Introducing Our PartnerPets!

August 27, 2018 at 9:59 AMLeah Palnik

For many of us at PartnerShip, we work hard during the day and love coming home to our furry companions in the evenings. These PartnerPets brighten up our lives and probably know us better than anyone else. If you’ve ever been curious about the people you talk to over the phone or email, here’s your chance. Get to know our team by meeting the pets who love us!

Bailey Bear Patterson

Bailey Bear Patterson
Her top skill: Sitting and giving paw
Who loves having her a part of the family: Paula Patterson, Account Representative


Riley Shields

Riley “Monkey” Shields
Fun fact: He thinks he’s a person
Who he makes laugh on a daily basis: Mandy Shields, Truckload Customer Service Representative


Duke and Annabelle Mounts

Duke and Annabelle Mounts
Duke’s not-so-hidden talent: flooding the bathroom and waking everyone up at 3am
Annabelle’s party trick: managing to be everywhere at once
Who puts up with their shenanigans: Alayna Mounts, Account Representative


Freya O'Hara

Freya O’Hara
Special ability: climbing up slides and running into things
Who puts food in the bowl: Alecia O’Hara, Account Representative


Onyx Samples

Onyx Samples
Superpower: napping and getting into things he’s not supposed to
Who dresses him in awesome costumes: Dean Samples, Account Representative


Yoshi and Tobias Deming

Yoshi and Tobias Deming
Why Yoshi’s a good boy: He finds discarded human snacks on every single daily walk
The superior skill of Tobias: Beating his brother to the punch while playing fetch - too slow, Yosh!
Who lets them live their best life: Jen Deming, Marketing Associate


Gigi Korhely

Gigi “the Gig” Korhely
Her strengths: letting every dog have it when they walk past the house…from the comfort of the window
Who takes her to the beauty salon on the regular: Keith Korhely, Senior Program Manager


Mocha Magazzine

Mocha Magazzine
The top skill on her resume: picking her own beans in the garden
Who she turned into a dog person: Karen Magazzine, Revenue Services Representative


Ginger Arnold

Ginger Arnold
Favorite hobbies: conducting squirrel patrol watch and eating earplugs
Who lets her hog the couch: Josh Arnold, Programmer Analyst


Tucker, Channing, and Kiwi Laudato

Tucker, Channing, and Kiwi Laudato
Channing’s top skill: squirrel chasing
Tucker’s bff: Channing, of course
Kiwi’s amazing ability: to look like a dinosaur
Who keeps the family together: Vince Laudato, Customer Service Representative


Tyler Kuntz

Tyler Kuntz
What he does in his free time: talk (yes, talk!) to the birds that visit the feeders outside the window
Who still feeds him even though he tries to trip him: Aaron Kuntz, Account Representative


Andy McManamon

Andy McManamon
How he likes to find trouble: jumping over the fence to swim with the ducks in the neighbor’s pond
Who lets him believe he’s a lap dog even though he’s 65lbs: Tim McManamon, Freight Brokerage Sales Manager


Smokey Gamble

Smokey Gamble
How he let’s his hair down: playing catch and going for rides in the car
Who rewards him for not making “accidents” in his cage: Justin Gamble, Senior Account Representative


Meiko Palnik

Meiko Palnik
Redeeming quality: being the official bug spotter (and sometimes killer) in the house
Who puts up with him tearing up the furniture: Leah Palnik, Marketing Manager


Buster Brown Hardman

Buster Brown Hardman
Why he’s known as a Romeo: he loves snuggling, giving kisses, and sleeping in front of the fireplace
Who hooks him up with the best tuna fish: Nicole Hardman, Senior Carrier Procurement Representative and Brian Hardman, Senior Account Representative


Hank Bowers

Hank Bowers
Guilty pleasures: sniffing everything, chewing rawhides, and watching Mr. Ed
Who makes sure he’s always ready to celebrate: Joe Bowers, Account Representative


Zion and Marley Horst

Zion and Marley Horst
Most important duty: Keeping watch for the local wildlife and singing the songs of their people
Who rescued them 7 years ago: Allison Horst, Senior Carrier Procurement Representative


Harry Pupper Maye

Harry Pupper Maye
What he’s really good at: forcing you to pet and love him
Who is more than happy to pet and love on him: Brenden Maye, Account Representative


Charlie Rinaldi

Charlie Rinaldi
What makes him happy: eating everything he’s not supposed to and going for rides
Who lets him take the wheel on the RZR: Andrya Rinaldi, Account Representative


