When you’ve earned a new customer or trading partner, there are preparations that must be made before shipping the first order—accommodating their requirements for incoming freight. Receivers each have their own rules for shippers to standardize their process and avoid operational problems. Correcting issues can cost them money, and as a result, they charge any shipper that isn’t compliant. To avoid unexpected fees with a new customer, it’s imperative to follow their requirements.
Common shipping requirements found in routing guides
A receiver’s routing guide is their set of instructions for shippers to follow. Some of the most common rules fall into one of the following categories: scheduling, documentation, packaging, labeling, drivers, and carriers.
1 Scheduling – The receiver may require the shipper to use a certain platform to schedule their delivery, and the process of scheduling may come with instructions on how to choose a specific time or delivery window.
2 Documentation – Most commonly, receivers will ask for advanced shipping notices (ASN) sent via electronic data interchange (EDI). This document shows details of an upcoming shipment including the contents, size, and ship date. Receivers may specify other requirements such as hazmat documentation or what information belongs on the bill of lading, and they may even provide templates for the shipper to use.
3 Packaging – Receivers may have requirements on the materials, dimensions, structural integrity, and more for boxes, pallets, item packaging, and display packaging. This is to ensure their shipments arrive safely and securely while assisting their standard processes on anything from cross-docking to recycling.
4 Labeling – Shipments must be labeled correctly to assist with processing and sorting. The requirements may include PO numbers, item numbers, ASN numbers, or barcodes.
5 Drivers – Drivers may need certifications to ensure safety and be able to pick up and deliver goods with a particular company. Without the right certification, they would be turned away at the facility.
6 Carriers – Receivers may decide carrier selection is the shipper’s responsibility, or they may specify the carrier they prefer their shippers to use depending on the type of freight—LTL, parcel, or otherwise.
How to manage shipping requirements of new customers
With the potentially long list of shipping needs for a single customer or trading partner, it’s important to have processes in place to manage these requirements. Create robust workflows that will cover the customers’ needs without error. Set up automations and leverage technology where you can, to manage requirements for you.
Lastly, expand your carrier network to give you more options of carriers and drivers that can comply with their requests. Diversifying can help you meet the new customer’s needs in terms of both volume and compliance.
Efficiency for new shipping requirements
The list of factors to consider when working with a new customer or trading partner can be extensive, from documentation to drivers and carriers, and the best way to manage it all is to find a solution to help assist. By leaning on automation when possible, you can achieve better efficiency in this process as well as reduce the chance of errors and costly fees.
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