6 Ways to Manage Time Critical Shipments


Amazon has instilled a new mindset into the wants of consumers today – they want their orders immediately, in a day or two, instead of next week. And often they want them shipped for free.

Plus, businesses may need to utilize time-critical services to guarantee the velocity they need to meet a customer’s deadline or when handling specialty items like medical supplies that have a certain expiration date.

Pharmaceutical companies have the need for speed when it comes to transporting drugs for medical emergencies. Companies shipping high-value items or potentially dangerous goods look to time-critical shipments to gain tighter control. Manufacturers may use time-critical services to get parts to an assembly line to avoid shutting down the line.

With this in mind, shippers are turning to technology to help them manage their time-critical shipments. Here are 6 ways you can manage shipments that require a definite arrival time:

•     Communicate with carriers about your time-critical shipment requirements by giving them forecasts of these shipments as early as possible. This helps carriers better manage their capacity, ensuring your shipment has a place on their truck when it is needed.

•     Ensure your freight is packaged correctly to avoid damage. Use the right packaging for your items and if palletized, make sure that you stack heaviest to lightest items vertically and then shrink wrap them. This will keep the packages intact and make for easier handling.

•     Label packages properly so that the information on each part of the shipment matches the Bill of Lading. If there are discrepancies on the documentation, this can delay the shipment.

•     Leverage a transportation management system (TMS) to schedule your shipments. to gaining visibility to shipments in process so if any issues arise, you will know what they are and can best create contingency plans. Being able to see where your shipment is at any time gives you peace of mind that your customers are being taken care of.

•     Use a TMS that allows you to automatically connect your carriers for any mode so that you can view and compare rates side-by-side to choose the best rate and service level. The ability to choose any mode helps you discern which mode can best meet your timeline for shipments.

•     Access the spot market if you can’t find the delivery services you need from your contracted carriers. A strong network of thousands of shippers and carriers extends the reach to find capacity, allowing shippers to leverage their existing rates and relationships or find new opportunities via the spot market.

Managing time-critical shipments is not just about getting a shipment to its destination on time. Many carriers also offer special handling, extra security and track/trace capabilities that go along with time-critical services. While time-critical services may cost more, the extra benefits can mitigate the risk of a lost or delayed shipment, while making sure you are able to give your customers what they need.

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