This is because transporting products – particularly perishables - from one place to another can be a nightmare, especially for small businesses, which can be costly, and often poses a significant risk to a business’s reputation when its clients receive the product much later than anticipated or the products are physically damaged thus leading to a significant cut in profit margins to a business.
Logistics providers are companies that provide, but not limited to, the following services:
- Transportation and Freight Management
- Freight consolidation
- Public warehousing
- Inventory management
- Distribution management
What this means is that a business outsources much if not all of its logistics operations to a specialized and reliable company that knows the specifics on how to handle and care for the product being delivered. Such services include transportation modes ranging from air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline and space, which can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations.
Apart from enabling trade between people, which in turn establishes civilizations, another reason why transportation and logistics management is vital for both small and large businesses is that logistics executives make detailed decisions beyond the mode of transportation such as:
- Risk and expenditure mitigating
- Liaising with executives within the supply chain
- Freight accounting, insurance, and damage claims services
- Managing partners and vendors
- Handle import and export regulation
- Documentation, packaging, containerization, and storage
There are different types of freight services such as Full Truckload, Less than Truckload, Specialty Fright Services, and Third Party Logistics in the logistics business, which has seen Third Party Logistics – 3PL (service providers who offer total shipping management programs) experience a rapid growth due to the increased demand for services such as reducing lead time, inventory management, outsourcing and a host of other functions that are more focused on their skills and enhancing their relationship with their clients. Such value added services, and personal touches are what make third party logistics service providers remain competitive in terms of creating customized logistics solutions particularly where the demand is high, and there are risks with shipping errors, 3PLs can help businesses with efficiency. They also minimize risks by employing trained employees that know how to handle product the right way, which is essential to running a successful business, improving efficiency, minimizing risks, saving time and money.
Less than Truckload - LTL Shipping is a budget-friendly, ground freight transportation that is affordable for small business because it combines shipments from several customers where individual company products takes up a sizable lot in the truck and charges are based on the weight of content shipped and the distance travelled.
Less than Truckload shipments typically weigh between 100 to 20,000 pounds and ideal when a freight shipment isn’t large enough to fit into a 48- or 53-foot trailer. This is a good option for small businesses because a logistics company only matches a shipper’s shipment by weight, density, class, distance, and with regularly scheduled shipments heading to the same destination.
The shipment truck makes several stops and unpacks and re-pack goods. While this mode of transportation will take longer and the customer understands it, but it’s an option for businesses that want to save on shipping costs, gain control over shipment visibility, scheduling flexibility as well as a more cost-effective mode of transportation as a shipper only uses it only when they need it.
Full truckload carrier provider or FTL is a faster mode of transportation, or freight shipping that is contracted to one customer where bulk goods fill up a truck or a partial load of shipment occupies an entire truck. With Full Truckload, items are never transferred from one truck to another, no switching and or repacking, no changing hands or housing: a customers’ high-capacity, high-volume shipment is fully parked and taken on a long/ short haul straight to its destination.
This freight option is for customers, whose products are either valuable, unbalanced loads or large volume freights of exceptional mass that may require specialized equipment such as extra-long flatbeds or removable gooseneck trailers built to carry heavy and massive consignments and drivers with the know-how to get such goods to their intended destination in one piece and in as little time as possible.
Intermodal Shipping Services uses two freight modes: rail and truck. This mode of transportation involves a container of goods being moved from truck to rail, then back to a truck to complete the shipping process. The reasons why shippers are making intermodal more integral to their logistics strategies is because truck capacity is often a challenge, especially with restricted hours of service on the road and customers have more access to equipment and standardized transit schedules in terms of capacity, safety and reliability. Shippers also take advantage of a more predictable pricing of loading and unloading goods, which, in turn, reduces handling costs.
Specialty Freight Services offers unique transportation services for companies that require the Safe hazmat transportation of hazardous materials. They also meet intense legal requirements to transport oversized and over dimensional loads (heavy or wide loads). Such services require specialty transportation equipment such as barges, drayage, power only, trailer shipping, auto carriers, etc. to get the job done in a safe and specialized manner.