Have you ever had a shipment that didn’t deliver 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 delivery for your shipments in the future?
Everyone looks at on time delivery as a key metric for their business and customer service, whether they measure by objective facts (looking at the numbers and mining the data) or by subjective perception of said facts, it’s definitely a top metric either way. On time delivery is measured by the transit times the LTL carriers give you. Say for instance, you give 20 shipments to an LTL carrier, and they deliver 19 of those shipments by the stated transit time (excluding weekends); then they are 95% on time for those 20 shipments. Most top tier carriers deliver above 90% of their shipments on time, with the cream of the crop being in the high 90’s. For instance Southeastern Freight Lines states that they’re 99.4% on time for 1 day transits. Con-way Freight states that they’re over 99% on time for all deliveries.
Some things everyone should know about transit times and on time delivery:
- LTL Carrier published transit times assume business to business pickup and delivery, with both the shipper and the receiver having a warehouse and a dock to which the truck can pull up
- LTL Carrier published transit times are not guaranteed, and carriers are not obligated by anything outside of customer satisfaction and retention to deliver shipments on time. A bill of lading is a legally binding document that obliges the carrier to pick up and deliver the shipment, but it does not imply when they should deliver it
- Any shipments which require additional services (appointment, lift gate, residential, limited access, job site delivery, inside delivery, etc.) are always considered on time, no matter when they’re delivered. Every carrier includes “delay codes” or “exemptions” for these shipments due to the complex nature of completing these deliveries
- Any shipments that are delayed due to forces outside the carrier’s control (weather, natural disasters, street riots, union strikes, street closings, etc.) are considered on time
- LTL carriers can provide you with on time delivery reports for your shipments, just ask your sales representative or your preferred 3PL to provide them for you
Now a few words about guaranteed shipments: If you or your customers absolutely need a shipment to deliver by a certain time, DO NOT go by the published transit time. You will want to get a guaranteed shipment. Most carriers will do a 20% to 30% markup on top of the normal LTL rate for this, and if it does not deliver on time at the fault of the carrier you get the shipment for free with most carriers (some just take off the additional charge). If it’s delayed due to weather, natural disasters, street riots, union strikes, street closings, etc, the carrier will still consider that on time and they’ll still make guaranteed shipments a priority for delivery. They will not remove the additional charge in these situations. Also, shipments requiring lift gate, residential, limited access or inside delivery on most occasions do not qualify for this service, but they may qualify on a case by case basis if it’s approved by the delivering terminal prior to pickup.
PLP does everything possible to ensure the best service for our customers, and we try to be proactively ahead of these issues. We can offer guaranteed service with all of our carriers, and we’re experts at holding them accountable for said service.