Category: Logistics

Topic: Freight, LTL, Technology

Effective Less-than-Truckload Solutions

Effective Less than Truckload Solutions

With advancing technology, shippers now have more effective solutions for Less than Truckload (LTL) shipments. This brief article explores technology-based approaches to help optimize routing for LTL Freight.

What is LTL Freight?

To keep it simple in this article, Less than Truckload, or LTL Freight, is shipments shipped via a less than truckload carrier. These carriers specialize in moving smaller shipments, generally shipments with 1 to 6 pallets or 500 to 15,000 lbs. After picking up freight, LTL Carriers consolidate similiar outbound shipments to move in a linehaul through their network. Once at the destination terminal, the carrier delivers the shipment to the destination. For more on LTL, check out this resource.

Effective Solutions for Routing Less than Truckload

Below are best practices to ensure an effective LTL Freight routing strategy:

Verify Shipment Mode

Ensure that less than truckload is the best option for your shipment. LTL Carriers have cubic capacity rules limits, higher risk for damage, and restrictions based on commodities. The first step is ensuring that your shipment is best served in the less than truckload environment.

Proper Shipment Details

Set guidelines in place to give accurate information to carriers. Rating engines and carriers rate based on the information provided. Shipment information, like dimensions and weight, should never be estimated. Implement certified weigh scales, make sure to include pallet weight, and note accurate dimensions.

Carrier Selection: Compare Rates and Service

While all LTL Carriers offer the same underlying service, the level of service and additional services varies depending on the carrier. Regional carriers may be better for more local service, while a cross-country might be best with a national carrier that delivers directly without a partner carrier. Take into consideration your carrier partners when selecting the best option.

Rates might be an important factor for your bottom-line. However, cheaper rates may require longer transits, lower-tier service, and less service offerings. A good general rule is the best rate is the rate to make the shipment happen, not just the lowest rate.

Transportation Management Systems (TMS)

A TMS System puts everything together for shippers. The best system is able to rate, schedule, track, and report on your shipments. For example, ViewPoint TMS connects with carriers through EDI/API Capabilities to provide rates, book shipments, and track shipment updates from the carrier. The user can also receive real-time data reports on carrier performances, shipment totals, and cost control.

Freight Audits

Dive into your LTL Program to uncover operational challenges. The easiest way to audit freight is through freight invoice audits. Comparing what was quoted to what was invoiced may help shippers determine challenging areas. If the charge is incorrect, a shipper can also recoup savings by disputing charges. These audits allow shippers to uncover operational challenges while also recovering costs.

Reporting / Contract Management

The last best practice is to review your contracts through data reporting. Negotiating contracts based on volume, shipment detail, service requirements, and lane details helps iron out effective pricing.

Partnering with a 3PL Solution Provider

Effective less than truckload solutions implementation may seem challenging, but expert help can aid in the process. 3PL Solution Providers, such as TLI, provide the technology, expert help, and services to help conquer LTL freight. With 30 years of managed logistics, reach out to TLI today to start optimizing your LTL freight.