Expedited shipping: Do the benefits outweigh the cost?
With the rush of the festive season now behind us, many businesses are able to consider some of the possible gaps in service delivery experienced during the heightened shipping period.
It is not uncommon for the November to December period to be met with shipping delays due to increased demand and manufacturing shortages. Add an ongoing pandemic to the mix, and it becomes more evident why logistics lately have not been as reliable as former years.
However, for the individual consumer, these challenges are rarely considerations, with the blame often passed to shipping companies.
For retailers, the complexities of shipping are more familiar, and as such, they are always looking for solutions. One possible way out is expedited shipping, an optional shipment method that promises faster delivery times, usually with a surcharge for the service.
Senior sales and marketing executive at Lasocean Agencies Limited, Karen Salmon said, “Expedited shipping means prioritising the movement of cargo by air, land, or sea to deliver at the earliest transit times using the most efficient routes and modes of delivery.”
While faster than standard shipping, the delivery time for expedited service may vary due to factors such as the carrier used, destination, weight, or if it’s a busy season.
However, Salmon said expedited shipping is worth the additional cost as it may cut hours or days off standard shipping, which is particularly important as “it is in the interest of time”. She continued: “The longer cargo takes to be received, it may be at a higher cost to the client,” referencing the need to deliver on orders that may change or be cancelled if a retailer or provider is unable to meet demand.
If you require a shipment to be delivered within a strict time frame, expedited shipping may be worth the cost, especially in urgent situations such as manufacturing deadlines or if a key piece of equipment needs to be replaced.
Other benefits associated with expedited shipping include building customer loyalty as some shoppers are unlikely to support a business having had a negative delivery experience and meeting customer expectations in a world where consumers anticipate fast delivery.
Due to uncertainties regarding cost, Salmon said individuals and companies can avoid the need for expedited shipping by using regular forecasting and inventory planning and stock taking to determine supply available and how much may be needed.
Additionally, she said, “Keeping track of the production pattern of their suppliers and their turnaround to make and prepare goods for shipping” will help in relieving possible shortages or supply delays.
“As part of planning, keep track of transit times for future shipping. Investigate options from shipping agents/lines to determine best transit time options available,” she said.
Shipping ahead of peak seasons will also help to avoid delays and backlogs with clearance, she added.
And for the companies that may want to consider expedited services as a premium offering to their customers, there are some factors that may help this decision-making.
The most important is to shop around with various carriers to determine which offer the best service and rates which can meet the needs of your customers. Forging this relationship early on may also provide an opportunity to negotiate more favourable rates and allow for a mutually beneficial process.