If your business in any way involves shipping products, you’re undoubtedly looking for ways to make your shipping more efficient. Between the truck driver shortage and unpredictable fuel costs, it’s vital to reduce shipping costs as much as possible.
There are numerous options for doing this, from self-delivery to retail pool distribution, and which is best largely depends on a company’s size. Let’s take a look at the choices.
Methods of Product Distribution
On the smallest scale, there’s always the option of delivering products yourself, with your vehicles. This is a viable option for small local companies who, likewise, only deliver locally – such as a farmer bringing their produce to a nearby market, or a local artisan delivering art to local dealers.
However, this becomes increasingly difficult and expensive once someone is attempting to sell outside their local area. Large trucks are costly to buy and maintain!
2. Parcel couriers
If your business involves custom or fragile products, hiring a private courier for shipments can make sense. They’ll keep close track of each package and are typically excellent for handling breakable and perishable products, with a lot of personalized service. However, costs are often high given how bespoke these services can be.
3. Shipping carriers
Shipping carriers like UPS or FedEx are a good choice for small-to-medium-sized operations that want to deliver smaller parcels around the country. However, the costs of using a shipping carrier can scale upwards sharply as the amount increases. Also, there will be limits on the size and weight of what can be shipped, so their scalability is limited.
4. Less-than-load (LTL)
LTL shipments are a common way for medium-sized operations to reduce shipping costs. This means that your shipments are combined on trucks with shipments from other companies, resulting in cost savings for every company using that LTL load. It also reduces waste, as sending half-filled trucks around the country is highly inefficient.
5. Retail pool distribution
Retail pool distribution is a new form of freight consolidation that is gaining popularity and can be utilized by all but the smallest companies. In short: your shipments are picked up by a third-party logistics (3PL) provider and taken to a regional warehouse near the final shipment destination. Then the 3PL sorts the packages and puts them on short-haul trucks for final delivery.
This is excellent if your products need to go to multiple stores in an area, or if you’re delivering to something like a shopping mall or manufacturing center which takes in many shipments from different producers.
What Shipping Method Is Best for You?
No matter what type of products you create, or the scope of your operations, there are ways to increase the efficiency of your shipments. Contact US Logistics Solutions to learn more about your options!