Freight is not a delicate business. From dock to destination, freight can pass through a lot of hands, travel by a variety of means--truck, rail, plane, or ship--and weather differing climates. Avoid the pitfalls of damages, delays, or losses by following a few best practices.
Your first line of defense against damages or delays is a strong box that is clearly labeled and has enough cushioning material to keep contents secure. That means:
Similar-sized boxes with contents of a similar density will be stacked on top of each other. You should state if a box is full of light bulbs or nuts and bolts to prevent the heavier density box from being stacked on top of the lighter density one. That's where paperwork comes in.
"Customers need to tell us what we're hauling, what's in the box," Sandak says.
The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC), whose thousands of entries classify the average density of a variety of products, is where you find classification codes. The NMFC also outlines what a particular item's packaging minimums should be.
Shipping labels should be placed on a flat surface and include both the shipper's and the recipient's names and complete address information on one label. If you are using a packing slip, place it on the same surface as the address label. It's also good practice to place a duplicate address label inside the box. For international shipments, include both the shipper's and recipient's contact names and telephone numbers.
You've packaged your goods properly and have the necessary documentation. Now it's time for a pickup.
"UPS offers a variety of shipping applications to streamline your pickup requests," says Bill Petritz of UPS Freight Marketing. He suggests using UPS technology platforms like WorldShip®, UPS Internet Shipping, or My LTL Freight to make LTL pickup arrangements.
"It takes more time to pick up the phone and make arrangements," Petritz says.
You can also take the guesswork out of LTL pickups by using UPS Freight® Pickup Notifications for LTL*. The service is free of charge and available to customers scheduling a freight pickup on ups.com, WorldShip 2012 or later, or My LTL Freight. We'll send an e-mail alert when your pickup is the next stop on the route, helping to ensure you're ready for the UPS Freight driver's arrival.
Need to reschedule the pickup? The notification message links to ups.com, where you can easily reschedule or cancel the pickup.
*Pickup Notifications for LTL is available only for direct service points in the 48 contiguous United States. This feature is not available for shipments loaded by a shipper in a dropped or spotted trailer.
Get your goods where they need to be, when they need to be there.
-- Charles Sandak, UPS Freight Weight and Research Manager