Canelo Villela

Canelo Villela
How he likes to roll: by playing with the kids and neighborhood police officers at the park
Who loves this little escape artist: Damaris Villela, Customer Service Representative


Jovie and Bella Hammersmith

Jovie and Bella Hammersmith
How Jovie likes to chill: with her friends Sammy the squirrel, Manny the chipmunk, and Hopper the rabbit
How Bella spends her free time: by cuddling and being a love bug
Who spoils them: Jennifer Hammersmith, Customer Service Manager


Chunky Diamond

Chunky Diamond
Super skill: Destroying chew-toys
Who thinks he’s really good at cuddling: Tyler Diamond, Account Representative


Leroy Brown Schramm

Leroy Brown Schramm
Claim to fame: running up to 13 miles with his mom and stealing food off of dinner plates
Who is happy to put a roof over his head: Laura Schramm, Office Manager


Frankie, Bobbi, Ozzie, Cribbs, Dudley, and Jonah Centa

The “Centa Farm” – Frankie, Bobbi, Ozzie, Cribbs, Dudley, and Jonah Centa
Cribbs’ special skills: swatting at the dogs, drinking water from human cups, and being the namesake of the great Joshua Cribbs
Bobbi’s (very) hidden talent: rarely being seen by anyone
Ozzie’s favorite way to get around: in Dudley’s mouth
Dudley’s M.O.: counter surfing for food and stealing hotdogs from children
Jonah’s claim to fame: being the bark-o-matic 5,000 because he barks at anything and everything
Frankie’s prize winning talent: being a prize from the county fair and being named after the great Francisco Lindor
Who had the genius idea to name them all after Cleveland sports legends: Harry Centa, Senior Program Manager

Looking for a rewarding career that will make your pet proud? We're hiring!
join our team!

What to Expect With Over Dimensional Freight

August 24, 2018 at 11:58 AMLeah Palnik
Over dimensional freight: what to expect

When you’re preparing an over dimensional freight shipment, the number of restrictions and factors to account for can be overwhelming. One mistake can have costly consequences to your bottom line and transit times. However, knowing what to expect when you’re getting your shipment ready will help ensure everything goes smoothly.

One of the reasons it can be challenging to set up an over dimensional shipment is that each state has different legal requirements you have to adhere to. However, there are some common categories that many states have restrictions around:

  • Travel time. Many states will restrict the hours that your carrier can be on the road when transporting an over dimensional shipment. Generally, travel is restricted to daylight hours (one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset), which reduces your available time on the road, especially in the winter months when the days are shorter. Some states may also restrict transport during rush hour for major cities, depending on the size of your shipment. You will also need to factor in if you will be shipping close to a major holiday when travel can be restricted both the day of and the day before.
  • Escort vehicles. Depending on the states your cargo is traveling through, your carrier may be required to use escort vehicles, also known as pilot vehicles. These vehicles serve a couple different purposes. They help to warn other vehicles on the road and they can check for low hanging wires, bridges, or any other road hazard the truck may encounter. How many escort vehicles you need in the front and/or back will be determined by your shipment characteristics and the states it’s traveling through.
  • Route surveys. Safety is a major concern when shipping over dimensional freight. Route surveys are required by some states for certain oversized shipments to help ensure the safety of the load, to prevent public property damage, and protect motorists. During route surveys, a pilot vehicle will go through the exact shipment route proposed to document any potential obstructions or hazards like tight turns or low bridges.
  • Safety equipment. Depending on your shipment dimensions, flags and lights may be required on the tractor, trailer, and/or the escort vehicles. This helps with visibility for other motorists on the road. You will typically see red or orange flags and amber lights used.

When shipping over dimensional freight you not only have to follow the state restrictions, but it’s also a requirement to obtain permits from each state your freight passes through. The permits will include information like your shipment dimensions, what you’re shipping, and the origin and destination. It will also spell out the conditions that need to be met as far as safety equipment, escort vehicles, and restricted times. It’s important to note that there are fees for the permits which vary depending on the state.

While there is a lot that goes into planning for an over dimensional load, much of the responsibility falls on the carrier. The carrier creates the suggested route and submits it to the states to obtain the needed permits. The carrier also makes the arrangements for escort vehicles and other safety equipment.

As the shipper, your main concern should be providing the most detailed information possible so everything with the planning process goes smoothly. When requesting a quote, first and foremost, you will need to have your dimensions. The length, width, height, and weight will all determine what kind of state requirements you will need to follow. You will also want to provide information about your commodity including the model number, the serial number, value, and description. On top of that, it’s a good idea to include information about how it will be loaded and unloaded.

