Regional Carriers ~ The Peak Season Solution

Posted on Oct 16, 2012 12:30:00 PM

The Peak Season Solution

It's Friday, December 21 at 6:00 PM, and you’re the distribution manager of a large e-commerce company. The national carrier’s last truck has just pulled away from your distribution center dock and you’re wondering how you’re going to get all the packages you have yet to process delivered by Monday the day before Christmas. Cyber Monday seems like a distant memory but you’ve still got this last peak season hurdle to surmount. What do you do?

While none of us has the luxury of a time machine to go back and change things, one course of action you could have taken was to add a regional parcel carrier to your carrier mix before the start of peak season. The regional parcel carriers operate in most large population centers and link the major cities of the US with next day delivery at Ground rates at distances up to 600 miles from their point of origin.

As their customers know, flexibility is the hallmark of regional parcel carriers. One of the most competitive features they offer is much later pick up times than the national carriers. That forlorn distribution manager could have had a regional parcel carrier pick up at 8:00 pm and still have satisfied his customers with shipments delivered by Monday December 24th.

Shipping Season OnTrac
In fact, some regional parcel carriers offer their very largest customers pick-ups on Sunday with delivery on Monday to Zone 4 destinations over 500 miles away. They also offer midnight pick-ups with deliveries that same day to Zone 2 destinations. This level of flexibility can provide your company with a huge advantage over your competitors. The very largest shippers are well aware of this and use regional parcel carriers accordingly.

The reason regional parcel carriers are able to offer this level of flexibility is because they are not tied to huge intra-continental line haul systems. Those networks often involve intermodal transport with limited departure schedules. The regional carriers operate on localized hub and spoke systems that link major metropolitan areas like Minneapolis with Chicago using tractor trailer line hauls with frequent departures.

Implementing the regional parcel carriers is much easier than you might think. They all have IT teams in place to help integrate with your shipping systems. And many of them have partnered with multi-carrier shipping software providers to create shipping modules that are the closest thing to plug and play in the shipping system world. And if you are concerned about limited dock door space, keep in mind that since the regional carriers can pick up much later than the national carriers, you can arrange a time for them to come after the national carriers have already departed from your facility.

Mark Magill, Director of Business Development, OnTracNow is the time to contact your local regional parcel carrier. The clock is ticking, it’s now October and on the day I wrote this article, there were only 55 shipping days left until Christmas!

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Author:  Mark Magill, Director of Business Development, OnTrac

Topics: regional parcel carriers, later pickups, eCommerce, Zone 4 deliveries, Ground Shipping

Cutting Holiday Shipping Costs

Posted on Nov 6, 2009 2:54:00 PM

This year, even Santa will be tightening his belt. 

Odds are Santa Claus won't be laying off any reindeer this year, but that doesn't mean the supreme overnight shipper isn't watching his shipping budget more tightly than ever before.  You can too.

Trimming holiday shipping costs can be as simple as trimming the tree if you know what you're doing.

Begin with a little carrier comparison shopping

Look for carriers that serve the geographies that many of your shipments go to.  For instance, if your packages are being shipped for overnight delivery in California, a carrier specializing in that area will get your packages there as quickly as the national carriers and for less cost.  And, since they don't put packages on planes, there is less fuel cost as well, which is good for you and great for the environment.

Consider total shipping costs for all your shipments, not just the weight charge per package. 

Unless you really like that holiday day-after surprise when your shipping invoice arrives and all your $13.95 shipments turn out to really be $25.50, you'll soon discover the tree isn't the only thing that got flocked this year. 

The big carriers have discovered the profitability of surcharges, the hidden fees that add up to big dollars for simple requests like getting a delivery confirmation.  The major carriers have more than 85 accessorial fees.  Good regional carriers keep things much more simple with only a few additional fees. 

Look for Flex Appeal

Carriers that offer later pickups, can help ensure that those last holiday packages are shipped and make it on Santa's sleigh. 

Leverage the Web

Look for a carrier that gives you time-saving website tools to make shipping easier from end-to-end.  Instant rate quoteswaybill printing, tracking packages and email notifications should all be readily available. 

Who knows?  You might just save the company enough dough to treat yourself and the team to a little holiday cheer.




Topics: instant rate quotes, email notifications, later pickups, overnight delivery in California, waybill printing, tracking packages, Accessorial fees