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freight

5 Holiday Shipping Tips

The holidays are a busy time and can be especially hectic, especially for retail and parcel shippers. Nowadays shoppers love the convenience of making online purchases that get delivered directly to their doorstep in time for Hanukkah or Christmas day. This increases pressure for parcel carriers to deliver high volumes of freight at a fast rate—and at the busiest time of year.

Here are a few tips to help you master shipping and keep customers happy amidst the holiday chaos.

1. Plan and Prepare

While it’s difficult to know what your exact holiday sales will be, you can make a good estimate based on data from previous years and forecast based on Y-T-D sales. If you see a pattern of growth, hire extra help for the shipping department. There are always students on winter break looking to make extra cash. Create a protocol and print it out so that it’s easy to get temporary help up to speed.

2. Stock Up

A common problem among shippers is inadequate stock. When a retailer runs out of product, they may have to wait for the arrival of new stock and then pay a higher cost to ship it. This cuts into the bottom line or may alienate the customer and prompt them to shop elsewhere. Again, try to anticipate holiday demand as best you can, so that you can have enough inventory on hand.

3. Create Promos That Drive Early Sales

Last minute orders increase stress for everyone involved. While you cannot control the of your customers, you can incentivize them to order early with good promos. This gives you more time for delivery which means less internal rushing and more on-time arrivals. The trend for Black Friday sales has evolved significantly over the last two years, with companies starting sales campaigns as much as two weeks in advance of the actual day after Thanksgiving. Follow suit with your Christmas sales by offering promotions earlier rather than the days directly before the holiday. While last minute sales are appealing, they increase pressure on the shipping process and are risky—you may ultimate alienate customers if their shipments don’t arrive on time.

4. Pack Extra Safely

Just like you’re busier this time of the year, so are freight carriers. They are moving more cargo than normal, which leads to more chances for damage to occur. Extra packaging can help prevent the damage that can lead to holiday disappointment. Just using a box with a crease in it can diminish its strength by more than half! Recycled boxes can be weaker and deteriorate faster. Use new boxes and surround items by at least two inches of cushioning. Use high-quality packing materials, such as foam packing peanuts and bubble cushion. Only use packing tape, not scotch or masking. For extra security include an additional address label on the inside of the package in case the external label incurs damage or becomes unreadable.

5. Manage Expectations

One of the best things you can to do to keep customers happy during the holidays is to manage expectations. Be clear on exactly how fast you can fulfill an order and provide specific delivery deadlines. Don’t delay during this time of year—ship products out the same day they’re ordered to avoid any surprises. Use our tracking tool to follow your packages’ journeys in real-time and receive shipment notifications and delivery updates that you can share with your customers.

With a game plan and extra precautions, you can help the holiday season run smoothly for your business and customers. Click here to learn more about our freight and cargo transportation services.

freight companies

The Impact of the AB5 State Law on Freight Companies

The California Assembly Bill 5, also known as the AB5, passed in September and is making waves across many industries, including transportation and freight. The AB5 bill limits independent contractors in the state of California, including owner-operator truck drivers and freight companies. It may be a wise decision to take a look at your vendor list and decide who you should work with. Although it may not seem like too large of an issue as a vendor, hiring independent contractors or companies that use independent contractors in 2020 may become a larger issue.

In order to be marked as an independent contractor, the worker MUST follow these three rules known as the ABC Test:

(a) the worker is free from control and direction in the performance of services; and
(b) the worker is performing work outside the usual course of the business of the hiring company; and
(c) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business.

This law has quite a large effect on many companies who classify their drivers not as employees but as independent contractors, like Lyft and Uber, as well as a large effect on the hiring entity, such as yourself. You should expect to see price increases from many vendors who use independent contractors as their main workforce. In order to still manage their workforce the same as they normally would, they’ll have to increase rates to pay their “new” employees correctly.

However, many of these independent contractors may choose to step away from companies and look for ways to maintain their freelancer status, including leaving California. Unlike many other positions, truckers may benefit more as independent contractors than they would as an employee of a larger company. However, these independent contractors that you may have considered hiring before may not be able to pass the ABC test and you may find yourself in a complicated legal situation as their potential employer and financially responsible for more than just their paycheck. Prepare yourself for next year by investigating your vendor list and reading up on the AB5 law as time goes on to make sure you don’t overpay for services and that you are compliant with the law.

The good news is, Best Yet Express customers will not be impacted because all of our staff, including our truck drivers, are employees. You’ll never have to worry about AB5 compliance or added costs due to legal issues surrounding it. We will continue to take care of our customers’ needs without any negative impact from this law passing.

