OEC Blog

Reduce your shipping stress

Reduce your shipping stress

It’s a given that a Parts Manager wears many different hats. And if you are a Parts manager, you likely have “shipping expert” as one of those hats. Shipping is an integral part of your business; you probably know so much about shipping that it may be second nature for you to know size and weight limitations on certain items and how that can impact the shipping method. It’s also likely you know instantaneously what you can UPS and what needs to go LTL. So what savings are you missing out on that you can take advantage of now?

Experience dictates that if you need to ship a pallet or more, ground parcel service is not the best option. Packages that are oversized and overweight drive up costs significantly; and before you know it, you’ve lost all of your profit margin just as quickly as you earned it. Another option, shipping via common carrier/LTL, is cost effective, but only if you know “the game” and can play it well.

Here are some pointers when looking into how to ship your parts most effectively.

Use a national carrier

You may have heard of some of the national carriers, such as YRC, R&L, Estes, and Roadrunner to name a few. Most of these freight companies will ship pallets and loose packages. They also offer optional insurance coverage on your merchandise and lift gates for those who have limited space or no loading dock. The key benefit of these freight companies is their customer care teams, where they will happily walk you through scheduling and proper classification. Although the customer care is a big benefit, this service may be too costly for some.

The “old school” advice is to call several carriers to get quotes and shop around. However, this can be time consuming and tiring if you do a lot of LTL shipping. You are already busy multitasking with the day-to-day of your parts department, so you don’t need to waste time calling around. With the prominence of the third party logistics company (3PL), having to shop around quotes is almost as obsolete as faxing parts orders.

Local freight brokerage firms

3PLs are independent companies that negotiate discounted rates with several national carriers. The brokers have already done the comparison of cost, benefits and features. They can walk you through the scheduling process and offer rate options depending on your needs. Many times, this is a cost-effective option as well as a time-saver. One of the biggest benefits of this is consolidating your shipping volume through one company. Your biggest discount will be through your volume instead of splitting it among the various carriers you were previously shopping around.

A couple of 3PLs even allow you to merge a UPS account in with your LTL volume. Savings on this is a must if you are doing online sales where you typically offer free shipping (If you don’t have an online presence, then you are missing out on a huge portion of the market!).

Do what’s best for your dealership

There is a lot that goes into selecting a shipping partner. Compare your options to find out what works best for you. With so many options available, you could be using a carrier that’s not cost-effective for your dealership, so do your homework and find the best fit.