COVID-19 hit the U.S. at full force in March of 2020. Small businesses were among the hardest hit. Many were forced to close their doors permanently. As a company with decades of experience and stability, BYX was able to weather the storm. Sadly, the full ramifications of the pandemic are still unfolding. Even now, we’re struggling to find qualified, reliable workers, and we’re not the only ones. Businesses around the country are facing a frustrating labor shortage, and there appears to be no end in sight. What gives? Read more
Every business owner knows customer care is the name of the game. Unfortunately, offering the best customer care possible sometimes comes at a cost. While making shipping appointments seems simple at first glance, the logistics behind arranging a simple pickup or delivery is more complex than it appears.
The hidden cost of appointments
Every industry has annoying, unavoidable inefficiencies. The ones shipping companies like BYX deal with, however, didn’t exist just a decade or two ago. Originally, it worked something like this: Delivery companies would make their deliveries in the morning, and spend the afternoon making pickups. The only communication required was a quick phone call to let the customer know approximately when to expect the driver.
Today, expectations are very different. The workflow of a shipping appointment clerk looks something like this:
Say you have a particularly busy week and realize as you’re running out the door that you’re out of both coffee and paper towels. Who wouldn’t love being able to order a refill on Amazon over their lunch break? With Amazon Prime, both items will likely arrive within two days, sometimes even sooner. It’s like magic; addictive magic that we’ve all come to expect. Behind the scenes, it’s much more complicated. In reality, Amazon locations are a pain to deliver to and pick up from, and their methods may not be sustainable.
The basics of Amazon shipping
There’s a reason that your comfy pair of winter boots or last-minute birthday gift arrived so quickly. Most Amazon sellers send their goods to large Amazon warehouses. There are more than 50 warehouses across the U.S., so there’s one relatively close to almost any residential address nationwide. That’s how Amazon can promise 2-day shipping. The goods really don’t have to travel that far. Based on product availability and distance from the nearest warehouse, same-day shipping may even be available.
There’s a dark side to all of this, however. To start, Amazon has a sizeable history of complaints regarding employee welfare and ethics. The corporate giant supposedly installed $52 million worth of air conditioning units in their U.S. warehouses to make working conditions more comfortable, but there’s still room for improvement. For example, warehouse workers at Amazon locations are on their feet all day, and they have extremely demanding quotas to fill.
From a shipping standpoint, Amazon locations are even worse.
From the outside, Amazon’s system appears flawless. While it saves customers time, it costs the drivers who service Amazon locations. At the majority of Amazon locations, wait times are killer. Of our dispatches who have serviced Amazon locations in the past, particularly one of the largest warehouses in Moreno Valley, the wait times were crushing. Drivers waiting to drop off a few pallets expected to wait for two, four, even five hours for a single load.
One hour of wait time is typically offered free. Longer wait times are typically charged at $50 per hour to the shipper. Few payors are willing to pay those detention fees without a fight, however. The shipping companies delivering to Amazon locations then have to rope in other departments to settle the charges. In the end, it renders the shipment a waste of time– particularly when drivers are already on overtime.
To break it down, a driver’s clock in time doesn’t start until they hit the dock. If they arrive for a 12 pm appointment but aren’t serviced until 2 pm, they can’t charge detention for the time they spend waiting in line. Essentially, it ends up costing carriers to service Amazon facilities due to the lengthy wait times and price gouging. When issues arise, as they almost always do, there’s no one to reach out to for help. At the locations themselves, there’s no one around to ensure drivers are serviced in a timely manner. And if there are billing issues? Don’t even bother calling the accounting department. No one will answer. Amazon is simply such a powerhouse that they can make their own rules. Either play their game or don’t play at all. We’ve chosen the latter, for more reasons than one.
Even those of us who avoid working with Amazon aren’t immune to its influence. Virtually instant Prime deliveries make it increasingly difficult for smaller carriers to compete with the digital freight brokerage Amazon quietly launched in 2019. A brokerage which, we might add, consistently undercuts market prices, making matters even more difficult for the rest of us.
The problem with Amazon locations isn’t close to being solved.
With an ultra-complex shipping system like Amazon’s, problem-solving is equally complex. There’s never a respite from new orders, so Amazon never has a chance to fix the structural problems that are keeping their warehouses in a state of delay and disarray. In fact, the problem is only getting worse. The more Amazon grows, the bigger their problems, and the longer the wait times. This is true now more than ever when we’re still facing an unprecedented supply chain crisis.
For this very reason, we avoid servicing their locations. While it’s tough to imagine swearing off Amazon Prime altogether, we encourage fellow consumers to give their business to small, family businesses as much as possible. At the end of the day, your neighborhood shop is probably more sustainable than Amazon’s convoluted system.
