From August to December, we see a continuous series of shopping “seasons”, including Thanksgiving, Halloween and Black Friday, wrapping up with Hanukkah, Christmas and Boxing Day. Peak freight season begins as early as the end of August when supply chains need to supply distribution centres with plenty of stock for upcoming sales events. This busy season can be profitable for businesses like yours, as long as you’re ready to handle the increased demands for freight. We’ve gathered together 5 expert tips to help you manage your shipments and keep ahead of demand during peak season shipping.
1. Know it all: Understand your receivers’ requirements. Not knowing the needs and limitations of receivers can lead to hiccups and shipment delays. Much of the freight industry works by appointment, so communicating the exact day and time you need your shipment delivered makes all the difference to ensure it’s delivered on-time and that the receiver has the right staff to handle it.
Distribution centres also face capacity challenges and will often limit the volume they can accept at the trailer or shipment level. Sometimes customers have their appointment dates delayed by weeks and even months, leading to the need to warehouse the freight and pay additional storage fees. Have you confirmed the receiver has space for your shipment? Do you know the distribution centre’s lead time?
Learn your receiver’s requirements and clearly communicate them to everyone involved. Also be sure to avoid holding up drivers as it can jeopardize your shipment!
2. Don’t delay. Ship early. The peak freight season is full of roadblocks just waiting to happen as ports, docks and warehouses can all become congested. Shipping products as early in the season as possible will help ensure your goods are delivered and ready for your customers right when they’re needed.
3. Spread out your shipments over a longer period of time. If your business typically holds back pallets for consolidation into multi-pallet shipments, or if demand for merchandise is high, perhaps due to fulfilling a special offer, consider spreading shipping loads across slower volume days. For example, if you have goods to ship across the country from one national distribution point, rather than sending everything on the same day, send in smaller shipments daily over a week or two until you’ve shipped everything to every province. This can help improve service and connectivity and result in a better overall customer experience by efficiently spreading out the volume and avoiding potential delays.
4. Use Advance Notifications for ad-hoc shipments. If you expect a volume spike on a particular day, avoid delays and hassles by notifying your shipping partner early. Suppose you have a special release – like a product launch – and require national distribution to multiple retail locations on a specific date. Delivering everything on the release date can result in delays due to network capacity. Instead, notify your distributor that you plan to spread the shipments over several weeks and have stores hold onto the goods until the launch date. When using Purolator, take advantage of our Advance Delivery Notification service, and be sure to include any special requirements or dedicated appointment times.
5. Pack it perfectly. Proper packaging of every piece of your shipment helps it move quickly and minimizes delays. Ensure shipments are wrapped properly, skidded, and secured to the bottom of the skid and strapped if necessary. Proper labelling is essential as well: addresses should be highly visible, and any shipping notifications such as Fragile, This Way Up, etc., should be clearly labelled and highly visible.