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Best Practices for Seamless LTL Holiday Shipping

Businesses that experience increased shipping volume during the winter holidays often look to less-than-truckload (LTL) services as a solution to move smaller quantity shipments across North America. Rather than sending all customer orders individually via parcel – which can become very cost-prohibitive – businesses should consider sourcing an LTL carrier. LTL is also optimal for companies with in-store fulfillment needs, item returns, and backorder shipments that won’t fill an entire 53-foot trailer. To help mitigate confusion and minimize oversight, follow these best practices to ensure your LTL shipment makes it from origin to final destination without a hitch this holiday season.

Communication is Key

Appointments can change, operating hours vary, and inclement weather may cause delays. Prepare for disruptions by:

  • Confirming holiday operating hours with all parties to be certain staff will be available
  • Ensuring appointment times are clearly communicated among carriers, shippers, and receivers
  • Communicating early closing times to carriers during inclement weather
  • Registering for your carrier’s distribution list for weather-related updates

Freight Classification Matters

Shipments can easily be delayed or incur additional fees when freight classifications are incorrect. Follow best practices for classifying freight, including:

  • Ensuring all scales being used are calibrated to help avoid reweighs
  • Documenting freight with pictures to assist with reclassification in the event it is mislabeled

Streamline Loading and Unloading

There are number of ways to help loading and unloading go smoothly. Optimizing facilities is important as well as:

  • Preparing paperwork before the driver arrives to ensure the handoff process moves quickly
  • Requesting PRO number (progressive number) stickers from carriers to help speed up loading and organizing pallets on the trailer
  • Utilizing a supply chain management platform, such as J.B. Hunt 360, to help maintain visibility of your freight and prepare for arrival at the receiving facility

With online holiday sales expected to increase 18-21 percent over-last year, the 2017 season may find retailers looking for ways to move freight. Reach out to J.B. Hunt during the high-volume seasons to help source capacity for smaller-quantity deliveries, time-definite commitments, and expedited orders.

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