Is your shipping operation in a situation where you see a high volume of shipments along consistent shipping lanes? If so, pool distribution logistics may be able to significantly optimize your shipping, saving time and money while improving customer satisfaction.
How Do Pool Distribution Logistics Work?
Pool distribution is similar to less-than-load (LTL) strategies, except typically you aren’t sharing truck space with other companies. You’re combining a lot of smaller shipments which are all headed for a general geographical area, to reduce the number of long-haul trucks required. Then the individual orders are separated and routed through short-haul services for final delivery.
In robust implementations, this can work in reverse as well for matters such as product returns. All returns in an area go to a single nearby hub and are then combined onto a single truck for long-haul shipment to your return center.
The Benefits of Pool Distribution Logistics
In the right circumstances, pool shipment strategies bring a lot of benefits despite some initial startup and operational costs.
1 – Fewer trucks
Pool distribution requires far fewer long-haul trucks, as well as involving fewer trailers to be loaded/unloaded as well. This all significantly reduces your overhead and is particularly important as fuel prices continue to rise.
2 – Faster shipping
By combining shared loads, the goods will typically be delivered more quickly than individual bespoke shipments. This improves customer satisfaction and helps create repeat business.
3 – Additional flexibility
The exact parameters of the shipping strategy can be tweaked based on demand, availability, fuel prices, etc. You have more ways of overcoming shipping challenges, without reducing the level of service you provide to your customers/clients.
What’s Needed for Pool Distribution Logistics
1 – High shipment volumes
Pool distribution only makes sense for operations that ship a lot of product, typically smaller orders which would be LTL in other circumstances.
2 – Similar shipment requirements
Your products need to be capable of being shipped in the same basic containers. So, for example, a diverse food company that needs both reefers and regular cargo carriers may not benefit.
3 – A logistical network
You need a network of hubs for this strategy to work. Partnering with a 3PL or 4PL provider can be the perfect solution.