By Josh Reed
Oh, how sick I am of hearing and reading the phrase “the new normal.” It’s no secret that we’ve all experienced tremendous rising costs on just about everything you can put a dollar on (or should I say two dollars on now). Sadly, freight is no different.
In fact, I would say it’s possibly worse in some areas hit by maximum truck availability. Rising costs of freight is costing you in sales, and worse, it’s hitting your bottom line.
The “perfect storm” has happened in the LTL arena. COVID-19, along with a mix of weather and fires across many parts of the nation, is driving down capacity further yet. Fuel prices are still moderate, but higher, which is adding to the fire. Just like parts, trucking is very much a pure supply/demand economy. As capacity tightens it not only impacts prices in a broad sweeping way, it also triggers carriers to look at their least efficient types of shipments. Generally, that means odd and extreme freight along with shipments involving residential deliveries and liftgate. Ironically e-commerce, the very thing that often has these characteristics, is where a good amount of the demand side came from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To offset this, what can you do to make yourself a shipper of choice and your freight more appealing?
• Have your interest and your partners’ best interest in mind. Yes, the LTL carrier is your partner, not just a punching bag for blame. They’re the final agent in your sale and in e-commerce, the only face your customer generally sees.
• Have your product fit the platform.
I like to blow things out of proportion, but would you ship a Mazda Miata transmission on a 48×40 skid? The answer should be no. A couple things happen when you do this. You open yourself to the 680 rule which is standard across all carriers. The rule states the product must occupy 65% of the platform/pallet it is on.
• Invest in packaging, like custom pallets for differentials and transmissions.
• Cover your product. Yes, crated is ideal, but carriers don’t want unprotected freight. A simple corrugated box structure over the product helps considerably.
• Garbage in, garbage out. Provide true and accurate dimensions and weight. Rating has become more granular so accuracy equals consistency.
• Put price where cost is. Charge according to the service. Vet your buyer. The days of cherry pickers and non-traditional deliveries are getting higher to accomplish reasonably. Ask yourself, “Can a 53-foot semi fit into that location?”
• Label your product well. Company logo, or pallet labels.
• Using shrink wrap? Use a shrink wrap like hot pink, or another florescent that will allow a terminal to easily identify your product if it becomes lost. Anything is better than clear wrap.
• Double check your buyer’s contact information. The address and phone number are extremely important. With the volume of eBay sales happening, you don’t want the address and contact delays affecting the metrics of being a top-rated seller.
• Offer dock pickup to your customer to reduce accessorial fees.
In the auto recycling industry, we have what the carriers would call nontraditional deliveries. We need to represent ROE® as appealing freight. Let’s develop the LTL structure together to move it to ROE® 2.0.
Josh Reed is in Business Development with SAV Transportation Group. Prior to the freight side he spent 18 years in the salvage business. SAV has been integrated into the Hollander YMS for over 11 years. They have newly released eBay integration in addition to many other tools tiered towards the automotive recycler. He can be reached at 763-489-4258, Josh@savtrans.com or visit the site at www.savtrans.com.