It only takes a few clicks to book LTL shipments through the FreightorGator digital freight exchange. We made it really easy to book freight, but if you’re experienced in the LTL industry, you know that booking is only half of the battle. Once you’ve booked, it’s off to the races to get your shipment ready for pickup and transit. We’ve been around the block a few times and have some pointers on how you can streamline your LTL dock operations to make for more effective and efficient shipping.
Perfection Starts with Preparation
As a shipper, you control your own destiny, (no pressure). But, if you’re using FreightorGator’s freight exchange to find amazing freight shipping rates, you’re off to a good start. Unless you’re shipping crates full of sand, you’ll want to take precaution and ensure your shipment arrives at its destination unharmed. The perfect LTL shipment starts with preparation.
You have to account for the time it takes to prepare your shipment; which, depending on your pickup time, means you should start preparation pronto. Your shipment’s packaging must comply with the NMFC regulations, so invest in all the necessary packaging materials. It’s worth it, we promise. Standard and reinforced boxes are good, but pallets are the best. Stack boxes squarely on a pallet and shrink-wrap them together, or secure loose, bulky items to a pallet base. In LTL, shipments are stacked, moved and consolidated a LOT. Working in uniform pallets and crates makes it easier on your carrier and your shipment.
Fire up that label maker of yours! It’s important to visibly (top and two sides) label each piece of your shipment. If the going gets rough and your shipment is dispersed, you’ll want every item to be identifiable and match the Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading: FreightorGator will email you a Bill of Lading to fill out immediately after you book your shipment. Make sure this is complete and accurate in time for pickup. More info on BOL can be found here.
There is a lot involved in preparing shipments for transit. But, with all the time you saved using FreightorGator to book freight, you’ll have plenty to spare in order to package your shipments. The key is allocating this prep time in advance so you’re not scrambling to get it done when the carrier arrives.
The Loading Dock Low-down
Congrat, your shipment is ready to roll well advance of the carrier’s arrival! So, now what? As elementary as it may seem, make sure the package is by the door. Believe it or not, this is a huge efficiency booster. LTL carriers make many stops every single day. So, when they arrive at your loading dock, it’s go time. They’ll leave after 15 to 20 minutes, with or without your shipment. Miss the pickup? You’ll be charged a re-scheduling fee and delayed transit times. Some carriers will have you load the cargo, others will load it themselves. Establish a rapport with the carriers who service your dock to create an efficient loading procedure and you’ll set yourself up for successful hand-offs in the future.
It all starts at your dock. Efficient dock operations are crucial to on-time delivery, so constantly re-evaluate your process. That being said, it’s also important to know where the shipment will be delivered. You may not be responsible for receiving the shipment, but it’s worth asking the questions: Is there a shipping dock, or is the package going to the 20th floor of a Manhattan apartment building? Depending on the delivery address, your shipment may require specific accessorials, like lift-gate service, to complete the delivery. Lift-gate service helps accommodate shipments without loading docks, and is generally a small fee tacked on to your shipping rate.
FreightorGator understands all the moving parts involved in LTL shipping. For new shippers, it can be an overwhelming process. We can’t help you package your shipments or prepare your loading dock, but we do want you shipping in style.
Stay tuned for more posts and tips to improve your LTL experience.