Due to the nature of over dimensional freight, you will need to get a quote at least two weeks prior to when you need the load moved. All of the pieces that contribute to moving an over dimensional load take time to secure. These restrictions also affect your transits times. You can estimate 50 miles per hour to travel, but add a cushion to account for route changes or other unforeseen issues.

You can also expect to pay more than what you would with a typical load, with line items for permits, escorts, and an over dimensional surcharge. All of these extra steps take time and cost money, so your quote will be calculated accordingly.

Working with a freight broker is the best way to ensure you’re receiving a competitive price for your shipment. A quality broker will know what questions to ask so that everything is done efficiently and every factor that could affect your shipment is accounted for ahead of time. Contact PartnerShip for your next over dimensional load!

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Ask a CTB: Your Shipping Questions Answered

August 21, 2018 at 2:05 PMJen Deming
Ask a CTB As part of an ongoing effort to be the ultimate shipping resource for our customers, we've compiled the most common shipping questions and had them answered by one of our CTB freight shipping experts, me! My name is Jen Deming and I've been with PartnerShip for 3.5 years. In that time, I feel like I've pretty much seen it all. Through my own personal experience, I've worked with all kinds of shippers - from newbie to veteran. I can help answer your most pressing shipping questions and help give you a better understanding of the shipping industry.

First up, it's back to basics: What is a CTB? And what's a 3PL, for that matter? Most importantly, should YOU be working with one? CTB stands for "Certified Transportation Broker", and is an industry certification developed by TIA (Transportation Intermediary Association) to increase the professionalism and integrity of the freight brokerage industry. Areas of study include general business principles, traffic management best practices (for shipment, claims, fleet, and international traffic management), contracts and pricing, regulatory principles, and case law.

A freight broker is someone who assists shippers with finding qualified carriers to haul available loads, and works within a 3PL (third party logistics) organization by outsourcing shipping and logistics services. These individuals facilitate the relationships between the carrier and the shipper, and will negotiate rates with carriers, arrange the transportation, schedule pick-ups, provide follow-up on tracking, and will often offer claims assistance for loss or damage on behalf of shipper. A freight broker should serve as a shipper's strongest advocate, and is a great resource for expert shipping advice.

There are many advantages to working with a 3PL, such as cost and time savings, additional expertise, and flexibility. A knowledgeable freight broker can custom fit shipping options based on the specific needs of your business. 

Next up: what's the difference between parcel shipping and freight/LTL? Small package shipments are typically under 70lbs but can go up to 150lbs, and are often shipped in your own boxes or carrier supplied packing materials. The packages are shipped singularly and should not be in excess of 108 inches in length. Small package shipments are subject to dimensional weight pricing, which can get expensive, so it may make more sense to ship via a freight service.

LTL or less-than-truckload shipping usually consists of multiple boxes or containers stacked on pallets and are over 150lbs. LTL shipments can utilize multiple modes of transportation such as rail or motor truck, and are sent with other shippers' freight to reduce cost. Depending on the length of the shipping lane, often these shipments are loaded, unloaded, and reloaded at multiple stops throughout transit. If you have multiple pallets (6 or more), need shortened transit time, or require enhanced security, it may make sense to use a truckload service instead of LTL.

Furthermore, what's the difference between LTL and TL? TL (or FTL/Full Truckload) refers to booking a dedicated semi-truck for your shipment, that will not be hauling other cargo along with yours. This option is most economical for shippers who have a very large shipment with multiple pallets, on that requires a lot of space, a high-value and fragile shipment, or one that needs to move at a faster pace. If your business requires strict pick-up windows or appointments for delivery, it may also make sense to work with a dedicated carrier. In the past, I've worked with customers who required set arrival times for pick-up, and though they may not necessitate the ENTIRE space within a 52 ft truck, appreciated the reliability of a dedicated truckload service over an LTL common carrier. Booking a dedicated truck also gives you the option should you need specialized equipment such as a flatbed truck or refrigerated van.

What is an NMFC/ freight class? How do I know which to use for my shipment? You'd be amazed at the variety of customer's freight shipments that I've worked with. From toy makers to hospital supply distributors, I've shipped the craziest stuff, and they all have a specific freight class or NMFC assigned to the category of shipment. The NMFC, or National Motor Freight Classification, can be rated as low as 50 and as high as 500. The higher you go, the higher the rate for your shipment. And details matter! Whether your work table is wood or plastic, assembled or broken down, each factor can affect the class of the freight. So it's important not to guess or mark whatever class you think may save you a few bucks. Freight reweighs and reclassifications are very real, and you don't want to have a $2,000 bill when you have $200 built into the budget. Your freight broker can be a good resource to determine your shipment's correct class - cutting down on costly errors in the long run.

