When it comes to shipping less-than-truckload (LTL), the devil is in the details. Systems like FreightRover’s SmartLTL eliminate the difficult work around building shipments and finding capacity at the right price. Knowing your LTL shipment’s specifics also saves you a lot of time and money. Here are FreightRover’s quick tips for LTL.

Your BOL is the bible.

Carriers live by the information you put on your BOL. If information is missing or inaccurate on your BOL, you’re likely to pay a price.

Know your freight class and NMFC number.

Knowing your freight class gives you the most accurate LTL quotes. While many systems use calculators to help you determine a freight class, these are only estimates. When doing an RFP, work with your carriers to agree on your freight class upfront. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your carriers for help in advance as well.

Reclassifications or NMFC disputes often appear on the invoice, which may not always make it over to the Operations team from Accounting. Make sure the team tendering your shipments know how the carrier is assessing the freight, so they don’t keep making the same costly errors.

Weight can’t wait.

Across our customer base, the fee we see most assessed by carriers are reweigh fees. If you ship LTL frequently, a good scale is a great investment. Mistakes like relying on weights on manufacturer boxes or forgetting to include the additional weight of your pallet will cost you. You’ll likely be assessed a reweigh fee and weight change fee. LTL carriers have individuals on the docks focused on finding loads with weights that don’t match. Don’t let one be yours.

Time is of the essence.

Narrow appointment windows or same-day shipments can prevent carriers from quoting your freight or may drive up rates. LTL carriers prefer office hours, avoid weekends, and want as much time to optimize their trucks as possible.

Share what’s special about your shipment.

To help your freight meet its delivery date, let carriers know about accessorials up front. Detail shipments that require services like liftgates, appointments, or special handling. Failing to disclose these details not only will drive up your invoice, but also could cause you to incur additional fees like reconsignments or detention.

Train your receivers to inspect shipments before signing.

Claims are frequent among LTL shipments. Unfortunately, we see many customers try to file claims after a delivery receipt was signed indicating no damage. This sets everyone up for a long battle. Work with your delivery recipients to check your shipment and take a picture of any damage before the driver leaves.

LTL volumes are expected to grow by 3% annually through 2022. As capacity becomes more difficult to come by, the savvy LTL shippers will move the most freight. FreightRover’s SmartLTL is here to help. You manage the details. SmartLTL delivers. Everyone wins.

82% of surveyed freight payors rarely discuss best practices in freight payment outside of their organization and 55% have no budget to improve. Why? Most often IT investments go toward revenue generating activities leaving carrier payments as a “we’ve got bigger priorities” or “we’ve always done it this way” type of process. However, if the hidden costs behind carrier payments were widely known, creating a better process would become as urgent as any project up for consideration.

Hidden Costs

With the average carrier invoice costing upwards of $4 to process, duplicate payments accounting for 0.5-1.5% of additional freight spend, and a monthly savings of 2-4% possible by catching invoice errors, several sizeable extra costs lurk inside of carrier payments.

These monetary costs are in addition to the cost of not being considered a “shipper of choice” because of poor carrier payment practices. The number of shippers/3PLs paying carriers in 30+ days has grown to 47%, an increase of 9% since 2011. As pay terms have increased, capacity has decreased with a current shortage of 40,000+ drivers (and growing) and carrier utilization hovering between 98-103%. Additionally, 97% of the industry comprises carriers with 20 trucks or less, many with liquidity as a key business challenge.

Shippers/3PLs extending pay terms to hold onto cash are quickly finding themselves on a “do not call” list for carriers. Carriers are 1) contracting at higher rates to account for delayed payments and/or 2) selecting who gets their trucks with consideration for days to pay. Who can blame carriers when after two years of begging for freight, they now find themselves in the land of plenty.

Rocky vs. Apollo

I once heard the transportation industry described as a constant boxing match. When the market is soft, shippers strike with quick uppercuts to carriers through rate decreases and service expectations. When the market heats up, carriers jab back through rate increases and capacity controls. The constant back and forth leaves both sides worn out and against the ropes.

Far too often, managing transportation seems to be a zero-sum game between shippers and carriers. But there are new ways for both sides to win – without pricing or capacity punches – that can start in the often-overlooked area of payment processing.

A New Dog in the Fight

Powerful, but often unrealized, gains for both sides come through cash management tailored for individual business needs. FreightRover’s PayEngine is an online technology platform allowing shippers/3PLs to:

  • Capitalize on zero-cost extended pay terms
  • Shed the tedious carrier payment process without losing control of what gets paid
  • Create a carrier-centric quick pay program for its transportation providers

PayEngine was designed with both shippers and carriers in mind by addressing three common goals – increased revenue, decreased cost, and improved quality. The platform addresses common wish list items tied to improving inefficient pay processes:

  • Process invoices quicker and cheaper
  • Better align accounts receivable and payable
  • Free cash to avoid interest fees
  • Create more time for invoice auditing
  • Scale for business growth without increasing headcount
  • Receive detailed payables reporting
  • Create a competitive advantage for controlling rates and capacity
  • Focus less on back office and more on core business operations

PayEngine simplifies the payment process for both shippers and carriers. With FreightRover’s PayEngine, shippers/3PLs have one payee and one annual 1099 to issue, not thousands. No more per load pay term carrier negotiations. Carriers set their pay terms inside PayEngine and receive direct deposits in as quick as 24-hours after load completion.

With its white-labeled solution, PayEngine provides customized pay portals with on-demand payment data, invoices, and aging reports for shippers and carriers. Designed for the tech savvy and tech averse, PayEngine can connect to a TMS or function through a simple spreadsheet upload. Unlike other solutions, shippers maintain control of what gets paid, but PayEngine does the paying.

Simplified – shippers receive more time to pay, carriers get paid quicker, and PayEngine does the payment work.

The Knockout Punch

Among the many battles that happen in transportation daily moving goods from point A to B, carrier payment doesn’t need to be one of them. If you aren’t sure how much your current carrier pay process is impacting the bottom line, conduct an internal assessment of the following:

  • What is our internal cost to process invoices?
  • What is the cost of processing errors?
  • In the last five years, how has our transportation spend aligned with extended pay terms?
  • Do we deliver on the pay terms we’ve committed to our transportation providers?
  • Are the finance and operations teams aligned in managing transportation spend? Are cash on hand and ample capacity in conflict?

If the findings surprise you, consider stepping into the ring to make carrier pay improvements a priority for your organization. To learn more, visit https://www.freightrover.com/pay/.

Sources:

“2015 American Shipper Transportation Benchmark Study,” American Shipper

“Freight Payment & Auditing Services: Cash is King,” Inbound Logistics

“Don’t Dismiss Small Trucking Companies Just Yet,” FleetOwner

“New Report Says National Shortage of Truck Drivers to Reach 50,000 This Year,” ATA