Every supply chain is different. Strike that; every supply chain needs to be different. What might work for one company could put another in the red. The modes of transportation have been pretty static for the last 100 years. Over-the-road, rail, ocean, and air. Until Elon Musk invents a teleportation device (oh man, we really hope this happens), we must fit modern business with these static means of transport. The benefits of LCL Freight can help companies adapt and focus attention on what matters most: expanding their reach and selling more products.
The first and most impactful advantage of less-than-container-load (LCL) freight is a reduction in costs. With the LCL model, companies will only pay for the space they take up in a container. Committing 2, 4, or however many pallets on a consistent basis, allows 3PL providers to move a shippers cargo “in the mix.”
Many companies fall into the habit of waiting to ship until they have a full-container-load of product. Although it may be counterintuitive, sending smaller shipments, more frequently is smarter. In the world of Ocean Freight, rates are all about how much space a pallet or crate occupies on a container. You’ll be able to take advantage of the other freight your provider is moving, and maintain a steady flow of product to your customers.
Another added benefit to LCL Freight shipping is easy time-management and scheduling. If you are shipping LCL consolidations, then you are most likely working with a freight forwarder. Most 3PLs and freight forwarders will have a dedicated team for scheduling pick-up, transit, and delivery of freight. A superb 3PL partner sends notifications at every step of the shipping process. The added visibility will give you more time to prepare for outgoing and incoming shipments.
Let’s say your company needs stock replenishments every other week. You can work with your 3PL provider to construct a bi-weekly schedule for your pallets of product. By securing LCL Freight rates, you’ll only pay for the footprint your pallets take up on a container every other week. Your provider will expect these shipments every other week, and they’ll devise a plan on how to move your freight most economically. Higher savings for you better load building for your 3PL. It’s a win-win.
Supply chains that revolve around full-container-loads are challenging to optimize. The volume of each container makes it difficult to adjust for changes in your business.
Imagine you have been shipping FCL on Tuesdays. Your goods, after pick-up, transit and delivery, reach your shelves ten days later (Fridays) But wait a minute, Fridays are the busiest days in your stores – lots of people looking for widgets for the weekend!
After much consideration, your team decides Thursdays would be better. So you need to move your pick-up day to accommodate the change. There’s only one thing. Your common carrier isn’t able to pick up a full-load in your area on any other day than Tuesdays – at least not for the price negotiated initially. By shipping LCL, your transportation provider is more likely to have the capacity to move your freight on whichever day works best for you. You’ll be able to adjust to shifts in demand, free up your staff to sell, and leave your customers completely satisfied.
More time to focus on your business
Utilizing the expertise of a trusted 3PL partner to manage your shipping will free up your staff to be more effective. Less time spent managing your freight means more time spent closing deals.
How many of your team members lose valuable work time to tracking, tracing, and scheduling shipments? Our conversations and experience with shippers in all industries have shown that most companies are bogged down by these tasks. A perfect solution with no business in the pipeline is just as dangerous as no supply chain management. Take stock of how much time you spend each week and see where you might be losing valuable revenue over time.
All of these benefits center around one thing – the health of your business. A well designed, lean, and customized supply chain can drive your annual revenue through the roof. Because of the changing landscape of consumerism, crafting resilient procedures is essential to future success.