What are these "accessorial" charges on my bill? Can I avoid them? My own customers brought me questions about the unanticipated service charges on their freight bills more often than anything else! Accessorials are fees a carrier charges for additional services. Common examples of these include lift-gate services, residential deliveries, inside pick-up/delivery, oversized freight charges, and limited access pick-ups or delivery. The difficulty with these is that the cost of the fees varies by carrier, and while one may determine one location "limited access", a different carrier may not. Your best bet? It's smart to do your research about every service your require before you get your rate quote. Find out if the pick-up location has a dock and a forklift. Know for certain whether your customer's delivery location is a place of business or their own home. Be accurate in your measurement of your shipment's dimensions and weight. Finally, consult your freight broker for any questions you may have about what incurs charges and what doesn't - they are your best advocate!

Just when you think you have this freight shipping thing figured out, carriers can throw you a curveball. It pays to be vigilant and ask questions of the experts so YOU can be sure you are shipping smarter and staying a step ahead. If you have any questions about your shipping practices, or how the shipping experts and PartnerShip may be able to improve your efficiency and lower your costs, email sales@PartnerShip.com or call 800-599-2902.

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The PartnerShip July Carrier of the Month Is… (drum roll please)

August 17, 2018 at 12:30 PMJerry Spelic
PartnerShip Loves Our Carriers! Here is Our July 2018 Carrier of the Month

PartnerShip works with high-quality freight carrier partners to help our customers ship smarter and stay competitive and we love recognizing our awesome carriers for a job well done!

July’s Carrier of the Month is Salem Ridge Contractors LLC of Waterford, Ohio! They specialize in heavy haul and oversize loads.

The PartnerShip Carrier of the Month program was created to recognize carriers that go above and beyond to help our customers ship and receive their freight. PartnerShip team members nominate carriers that provide outstanding communication, reliability, and on-time performance.

For being our July 2018 Carrier of the Month, Salem Ridge Contractors gets lunch and a nifty framed certificate to proudly hang on their wall. Our gestures may be small but our appreciation is huge!

Interested in becoming a PartnerShip carrier? We match our freight carriers’ needs with our available customer loads because we understand that your success depends on your truck being full. If you’re looking for a backhaul load or shipments to fill daily or weekly runs, let us know where your trucks are and we’ll match you with our shippers’ loads. If your wheels aren’t turning, you’re not earning.

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FedEx and UPS Peak Season Surcharges: The Important Differences

August 9, 2018 at 2:09 PMLeah Palnik
FedEx and UPS Peak Surcharges for the 2018 Holiday Season

FedEx recently announced that for the second year in a row, it won’t be applying a peak season surcharge on residential shipments. This is good news for retailers who expect a significant amount of e-commerce orders over the 2018 holiday season.

UPS, however, will be instituting a surcharge on residential ground shipments from November 18 through December 1 and then again from December 16 through December 22. UPS will be charging $0.28 per package for most residential shipments using ground services. For UPS air services the fees are as high as $0.99 per package.

UPS delivered around 700 million packages during the 2017 holiday season – a huge jump compared to the rest of the year. Ordering online has become so commonplace and easy for shoppers, and the carriers are feeling the effects. The increase in volume over the holidays drove UPS to introduce this new peak surcharge for the first time last year.

Typically UPS and FedEx have comparable rates and surcharges and will mimic each other’s changes, so this is a notable distinction between the two small package giants.

FedEx is sending a clear message to shippers. “FedEx delivers possibilities every day for millions of small- and medium-sized businesses,” said Raj Subramaniam, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer at FedEx Corp. “We are demonstrating our support for these loyal customers during this critical timeframe by not adding additional residential peak surcharges, except for situations where the shipments are oversized, unauthorized or necessitate additional handling.”

It’s important to note that both carriers are implementing charges on larger packages. With the rise of e-commerce, people are ordering items online that they would’ve exclusively purchased in-store in the past – including televisions and appliances. FedEx and UPS have made several adjustments to account for these trends, including a pushback on larger packages. Heavy and bulky packages don’t move through their automated systems and require more attention. FedEx and UPS are putting a price tag on that loss in efficiency and shippers need to stay aware.

