What is Freight Consolidation?

09/09/2021

What is Freight Consolidation?

If you’re a company that ships products, you need to learn about all shipping options available to you. This allows you to manage your costs better while keeping your product moving. When applicable, freight consolidation is an option that can save on your shipping. There are also many other benefits to consolidation. We’re here to help you better understand what freight consolidation is and what it can offer your logistics.

WHAT IS FREIGHT CONSOLIDATION?

Freight consolidation is when a shipper combines multiple shipments within a region into a single load hauled by a carrier to a destination region. The load gets broken down into smaller parts and delivered by a regional carrier to their many destinations. Or vice versa, they get picked up by a regional carrier to merge into a single shipment and delivered to their destination. Freight consolidation is ideal for shippers who frequently move a few pallets or smaller amounts of product. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

SAVINGS

Often, shippers will only use half or two-thirds of a trailer but still pay for the entire space. Whereas, with freight consolidation, you can earn preferred rates and optimize your logistics. Most importantly, you save time and money. 

By consolidating your smaller, regional freight, you can avoid paying a higher rate. By shipping your freight all at once instead of sending loads individually, you’re able to pay bulk rates. 

You can also avoid the costs that come along with using storage sites, inventory management facilities, and your own fleet of vehicles. Freight consolidation providers can provide these for you to better manage your shipment until its delivered. You won’t have to store your shipment on your own. Instead, you’ll be able to send it to the facility where it will ship to your retailers. This will help streamline the process should you need more inventory. 

Taking it a step further, you’ll also have fewer trucks on the road. As a result, you’ll be spending less on fuel and spending less per mile since it will be on one truck instead of many. The savings can be significant enough to make a big difference in your company’s bottom line. This can be a real difference for mid-sized and smaller businesses that see their profits cut by their shipping costs. 

REDUCE RISK

You’ll also see increased security. Damaged freight continues to remain a lingering issue for shippers. Things happen in shipping and can be the reality of doing business. Consolidated shipping is not only more cost-efficient, but it reduces the on-again, off-again handling of your freight. Ultimately, when using an experienced shipper and consolidating your freight, your products will be in safer hands. 

And not only that — it will be in those hands less often. Having your freight consolidated also means that it will be on fewer trucks, making the odds smaller of it being in an accident. 

It goes beyond safety too. Freight consolidation also benefits through added reliability. Because your product is handled less, there is a lower risk of something going missing or delivering to the wrong place. There’s also less of a chance that something will interrupt your delivery, causing it to be late. This all adds up to you gaining peace of mind and having happy customers on the other end of your shipment. 

IMPROVED FLEXIBILITY AND TIME MANAGEMENT

Freight consolidation will improve the flexibility of your shipping needs and make your orders more timely. Freight consolidation often offers faster transit times and reduces wait times for transporting small loads. By storing your freight at a consolidation facility, your products will be ready to go when needed. This improves your timeline and inventory flexibility, which your customers will appreciate. 

Changes happen in orders and can throw things into a real mess sometimes. Yet, freight consolidation will not hinder your ability to get your products to your customers on a short turnaround. Through a consolidation strategy, you can get your freight delivered on your schedule. Expert providers will help you put a plan into place so your freight gets on a truck and the road while better utilizing truck space and time.

BETTER VISIBILITY AND CONTROL

With consolidated shipping, your visibility improves, as does your control. Let’s say for some reason, quality control alerts you that there’s a problem with your shipment and it’s already been shipped. Normally, you would have to wait for the supplier to send a replacement, meaning your delivery timeline is now out of your hands. In contrast, consolidation allows you to perform quality control measures as soon as the product reaches the warehouse. This reduces the chances of losing time and control due to unforeseen problems.

Using freight consolidation also gives you more control over your due dates and production schedules. You’ll be able to manage the entire distribution chain on your own or with a logistics partner. 

IMPROVED RELATIONSHIPS

This process not only benefits you but your customer or retailer too. By shipping smarter, you’ll be able to build better relationships with other companies, customers, and your carriers.

First, you can establish relationships with other businesses that use LTL shipping. If you find another company that ships a similar product or sized load on the same schedule to a shared retailer, you can establish a shipping partnership. This partnership can help reduce costs for both of you and build smarter loads through shared freight consolidation shipments.

As for your customers, they’ll appreciate that you’ve gotten together for more efficient shipping since they work with both companies. They’ll also appreciate the savings that freight consolidation provides. 

Having the right carrier relationships will make it all happen for you. You’ll need a carrier relationship you can rely on to manage your orders and make sure products deliver on time. Perhaps your products have special needs that your carrier will have to accommodate. Not having a good relationship established won’t reassure you that your shipment will turn out fine. Having consistent relationships with carriers can also lead to you receiving better pricing. 

CHALLENGES WITH CONSOLIDATION

FINDING CARRIERS

Because freight consolidation can seem complicated, not all carriers are willing to haul them. Even when you can find a carrier willing to transport your consolidated shipments, be sure that you are well informed and charged appropriately. Partnering with a third-party logistics company (3PL) can help assure you find a carrier to haul your shipment and getting a fair rate for it.

MORE TIME PLANNING

Although it can save you time transporting, consolidated shipping does need some extra time spent organizing and planning. You’ll need to be aware of factors such as pricing, dimensions, timing, and other specifics to guarantee that your shipments arrive both safely and on time. 

WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK?

Freight consolidation can save you headaches. There are many businesses using freight consolidation to help streamline their shipping process, get products to their customers faster, and help to build and maintain relationships. However, it’s crucial you have a complete understanding of how consolidation works to ensure proper delivery. 

One of the best practices of consolidated shipping is to use an experienced provider. By working with an experienced provider, you’ll be able to overcome the challenges that come with freight consolidation and solely reap the benefits. 

Luckily, here at Trinity, we’re experts in freight consolidation. By working with Trinity, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing your shipments are taken care of. Our Team of experts can help you plan and organize your shipments, recommend freight consolidation when it’s suitable, and you’ll gain access to our vast network of carrier relationships.

If freight consolidation is a shipping method you’re interested in but need guidance on, we’re here to help.

Let’s get you connected with one of our experts so we can offer you a People-Centric Freight Solution® for your business today.

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AUTHOR: Christine Morris