- Poor Packaging
- Forgetting About The Weather
- Shipping Containers
- Not Inspecting For Damage
- Classifying Freight Incorrectly
- Passing On Insurance
- Mistaking A Delivery Schedule For A Delivery "Guarantee"
- Not Knowing Your Real Cost Per Mile
- Failing To Provide Correct Export Documentation
- Shipping Too Much Inventory
Freight shipping companies make daily mistakes when shipping goods from warehouses to customers across the globe. Sometimes these mistakes cost them millions of dollars.
Understanding these common mistakes is the first step for a business owner or someone choosing the right shipping company. This article will cover common mistakes freight shipping companies make and how to prevent them from costing you thousands of dollars.
A recent report found that nearly half of all packages shipped across the United States are damaged or destroyed during transportation. Damages occur in shipping items like food, electronics, clothing, and toys. In fact, according to UPS, about one out of every five packages delivered to customers worldwide is damaged or destroyed.
The reason behind such high loss rates is simple: most companies don't know how to package their products correctly. But what exactly does proper packaging look like? And why do some companies ship their goods in boxes that get crushed or mangled during shipping? Here's a quick guide to ensuring your products arrive safely at their destination.
- Use sturdy boxes: When choosing a box for your shipment, select something that won't break easily. A good rule of thumb is to use a box at least twice as big as the item inside. If you're sending multiple items, consider using a larger box for each one.
- Keep the contents visible: If you're shipping a large object, like furniture or a piece of machinery, try placing it in a box that has enough room around the edges to allow you to see the entire object clearly. You'll be able to check the dimensions and ensure that there aren't any hidden surprises waiting for you once your item arrives.
- Put heavy objects on top: Packaging experts recommend putting heavier items on top of lighter ones when stacking boxes together. That way, if anything falls off the stack, the heaviest item will keep everything else from falling with it.
- Pack fragile items separately: You should never pack fragile items next to other items that could damage them. Instead, pack these items into their own separate container so they can stay safe until they reach their final destination.
- Overpacking: You probably already know not to send too many items through the mail. But did you know that you shouldn't pack more than two times the weight of the actual product? Overpacking causes unnecessary stress on the delivery truck, which can lead to damage.
Forgetting About the Weather
The summer months are here, and it's time to start thinking about protecting your products from the elements. Shipping containers are one of the most common ways to transport goods worldwide, but they come with inherent risks.
Moisture can cause problems like mold growth, corrosion, and rusting. And while you might think that packing materials absorb moisture, they actually do the opposite – they draw water out of the air. So choosing the right transport method is crucial in avoiding significant damage when shipping items.
Shipping containers are great because they protect your goods from extreme temperatures. But they also trap heat inside, so cold-sensitive items may get damaged. To avoid this problem, wrap your shipments in blankets or bubble wrap before sealing them inside the container.
Not Inspecting for Damage
A recent report found that nearly half of all packages are damaged during transit. Items damaged include electronics, furniture, and even vehicles. While it might seem obvious, most people don't inspect their products before shipment. In fact, many companies do not perform any inspection to determine whether a product is undamaged. If you ship something without doing a proper inspection, there is a good chance that you could lose money.
The average consumer spends $1,500 per year on goods shipped domestically. However, those numbers increase dramatically when you start talking about international shipments.
A study by UPS found that the average American household spent $4,000 annually on overseas purchases. Those figures include everything from clothing to appliances. When you consider how much Americans spend on shipping, it makes sense why most businesses aren't performing damage inspections.
Even though we know consumers often buy things online without checking them over, some retailers still insist on doing a visual inspection. For example, Amazon requires sellers to check every item for damages upon delivery. They also require sellers to provide photos showing the packaging and contents of each box.
To avoid losing money due to damage, perform a thorough inspection before sending anything across state lines. You never know what could happen once you send a package off into the world.
Classifying Freight Incorrectly
There are over 300 different classiﬁcations for freight. Each one has its own set of rules and regulations. In fact, there are even different classiﬂcation codes for international shipments.
Different classifications make it challenging for shippers to know exactly how much freight they're paying. It's important to understand these classiﬁed rates so that you can accurately calculate your costs.
For example, if you have an item that weighs 1,000 pounds, it will cost more than twice as much as an item weighing 500 pounds. That's because the weight determines the rate you pay for transportation.
You should always use the correct classification code for your shipment. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting charged extra fees.
Passing on Insurance
Insurance is one of those things we don't really think about unless something goes wrong. But it can make a big difference when disaster strikes. If you're like most people, you probably don't know what kinds of insurance you have or whether you even need it. Insuring things that are being shipped is easy. It's just a matter of contacting an insurer and getting a quote.
If you're shipping something that isn't insured, you may be stuck with the bill. That means you'll have to pay for the cost of repairs yourself. Even worse, you could have to pay more than you would have had you been adequately insured.
Mistaking a Delivery Schedule for a Delivery "Guarantee"
A guaranteed delivery date doesn't always mean that the shipment will actually arrive on time. Many shippers use terms interchangeably, such as "delivery guarantee," "guaranteed delivery," "on-time delivery," and "on-time arrival." But there are differences between each term that you should know about.
The first thing to understand is what a delivery schedule really is. When you book a shipping quote, you might see something like "shipment delivered on/by X date." This statement is called a delivery schedule. Delivery schedules usually include a range of dates, such as "between X and Y days."
If you want to ensure your package arrives on time, it helps to look at the delivery schedule closely. You might notice that some shipments have a guaranteed delivery date, meaning that the shipper promises to deliver the goods on that date. However, this doesn't necessarily mean the shipment will arrive on time.
Not Knowing Your REAL Cost Per Mile
Small trucking companies often don't know how much it costs per mile. They assume that since they pay $100/day plus fuel surcharges, that's what it actually costs them. But most quotes to customers are based on cost per mile. And there's no way to tell how many miles each trip takes without tracking mileage.
Trucking software helps small businesses save money while improving efficiency. You can easily calculate cost per mile, compare rates, set alerts, and even manage routes to not get stuck with much higher operating costs.
Failing to Provide Correct Export Documentation
You need to provide the correct documentation for export purposes if you ship internationally. The U.S. government requires certain documents when exporting products. You must provide these documents to get approval for international shipments.
Shipping too Much Inventory
When you have too much inventory, you risk running into issues. First, you may run out of storage space. Second, you may lose sales because people won't buy from you if they can't find your product. Third, you may face fines or penalties from the federal government.
You can avoid these problems by keeping track of your inventory levels. Then, you can plan ahead, so you aren't caught off guard. For example, you can keep track of your inventory using a spreadsheet program. Or, you can use an online tool that automatically tracks inventory levels.
Freight shipping companies still need to improve a lot of things. They need to improve their communication skills, train their employees better, and find more effective ways to avoid big mistakes, so as to reduce high costs.
Finding the right shipping company that is upfront, honest and diligent when shipping your goods is the best way to avoid mistakes. Why not contact us at A-1 Auto Transport? Not only do we have 30 years of industry experience, but we are the leaders in our field. Contact us for a free quote for all your shipping needs.