Peak Season for the Transport Industry
You can hear it, you can feel it; in the beeping PDAs as they scan freight labels, the fingers furiously tapping keyboards entering orders in freight systems, the low hum of forklifts echoing off the large, cavernous Chambers of eCommerce; it is palpable at this time of year.
That’s right, you guessed it, it’s….the Shipping Peak Season!
We hope the following tips might assist you with dealing with the increased volume of freight typical at this time of the year.
1. Plan for extended Transit Times
The transport industry is in the middle of its peak season with the volume of freight dramatically rising as we approach Christmas. Given the industry’s fixed level of infrastructure, one of the consequences of this rising volume of freight is for an increased probability of extended transit times occurring.
2. Add an Extra Day to Estimated Delivery Date
At this time each year we at Freight Controller would like to advise our customers to factor into consideration at least an additional day of transit from the standard Express times when discussing ETA’s for your products with your customers. This advice applies to all carriers.
3. Consider Express or Priority Service
For those of you that use General Freight services you may want to consider sending some consignments via an Express Service thereby making the cargo a priority over other General Freight.
4. Arrange for a Bigger Vehicle for Pick Ups
If you have a larger number of consignments than is typical, it stands to reason you have a larger volume of freight for picking up. You should advise your carrier or forwarder if you therefore need a larger sized vehicle than the one that usually picks up for you.
5. Book Early
We also suggest that you book your pick ups early, with as large a window between booking and pick up time as possible and remember that due to the increase in freight volume, pick ups may run late.
6. Forward Date your FMS / Booking Systems
Most TMS systems have the capacity to forward date your consignments (as does ours). If you have a lot more orders than usual to process you might want to consider using that facility so that you can get through the extra orders for the daily pick up for the next day.
7. Send Carriers a Manifest File a Day Ahead
In conjunction with forward dating you may want to consider sending a Summary Manifest file or a Daily Summary to your carrier via email the day before. This will alert them to the number of consignments and how many trucks, what size vehicle will be needed for the next day’s run. Assisting with their routing planning can only help you and your customers.
But first, do alert your carrier to this change in process and ensure that they will act upon this information with alacrity.
8. Have your Details Ready for Customer Service
Customer Service teams for your broker, forwarder or carrier are also stretched at this time of year and we advise that when you email or call with queries, that you have all consignment information at hand. i.e. receiver, address, items, description of items etc.
Customer service at the large freight companies often keep staff on hold for up to 45 minutes so having all the information in the initial contact will speed up responses.
9. Train for Success
Think about what guidelines and training you might need for your warehouse team, and any casuals hired to assist, that the above tips might require for successful implementation.
And that’s it for our tips for ensuring a smooth Shipping Peak Season this year! We hope you found them useful. The bottom line is to plan ahead, (where possible), and communicate well with your warehouse team, your carriers and third-party providers. Allow for a bit of extra time to ensure successful deliveries, happy customers and a great Christmas period for everyone.
If you need help with improving your freight service levels, then please contact us for individualised advice on how to improve in this area. We’d be happy to help you.