Delivering products on-time is crucial in any industry. With small business shipping and consumers alike, this final touchpoint in the supply chain represents your ability to fulfill their needs competently. It is especially important for small businesses to deliver products on-time, as a poor reputation can be detrimental to the bottom-line.
Whether you are shipping to consumers or businesses, delayed shipments should be taken seriously. Late deliveries slow down the entire supply chain and hurt customer relationships, which can have serious consequences for your bottom line: 70% of consumers may not shop with a retailer again after receiving a late shipment, and 86% of consumers say their expectation for on-time delivery increases in peak seasons like the holiday shopping season.
A transportation management system (TMS) is a great tool for small businesses to improve shipping performance. TMS software helps you find the lowest linehaul rates on the market, choosing from a network of carriers pre-qualified for safety and service. Freight billing and audit is automated, and all data is collected in one system, enabling freight reports for visibility into your transportation processes.
A TMS provides the foundation for freight optimization. It gives you the visibility to discover flaws in your distribution network. If you couldn’t see what’s wrong with your transportation, how would you fix it?
To ship on-time, every-time, follow these 5 small business shipping tips:
- Analyze Performance Data for Supply Chain Partners
Are some of your inbound materials consistently delivered late or damaged? Are you delivering late to one of your customers more often than the others? Sometimes, suppliers, customers and freight carriers cause late deliveries. With the visibility you gain from a TMS, you can pinpoint which partners in your supply chain are causing trouble and work with them to fix it.
- Assess Dwell Time at Your Facility
The way you ship items may be slowing down the transportation process and causing late deliveries. Dwell time, or how long a driver has to wait at your facility or location, is very important. If dwell time is too long, it may force the driver, due to hours of service rules, to take an extra day to arrive at the destination. A long dwell time will decrease a driver’s willingness to haul your freight, leaving you to work with carriers that have a bad history of truck and driver out of service rates.
- Create Visibility into Freight Movement
Although LTL shipping is convenient and fast, you are particularly susceptible to delays. LTL trailers are filled with multiple loads from different companies, so the route is longer, and more freight handling is required, which leads to a higher chance for damage., When you ship LTL, avoid delays and damage by ensuring there is a track and trace feature available, so you can keep an eye on your freight.
- Lean on 3PL Expertise
3PLs have proprietary technology and a large carrier capacity to put to work for you. This enables visibility into transportation and some of the lowest linehaul rates on the market. These carriers are pre-qualified for safety and security, so you’ll experience less frequent disruptions. A 3PLs expertise will help you increase shipment speed, reliability and reduce costs. A 3PL will take care of transporting your goods while you focus on core competencies.
Additional tip: always inform customers of a late delivery. While warning customers of an anticipated disruption won’t stop the shipment being delayed, it can mitigate the negative impact on reputation and perceived service. Having track and trace features from a TMS will enable you to warn customers of a late delivery. When your customers are made aware of a delay in shipping, they can make plans to notify their customers and/or prepare to receive the shipment at a different date, reducing the inefficiencies on their end.