Late deliveries causing anxiety? What does "Standard Transit Time" really mean?

Posted by Marc Wojnowich on Oct 23, 2018 11:44:10 AM
Marc Wojnowich
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If we were given a dime for every time we hear the frustration, "but it's supposed to be 2 day transit!" As frequently as we hear it, and as poor as LTL carriers' timeliness of delivery numbers look, suggested transit times are not changing and shippers need to plan accordingly. 

So often, the ReconOps team hears stories of shipping managers getting blasted by their sales teams, "you told me it was 2 days and now it's ..." Or, "I quoted it would be there yesterday and now the carrier is telling me not til next week!" 

ReconTMS September data shows carriers delivered late 4.98% of the time. Some carriers as badly as 7.72%. There was a time when target overall performance was 95% free, clear with no exceptions, but now, late deliveries alone takes carriers, on average, to close to 95%.

So what impacts Timeliness of Delivery?Late Deliveries causing anxiety

  • Carriers typically follow a pretty standard protocol and not all carriers update their published delivery times. History would suggest the following:
    • Max 450 - 500 miles - 1 day
    • Max 900 miles - 2 day 

This is most predictable with Regional LTL Carriers who operate in a fixed geographic territory and require fewer break-bulk stops. National LTL Carriers operate in a much larger territory and may make 3-4 stops prior to reaching a destination.  Imagine all that can go wrong at 1 stop, but 3 or 4?

  •  I know, you're tired of hearing of Capacity issues. When LTL carriers are stretched, can't add new equipment due to lack of drivers to move them, there is risk your freight is not going to make the line haul because the truck is Full. LTL Carriers are not updating transit times to accommodate. 

Reality is, "Standard Transit" is just that... Standard. An estimate of when it will likely arrive. 

So what can you do about it?

  1. Educate your sales teams and / or customers. - These are historic times and if your customers aren't aware of what is going on in the freight world, it's likely they have been hiding under a rock. They would rather know up front than deal with the surprise, so make sure they understand the potential pitfalls of over-promising on delivery time.
  2. Collaborate with the carriers. - Talk with your carrier reps to confirm their level of comfort with particularly important lanes. Confirm remote deliveries are not an issue for that carrier and avoid the surprise when a carrier uses a 3rd party that only delivers to an area 1 time a week. In a continued and necessary effort to become more carrier friendly, consider your dock hours. Do you really need to stop receiving at 3:30 or 4:00 pm when open until 5:00 pm?
  3. If heads are going to roll... - Consider expediting options. Adding a Guarantee is the easiest way to get the priority of your shipment elevated in the carriers operating procedures; however, if your job is on the line if a shipment doesn't arrive, you may need to consider a dedicated, door to door or expedited option. 

The longer the "Standard Transit Time," the less likely a successful "On Time Delivery."

Above all... Remember... "Standard Transit Time" is just that... "Standard." Not guaranteed by the carrier or anyone else.

Curious how your carrier line up compares to others in service? Request a 30 minute consult and we can determine together if that lineup warrants a refresh!

- The Recon Purpose -

Improve lives for those who recognize and embrace opportunity.


Tags: LTL, Freight Management, Ship Smarter, Logistics, LTL Service, LTL Carrier, Freight Guarantee, Expedited, Carrier performance, Late Delivery, Standard Transit Time, LTL Transit Time

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