipment without inspecting it. It is very difficult to get any transportation provider to honor a claim for freight that was signed clear, even for concealed damage.  Ask your logistics provider about minimum packaging requirements.

  • On the 11th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 11 liftgate deliveries:

Remember that liftgates, limited access, residential deliveries and other accessorial surcharges negate guarantees and can delay transit. Carriers, aside from R&L Carriers, do not all have liftgates on every truck, and may try to deliver without a liftgate if possible, even when a liftgate is requested. Remember that Notify and Appointment deliveries are not the same as guarantees and can delay transit. Speak to your consignee and know ahead of time if they require these services upon delivery.

  • On the 12th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 12 days vacation!

Ok, not so much a suggestion as a reminder: your employees are taking vacation, so are your competitors, so are your customers, vendors, and LTL carriers. Docks are running skeleton crews this time of year. You have less people to ship your product, carriers have less people to sort it, load it, and deliver it, and your customers have less people to receive it. Be sure to communicate with your consignees about warehouse operations time and allow yourself plenty of time for delivery especially for your time-sensitive shipments!

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

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