Click here to learn more about Best Yet Express, our services and what sets us apart from other freight companies.

cross-docking

The Basics of Cross-Docking

Cross-docking is a strategy that boosts speed and productivity for logistics companies. When executed correctly, it increases efficiency and expedites delivery so that clients achieve their goals more effectively. It’s how a good logistics company provides their customers with the ultimate in flexibility and reliable cargo delivery.

What is Cross-Docking

Cross-docking is the practice of unloading freight from an incoming truck to another vehicle with little to no storage time. For example, it can involve transferring products from an incoming truck to an outbound vehicle via a distribution docking terminal. The process minimizes time spent in the terminal, which advances the supply chain for certain products while minimizing effort and costs.

Benefits of Cross-Docking

There are several benefits of this strategy—starting with reduced costs. Since there is no need for products to be put away and warehoused, an entire step is eliminated. This reduction in handling translates to less labor costs and can minimize the risk of inventory being damaged or lost. Since the cargo doesn’t need to be stored, there are no warehousing costs.

Cross-docking also provides for a single site to sort, screen or combine products. It offers an excellent solution for producers who want to split or combine products coming or going from different locations. It also allows the opportunity to switch the type of truck used for delivery.

For many customers, the greatest benefit is expedited delivery time—they can get their cargo when they want it! Since the truck travels directly from its production source to the customer, travel time is significantly reduced.

Ideal Freight

Some cargo is a better fit for cross-docking than others. Items that are ideal include perishable or temperature-controlled freight that require immediate shipping, such as food items. Many retail chains opt for cross-docking services when shipping pre-tagged, pre-packaged products that are ready for sale and staples with consistent demand levels. Other ideal products include high-quality items that do not require quality inspections, new launches and promotional items.

Since this strategy can be complex, it’s critical for freight companies to employ a reliable inventory control system and and properly train warehouse employees on all cross-docking procedures.

Click here to learn how our logistics company provides cross-docking services as a way to expedite delivery and keep our customers satisfied.

cargo

6 Tips for Palletizing Cargo

Good packaging is key to keeping cargo intact throughout its shipping journey. Using a pallet is one of the best ways to ensure your cargo arrives safely and securely at its destination. Pallets are stable transport plates made from wood, plastic or metal that are core components of modern logistical processes. Palletizing your cargo keeps it protected throughout loading, transport and unloading—and makes the entire process faster and more efficient. Pallets also make it easier to move everything from small packages to large bulky items with machinery like a forklift or pallet jack.

It’s essential to carefully prepare pallets and packages for shipping. Read on for tips on properly palletizing your freight.

1. Use Quality Materials

Using quality packaging materials can prevent shipping disasters. Start with good quality boxes that are the right size for your cargo. Get quality packing materials as well—you’ll need sturdy shrink wrap, corrugated cardboard inserts to fill voids in boxes, and either bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts or air pillows to cushion package contents. Be sure to seal all packages with quality packing tape.

2. Choose the Right Size

Look for a pallet that is big enough to hold your cargo without hanging over and sturdy enough to support its weight. Avoid pallets with broken boards or protruding nail heads.

3. Properly Pack Each Box

Make sure each individual box is packed well before loading it onto a pallet. Boxes should be full, with no air spaces and an even distribution of weight. The box’s contents can get crushed and damaged if there is air space and shifting can occur if weight is distributed unevenly. Use your choice of packing material, such as Styrofoam peanuts or air pillows, to fill any voids. Seal with plenty of high-quality packing tape.

4. Stack Carefully

Stack boxes together on the pallet, with weight distributed as evenly as possible. Heavier boxes should go at the bottom, with lighter ones at the top. Stagger or align the boxes to boost stability. Stacking the packages incorrectly or failing to secure them to the pallet can result in injury to the handlers or damage to the cargo.

5. Stabilize With Cardboard

Add layers of flattened cardboard to every few rows of boxes and to the top and bottom to improve stability and weight distribution. Add cardboard corner beads to protect against damage to the corner edges. This strengthens the entire pallet and helps solidify any loose boxes. It’s especially helpful when shipping several small packages rather than just a few larger ones.

6. Go Big With Shrink Wrap

Use high-quality shrink wrap to secure everything on the pallet. Wrap the pallet three to five times to keep packages from coming loose. Twist the wrap to strengthen it as you secure the boxes. Start at the bottom and work your way up, but only wrap the top partially. This ensures that your cargo won’t separate from the pallet while keeping it accessible to forklifts. Further secure your packages by strapping the load to the pallet.

Follow these tips to help ensure the safe arrival of your precious cargo. Click here to learn more about the best cargo transport company in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.