Thanksgiving and Black Friday are in the past, so the sprint to Christmas and other December holidays is underway. For shippers and logistics professionals, if everything has gone according to plan so far, there's still plenty of inventory on physical or e-commerce store shelves to keep products available throughout the remainder of holiday shopping season. It's a little late to start bulk shipments now after all. However, the best laid plans something, something...and hopefully in this case, it's for the right reason as in, higher than anticipated demand means sales are too hot to keep up with. For those who already had a plan that made merchandise available this long, they've probably also built in a last-minute backup or two to avoid missing out on revenue - like additional inventory staged at easily reachable distribution centers. Whether product is waiting at DCs for rush deployment or if it's a little further back in the process, shippers ace in the hole this time of year is expedited freight transportation - which in the domestic world largely means expedited LTL (less than truckload).
What does expedited shipment mean?
An expedited shipment means a fast shipment, as in - freight reaches its destination faster than it would via standard shipping. When shippers need product in place by specific deadlines - or to beat a last-minute ticking clock like the countdown to Christmas for instance - making their freight an expedited shipment is a must. While expedited freight is sometimes associated with air cargo - and rightfully so for overseas shipments - LTL providers handle the bulk of expedited shipment activity in North America. As such, LTL freight typically involves a semi truck (or sometimes smaller truck or van) driving a load straight through, usually in a day or less. The goal of course is to get urgently needed products to where they're urgently needed ASAP.
The danger of using expedited freight from a shipper's perspective is in the obvious - there is some level of desperation involved. But even with speed a major priority, prospective expedited customers should not rush into an agreement without a bit of due diligence. Otherwise, they may find themselves paying more for a lower level of service - perhaps defeating the whole purpose of the enterprise. There are so many LTL providers out there, from regional to national, that doing the research can be challenging - especially in a time crunch. That's why it's best for shippers to use quieter times to do the work and build the relationships they can comfortably call on in their moment of need.
However, shippers may find themselves facing a "now" problem, and that's where a trusted logistics service provider (LSP) can prove invaluable. At InTek Freight & Logistics, we've done the homework for you. For instance, you can find our Top 5 list of expedited freight companies for a one-stop shop not only of the who - but also the "what to look for" in expedited (and LTL) freight. If you need a solution to a current expedited need, simply reach out to us, and we'll use our experience and industry connections to find you the right, reliable option for you at the right price. For more information about freight and logistics - and what we do at InTek - visit our Resources page. Or you can start with a few of the links below: