When You Need More Than Fast: Time-Definite Transportation Management
Welcome to the second article in our series on going beyond expedited for freight forwarders and direct shippers. In the first part of this series, we looked at how expedited simply means “fast” and doesn’t have any bearing on the level of service or quality of care taken over deliveries. This limited approach could mean inefficient loading of vehicles, goods damaged in transit, or goods simply not arriving on time — after all, “fast” doesn’t necessarily mean “on time".
Working with the right partner for your transportation management requirements can mean bringing added value that sets you apart from your competitors and a level of service that determines exactly when goods will arrive. S-2international achieves this via world-class service and time-specific or time-definite shipping support. Let’s look at how time-sensitive shipping benefits freight forwarding agents and their clients.
Time-Specific: More Than Fast
"Fast" sounds great, but in reality, it’s simply too vague and doesn’t actually come with practical or useful guarantees. Expedited shipping should be replaced with time-sensitive shipping — in other words, goods that arrive when clients need them. This is vital for ad hoc shipments and various delivery types in industries ranging from medical to construction.
Custom home builders, for example, are at the mercy of supply chain limitations and delays. Business Insider recently reported that 90% of builders had experienced delays, with some even turning to consumer-focused hardware stores as a stand-in while they await bulk amounts of the materials they need.
The undesirable consequence is that homebuyers are waiting for their new property for longer, thanks to delays in lumber, paint, and even appliance deliveries. But an expert transportation management team can match companies with freight options that provide the right solutions.
S-2international recently solved a major issue for Coastal Signature Homes. CSH’s normal supplier was unable to provide a specialty siding, requiring the builder to find an alternate source. The new supplier had the product but no means to ship outside of their region. CSH reached out to S-2 and S-2 was able to provide transport on behalf of the builder. The specialty equipment was sourced, and the shipment was monitored through to delivery not only providing quicker delivery transit but also providing time-specific delivery to meet a crew for immediate off-load. This was challenging as the build site was on a road located on the beach on Hilton Head Island and the flatbed could not access the site directly. S-2 was able to coordinate delivery a few blocks away, and the product was moved via forklift from the delivery site to the build site a block away! The result? CSH could stay on schedule, satisfying their home buyer with the unique siding they desired with minimal delays, damage free!
Working with a partner that takes the time to understand the needs of a client is a significant benefit. It’s important to work with a transportation partner that not only reacts quickly to requests but also anticipates needs proactively to provide the best solution. A provider with a proactive approach will reliably communicate accurate updates and deliver excellent service.
Some items don’t need to be delivered “fast.” Instead, they need to be delivered at a specific time or on a specific day. Early delivery can sometimes spell trouble. A prime example of this is an Apple iPhone launch. The technology giant is obsessed with confidentiality that sometimes, employees on one part of a project are not allowed to know what other employees are doing. This prevents business-critical information from being leaked to the media or competitors. Now, imagine if a shipment of the newest iPhone reaches a cell phone store or distribution center too early. It only takes one unscrupulous member of staff to rip open a box and share photos or tech specs of the new device, spoiling the surprise factor of launches and potentially giving competitors a heads-up on unreleased info.
In 2021, Apple sued a former employee for divulging details about unannounced products to the media. Shippers can protect themselves from similar legal action by working with partners that can arrange time and date-specific deliveries, combined with heightened security protocols to ensure that goods are picked up and delivered at the right time and — and not a second before — and the confidentiality of the product is protected.
Pick Up and Delivery Windows
Of course, plenty of other scenarios require carefully timed pick-ups and drop-offs. Scheduling regular pickups from a busy goods distribution center is essential to avoid bottlenecks and drivers sitting around waiting.
Timed deliveries are critical when meeting a set-up crew prior to a retail store’s opening, or delivering shelving, racks, or products for a new launch or a sale. If those products aren’t there, it’s not just the client who’s unhappy, but their customers as well.
Deliveries of construction materials for renovations to high-end buildings involve careful timing. If they arrive too early or too late, they could disturb local businesses, or leave workers standing around with nothing to do.
Time-sensitive shipping practices could also include ensuring that tradeshow deliveries arrive in a marshaling yard within a particular time window or that a show pick-up meets the specific pick-up appointment. Failure to meet that time requirement could mean no product on the floor or other penalties for the customer. Additionally missed pick-up times at a tradeshow can result in freight being “pushed” to the show carrier, resulting in loss of control over return, and also resulting in higher than anticipated freight charges.
By combining exclusive-use vehicles, intelligent scheduling, and personal, proactive shipment management, shippers can ensure time-sensitive shipping that benefits the entire supply chain, from shippers to consignees.
In our next article, we’ll look more closely at the benefits of partnering with a transportation management organization focused on world-class service. For more information, contact S-2international and speak to a member of our team.