In the past year, companies of all shapes and sizes have been hit hard by uncertainty, shutdowns and unpredictable demand shortages. Now, we’re also facing a prolonged supply chain crisis. It’s been a long time coming, but the COVID-19 pandemic made matters substantially worse.
With the supply chain issues forecasted to continue well into 2022, what’s a business owner to do? While completely safeguarding your business from complications is impossible, these eight steps will help you get through today’s crisis and prepare for future disruptions. Read more
Go to a department store and try to buy a dress for a wedding. Can’t find one? It’s not just you. The shelves have been picked clean of countless different products, from clothing to certain food items and takeout boxes. The items that we used to take for granted seem to be in short supply. Prices won’t quit climbing. But why? Our global supply chain wasn’t built for e-commerce in the first place.
To Start, the System Was Already Struggling
When a customer placed an order 20 years ago, they expected to receive their package in a couple of weeks. Now, we get antsy if it’s been a couple of days. The global supply chain, however, has struggled to meet the demand for more and more products to be delivered faster than ever.
While ordering a product online might seem like the easy option, there’s more to it behind the scenes. The process to actually manufacturer a product, sell it, and deliver it to your doorstep is complex. First, the supplies to produce the product need to be shipped to the manufacturer. Then, the products have to make their way through a complicated import and export system to make it to U.S. retailers. Then, products are shipped, often being passed through many hands before they make it to your door. Read more
Was your last freight bill more than you expected it to be? These added charges are called accessorials. If you don’t know what an accessorial covers, it can come as an unpleasant surprise. As frustrating as that may be, there’s almost certainly a good reason why the invoice exceeded the original estimate.
Why Freight Shipping Costs Aren’t Cut and Dry
Wouldn’t it be nice if freight charges were as straightforward as shopping at Target? In retail stores, the price advertised on the tag is always exact, aside from sales tax. That’s because there are no surprises for the item’s manufacturer. By the time you toss it in your cart, there’s nothing that could possibly add to the company’s expenses.
The world of freight shipping is more like plumbing or similar trade industries. We give estimates, but factors beyond our control contribute to the final bill. These accessorials are necessary to help us recover the costs of overweight shipments, inaccessible delivery locations, and similar factors that add to the expense of a given shipment.
Due to the nature of the shipping process, we typically apply fees after shipments are completed. This is because many accessorial causes occur during the shipping process itself. For this reason, the final bill may look different than our first estimate.
Our previous blog post went over a few of the elements that contribute to shipping costs. Let’s go over accessorial charges in more detail to help you better understand why they occur and how to avoid them.
Businesses are always on the lookout for ways to operate more efficiently. Any business offering physical products to its customers runs into a dilemma. How and where does one store them after they’re manufactured? Depending on the product, the amount of space required can be daunting, so the warehouse management system was born.
Warehousing allows companies to safely store surplus inventory as long as needed with ease. At the same time, companies reduce their overall operating expenses. So how does it work? Let’s get to the good stuff. Read more
If you’ve tried to arrange a large shipment, you’ve probably run into ads for freight brokers. A freight broker is a person or company that acts as the middleman between shippers and carriers. They find the carrier, arrange the shipment and track the load hauled. But is all that really necessary? The answer is a resounding no.
If you’re thinking about using a freight broker (or you already use one), there are several reasons why you should reconsider.
1. Freight Brokers Are Misleading
Customers looking for trucking services often get the impression that freight brokers are required. That’s exactly what brokers want people to think.
We were reminded of this when we recently quoted a move for a company . They were comparing prices, and after receiving our quote, they immediately reached out and asked who the carrier would be and if we would be using multiple carriers. This was a huge, multi-billion dollar company, and they had no idea it was possible to work directly with carriers. If it hadn’t been for an overlap in communication, they never would have never found out.
Needless to say, we got the business. We’re confident they’ll never return to using brokers. Because of our amazing customer service, but also because of the next item on this list. Read more
Being a truck driver is awesome. No joke. Truck drivers are essential workers. They help keep this country running in every way. They deliver products that other businesses wouldn’t be able to function without. Truck drivers are a little like screws; most of the time, we don’t notice they’re there. But if they weren’t, everything would fall to pieces. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work behind the scenes, now’s your chance.
To start, most truck drivers love what they do.
There are a lot of pluses to being a truck driver. Every day is different, which keeps work from getting boring. Traveling and meeting new people is part of the job! Truck driving often comes with good benefits, but the biggest one is knowing that people rely on you on a daily basis. Knowing your work matters makes your job so much more rewarding. Read more
Late shipments are never fun. Few of us have the time to hang around waiting for a delivery all day, so it’s understandably frustrating when the delivery window comes and goes with no shipment in sight. So what’s the holdup? In Southern California, we’re lucky to have safe driving conditions all year round, but rainy days are far from the only factor contributing to delays. The following are a few of the main reasons shipments might run late this holiday season. (Plus, a few tips for helping theTL and LTL shipping system run smoothly!) Read more
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