Whether you’re operating on a regional, national, or global scale, today’s businesses have a whole new need for speed. From shipping pallets of machine components to transporting a truckload of lumber, getting goods from point A to point B expeditiously is vital to fostering stronger client relationships and ultimately boosting your bottom line.
However, moving freight swiftly is no small feat. Traditional less-than-truckload (LTL) or full-truckload (FTL) services can’t always meet your needs, which likely means you’ll need to find a different solution. If you need the shipment at your consignee’s doorstep or dock promptly, you’ll want to invest in expedited shipping.
If you’re interested in learning more about expedited shipping, National Logistics Network (NLN), a leading full-service logistics provider, offers the foundational knowledge you need to make smart transportation decisions. In this post, we’re reviewing what expedited shipping is, how it works, and its many benefits.
What is Expedited Shipping?
Expedited shipping is the process of moving freight faster than standard shipping. The expeditiousness of delivery depends on a multitude of factors such as shipping zones, shipping modes, and the size and weight of the package. However, expedited shipping typically connotes same-day to three-day shipping, whereas standard shipping usually implies five to seven days. It’s important to note that increased delivery times come with increased fulfillment costs. However, the benefits of expedited shipping are generally worth it.
How Does Expedited Shipping Work?
The level of coordination, collaboration, and creative problem-solving it takes to increase shipping speeds is stunning. To make it happen, logistics providers create individualized shipping solutions for businesses that involve a symphony of transportation types, networks, and technology.
Many logistics providers will employ multiple drivers to circumvent the downtime that comes with a single driver’s hours of service (HOS). Government regulations limit a single driver’s drive time to 11 hours in a 24-hour period. Between rest stops and speed limits, this solution will move freight about 500-600 miles in a day. In contrast, a team of drivers can traverse around 1,000-1,100 miles in a 24-hour period.
Depending on the size of your shipment, you may also consider using sprinter vans or straight trucks. These solutions are suitable for small hauls. A typical sprinter van fits only three standard-sized pallets. Though specifications differ slightly based on the van model, they can reliably haul 3,000-3,500 pounds of freight. If you’re shipping LTL expedited freight, some features of sprinter vans may offer added benefits while reducing the amount of logistics you need to consider.
First, sprinter van drivers don’t have to follow the same Department of Transportation (DOT) HOS guidelines as truckers operating a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 10,000 pounds or more. For this reason, sprinter van drivers can potentially drive faster and longer than their semi-truck counterparts.
Secondly, with sprinter vans, your LTL freight is often the only load in the vehicle, thus reducing the number of stops the van needs to make in transit. With fewer stops along the way, you can drastically reduce the chances of your freight getting stuck at stops outside of your control. In general, this improves the speed of delivery.
On the other hand, straight trucks can generally hold 12 standard pallets, making them ideal for slightly larger loads. However, this added capacity typically means a straight truck’s GVW can exceed 10,000 pounds. Therefore, depending on the freight’s weight, DOT’s HOS regulations may apply. If HOS regulations do apply, a team of drivers may be helpful.
If time is your most critical consideration, you may also opt for air freight. Using a cargo aircraft is fast, safe, and reliable but is certainly more expensive than ground shipping. However, premier logistics providers may have proprietary networks to help you get better rates.
The Benefits of Expedited Shipping
The benefits of expedited shipping go beyond simply having freight delivered in a shorter time frame. Guaranteed delivery times allow businesses to plan ahead. With predictable arrival comes better project management, and better project management often means a healthier bottom line.
Further, expedited shipping often allows manufacturers following a just-in-time (JIT) inventory management approach to flourish. When businesses leverage this approach, they can:
- Boost productivity
- Improve efficiency
- Improve quality
- Minimize waste
- Optimize production
- Reduce costs
So, while expedited shipping is more expensive than FTL standard shipping, the cost is well worth it for many businesses. Further, partnering with a seasoned third-party logistics (3PL) company can help you reduce those costs and stay competitive.
Partnering with a 3PL for Better Expedited Shipping Options
A 3PL provider is an excellent choice for companies that need shipments to move fast. Moreover, at a time when supply chain issues become more complex by the day, having reliable logistics and transportation is vital to doing good business. A premier 3PL can help you up-scale your business, implement better technology, and share in a profitable line of expertise.
At NLN, we have an extensive network of carriers, advanced tracking capabilities, and a team of seasoned experts who offer white-glove customer service during the entire fulfillment process.
If you’re looking for a logistics team that’s available 24/7, 365, then you should consider reaching out. To learn more about our services, please reach out today by visiting our contact page.