How to Improve Your Shipping Dock’s Efficiency and Minimize Carrier Accessorials
Carrier accessorials can be difficult to predict and significantly increase freight bill totals, especially when it comes to LTL shipments. These additional fees can range from unnecessary detention charges caused by carriers who are delayed, to the costs of reclassification and reweighing due to providing inaccurate shipment details, or even to redelivery fees from rejected shipments — one of the more expensive accessorials.
Given the unpredictable nature of these charges, your company’s margins and quality of service may face huge hits. Understanding how to keep your freight moving and eliminate carrier accessorials is crucial to improving your shipping dock’s overall efficiency.
Introduce a Dock Scheduling System
One way that can help your company improve dock scheduling visibility and resolve time-consuming communication issues is to introduce a dock scheduling system. This type of system can streamline your shipping operations and reduce delays by automating the process for scheduling pickup and delivery appointments.
The ability to view and manage appointment times and shipping information in one location will decrease demurrage and detention fees, increase loading performance, and improve warehouse labor management. A dock scheduling system can also help shippers forecast better and deal with any disruptions caused by delays with production and other unforeseen problems.
Know Your Products Inside and Out
Shippers should analyze their freight to identify and review important elements like minimum density requirements, packaging, and freight classification to avoid making careless mistakes. Preventable accessorials like reclassification and reweigh fees that come from providing inaccurate shipment details can be easily avoided by having the right processes, and checks and balances, in place.
If you measure boxes accurately, weigh all shipments, and make the necessary adjustments, you can minimize the amount of accessorials (those that are under your control) as well as the inefficiencies within your operations. Your company may also want to think about automating data entry related to shipment details (such as via integration with your TMS) or using a third-party logistics provider to help analyze your products and shipping characteristics.
Negotiate Better Carrier Contracts
You might be unaware of the fact that shippers can negotiate accessorial fees with their carriers, so it’s important to have a thorough understanding of your agreements and to come prepared with data to your negotiations. Carrier service agreements are dense and overwhelming; however, carefully reviewing them with the help of an expert on a regular basis will often reveal opportunities to negotiate fees or address special services you may no longer be utilizing. You should also maintain sufficient transportation data and be aware of any avoidable accessorials your company frequently incurs.
Coming prepared with data will allow your company to leverage your profitability to carriers, and a true understanding of your unavoidable accessorials can help you negotiate the lowest possible rates and fees for when they do come up.
Plan for the Unexpected
While accessorials may be an unpleasant surprise more often than not, there are ways to manage them. Proactively, and with a little help, creating strategies to identify and negotiate problem areas will help your company reduce the impact of unplanned accessorials.