FedEx will apply peak surcharges for larger packages from November 19 through December 24:

  • $3.20 per package for shipments that necessitate additional handling
  • $27.50 per package for shipments that qualify as oversize
  • $150.00 per package for shipments that qualify as unauthorized

UPS will apply peak surcharges for larger packages from November 18 through December 22:

  • $3.15 per package for shipments that necessitate additional handling
  • $26.20 per package for shipments that qualify as large
  • $165.00 per package for shipments that qualify as over maximum limits

If you’re not careful, the surcharges can add up fast. These peak surcharges are in addition to the already existing surcharges that apply to larger packages, and any others that may apply including delivery area and residential surcharges.

Retailers should take note of these peak season changes to ensure a profitable 2018 holiday season. If you see a significant amount of online orders over the holidays and ship with UPS, you’ll be paying an extra $0.28 per package, which will eat into your bottom line.

To prepare, take a look at what you shipped last year around the holidays and determine a forecast for this season. From there you’ll be able to see how much more you can expect to spend during the designated peak season. You may find that switching from UPS to FedEx for the busiest time of the year will provide you with a decent cost savings. Depending on the billable weight of your shipment and the destination, the base rate could be lower with FedEx – compounding the savings during peak season. It’s worth evaluating the options, when the holiday season can make or break your year.

There are many factors to consider when deciding how to ship your small package shipments. You need an expert on your side. ParterShip manages shipping programs for over 140 associations, providing exclusive discounts on small package shipments to their members. To find out if you qualify or to learn how you can ship smarter, contact us today.

FedEx and UPS rates will be going up after the holiday season! Make sure you know what to expect so you can mitigate the impact to your bottom line. Our free white paper breaks down where you'll find the highest increases and explain some of the complicated changes you need to be aware of.

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For Good Measure: How to Avoid Freight Reweighs

July 26, 2018 at 10:08 AMJen Deming
Avoiding Reweigh Fees

LTL shipping requires plenty of diligence and double checking on behalf of the shipper. All may seem in order: you've used proper packaging, paperwork is up to date, shipping addresses reviewed, accessorial requirements checked, and you are confident you are using the proper freight class. Then it happens. Your shipment is delivered safe and sound, but when the invoice arrives, your bill is nearly $100 over what you had anticipated. On further review, you learn you've been hit with a reweigh fee by the carrier. How did this happen?

Freight reweighs are becoming more and more frequent, especially as dimensional and density based pricing becomes more common. It's important to understand what constitutes a reweigh, and what puts your shipment at risk. Many shippers, particularly small businesses, do not have certified scales that are large enough to accurately measure a larger LTL (less-than-truckload) shipment. This means that many of the weights listed on the BOL (Bill of Lading) are approximations, and carriers are pretty vigilant at checking for inaccuracies with their own certified equipment. A freight reweigh occurs when a carrier inspects and weighs the shipment and when the actual weight and the weight listed on the BOL do not match. One of the primary factors used to determine freight cost is weight, and in many cases, affects freight class as well. Often, a carrier will charge not only for the difference in weight, but also a fee for the freight reweigh itself.

To avoid a freight reweigh, it is so important that shippers try to avoid "guessing" their shipment weight. If your business does have a certified commercial scale, you are a step ahead of many other shippers. Be sure to have it calibrated and checked frequently to avoid miscalculations. If you do not have a scale, it is key to obtain accurate measurements and weights for ALL of the materials being shipped. This can be even more challenging if you are shipping an assembled, finished product made up of several separate pieces and different classifications. Add up materials used on product spec sheets, catalogue listings, and product invoices to get as accurate a weight as possible. It can be beneficial to look at any inbound shipping invoices for any pieces of your finished product that were shipped to you as a supply order. In short, don't be tempted to take shortcuts. It pays to take the time to measure individually and make educated and precise estimates.

Another mistake that many shippers make that encourage freight reweighs is neglecting to include packaging/packing materials in their calculation of gross weight. An average 48x40 pallet weighs around 30-40 lbs, and if you are shipping a multi-pallet load, that extra weight adds up fast. While it's always best to avoid guessing your shipment's weight, in the case shippers aren't able to weigh their shipments on a calibrated scale, it is important to factor this figure in the total. Additional materials used to protect your shipment such as molded plastic corner reinforcements, fiberboard, wooden stabilizers, and even foam inserts can increase weight, especially if you have a larger LTL shipment.

It's key to remember that accurate weight is not the only factor that affects your shipment- it helps to determine your freight class, as well. For heavier, denser items that fall into the lower NMFC classifications, total weight of the shipment is used to calculate at price-per-pound. For less dense shipments that take up more volume, your freight class can be higher and your shipping more expensive. If you happen to overestimate the weight of your shipment, and it falls into one of these higher freight classes, you will be charged more at the higher freight class. It is crucial for shippers to know their precise weight, freight class, and your freight density in order to estimate accurate shipping charges.

