As the old adage goes, “When everything goes right, no one notices.” Once you’ve made the sale, it’s easy to think of shipping as someone else’s purview. Until something goes wrong, that is. Then your customer holds you accountable.
Enter Third Party Logistics (3PL). The job of a logistics coordinator is to make sure… no one notices. To make sure there’s a seamless transition between the sale and the arrival of your product at their door.
You’ve built a successful enterprise. Just as you’ve become an expert at your craft, TQS has mastered the logistics of shipping. Below are the most common shipping mistakes, seen in startups and empires alike. Mistakes which TQS won’t make.
Human error – it happens to the best of us. Our greatest efforts to be efficient often mean we don’t double-check the details.
Switch just two numbers in an address, and your shipment can go miles off course. Omit a decimal in the weight of your shipment, and it might not get picked up at all.
You have enough to do in a day without re-reading every detail three times. Let a 3PL team do the fact checking. Better yet, let
their software integrations handle the details with exact precision. Which brings us to the second most common shipping mistake…
Not leveraging the latest software and technologies
Let’s face it. Acquiring comprehensive software solutions can be expensive. And once you have one, implementing it company-wide is a major hurdle. Your daily operations could grind to a halt for the better part of a month while you send your team to the required training sessions.
TQS Logistics has already developed and mastered a suite of software, relieving you of these burdens. From your warehouse, to our cross-docking facility, to the last-mile delivery, our proprietary software and automation technologies give you peace of mind with real-time overviews of the entire shipping process, end to end.
Our apps include:
- TQS™ FUSION – Our cloud-based Warehouse Management Software (WMS) is a comprehensive warehouse solution, allowing users to receive, tag, pick, pack, and ship your products like clockwork.
- TQS™ IROUTE – This software keeps track of pickups and deliveries, enables route planning, GPS Vehicle Tracking, and Fleet Management options.
- TQS™ SOLUTION – Solution provides proper barcoding and scanning to every item on our dock, which then gives us (and our carriers) the ability to ship multiple orders on the same shipment. This product allows us to run a very fast turning warehouse – we have about 120 inventory turns per year!
Inaccurate freight class
It doesn’t take an expert to see that lower freight classes cost less. So why not save some money by using the most cost effective method? Well, there’s a catch. The cheapest class may not be the most cost effective class. Utilizing the optimal freight class for your shipments will save you both time and money in the long run; going with sub-optimal classes will often be caught by the carrier, resulting in reclassification fees, and possibly a delay in your shipment.
Shipping internationally without doing the homework
This is where TQS really shines – we’ve been shipping internationally for nearly twenty years. Our team of experts can make your customs process a breeze. With accurate paperwork, all the forms and documentation your unique business will need, and a thorough knowledge of international shipping procedures, every shipment will seem like it was ushered into a VIP short line.
Relying on a single carrier for all shipments
When you’re doing all of your shipping logistics yourself, it’s easy to just go with the carrier that is most familiar to you. And that might be fine for the majority of your shipments.
But if even a third of your freight is costing more than it should, the effort you save by going with a single carrier is ultimately going to cost you. TQS has access to thousands of carriers throughout Canada and the U.S., and we are able to offer competitive and pre-negotiated wholesale freight prices.
Related: What is LTL Shipping?
Insufficient shipment services
It’s no small accomplishment to deliver your freight on time, accurately, and affordably. But if your consignee has particular needs that you haven’t taken into account, your otherwise perfect shipment could be bounced back.
The logistics experts at TQS make it a priority to ensure you have the services you need. Refrigerated trailers, flatbed trucks for oversize shipments, lift gates, GPS tracking – we’ve got it covered.
Unrealistic lead times
Everyone wants to run a tight ship, especially when setting production schedules. While we agree with this principle in general, a business will run into trouble when “tight ship” specifically means “no space cushion.” When your schedule is so tight that you need things done yesterday, every glitch becomes catastrophic.
We coach clients to leave a buffer between every critical phase (such as between manufacturer to packager, etc). We’ll work with you to determine the exact margin for each node in your supply chain, so that your ship will sail as “tight” as possible.
Signing a delivery receipt without inspecting the shipment
Warehouses can be hectic, especially when several stuffed-to-the-gills trailers show up at the same time, all wanting to be unloaded on the double. But if you sign without inspecting, it won’t matter whether damages occurred in transit or even at the point of origin; you’ll be culpable.
Crossing T’s and dotting I’s (and sometimes J’s) is a part of our physical warehousing service.
Our cross docking facilities use professional grade tools and industry best practices. Receiving, consolidating, barcode tagging, slotting, picking, packing, and shipping out your products is a methodical, detail-attentive procedure.
Insufficient shipping options
In eCommerce, you don’t have the benefit of a handshake with your customers. It’s much harder to determine what each customer will find attractive about your business; do they appreciate doing business as economically as possible? Do they prioritize expediency? Or is it the personal touch of white-glove service that they appreciate the most?
It can be nearly impossible to cover all of your bases without the expertise of a 3PL and its resources. Working with an intermediary to handle the particulars of your shipments can ensure that your product hand-off is the best handshake possible, which encourages repeat business like nothing else.
Relying on carrier’s delivery estimates for your guarantees
Your carrier of choice might have their own guarantees as to the timeliness of your shipping. But if the worst should happen, the only relationship their guarantee serves is between the carrier and you; your relationship with your customer is not covered.
With TQS Logistics managing your shipments, you’ll have access to real-time GPS tracking features. You’ll be able to keep a bird’s eye view on each shipment along all the stages of its journey. Give your customers solid assurance that their product is on time, or give them prompt notification of any unforeseen delays. The power to uphold your reputation is back in your hands.
Partnering with a 3PL means that the most common shipping mistakes won’t be made. You won’t have to worry about overhead or infrastructure – it comes as part of the package. Extending into new markets is well within your reach when you have a team of experts making it go smoothly.