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The 5 Biggest Mistakes in Planning Shipments Across Multiple Carriers, and How to Avoid Them

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In today’s high-volume logistics landscape, juggling multiple carriers is often a requirement to optimize costs, improve delivery times, and even reach recipients. However, planning shipments across multiple carriers can require significant labor hours and employee energy because there are so many moving parts to manage — not to mention differing carrier capabilities, service levels, documentation requirements, and geographical coverage. In effect, along with all its benefits, using multiple carriers can have just as many pitfalls and risk factors if shippers don’t take the proper precautions.

Multi-carrier shipping software is essential to help employees manage and streamline the complex workflows involved in coordination, reducing shipping errors and keeping costs low so the strategy generates the intended cost savings. But what are the most common mistakes to watch out for while planning? And how can the right shipping platforms mitigate these risks? Keep these potential issues in mind as you plan shipments across multiple carriers: 

1. Undeveloped Carrier Selection Strategy

The Problem: When transportation coordinators lack clear guidelines or processes for evaluating carrier performance, negotiating rates, defining service levels, or just aligning a carrier’s capabilities with their shipment requirements, they risk service disruptions and overpaying for shipping. These issues can snowball into reputational damage, strained customer relationships, increased costs, and a whole host of operational inefficiencies. 

How Multi-Carrier Shipping Software Helps: Multi-carrier shipping software helps stakeholders improve visibility into carrier service levels, shipping rates, and other factors critical to making better decisions about carrier selection. What’s more, users can even leverage the software to monitor the performance of each carrier, tracking KPIs like their on-time delivery or shipping error rates to comprehensively assess each carrier’s overall value or risk.

2. Poor Route Planning

The Problem: The complexity of managing multiple carriers combined with the increasingly high volume of shipments can make it difficult for coordinators to put all the necessary time and effort into route planning. This can lead to long transit times and sending more shipments than necessary, resulting in higher shipping costs, delayed delivery, and overall productivity loss.

How Multi-Carrier Shipping Software Helps: Multi-carrier shipping software helps users not only optimize routes to avoid inefficiencies but also streamline the process so it takes less time and resources. What’s more, users can leverage delivery schedules and map data to re-route shipments when disruptions occur, maximizing the efficiency of even the most challenging deliveries.

3. Inadequate Carrier Communication

The Problem: When carriers aren’t transparent about the status of a shipment, communication becomes a manual nuisance and can slow information sharing to a crawl. In addition to inconveniencing coordinators and other stakeholders throughout the supply chain, this can also cause missed deadlines, customer dissatisfaction, and other disruptions in shipping operations.

How Multi-Carrier Shipping Software Helps: Shipping software that integrates directly with carriers’ systems can provide real-time visibility into order status without the need for any emails, texts, or phone calls. This integration enables stakeholders to easily track shipments, receive alerts for any issues or delays, and remain transparent throughout the shipping process, ultimately improving both efficiency and customer experience.

4. Relying on Manual Documentation

The Problem: Relying on manual documentation for planning shipments with multiple carriers requires incredibly time-consuming and error-prone work, which not only slows down productivity — it also risks major compliance breaches. Even worse, basic mistakes like incorrect data entry or missing information can cause shipment delays, eat into profit margins, and result in surprise fees.

How Multi-Carrier Shipping Software Helps: The right shipping platform streamlines documentation processes — automating data entry, improving data accuracy, maintaining standardized formats, and, most critically, providing audit trails for regulatory requirements. Not only does this improve productivity and cost-effectiveness, but it also helps keep employee morale high by shielding them from mundane tasks.

5. Lack of Contingency Plan

The Problem: One of the most important aspects of coordinating shipments across multiple carriers is anticipating issues and staying ahead of them. Issues such as carrier delays, capacity constraints, or unexpected events can completely derail shipments without a backup plan in place, causing overall costs and resource consumption to balloon.

How Multi-Carrier Shipping Software Helps: With the right technology in place, users have an edge to respond immediately and efficiently to issues that require major changes like re-routing, switching to new carriers, and other adaptations. Because data is so visible, users can make decisions quickly and confidently, minimizing downtime and reducing the impact of a disruption. Even with unforeseen circumstances, coordinators can still ensure smoother operations and on-time deliveries.

3G: Your Go-To Multi-Carrier Shipping Platform

Many software platforms promise multi-carrier shipping capabilities, but not all of them deliver. The 3G transportation suite has some of the most advanced multi-carrier software capabilities in the industry, including comprehensive API, EDI, and customizable connectivity for easy integration, and a unique, homegrown carrier network for unmatched planning.

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Author

3G

Publish date

June 10, 2024

Categories

Shippers

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