3 Ways To Optimize LTL (Less Than Full Truck Load)

3 Ways To Optimize LTL (Less Than Full Truck Load)

Whether you’re operating in the produce, seafood, or food industry, managing the logistics of freight transport can be difficult.

Less than truckload (LTL) shipping stands out as a solution for businesses looking to transport smaller volumes of product without needing a full truckload. This approach offers flexibility in delivery and management, ensuring products reach their destination efficiently. Prioritizing your less than truckload shipping strategy can be an essential aspect of modernizing your business operations. 

However, to truly leverage the benefits of LTL shipping, your business must use the right optimization techniques to ensure strategized innovation. Doing so requires a central management system to keep all crucial information in one place. This will effectively streamline communications and enhance efficiency.

This article will discuss information on LTL shipping, providing you with insight and strategies. We’ll also discuss the benefits of a centralized management system to help you get ahead of the competition and drive efficiency. 

What is Less Than Full Truck Load (LTL) shipping?

Less than full truck load shipping is a transportation strategy that companies use to move smaller amounts of cargo that don’t require the exclusive use of an entire truck. This method allows multiple smaller customers to share the space of a vehicle, leading to cost reduction for all businesses involved.  

LTL shipping offers a solution for customers who have shipments too large for parcel carriers and too small for full truckload services. The appeal lies in its ability to provide a cost-effective solution for freight transport, all while maintaining a degree of flexibility and efficiency in delivery schedules.

It also comes in handy when retailers aren’t able to wait for wholesalers to restock low inventory levels and when they need to immediately fulfill customers’ orders to avoid losing current and future business. While smaller loads do translate into higher costs for the retailer, the long-term benefit is maintaining customer satisfaction. 

How LTL shipping works

LTL shipments typically use one of two trucks: a 26-footer with a capacity of 1,400 cubic feet or a 16-footer that can hold up to 800 cubic feet. 

Companies determine what size truck they want to use based on the weight, density, and quantity of the shipment, as well as the destination, packing type, and place of origin. 

While LTL businesses have different shipment restrictions, the average product weight is between 150 and 15,000 pounds. Anything else will be shipped by parcel service carriers. 

Businesses must also consider specialized equipment, especially when they’re transporting certain products like produce prone to spoilage. Products like produce require cold storage management to ensure freshness for longer. Additional freight features like refrigeration may cost you more money and require more planning time upfront. In the long-term, though, it’ll lead to higher customer satisfaction, keeping sales rolling. 

Once the ideal truck size is determined, shipping is conducted using a “hub and spoke model”, a method of distribution via a network framework. Often visualized as a bicycle wheel, the hub and spoke model is represented by a central hub or warehouse where the freight picks up the shipment before hitting the road to its many final destinations.

How to optimize LTL shipping

Managing the cost of freight comes down to making the shipping process more efficient. By packing multiple shipments in one truck, your business benefits from savings on labor, transit, and fuel. 

Let’s talk about how you can further optimize your LTL process.

1. Integrate technological solutions into your processes

In an age where technology dictates the pace and efficiency of business operations, integrating software solutions tailored for logistics and freight management can significantly optimize your LTL shipments. 

Leveraging advanced software enables businesses to gain real-time insights and surveillance over their shipments, helping to guarantee timely deliveries and minimize delays.  

Additionally, technology facilitates better planning and resource allocation, helping businesses select common carriers that provide fair rates, reliable pricing, and a high quality of service.

2. Ensure you’re choosing the right carrier

The choice of a common carrier plays a pivotal role in the effectiveness of your LTL shipping strategy. 

There are many LTL services available on the market, each offering varying rates and services. It’s important to conduct thorough research and make comparisons before selecting one. 

It’s essential to understand and recognize factors like:

  • The carrier’s track record for on-time delivery
  • The carrier’s ability to handle your specific type of cargo
  • Rates relative to the service quality provided (remember: a lower rate does not always equate to better service! It’s better to prioritize reliability and cargo safety)

3. Choose faster long-haul transit times

LTL shipping involves multiple stops and transfers, so opting for carriers that have faster long-haul transit times can significantly cut down on delivery times. 

Although faster transit times usually result in a higher bill, it can be justified by the value of time-sensitive deliveries. It can lead to improved customer service, reduced inventory holding costs, and tighter delivery schedules, contributing to your business’ overall success. 

Optimize how you manage freight with Silo

Elevating your LTL shipping strategy means choosing the right carrier and integrating technological solutions. A comprehensive management system that oversees your freight operations can go a long way. Look for a service that can integrate with your current system, help you select the best carriers, and assist with seeking out fast transit times.

For better freight management, consider Silo. Silo offers a robust platform designed to enhance your logistics operations, encompassing everything from freight booking to real-time tracking and surveillance.

A partnership with Silo means a more streamlined, cost-efficient, and effective freight transport strategy that puts you ahead of competitors. 

“I'm confident I can pick up the phone and get good advice and support through Silo. For example, I know I could call up one of my contacts on the Silo team and ask their help finding an alternate supplier or a freight provider in a pinch.” - Ganfer Fresh

Check out more on how Ganfer Fresh used Silo’s offerings to expand their business.

Silo also offers freight financing, providing much-needed financial flexibility to manage and grow your logistics operations without the immediate pressure of payment deadlines. Support your bottom line and ensure your freight strategy aligns with your business goals—get a freight quote from Silo today!

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