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Securing Shipments with Elevated Service | S-2 International

Welcome to the third in our exclusive series of articles for shippers, freight forwarders, and 3PLS, looking at how to go beyond expedited shipping to deliver results to the customers they serve. Previously we’ve explored how time-sensitive shipping and carefully scheduled pick-up or drop-off windows can improve customer service. This time we’re looking beyond speed and time-specificity, taking a closer look at the added benefit of shipment security. 

Of course, it’s vital that shipments arrive on time, but they must also deliver damage free. To accomplish that, some shipments may require different handling, utilizing specialty carriers, or ensuring shipments move on exclusive use vehicles for the most direct and careful transit. S-2international looks at what it really means to handle shipments with care and provide genuine peace of mind to both shippers and consignees.

The Cost of Damages in Transit

Finances Online reports that around 20% of returned goods are due to varying levels of damage occurring in transit. That adds up to huge losses (direct and indirect) to businesses across multiple industries. The same report also highlights that it can cost up to 17 times the original price to ship another item in its place. This can be due to the time and effort spent dealing with customer complaints, organizing alternate shipping arrangements, and adding extra assurances or premium services for a customer who has lost trust in the company.

Costs go beyond the obvious financial impact of dealing with returned goods. Sending out two trucks (or more) for a single delivery has a significant and detrimental impact on the environment. As of 2014, the Third IMO GHG study had estimated that shipping accounts for 3.1% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Recent updates to that study indicate that by 2050, those emissions could increase by 120%. Even with low-carbon initiatives in place, this means that shipping could eventually produce 10% of all greenhouse gasses. It’s clear, then, that reducing the number of journeys required to deliver goods is an essential step in becoming a more sustainable industry. That means investing in partnerships with premium logistics management teams that can provide an elevated approach to on-time and damage-free deliveries.

Exclusive Use Vehicles

One way S-2international provides peace of mind is through the exclusive use of vehicles or EUVs. This is a truck, often “right-sized” for the shipment, reserved exclusively for a single shipment. No other freight is loaded onto the vehicle, and the EUV only delivers or picks up for one client.

EUVS, especially those that are smaller, like sprinter vans are an often-overlooked resource in the shipping industry.  Some equate this type of solution as more costly due to the “expedited” nature, but these right-sized units can fill the gap between FTL and LTL, providing safe, careful packing of smaller loads and a significantly reduced risk of damage — plus the ability to deliver or pick up within highly specific time windows. 

White Glove Service

White glove shipping delivers an extra level of care for goods that simply cannot be damaged in any way. This goes beyond what happens while the goods are in the truck and extends to the way freight is loaded, unloaded, and to whom it is handed off. Additional considerations may even address the appearance of deliveries. 

S-2international has a wealth of experience with shipments requiring additional care and attention. One example is a medical technology delivery that experienced some minor damage to the external crate prior to tender to S-2. Despite this not impacting the goods in any way, there was some media interest in the new technology inside the crates, so the client couldn't afford to have them delivered with any appearance of damage to the shipping container, even if only cosmetic. A member of the team immediately headed to an off-site staging area with materials in hand and personally repaired the crates and coordinated with the client to ensure they were satisfied with the condition of the package before delivery commenced.

White glove service can include hand loading/offloading, padding, strapping, air ride equipment, and temperature control, to name just a few.  These services go beyond normal shipping expectations.

Security and Surveillance

Clients often want additional security for their high-value or sensitive goods. This might mean sealed units under constant surveillance. It could also mean that for certain deliveries, the identity of the product is guarded. Ensuring the contents of the freight are indiscernible to outside viewers can be a vital aspect of protecting the intellectual property of shippers or defending items more susceptible to pilferage. Other aspects of specialized handling include temperature regulation (often required for products like tobacco or plastics), route specification, signature protocols — including delivery to a specific person, floor, or room — and shock monitoring.

Vetting by Premium Transportation Management Experts

S-2international utilizes a stringent vetting process with ongoing monitoring of all partner carriers to ensure a high quality of service, minimizing claims, delays, and losses. Our compliance team regularly reviews expectations and performance with carriers, implementing corrective action plans when necessary and rewarding top-performing partners.  S-2 is staffed with an exceptional number of personnel whose sole job is to track shipments from the time of booking right through to delivery. Visibility of shipments in transit combined with excellent communication eliminates surprises, addresses issues proactively, and ensures resolutions are communicated immediately.

We invite you to think of S-2international as the Swiss army knife of transportation management — just as versatile and just as reliable. We understand that one tool or service can’t meet everyone's needs and that every job requires a personalized approach to customer care. For more information, reach out to the team at S-2international. Stay tuned for our next article: "A Guide to Reliable Shipping."