January 14, 2020

How Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Freight Can Benefit Your Supply Chain

Less than truck load (LTL) freight is on the rise over recent years. The ability to reduce costs, driver strain, and time to deliver are the biggest reasons why companies are favouring this method over full truck load (FTL) shipping or small parcel.
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Managing LTL requires companies to invest in transparent technologies that align with their industry needs. For example, LTL shipments for pharmaceutical manufacturers and food suppliers can reduce the damage risk possibility by utilising data logging, circumstance monitoring, data collection and analysis to ensure products arrive as expected.

In this post, the Logmore team explores LTL shipping as compared to FTL and parcel, why LTL is on the rise, and how companies of all sizes benefit from incorporating this strategy into their shipping methods.

What is less-than-truckload (LTL) freight?

LTL freight is a form of shipping that does not require an entire trailer. Typically, shipping weights in this strategy are less than 4,500 kg. Simply put, LTL shippers do not require the typical 14- or 15-meter semi-trailer trucks.

Several shipping companies are offering specialised LTL services related to:

  • Guaranteed services
  • Liftgate deliveries
  • Residential services
  • Freeze protection
  • Transit

When working with an LTL provider, shippers can expect traditional modes of transport to handle their freight, such as rail, water, air, and truck. LTL shippers have the benefit of paying for only a portion of the standard load. The cost is off-set by grouping LTL shipments from other companies.

LTL vs full-truck load (FTL) shipping

We can understand the benefits of LTL by comparing it to full truck load (FTL) shipping. Determining the method that makes sense for your company is essential to managing costs and creating supply chain efficiencies.

The most significant difference between LTL and FLT is the space required to execute a shipment. As LTL only takes up a portion of a semi-trailer, FTL fills it entirely. Your company is also responsible for the full costs of freight, in contrast to LTL.

LTL vs small parcel shipping

It is also worth considering the differences between LTL versus small parcel shipping. Parcel shipping is limited to packages of less than 75 kg.

While it is a method that is not going away any time soon, shippers must weight out the benefits of using it. The primary considerations are damage risk, loss prevention, ease of tracking, checkpoints, and cost savings.

LTL shipping is on the rise for several primary reasons. Let’s take a look at what is making this form of transportation come to the forefront of logistics management:

Why LTL is on the rise

LTL shipping is going through its most considerable growth and expansion period than in previous years. The globalisation of commerce is the most significant driving factor of LTL shipping.

No longer do shippers have to resign themselves to using small parcel. Customers can even order large items, like furniture and appliances, through a smaller provider and still receive the same advantages and savings as FTL.

These drivers are changing the industry and steadily increasing the LTL market. A healthy economy and a steady stream of eCommerce sales are giving the industry a much-needed boost.

In addition to economic factors, LTL is also conducive to attracting more qualified drivers. Instead of over-the-road or linehaul truck routes, drivers now have the benefit of a more balanced lifestyle.

Companies can use LTL to their benefit in ways that other shipping methods cannot match. Let’s take an up-close look at ways you can fold it into your supply chain:

How companies can use LTL to their benefit

Businesses of all sizes stand to gain from using LTL in their line of shipping methodologies. However, there are several primary considerations that you must use to leverage its full power. If your organisation is considering LTL, here are a few best practices for a more successful outcome:

Maintain good relationships with your carriers

Carriers must spend additional time and money to handle improperly packaged or reported freight. These inaccuracies can result in poor relationships within your LTL network.

You can avoid this situation by offering precise information about your shipments and packaging them in ways that comply with your weight and freight class. Doing so will save everyone a ton of frustration while reducing the strain on already limited resources.

Deploy a transportation management system (TMS)

LTL shippers are slow to adopt technology when compared to their FLT and small parcel counterparts. However, it is imperative to remember that industry standards do not necessarily indicate best practices. Shippers can create competitive advantages by deploying the right transportation management system (TMS).

We do not advocate rushing the process either. A TMS is a significant capital and time investment, but one that reaps many benefits in terms of lowering costs and offering better shipping times than previously seen.

Be sure to select a provider that addresses the unique needs of your industry. For instance, data logging, circumstance monitoring, data collection and analysis is a terrific way for temperature-controlled sectors to keep an eye on the quality of their shipment. The right TMS is akin to acting as your “eyes and ears” on the road while products are in transit.

In conclusion

LTL shipping is an excellent choice for shippers, who do not require a full truck load. The time and cost savings benefits alone are reason enough.

However, it would help if you made a few considerations when comparing it to other options, as in any new, strategic move. Leveraging the power of a TMS will help you keep your finger on the pulse or your shipments to mitigate loss and damage.

Thank you for reviewing our latest article on LTL freight. If you found it useful, you may benefit by reading our other posts: Overcoming Distribution Chain Challenges with Big Data and Why Supply Chain Resilience Should Be a Priority for Your Business.

The team at Logmore has the tools you need to make the most of your supply chain and logistics management program with data logging, circumstance monitoring, data collection and analysis.