Carrier accessorials can be difficult to predict and can significantly increase freight bill totals, especially when it comes to LTL shipments. These additional fees can take the form of unnecessary detention charges caused by carriers who are delayed, the costs of reclassification and reweighing because the shipper provided inaccurate shipment details, or even redelivery fees from rejected shipments — one of the more expensive accessorials.
Given the unpredictable nature of these charges, your company’s margins and quality of service may face huge hits. Improving your shipping dock’s overall efficiency is one good way to keep your freight moving and minimize carrier accessorials.
Here’s a look at how to do that, plus two other ways to gain some control over accessorials.
Use a dock scheduling system
A dock scheduling system can help your company improve dock scheduling visibility and resolve time-consuming communication issues. By automating the process for scheduling pickup and delivery appointments, this type of system can streamline your shipping operations and reduce delays.
The ability to view and manage appointment times and shipping information in one location will decrease demurrage and detention fees, increase loading performance, and improve warehouse labor management. A dock scheduling system can also help shippers forecast better and deal with any disruptions caused by delays with production and other unforeseen problems.
Know your products inside and out
Shippers should periodically analyze their freight to identify and review important elements like minimum density requirements, packaging, and freight classification to avoid making careless mistakes. Preventable accessorials like reclassification and reweigh fees that come from providing inaccurate shipment details can be easily avoided by having in place the right processes, as well as checks and balances.
If you measure boxes accurately, weigh all shipments, and make the necessary adjustments, you can minimize the cost of accessorials (those that are under your control) as well as the inefficiencies within your operations. Your company may also want to think about automating data entry related to shipment details — such as via integration with your TMS — or using a third-party logistics provider to help analyze your products and shipping characteristics.
Negotiate better carrier agreements
Many shippers believe they are not able to negotiate accessorials with their carriers, but that is not true! Before you set out to do so, however, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of your agreements and to come prepared with data to your negotiations. Carrier service agreements are dense and overwhelming, but carefully reviewing them with the help of an expert on a regular basis will often reveal opportunities to negotiate fees or address special services you may no longer be utilizing. You should also maintain sufficient transportation data and be aware of any avoidable accessorials your company frequently incurs.
Coming prepared with data will allow your company to leverage its profitability to carriers, and a true understanding of your unavoidable accessorials can help you negotiate the lowest possible rates and fees for when they do come up.
Control what you can
While accessorial charges are an unpleasant surprise more often than not, it is possible to gain some measure of control over them. Proactively identifying and negotiating problem areas along with managing other factors within your control will help your company minimize carrier accessorials.