Starting a business is an exciting prospect. The feeling of seeing your company name on paper, of seeing your dream realized, is unlike anything else. For someone starting a business for the first time, it can be easy to be caught up in the initial excitement to the point of overlooking, or possibly outright neglecting some areas of one’s overall business strategy.
A business’ shipping strategy can often be one of these oversights, even years into a business’ life. That’s why this week on the Freightcom blog we’re sharing some pointers to give your shipping strategy an edge.
1. Packaging is Crucial
We discuss packaging fairly often on this blog, and for a good reason. No matter if your business is shipping multiple pallets several times a week or a handful of packages a day, proper packaging is the first and last step in a shipping journey, and the main line of defense your shipment has in making that journey safely.
While preparing a pallet is often as simple as keeping your goods packed flush and properly secured, preparing a package can often have many more variables. That said, neither instance should be taken lightly, and learning how and when to use the correct packaging techniques early in your entrepreneurial journey can help prevent costly mistakes that will affect your overhead, as well as impact the overall impression that customers may have of your business.
2. There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Information on Paperwork
If packaging is the most important part of ensuring that your shipment is physically safe, then proper paperwork is the most important part of ensuring that your shipment is legally safe.
As with packaging, we have discussed shipping paperwork multiple times on this blog. Whether your shipment requires a BOL, a customs invoice for cross-border for international shipping, or anything in-between, these documents must be treated with the utmost diligence.
It is important to note that the more information you can provide on a given shipping document, the better. For instance, a Bill of Lading (BOL) must include the addresses of both the shipper and consignee, as well as the weight, dimensions, value, and description of the shipment. It must also include any special handling instructions, any additional services or accessorials required, and the addresses of where the shipment is being picked up and dropped off if these are different from the shipper and consignee addresses.
While this seems like a lot of information, the BOL acts as proof of carrier liability, and is a legally binding document, and as such the more information you provide, the more protection you are providing your business in the event of a claim or dispute. Similarly, any other documents required for a shipment should be treated with an equal level of diligence.
3. Market Conditions can Change Everything
As seen in the last two years, even industries as globally established as shipping can be suddenly rocked by world events, and businesses must be nimble in order to pivot their strategies accordingly.
While we can certainly hope that we are past the worst point of sweeping global supply chain issues, smaller events such as the 2021 Suez Canal blockage, or even the more recent Chesapeake Bay blockage are proof that there are never any guarantees where shipping is concerned.
While one business owner cannot control the global, or even regional events that may affect their shipping strategy, one can be diligent in planning for contingencies. For instance, peak season can often be a huge pain point for a business’ shipping strategy, but with the right planning it need not be any more than a minor inconvenience.
4. Not All Destinations are Created Equal
While the goods and methods by which we ship can vary, so too does the final destinations for those shipments. Similarly, as different goods and types of shipments require the correct accommodations, so too do the destinations.
While shipping packages to residential addresses or shipping pallets to industrial addresses may not require a second thought, most other shipments require some greater consideration. Residential pallet delivery, for instance, may require smaller trucks, liftgates, and possibly even white-glove delivery services. Limited access locations such as hospitals, airports, and even shopping malls all have stipulations that must be adhered to, and many businesses have appointment-based delivery schedules within which shippers must follow.
Simply put, not accounting for any of these considerations can result in failed deliveries, chargeback fees, and poor experiences for all parties involved. To avoid this, special care must be taken whenever booking a shipment to ensure that each and every destination is given the consideration it requires.
5. You Don’t Need to Negotiate Your Own Rates
Negotiating shipping rates can be a daunting prospect for many new businesses and can oftentimes leave a business owner feeling discouraged. When push comes to shove many small businesses are unable to ship high enough volumes to negotiate competitive shipping rates with reliable pallet and parcel carriers, and the costs may be more than a business can effectively manage.
By utilizing a shipping management platform like Freightcom, a small business can gain a competitive edge, getting access to shipping services from trusted freight and parcel carriers at a fraction of the cost.
Give Your Business an Edge with Freightcom!
While the advice above can help turn you into an expert shipper, managing that shipping can still be a monumental task for a business of any size. Thankfully at Freightcom we’re more than happy to help with that!
Freightcom is an all-in-one multimode shipping platform that offers discounted rates on LTL and parcel shipping from North America’s leading carriers. Our easy-to-use platform can help manage all your shipping, all for zero startup or monthly fees!
Written by Brandon Draga
Brandon Draga is a full-time content writer at Freightcom, the leading shipping solution for businesses in Canada. When Brandon is not writing content to help businesses with their shipping needs, he can be found at local skate parks or writing fantasy novels.