Be Smart about Freight Management: 5 Ways to Get Better Quotes

by Sarah Smith | eCommerce Fulfillment, Freight, International Fulfillment

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If you are an ecommerce retailer, then you know that managing freight is a necessary and important cost of doing business, but it can be complicated and overwhelming to deal with all the requirements while maximizing your supply chain efficiency.

Additionally, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports continue to increase according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) despite federal spending cuts that could slow down cargo processing.

Retailers must also consider their sourcing strategy as nearshoring gains popularity with manufacturers and could alter supply chain flows dramatically as well as impact freight management strategies, according to CSCMP.

Retailers that are overwhelmed with the complexities of handling their own freight can look to outsourced providers in order to leverage the industry expertise, volume discounts and other benefits which include:

  1. Better carrier rates based on the providers’ volume
  2. Liability is transferred to the carrier/freight insurance provider (if insurance is purchased)
  3. Reduced risk of increased costs for improperly handled freight (i.e. due to improper product classification)
  4. Better tracking of goods to ensure quick arrival at destination
  5. Decreased costs by eliminating the need for an in-house freight manager

In you are looking to potentially outsource ecommerce freight service management; here are key tips to getting the most accurate quotes.

5 Easy ways to get more accurate freight quotes from providers

  1. Incorrect weights and dimensions will change the outcome of pricing. It is very important that every pallet is weighed properly using a pallet scale and two people measure the length, width and height of each loaded pallet. This will ensure accuracy and proper pricing of the shipment.
  2. Product description must also be accurate. Some products have very specific classes while others rely on measurements to determine the class. In either case, the product must be specifically described so that the appropriate class can be determined. The class of the merchandise is half of the determining factor of the price.
  3. Pickup/Delivery address (for domestic freight) must be specific. A more general zip code is ok for getting a quote, but it is the address of the origin that is most needed. It is also important to specify if the address is zoned as residential or commercial. It is important to state this zoning when obtaining a quote.
  4. Peripherals must be determined prior to obtaining a quote. These are the extras that carriers are able to provide. Will a lift gate be necessary for picking the load up off the ground to load it into the truck? Does the recipient need a phone call to schedule the delivery? Will the driver need to assist the receiver in moving the shipment from the truck into a building? Lift gate service, phone call prior to delivery and driver assistance are all extras that need to be stated when getting a quote.
  5. Divulge hazardous classification of product, should one exist. This is regardless of origin or destination. If the cargo is hazardous, customer must inform the provider and provide an MSDS and a Shipper’s Declaration of Dangerous Goods and an Emergency Contact with a phone number that can be reached 24-hours a day, and respond appropriately.

“Behind every great leader there was an even greater logistician.”  – M. Cox