Even if you feel you've got everything in order, freight shipping can always lead to some surprises. While it's never a good idea to cut corners or knowingly try to mislead a carrier in the hopes of saving a couple bucks, sometimes even thorough shippers can get hit with some unforeseen charges. Don't let freight reweighs be one of them. The freight experts at PartnerShip have your back and can help make sure you are shipping smarter. If you have questions about determining your freight class or how working with a 3PL can help lower your shipping costs, call 800-599-2902 or email sales@PartnerShip.com to learn more.

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And the PartnerShip June Carrier of the Month Is…

July 20, 2018 at 8:15 AMJerry Spelic
PartnerShip Loves Our Carriers! Here is Our June 2018 Carrier of the Month

Without high-quality freight carrier partners, our job would be much harder, and the economy would move much slower. We love recognizing our awesome carriers for a job well done because they help us help our customers ship smarter and stay competitive.

June’s Carrier of the Month is Boyko Trucking LLC of Richfield, Ohio! They have been in business since 2009 and specialize in LTL and full truckload shipping.

The PartnerShip Carrier of the Month program was created to recognize carriers that go above and beyond to help our customers ship and receive their freight. PartnerShip team members nominate carriers that provide outstanding communication, reliability, and on-time performance.

For being our June 2018 Carrier of the Month, Boyko Trucking gets lunch for the whole office and a nifty framed certificate to proudly hang on their wall. The gestures may be small but our appreciation is huge!

Interested in becoming a PartnerShip carrier? We match our freight carriers’ needs with our available customer loads because we understand that your success depends on your truck being full. If you’re looking for a backhaul load or shipments to fill daily or weekly runs, let us know where your trucks are and we’ll match you with our shippers’ loads. If your wheels aren’t turning, you’re not earning.

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Keys to Success for Vendor Compliance and Inbound Shipping

July 10, 2018 at 1:49 PMLeah Palnik
Keys to Success for Vendor Compliance and Inbound Shipping

For many retailers, obtaining vendor compliance and maintaining smooth inbound shipping operations may seem like a tall order. However, with the right planning and follow through, it is achievable. By following these keys to success, you’ll be on your way to reducing your freight costs, avoiding chargeback issues, and creating efficient operations.

Developing an effective routing guide
The very foundation of achieving vendor compliance is developing an effective routing guide. Routing guides provide shipping instructions to your vendors that help you gain control of your inbound shipments. They often include modes and carriers for specific lanes, as well as rate and service requirements.

In order to create routings that are best for your business, you’ll need to consider several factors. Price, transit time, and reliability are all important when selecting a carrier and determining how to have your product shipped. For different services and weight breaks, you want to designate a carrier that provides you with the best rate and can deliver your product in the time you need.

Conducting an in-depth analysis of your inbound shipments can be time-consuming but necessary when determining your routing instructions. This is where working with the right freight broker can make a huge difference. The broker you work with should provide inbound management services that help determine the routings that will be best for your business and will create the routing guide for you – saving you valuable time.

Maintaining good relationships with your vendors
For smooth inbound shipping, you want to have a good rapport with your vendors. Like any other relationship, communication is key. For example, when you send your routing guide out to your vendors, it’s a good idea to include a request for confirmation. However, you won’t always receive one. If that’s the case, following up and opening the lines of communication will be your best bet to ensure vendor compliance.

If your vendors aren’t using your routing instructions after receiving your routing guide, you’ll need to follow up with a call or email. When you have a good relationship with your vendor, you’ll have the right point-of-contact and will be able to resolve the issue quickly. If not, you could have a harder time achieving vendor compliance.

Maintaining a relationship with your vendors can be difficult and time-consuming. This is another area where working with the right freight broker can make a difference. When selecting a freight broker, ask about experience in your industry. Quality freight brokers familiar with your industry will already have an established relationship with many of your vendors, which will help with compliance efforts.

Perfecting your order forecasting
Managing your inventory can be challenging. But the advantages of forecasting and planning your orders ahead of time are too great to ignore. When you don’t plan ahead and then need your product within a shorter time-frame, you will have to rely on costly expedited services. Spending the time up front to make sure your orders are placed with ample time will be better than spending the extra money in the long-run.

Also, with more lead time, you’ll be in a better position to handle any issues that arise. For example, if your shipment gets lost or damaged in transit and you need your product immediately, you’ll be out of luck. In that event, you’ll need to file a freight claim which doesn’t always guarantee compensation and is often a lengthy process.

