Most consumers are unaware of the incredible logistics that go into moving high-value freight by truck across this country. They shop at places like the Apple Store and purchase gasoline at the pump, but they rarely stop to wonder about the infrastructure that makes these modern miracles possible. For instance, when shipping electronics and computer parts across country by truck, you need to attend to dozens of details, from precisely managing humidity and temperature levels to protecting cargo from theft. When moving oversized oil and gas pipeline components, meanwhile, you may have to map out your route in great detail to make sure your truck can haul the load safely on the road. Delays and inefficiencies can cost companies thousands of dollars. Packing and shipping errors can cause accidents.
What best practices can protect your valuable freight?
A trusted team can ensure that high-value freight is carefully packed, loaded, and attended to during transit. Responsible drivers abide by the rules of the road. They plan ahead so that they don’t overexert themselves and put the cargo (and the lives of others) at risk. They communicate when problems occur. Their experience gives them strong intuition about which routes and highways to take as well as how to handle unexpected events, such as bad weather, mechanical problems with the vehicle, and minor accidents. They also follow protocol when parking or resting to make sure the cargo is secure. Logistics companies that use veteran drivers also build solid relationships with these people. A genuine partnership—as opposed to a “gun for hire” arrangement—means everyone works as a team. Drivers understand the concerns of the stakeholders and take them to heart.
The longer your freight lingers in transit, the more time there is for accidents, theft, and inefficiencies in the supply chain. In some cases, delays of a few hours or even a day are manageable. But just in time supply chains need to operate like clockwork. Your trucking logistics company should be set up to move your load from warehouse to warehouse with minimal friction and few intermediary steps.
Some brokers, for instance, don’t have packing, crating, or warehousing. Without these capabilities, it can be difficult to go fast without rushing the process and losing control of it. Going fast also means getting a quote as soon as you need one. Waiting too long to hear back on a quote can lead to costly delays.
At Aries, we’ve found that our customers who move high-value cargo love being able to stay in touch with us as needed. We provide 24-hour tracking and easy visibility of the process, so clients can manage expectations. Sophisticated tracking systems let you measure pressure, humidity, light exposure, and physical forces on the cargo over time.
GPS and other navigation tools can shave down shipping time. But knowledge counts, too, in surprising ways. Shipping costs shift over time and across the country. In the East Coast during winter, for instance, flatbed rates tend to be higher because drivers don’t want to be out in frigid weather. During produce season in the summer, getting freight out of Florida tends to be more expensive and harder to procure because of the rush to move oranges. Likewise, you must pay close attention to weather conditions. (Could your flatbed carrying refrigerated computer components wind up idling in the Texas heat?) And you need to be aware of local events. A marathon, protest, or city festival won’t appear in advance on your GPS but can snarl your cargo in traffic for hours.
High-value freight can include computer and electronics parts; pharmaceuticals; hospital and medical equipment; aerospace components and technologies; certain retail products; and oil and gas pipelines and equipment. You must keep your supply chain secure at every point in the process. Doing so requires advanced technology, quality control processes, risk management strategies, worker verification systems, and anti-theft monitoring. You also must use due diligence when recruiting and training anyone who will have access to the cargo—at a warehouse, during loading and unloading, and during transit. Depending on the nature of what’s being moved, you may also need to protect your cargo from exploding, melting, outgassing, or creating other hazards.
Ultimately, whether you’re shipping a commodity like corn or a multi-million dollar turbine for Boeing or Northrop Grumman, the key to success is finding people you trust. They should be committed to doing everything possible to help you succeed. At Aries, the foundation of our high-value cross-country trucking logistics is our team. We recruit, train, support, and celebrate people who demonstrate integrity, perform at a top-level, and treat everyone with respect. We begin each day by asking ourselves one question: how can we make our customers’ logistics easy for them? We believe this commitment translates into tangible benefits for companies that must ship high-value freight. It lets us develop long-term, respectful relationships with the best drivers in the industry. It allows us to respond rapidly when customers ask for quotes or want to know how fast-moving weather events will affect a shipment. It helps us help our clients track their routes, monitor their cargo, and keep freight secure.
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