Building Expedited Shipping Into Your Supply Chain Strategy

Posted by Averitt Express on 10/1/10 10:55 AM

There was a time when expedited services were considered the “last resort” in transportation options — usually a costly airfreight shipment that kept an assembly line from shutting down or a national sales promotion from fizzling.

However, savvy shippers are finding that today’s expedited services are more cost-effective, mode flexible, and reliable than ever before, says Sean O'Neil, Averitt’s Director of Expedited Services.

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  1. GET UP TO SPEED ON TODAY’S EXPEDITED SERVICES

    Ground transportation has become extremely reliable in recent years, and it’s generally cheaper than airfreight.

    “In the past, if shippers needed something moved quickly they would automatically think of airfreight. Now, they’re realizing that ground transportation can offer a great alternative with the same amount of reliability at a fraction of the cost,” says O'Neil.

    In fact, the tough economy has actually helped introduce shippers to the benefits of expedited services.

    For starters, the constant fluctuations in inventory levels meant more freight was destined to become time-critical, O'Neil explains. “Shippers were running very lean JIT supply chains, but they had to start acquiring buffer stock to accommodate changes in supply and demand. Expedited ground transportation was preferred over airfreight because of the cost savings, and shippers soon realized that this was a great option.”

    In fact, as the economy begins to improve, O'Neil expects that many shippers will stick with expedited services, especially ground transportation, due to its excellent reliability and cost-effectiveness.

  2. DETERMINE THE BEST MODE FOR YOUR EXPEDITED SHIPMENT

    Averitt offers a wide variety of expedited services, ranging from Time Definite Guaranteed LTL, to Cargo Charter, to a blend of ground and air transportation.

    Averitt’s Expedited Mode Optimizer is a matrix that helps shippers determine the best mode for their shipment, including a detailed description of each transportation option, information on pricing, and tips for getting the most out of each option.

    “Choosing the right expedited service for your shipment is extremely important,” emphasizes O'Neil. “That’s why we developed this tool.” O'Neil also notes that shippers have become more sophisticated about expedited services in recent years, which helps them make better use of tools like the Expedited Mode Optimizer.

    Shippers also have access to Averitt’s team of specialists, who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help answer questions and monitor and track expedited shipments throughout Averitt’s system.

  3. CONSIDER DIFFERENT PACKAGE AND PALLET OPTIONS

    How a shipment is packaged and/or palletized can make a big difference in shipping options.

    For example, “When a customer tells us he has three skids that need to be expedited, the first thing we ask is if the freight can be broken down,” says O'Neil. “Twenty boxes that are shrink-wrapped on a skid that can be broken down offer a lot more flexibility than one large item on a skid, and it affects how we will ultimately transport the shipment.”

    O'Neil relates a recent story about a customer who wanted to transport 30 boxes of frozen sausages by next-day air. “They wanted us to repack the sausages in dry ice and airfreight them for next-day delivery. We looked at several options and decided to use a reefer cargo van instead, which not only eliminated the need for repacking the sausages, it offered a quicker transit time too. Although the cost for expedited ground transportation in this instance was about the same as air, the ground transportation mode resulted in less hassle and less chance for damage or spoilage.”

According to O'Neil, shippers of automotive parts, chemicals, oil field equipment, and hurricane supplies, such as batteries and other supplies, are frequent users of expedited services, and understand and appreciate their value.

However, as the types of expedited services become more varied — and affordable — many more shippers are discovering how to incorporate them as the “go to” option to keep their supply chain competitive.

Averitt’s expedited expertise extends to more than simply moving shipments. We can work with you to help you build expedited services into your supply chain strategy. For more information, contact our Expedited team at 1-800-283-1995 or email expquote@averittexpress.com.

EXPEDITED MODE OPTIMIZATION CHART

Topics: Shipping Tips

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