Supply chain logistics and shipping operations are difficult enough to oversee without waiting for the size or weight threshold of entire trucks to be met. Unfortunately, with “full truckload shipping” (FTL), that’s the situation you’re stuck with managing.
In contrast, “Less than truckload” (LTL) shipping provides planning flexibility and cost savings while reaping greater peace of mind for your logistics operations. Here, we’ll explore some of the benefits of LTL shipping and their broader impact.
What is the Purpose of LTL Shipping?
LTL is a solution developed by shipping companies to streamline logistics for businesses that don’t move full truckloads of freight frequently. FTL shipping generally requires a load weighing at least 10,000 lbs., which many businesses cannot readily meet.
Still, customers generally assume their orders will be quickly delivered—often regarding the estimated shipping times displayed during online checkout as absolute. This forces companies to balance those expectations and customer satisfaction against their cost efficiencies when overall order volumes slowly reach full-truck capacity.
Do you wait until reaching 10,000 lbs. of cargo and risk delivery delays? Or do you pay for unused cargo space to ensure the items are on their way?
You can bypass both options with LTL, which businesses can leverage for transporting heavy singular items or quantities that fall between FTL and parcel shipping. The difference between LTL vs parcel and FTL is that with LTL freight shipping, multiple companies’ freight loads are combined to fill the entire truck. Consolidating your items with this solution allows businesses to collectively reach FTL shipping thresholds easily and at any time.
What are the Benefits of LTL Shipping?
The most apparent benefit of LTL shipping is the ability to immediately schedule cargo transportation. But beyond that, what other advantages can companies realize with LTL?
The benefits of LTL include:
- Faster turnaround – FTL is often quicker if you have the full freight load ready, but it can significantly slow down total fulfillment timelines. The longer items are stockpiled and shipments are delayed, the more complications your business experiences:
- Successful transportation and logistics heavily depend on efficient throughput. Waiting to meet FTL freight shipping minimums reduces your usable warehouse space or requires you to increase square footage, driving up operating costs.
- Your production process doesn’t have to factor in shipping and logistical constraints related to delivery.
- Items with limited use or consumption timelines (e.g., perishable food) don’t risk sitting past expiration dates.
- Shipping delays negatively impact your customers’ satisfaction, leading to a poor reputation and reviews that further impact future sales.
- More efficient shipping spend – Paying for unused cargo space when using FTL quickly drives up your shipping costs. When multiple businesses combine freight, it becomes less expensive to ship to lower-volume destinations that can otherwise increase rates.
- Lower per-shipment rates – By consolidating your cargo with other companies, LTL shipment carriers can more easily provide better rates. Effectively, FTL volumes and pricing are always available for transporters via combined loads.
- More environmentally friendly – Every truck’s shipment consumes fuel and emits exhaust. With LTL shipping, you can reduce the related environmental effects because:
- More regular transportation activity allows LTL shippers to optimize routes for the greatest efficiency.
- Less unused cargo space with LTL shipment not only results in lower costs, but your environmental impact per goods transported also decreases.
- LTL helps reduce the total number of on-road trucks that the industry requires to meet shipping demand.
- Outsourced logistics management – Small and medium-sized businesses may not staff a large or full-time logistics team (or have dedicated personnel at all). Partnering with LTL shippers augments your team with experienced professionals that oversee the cargo on each truck.
- Increased access to shipping technologies – Businesses want peace of mind from knowing where their packages are. Between tracking technologies and re-scanning items during load consolidation, they gain greater visibility with LTL options.
- Better protection and security – Whenever LTL cargo is consolidated, the shipper will repack the truck with the safest configuration to protect the load and ensure your packages are secured. Each stop functions as another check-in on the cargo.
The benefits of LTL shipping expand beyond making delivery immediately available for companies unable to meet FTL minimums with high regularity—it can also help optimize your entire operation while substantially reducing costs.
Is LTL Better than FTL?
Whether LTL or FTL is the right shipping choice depends on the volume and weight of the items you’re loading, along with how often you fill the trucks. FTL shipments are usually delivered faster from the pickup time and with lower costs (particularly for high-volume destinations).
Directly transporting from location A to location B does have its advantages. But achieving those benefits requires your business to move FTL-sized shipments on a regular schedule. So it comes down to the impact of FTL shipping on your overall operations—the least expensive and most efficient option isn’t beneficial anymore if it produces a net negative.
If your business is continually running into complications because your freight loads slowly accumulate in a warehouse bay as you await the 10,000 lb. FTL minimum, then LTL options offer substantial benefits.
Realize the Benefits of LTL Shipping with Shipware
With the many benefits of LTL shipping available, the biggest challenge is finding a transportation partner and shipping services. And connecting you with LTL freight shipping partners is one of the myriad shipping and logistics solutions that Shipware provides.
Between our 3-in-1 platform and managed transportation solutions, you can start supercharging your supply chain and delivery. The Shipware ecosystem provides a spend management solution, an integrated network of reliable shipping partners, and greater visibility into every dollar spent.
Ready to discover the best ecommerce shipping solutions for you? Contact us today to start realizing the benefits of LTL shipping and our other solutions.
- SCM EDU. LTL Shipment. https://scmedu.org/ltlshipment/