10 Benefits Gained from Keeping Up Positive LTL Carrier Relations
Throughout the course of business, demand for items will contract and grow, and your business needs to be able to process customer orders. However, you may have damaged your relationship with an LTL carrier by simply not staying in communication, not fulfilling your end of the service contract, or you may have found a slightly cheaper alternative. Unfortunately, your newfound LTL carrier partner may not have the resources to help you through the sudden surges and slumps in demand for your products, and you should have kept your relationship with your previous LTL carrier positive. Rather than going on about how to keep your relationship positive, think about the following 10 reasons you need to maintain a positive relationship with your carrier(s).
1. Access to More LTL Carrier Options
Depending on the reach of your marketing efforts, you may be forced with trying to get product from your local store to a destination on the other side of the country. However, you may not have enough merchandise to warrant purchasing additional space to send a small truckload of merchandise to a remote area. By keeping your relationship with your carrier positive, you can take advantage of more less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping options to help you reach customers outside of your normal shipping area.
2. Discounted Rates at General Rate Increases
Over the course of time, an LTL carrier will increase rates to their consumers. However, existing consumers may receive extensive discounts in general rate increases, or they may not have to pay additional charges if they add to their current monthly shipping needs.
3. Assistance During Slow Periods
Businesses are always going to experience highs and lows in sales, and making sure you have an LTL carrier should never be a question. You need to have someone to pick up your merchandise and get it to your customers without any additional hassle, difficulties, or negotiations of current prices. If you have an existing positive carrier relationship and are in good standing, your shipping needs are practically at your footsteps.
4. Assistance in Claims Processes
No one wants to think of freight damages and lost packages, but they are a part of shipping. Freight claims when working with an LTL carrier doesn't have to be difficult, however. Even with intense scrutiny, something may turn up missing, or a consumer may experience problems with receipt of the freight. An existing, positive relationship with an LTL carrier will give you agility and a speedy response to claims for damaged, lost, or otherwise unacceptable freight delivery. This will help keep your customers happy and your company in the black.
5. Additional Support in Visibility
With more and more LTL carriers becoming integral parts of the economy, you need to make sure your shipping practices maintain legality and follow any applicable state, federal, and local laws. This may include the manner of disclosure of materials upon arrival, inspection of shipping containers, and other regulatory measures. Ultimately, a positive relationship with an LTL carrier will help speed the process of the flow of freight, which will help keep your deliveries on-time.
6. Assistance in Payment of Duties, Taxes, and Tariffs
When an item crosses international borders, such as into Canada or Mexico, you must think of how to pay any associated duties, taxes, and tariffs. Otherwise, you could face stiff penalties, interest, fines, and delays in the shipping process. Having a positive relationship with your LTL carrier can alleviate these concerns. For example, the carrier may pay these costs at the time of border-crossing, and you can reimburse the carrier. However, a negative relationship could result in your lovingly-ordered product sitting on the dock for days, if not weeks, beyond your originally planned delivery date.
7. Options as Markets Change
As new markets emerge, you need to have an LTL carrier capable of adapting to meet the new demands of governing entities in new markets. Furthermore, your carrier needs to be able to keep up with new markets that open up in various geographic areas to make sure shipping is not delayed. A positive relationship can help keep your carrier happy and maintain your ability to get into new markets more-quickly. For example, emerging manufacturing hubs in the west or southeast, as the US Government establishes manufacturing hubs, may be easily accessed by carriers with existing business processes in such markets.
8. Larger Network For Negotiations
On the topic of expansion of shipping markets, keeping a positive relationship with your LTL carrier helps ensure fairness throughout rate negotiations. For example, a negative relationship could lead to a carrier refusing to include your company. Alternatively, you must consider how a large carrier-network can give credibility to your business, which will minimize shipping problems across state and international lines.
9. Enhanced IT and Communication Options
A larger LTL carrier tends to develop new technologies and purchase improved technical resources faster than smaller carriers. By keeping a positive relationship with carriers, you can retain access to these technologies at a fraction of the cost for new clients. These technologies may include advanced tracking, communication, and IoT automated processes to improve the accuracy and efficiency of your deliveries.
10. Reduced Charges For Sporadic Shipments
If you need a shipment outside of your normal time-frame, a positive relationship with your LTL carrier can help you. By maintaining the connection between your company and the carrier, you can request unscheduled pick-ups and deliveries when you realize an error in your own processes has occurred. Additionally, this is especially beneficial when considering how returned merchandise can be outside of the schedule.
Although you may want to forget about one, two, or three of your shipping carriers, you need to thoroughly consider how ditching one LTL carrier could affect your business. Think about these 10 benefits of keeping the relationship positive before you do something you may come to regret.