If you’re not able to place your orders ahead of time, it’s a good idea to consider freight insurance. Unlike relying on carrier liability coverage, you won’t have to worry about if the carrier is found liable or not and often times you’ll get paid out much faster – making it easier to resume operations as normal.

Conducting regular reviews for improvements
Once you do have a routing guide in place and have vendor compliance, you can’t just set it and forget it. It’s best to review your routing instructions periodically so that you’re always getting the best rates and service possible.

You can choose to set aside a specific time each year to do a review. But if you make any changes throughout the year with your orders or any other factor that affects your shipments, you’ll want to take that time to evaluate and update if necessary.

It’s also important to stay on top of carrier rate increases, accessorial changes, and NMFC updates. These kinds of changes can have a significant effect on your freight costs and you'll want to make sure that you fully understand how these changes will affect your specific shipments. For example, carriers announce general rate increases every year and will present an average increase. If you simply use that average to judge how your costs will be affected, your budget will most likely be off. The increases vary greatly across the board depending on a number of characteristics, so it's important to evaluate them based on your specific shipments. 

Partnering with the right freight broker
The keys to vendor compliance and inbound shipping management are easy to master when you work with the right freight partner. PartnerShip can help conduct a complete inbound shipping analysis, create a routing guide, and send routings on your behalf for vendor compliance. Contact us today to get started, or download our free white paper to learn more about managing your inbound shipments!

Download the free white paper: 4 Steps to Gain Control of Your Inbound Shipping

Pallet Packing Mistakes to Avoid

June 27, 2018 at 10:38 AMLeah Palnik
Pallet Packing: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Pallet packing isn’t something you can take lightly. One wrong move and the whole shipment could lose strength and stability – risking damage to your freight. Rather than conducting your own experiments, check out these common pallet packing mistakes so you know what to avoid.

Mistake #1: Choosing the wrong pallet
Pallet packing begins at the very foundation of your shipment – the pallet itself. It may be tempting to reuse old pallets for your shipments but if you’re not looking out for structural integrity, you could be in trouble. Avoid using pallets with broken boards or protruding nail heads.

Using an alternative material pallet can also cause some issues. Wooden pallets are the standard, but pallets made from metal, plastic, and corrugated materials have all entered the market. However, not all pallets are created equal. These pallets are good alternatives for certain specialized needs, but issues like weight, movement, and pallet strength make them not suitable for all types of freight. Before you consider swaying from wooden pallets, make sure to do your research.

Mistake #2: Not properly packing individual boxes
Before you can stack your pallet, you need to pack your individual boxes or cartons. Even if your boxes are secure on the pallet, the contents inside the cartons can shift. Leaving excess space and not providing proper impact protection is a common mistake that many shippers make. Start by right-sizing your boxes – leave just enough room for the product and the needed impact protection. Anything more is wasted space that you will need to fill with cushioning like paper pad or packing peanuts.

Mistake #3: Stacking inadequately
You may think that the way you stack your cartons is just about making it fit on your pallet. However, neglecting to follow certain best practices that increase strength can be a fatal mistake. During pallet packing, not evenly distributing weight and not placing the heaviest boxes at the bottom is a quick way to increase your risk of damage. Using pallets that are too small and thus leaving overhang is also a common mistake that will make your freight vulnerable.

The stacking patterns you use when packing your pallet are also extremely important. One of the biggest offenders is pyramid stacking. This kind of pallet packing pattern leaves the cartons at the top at greater risk of being damaged and makes the load less secure. When possible, an aligned column pattern is best. Stacking your pallet in a way that ensures it is level and flat will put you in the best position to avoid damage.

Mistake #4: Skimping on stretch wrap
If you don’t currently use a stretch wrap machine, you want to make sure your manual wrapping technique is up to par. There are a couple common mistakes to look out for. First, make sure you’re wrapping around the pallet enough. You should be making at least 5 wraps around the entire shipment. Second, twisting the wrap is something that is often overlooked. You should twist the wrap every other rotation to increase the durability.

Mistake #5: Not labeling correctly
After you go through all that work of ensuring you’ve packed your pallet in a way that reduces its risk of damage, you don’t want to run into issues just because you neglected to label your shipment properly. One label is not enough. You want to make sure the shipping label is on each side of your pallet, with the consignee information clearly visible.

Pallet packing may seem simple, but these missteps can create complicated issues. If you’ve discovered that you’ve made any of these common mistakes and want to learn more about packaging best practices, download our free white paper!

