If you own or manage a business that relies on specialty freight services, you are not alone. In the United States, the logistics and transportation industry was worth about $1.48 trillion in 2015. That amounted to about 8% of the American gross domestic product. Many companies are always on the lookout for ways to cut their shipping costs through better truckload shipping rates and by making other adjustments to the way they handle this part of their business. Here are some things you can do to spend less on shipping:
- Make sure you are shipping with the right kind of transportation. You have a number of options when it comes to freight shipping. You can send your goods via truck, an ocean vessel, by plane, or rail. If you need your goods to arrive sooner than later, there are expedited shipping services. Look at the way you have your products shipped and think about whether or not this is the best method for your business.
- Do research. Going with the lowest truckload shipping rates is not always the most cost-effective way to do things. There is one principle in sales that is known as Pareto's Principle. This is also referred to as the 80/20 rule. The basic idea is that 80% of sales revenue will be generated from about 20% of your clients or customers. One main factor in maintaining a successful business is how happy you can keep your current customers. Going with a low-quality shipping company may be the cheap way to go but may not be the best way to show your customers and clients you care about their business and their needs.
- Do not be afraid to negotiate. When you are looking at truckload shipping rates, you have some leverage. Talk to different companies that can handle your shipping and work to develop decent relationships with them. It is important to work on developing a network of shipping companies around the areas you service to bring down your costs but also to be there when problems pop up with your shipments. Take the time to meet with the carriers you are thinking about working with. Any time you spend doing this is time well spent.
- Take the time to hire the right people and train them properly. It is not enough to get the lowest truckload shipping rates. Having the right people on your team can make a huge difference. Companies all over the country have problems with employee turnover, which can cost you a lot of money. Think about how the person or people you want to hire will fit in with your company culture. Once you have hired the right people, it is also important to invest in the proper training that they will need. When people feel that they are valued, they are more likely to stay in a job. One way to show your people that you value them is to get them the right training and education.
- Look at your routes. It is important to know what route your shipments will take to get where they need to go. This also means you should be careful to track each shipment as it makes its way across the nation or the world. When you know how your products are making their way to their destination, you will be in a better position to negotiate better truckload shipping rates. Keeping a watchful eye on your shipments can also help you deal with prospective problems before they blossom into larger ones.
- Get your paperwork right. Before you send your products out to be shipped, you have to take the time to make sure you have all of the paperwork right. Even the smallest mistake can end up costing your business tens of or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your mistakes may mean you have to pay detention and other fees. If you are shipping products overseas, you need to make sure you understand the rules and regulations of the country accepting your items.
Getting your shipping plan right is not a thing you do once and forget about it. It is important to review and change up your plans from time to time.