Have you ever had a shipment that didn’t pick up on time? How did this affect you or your customer? How can you put your company in the best possible position to ensure on time pickup for your shipments?
I recall a situation a few years back with a customer that took orders late in the day and attempted to process them for same day shipping. This was a situation where they were trying to earn a new customer’s business. Because they only allowed the carrier about 1 hour to pick up on a Wednesday afternoon, the carrier was not able to complete the pickup. They called me the next Thursday morning and they wanted it expedited to arrive by Friday. When I told them the price they said “OUCH! I think I’ll have to call you back.” They called their new prospective customer and told them the price to get it there by Friday, and they lost that opportunity to work with that customer, at least for the time being. However, people being emotional decision makers on most occasions, it’s hard to make up for a situation like that. I’ll break this situation down into two areas of misunderstanding: 1) Over promising; and 2) not understanding how the LTL industry works. I’ll address both.
It is important to take the following into consideration. Set realistic expectations for yourself, your customers and your carriers. If you don’t, it costs your business unspoken thousands of dollars in lost opportunities.
1. Try not to over promise to your new and existing customers: I’ve found this is even more important for new customers because they don’t have a history of trust with you like your long term existing customers do. Existing customers are a lot more forgiving for mistakes than new customers. New customers will typically inspect your performance every step of the way.
2. Distance from freight carrier’s terminal: 3 miles away vs. 60 miles away can make a big difference. The farther away you are, the earlier you’ll need to put in your pickup.
3. Industry Standard 2 hour window for pickup: Many of our customers put in their shipments for a pickup time frame of 3pm to 5pm. However, if you put your shipment in at 3:15, it’s fair to expect to wait until 5:30. If you want to walk out the door at 5pm, try to have your shipments in by no later than 2pm. In other words, make it 3 hours before close time just to be safe.
4. Daily Shipment Volume: If you do 5 or more shipments on average, then it wouldn’t be wise to do 5 different shipments with 5 different freight carriers, even if you’re going with the lowest price on each shipment. This will increase your chances of not getting all of them picked up on the same day. With that kind of volume, you’ll want to have a daily stop with at least one carrier, then scheduling pickups as needed with one or two other carriers.
5. Call your local dispatcher: If you close at 5pm, and its 4:45pm and they’re not there yet, call them and push them for specific information to find out exactly where the driver is and how soon they’ll be there. Don’t accept vague answers.
PLP not only schedules all of your pickups for you, but we also do our best to educate our customers about industry best practices. We also try to be as proactive as possible about being ahead of issues that are bound to happen from time to time. We can help you save even more time by planning the logistics for you. If you’re interested in finding out more about PLP’s service model and how we differentiate from the rest, please call me, Josh Harshman, at 678-921-8181 ext 202.