The Ultimate Guide to Packaging Your Shipments

It All Adds Up: The Operational Costs of Moving Freight

June 22, 2018 at 9:06 AMJerry Spelic
 It All Adds Up The Operational Costs of Moving Freight

Moving freight is getting more difficult, and therefore, more expensive. If you’ve ever had “sticker shock” from a freight quote, you’re not alone. There are a lot of cost factors that go into the price you pay to move freight, so we want to explain them so you can be an informed shipper and ship smarter.

Every LTL or truckload freight shipment has fixed and variable costs that are calculated into the rate you pay to ship your freight. Let’s start by looking at the fixed costs.

Fixed Costs:

  • Truck Payment. Owned or leased, drivers and operators have the expense of their equipment (trucks and trailers) to consider when quoting your freight. New trucks can be leased for $1,600 to $2,500 per month and used trucks can be leased for $800 -- $1,600 per month; a new truck can be purchased for $2,250 a month (purchase price of $125,000 with 5-year financing). On average, truck payments are 16% of the cost of moving freight.
  • Insurance. The FMCSA requires individual owner-operators to carry a minimum of $750,000 to $5 million in liability coverage. On average, liability and damage insurance can cost between $6,000 – $8,000 per year, with newly-granted authorities typically paying between $10,000 and $16,000 their first year. Truck insurance accounts for 5% of the cost of freight shipping.
  • Driver Salary. This is the largest operating cost of moving freight. Commercial truck driver salaries are based on the distance driven, and although drivers spend a lot of time in traffic, at the dock being loaded or unloaded, etc., their operating costs are only derived from miles traveled. With an average salary of $78,200, driver pay and benefits accounts for 43% of operational costs.
  • Office and Overhead. This fixed cost includes a building lease or mortgage, and includes electric, phones, internet, computers, and office support. These costs can vary widely.
  • Permits and Licenses. Permits and license plate costs account for $2,300 annually, or 1% of operational costs.

Variable Costs:

  • Fuel. The second largest operating cost of moving freight is diesel fuel. A commercial truck can easily consume 20,000 gallons ($64,000) of diesel fuel per year, accounting for 21% of operational costs.
  • Tires. Retreaded truck tires are less expensive than new tires and cost on average $250. Annual tire expense accounts for $3,600, which is roughly 2% of operational costs.
  • Maintenance and Repairs. Trucks need constant maintenance and do occasionally break down. Issues with air lines and hoses, alternators, wiring, and brakes are all common in commercial trucks, and can cost $17,500 annually or 10% of operational costs.
  • Meals. The truck isn’t the only part of LTL and truckload freight shipping that needs fuel! 10 meals a week at $12 each equals a meals expense of $6,500 a year.
  • Tolls. With nearly 5,000 miles of toll roads in the US, chances are good that your freight will be traversing at least one of them, and this will be factored in your cost. For example, a load moving from Chicago to Baltimore will encounter toll roads in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, costing $225.75.  Sometimes a carrier can avoid toll roads, but this will frequently increase the number of miles driven, which also increases your cost. On average, tolls add $2,500 a year, 2% of the total cost of freight shipping.
  • Coffee.  Did you know that truck stops sell more coffee than convenience stores? The average commercial truck driver spends more than $600 a year on coffee. Its effect on cost is negligible but we thought it was interesting!
  • Profit. Remember, freight carriers are in business to make a profit. Owners, operators and drivers are funding their kids’ education or dance lessons, paying their mortgages, and buying food and necessities, so please don’t expect them to move your freight for free.

There are also many miscellaneous items that can factor into overall freight costs:

  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), which have decreased driver productivity approximately 15%. When drivers spend less time driving, transit times increase and drivers move fewer loads, which pushes costs up.
  • Telematics services, such as vehicle and trailer GPS tracking.
  • Driver turnover; not just the cost of recruiting and training, but also the opportunity cost of empty trucks not hauling freight because they have no drivers.
  • Finding loads to move can take up a sizable chunk of every day. Every hour spent not driving loaded miles is an hour a driver isn’t making money.

The bottom line is that a lot of factors go into the cost you pay for LTL or truckload freight shipping. The costs listed here are conservative and are probably on the low end, so your costs may be higher.

The struggle is real: moving freight is getting more difficult and more expensive. By shedding light on the costs that go into each and every LTL or truckload freight move, we hope that you’re better informed so you don’t experience “sticker shock” next time you get a freight quote. If you find yourself battling rising freight costs and need some help, contact the freight shipping experts at PartnerShip. We have significant experience in both the LTL and full truckload markets and can help you ship smarter so you can stay competitive.

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