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5 LTL Freight Shipping Tips Every Logistics Manager Should Know

Getting your freight out the door in time (without the stress) isn’t always easy, especially with all the things that could go wrong in a warehouse on any given day. Fortunately, there are some simple, proactive steps shipping managers can take to set themselves up for an easy, productive day of shipping.

Jonnell Rojas, a shipping manager for 8+ years, now works to help solve shipper pain points with both common sense and technology. Below, he’s provided five tips that can help any shipping or logistics manager avoid common pitfalls and set themselves up for a successful, productive day of shipping!


1. Create a daily checklist that will help you allocate time wisely for you and your team. That way, you’ll know how much time you have for each task and can plan accordingly. As a shipping manager, the last thing you want to do is fall behind schedule. It’s essential to give yourself enough time for each step of your shipping process. Once you’ve made that list, here are some tips for knocking out time-sensitive tasks in the most efficient way possible.

Picking and Pulling - Both under shipping and over shipping can lead to major headaches, for both you and your customer. Double-checking to ensure you pull the right number of items can prevent this. It’s also helpful to have someone specifically assigned to the pallet station to quality check each order.

Packing - Carefully packing your pallet and using the right tools can mean the difference between your freight arriving in one piece and arriving damaged. It’s critical that your pallets are well-built and frequently checked for cracks or structural issues. Other safeguards to protect your freight include:

  • Banding and shrink wrapping every order
  • Using corner protectors on your pallet
  • Placing easy-to-read documentation on your pallet (stickers are safer than taped-on papers)
  • Using fragile stickers on vulnerable goods
  • Securing crush cones on the top of each pallet to prevent double-stacking

Quoting – Jumping from website to website to quote all your carriers can take up a frustratingly large portion of your day. A full-featured TMS can connect you to all your carriers in one spot, allowing you to compare rates and transit times on one page. This can turn a task that takes hours into one that takes only a few minutes. See the technology section below for more details.

Document Creation (BOLs, etc.) – Properly documenting the pallet itself is essential for a smooth shipping process. Make sure to use easy-to-read shipping labels in an obvious spot. That way, your freight doesn’t get overly handled while the forklift driver looks for essential information. Handwriting BOLs and other documents can be time-consuming and error-prone, but a TMS can auto generate these documents when you dispatch a shipment. See the technology section below to learn more.

Dispatching – Typically, your orders should be dispatched within at least two hours of closing, but the sooner you can get the needed shipment information to your carriers, the better. It’s critical to build in buffers for the dispatching process so you can get your freight out the door in time. You can sit on the phone for 30 minutes to an hour to dispatch with one carrier, or you can dispatch through a TMS in seconds with the click of a button.

2. Keep tabs on your inventory.

Accurate inventory management is essential for keeping your warehouse running smoothly. You don’t want to have to tell management you missed out on sales due to missing inventory. If you know your inventory, fulfilling orders in a timely manner (and keeping your boss happy) is much easier. Here are some things you can do to better manage your inventory:

  • Have a place for everything by designating specific (and well-labeled) areas for different kinds of items.
  • Take inventory on a regular basis. Most well-running warehouses check inventory at least quarterly.
  • Utilize RF guns, tablets, and other technology designed to assist in inventory management.
  • Properly document or notate shortages. One shipment at a time.
  • Always stay focused. Don’t multi-task when checking inventory, which can throw off accurate counting.
  • Utilize loss prevention tools and tactics that work for your warehouse.

3. Check your tools in the morning to make sure you’re not stuck dealing with unprepared equipment that could throw off your whole shipping process, and even cause serious safety issues. The following tips can contribute to a safe, productive day of shipping:

  • Check and refill label printers
  • Make sure tape guns have fresh roles
  • Calibrate your scales
  • Check to ensure forklifts are charged
  • Ensure safety harnesses are in good condition and utilized by your team
  • Make sure your team wears visibility vests, safety glasses, steel toe boots and helmets as needed
  • Remind your team to stay hydrated throughout the day
  • Put proper procedures in place for reporting damages

4. Listen to your team. It’s easy to overlook small issues that may snowball into bigger ones. Setting some time aside every day to touch base with your team can inform you about problems you may not be aware of. This allows you to take action and avoid potential pitfalls. Logistics managers that are aware of problems in advanced, big, or small - can more effectively lead a team and drive a more efficient shipping process. An open-door policy is always best when it comes to finding room for improvement.

5. Use technology to create a faster, easier shipping process for you and your team. A powerful transportation management system (TMS) eliminates tedious processes like jumping from website to website to quote carriers, handwriting BOLs, and using multiple manifest reports or calendars to track your shipments.

A TMS also enables you and your co-workers to collaborate on your shipping process - meaning that the shipping department, customer service, and accounting are all on the same page. This eliminates paperwork and annoying email chains between departments. Setting up a system like this takes only a few minutes and can shave hours off your work week – so you can reduce the stress and get to happy hour sooner.

Want to find out more about incorporating technology into your shipping process for an easy, more productive day? Click the button below!