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March 14, 2024
Shippers: Want to unlock cost savings? Here’s how
Let’s delve into a topic that resonates with businesses of all sizes—the often-perplexing world of shipping costs. While this post contains best practices for any shipper, small to medium-sized businesses who operate on razor thin margins will reap the most benefit. Here are the keys to smarter, more cost-effective logistics for shippers:

Key one: Expand your pickup window
Have you fallen into the habit of scheduling pickups with zero flexibility, fearing that any deviation would disrupt the delicate dance of your supply chain? A simple shift in mindset can be a game-changer. Expanding your pickup window accommodates the fluctuations in your schedule and unlocks significant cost savings.

By giving carriers a bit more flexibility, you can negotiate better rates and realize a tangible reduction in shipping costs. And that’s why finding a shipping provider that understands your unique needs is crucial.

Rob Lafferty, Senior Sales Operations Manager at Amazon Freight, emphasizes the transformative impact of expanding pickup windows. "An extra two days of lead time or expanding your pickup windows by just a few hours can make a significant difference," he says.

This shift not only allows better planning but also the opportunity for more competitive rates. "This larger window helps us better plan in our systems and tender notifications on our end. And that allows us to lower our costs and pass those savings on."

Key two: Know the cycles
Between trucking seasons, rate dynamics, and your shipping needs, the freight world can seem like a random, chaotic landscape. But look deeper at your organization’s place in it all and you can start to see some patterns.

Depending on the region you operate in and the volumes you ship, you can uncover nuggets of intelligence. For instance, in many networks, Mondays are a difficult day to get supply. Many drivers are on the road all weekend and making their drop offs. Then there is just the inherent busyness of the first day of the week that makes the competition for supply more intense.

The same thing can be said for periods such as the end of the quarter or year. Businesses are trying to meet quotas and shipping higher volumes, which ties up capacity. The holiday season also has an obvious impact, even if your product isn’t in greater demand during this time. The key is to take a moment to recognize where your organization fits in these cycles.

Admittedly, it can be tough to find the time to do such planning. Some shippers take advantage of their slow times. These are opportune moments to look inward, seek out areas of improvement, understand more deeply the ups and downs of your shipping, and communicate your findings to your freight providers.

Key three: Find a provider that prioritizes filling empty miles
Have empty miles become an unintentional drain on your shipping strategy? By realizing the potential for savings hidden in your carrier’s vacant stretches of road, you can devise a plan to optimize shipments.

Through data-driven analysis and route optimization software, it’s possible for your carrier to drastically reduce empty miles. This not only lessens fuel costs but also streamlines shipping operations, helping to make each delivery a profitable venture. The road less traveled, in this case, is the road to savings. It's a joint effort where shippers help carriers, and in return, carriers pass on cost savings.

That’s exactly how working with Amazon Freight helps shippers stretch their budgets. Lafferty explains the symbiotic relationship between shippers and freight providers in reducing empty miles. "We're giving shippers the best of both worlds," he says. Shippers benefit from dedicated service while contributing to reducing empty miles, which helps lead to competitive pricing.

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