Shipping Heavy Freight:  Four Functions You Should Ask a Fulfillment Center To Help With

June 28, 2018 by Harry Drajpuch

Once upon a time, most people would have thought twice before ordering furniture, a piece of exercise equipment, or a kitchen appliance online.  Today, such heavy freight orders are commonplace. 

For example, according to a survey conducted by AlixPartners in 2016, 88% of consumers are willing to purchase an appliance online – a vast increase over the comparatively lower 62% that were open to it in 2012.  Meanwhile Forrester Research estimated that eCommerce purchases of furniture would grow at a compound annual rate of about 15% from 2014 to 2019.

shipping heavy freightBut these increasing orders aren’t the only things that are prevalent.  So are the headaches that go hand-in-hand with shipping heavy goods. 

That’s why I think you’ll find the following suggestions to be especially helpful.  They’re all about the extra services that fulfillment providers like Amware Logistics can perform in order to make your heavy freight logistics easier, more economical – or both.

Customer Pick-Up

As more customers aim to save money, customer pick-up is becoming an increasingly popular option for heavy goods.  And thankfully for you, there’s no rule that says those pick-ups have to occur at a store.   As long as your fulfillment centers have clean, well-marked, and safe loading areas for your customers to use – not to mention adequate personnel on hand to greet customers and assist them with loading – they can easily perform this important function, giving you an important brick-and-mortar presence as needed.

Damage Control

As a rule, accountable carriers are more careful carriers.  Although your fulfillment centers may not be able to help you prevent every case of careless handling, they can help you discourage many of them simply by serving as an extra set of vigilant eyes.  Among other things, they can conduct detailed inspections of each heavy item as it arrives and departs from their operations, including collecting photographic proof of its condition. That way, if damages to these high-value items occur, proper responsibility can be assigned.  Fulfillment personnel can also recommend more effective outbound packaging practices such as using distinctively colored shrink wrap to protect and secure items.  Even simple tactics like this can go a long way toward preventing your high-value shipments.

Transportation Improvement

Admittedly, this particular suggestion is more applicable if you work with a 3PL’s fulfillment center, because a 3PL has two fiscal superpowers that the average in-house operation doesn’t – namely, the option to negotiate better transportation rates due to its high-volume purchasing status and the ability to combine various clients’ inventory into larger, more cost-effective shipments – even for heavy freight. 

Take advantage of some of the unique transportation strategies available to 3PLs that handle a large volume of freight for a variety of different customers. 

Pre-Delivery Triage

Many buyers of heavy goods will reject their deliveries if items or packaging appear to be worn, used or dirty.  But often, what these customers are seeing and reacting to isn’t damage at all.  Instead, it’s just the typical accumulation of dust, grime, and wear-and-tear that goes with the long-haul transportation territory. 

With this in mind, consider authorizing your fulfillment center to perform simple tasks like changing out shabby product packaging, dusting off products and packaging, and even bringing in professionals to make minor cosmetic repairs to items as needed before they head off for final delivery.  It could help you head off a lot of costly returns and redeliveries.

Let Amware Do The Heavy Lifting For You

A wise person once said, “It’s not the heavy load that breaks you, it’s the way you carry it.”  

Whether it’s helping you handle the particulars of carrying building supplies or assisting you with the finer points of getting your deck furniture delivered before July 4, multi-channel fulfillment specialists like Amware Logistics have the potential to bring a lot to the table – not just because we’re willing to handle whatever you throw at us but also because we excel at thinking out of the (parcel-sized) box. 

So if you’re having trouble storing and shipping heavy freight, contact us today.  We’ll be happy to hear from you – and to discuss some of the meaningful ways we can lighten your load.

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Filed Under: Parcel Transportation, eCommerce Fulfillment