10 Jul 2020 Ecommerce Parcel and Freight Shipping Delays and FAQs
Sadly, it seems the Covid-19 virus is not going away anytime soon, and we have no choice but to charge ahead with all aspects of our “new normal.” This means different things in many areas of business, but in the packaging world we are starting to notice the potential for some increased transit times across shipping services.
This is unfortunately the natural result of reduced or modified workforces, limited truck availability, new policies or restrictions, and a number of other factors that end up causing delays anywhere in the process. Now, more than ever, it’s important for you to recognize the potential for these delays and how they may or may not impact your business.
Parcel Shipping Services
We have noticed that potential delays could arise across all shipping services. UPS, FedEx and USPS are experiencing the impact of the virus, and priority shipments that used to have 1-2 day delivery times may now be closer to 2 to 3, or even 3 to 4 days. Keep this in mind for planning your shipments to your customers, but also when you are placing your packaging orders with Salazar Packaging. Even though, fortunately, our production lead times have not waivered from the usual 2 weeks, it is possible that you may need packaging sooner than you expected due to the delays that you may experience shipping product to your customers.
Freight Shipping Services
Generally speaking, even in normal times, freight is perhaps the most unpredictable aspect of our industry. Delays are a natural part of the freight process, and Covid-19 has made this even more true. We have always prided ourselves on our honesty and communication, and we never make promises (especially with due dates) that we can’t stand behind. We like to keep our customers informed of any and all potential issues or delays, anywhere in the process. Below are some frequently asked questions relating to freight services in terms of what you can expect once production is finished on your packaging order, and that crucial next step in the process of shipping that final product to your or your fulfillment center.
Freight Services FAQs
Are transit times firm or only estimates?
They are estimates, and although usually accurate, they are never guaranteed unless you pay for a guaranteed delivery date shipment.
Do transit times factor in weekends? Holidays?
It’s important to remember that not only are estimated transit days referring to business days only (not weekends nor holidays), but they also are completely dependent on the pickup and drop off time windows. If the shipment is booked in the afternoon, there is a much greater chance it will not get picked up until the following day. A shipment booked late on a Friday will almost certainly not be picked up until Monday. Also, the more limited the hours of receiving at the drop off location, the more likely delays may be encountered when attempting the delivery.
When comparing estimated freight transit time options, keep in mind that the pick up day does not count as a transit day. So two days estimated transit time would typically deliver two days AFTER the pick up day. Another important distinction that often goes overlooked, is that a delivery appointment will usually add an additional transit day, because the carrier will hold the freight at the local terminal for a day while contacting the receiver to set up an appointment.
Generally, is it worth it to pay extra for shorter transit times?
Only you can answer this question, but keep in mind that freight is no different from any other entity in that you often “get what you pay for.” If you are in need of packaging to meet a deadline, launch date, photo shoot, urgent order fulfillment or another time-sensitive matter, then we are always happy to search for expedited freight rates, or rates that come with delivery guarantees. But keep in mind that when it comes to freight, there really are no guarantees, even with “guaranteed delivery.” Ultimately, the driver is at the mercy of weather conditions and a number of other unforeseen circumstances.
What can I do to avoid freight delays?
Avoidance may be impossible in some cases, but the best way to minimize the potential for your business being impacted by a delay is to plan ahead and order well in advance of when you may think you need to. This is true of both first time orders and repeat orders. Ultimately this could result in lower freight costs (by choosing a service with a longer transit time) and the peace of mind in knowing you won’t have to count on a trucking company to meet your important deadline.
Another solution is to buy packaging in higher volumes. This is obviously dependent on your storage space and capacity, but it’s a great option for many reasons. You get the benefit of volume pricing discounts on your packaging, lower freight rates (shipping 5,000 boxes in one shipment will always be cheaper than spread out across multiple shipments) and the flexibility of inventory to avoid situations where you may need a rush order in a pinch.
Please Contact Us Today
If you have any additional questions about freight, please contact us today. Have questions about custom packaging? We’re happy to help you find a custom packaging solution that works for you. As always, if you have any questions, one of our branded packaging advisors is standing by to assist, with decades of experience behind them. Want to know more about custom packaging options? Please call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via email at www.SalazarPackaging.com.