Honoring retailer timelines with accuracy and reliability is more important than ever. Major retailers have recently been instating more stringent delivery requirements to better manage inventory and, ultimately, better serve their customers.

How does that affect the supply chain? As a shipper, you can expect:

  • Compressed delivery windows
  • Increased compliance thresholds
  • Financial incentives to achieve and maintain compliance

Shippers are finding creative solutions for achieving compliance. Check out the ways that partnering with the right carrier can make these new goals attainable.

1. Seek a carrier with fast, precise service offerings

When vetting carriers, inquire specifically about the solutions they have in place to address narrow delivery windows. You can take control of window requirements by partnering with carriers that offer expedited shipping, as well as guaranteed delivery windows that allow you to designate the beginning and end dates you need. Some carriers, like New Penn, even offer guaranteed hour window service.

2. Consider pool distribution over long haul LTL

Reduce line-haul expense and possibly even transit days. By releasing individual shipments nearer to retailer distribution centers, LTL carriers manage the final delivery leg. This multi-modal approach (truckload and less-than-truckload) provides increased speed-to-market, particularly when working with approved regional carriers, designated by the retailer.

3. Look for carriers with preferred retailer relationships

Carriers earn premium or preferred status with retailers based on their performance. The preferred carriers are given priority scheduling and delivery. Additionally, this may afford a carrier greater flexibility on inventory management and storage.

Select carriers that have preferred status in conjunction with window delivery services at their destination terminal, so that you can ship inventory to arrive in advance of your must-arrive-by-date (MABD) and have it staged for delivery to meet your window requirement.

4. Match lead times to carrier transit times and adjust to avoid weekends

Understanding the way lead time works can help you effectively manage your process. Lead time is the number of days between (and including) the day a purchase order (PO) drops and its MABD. Compare lead times to carrier transit times to make sure you have ample lead time to make the MABD.

Setup a shipping schedule to put carrier’s standard on or before the MABD. By changing your lead times so that there are no weekend MABDs, you can avoid unnecessary weekend delivery charges or missed windows. If you do have a weekend MABD, simply subtract lead time to move your MABD to the preceding Friday.

Fortunately, carriers that have long-term relationships with major retailers have a strong grasp on any changes in delivery requirements and how to navigate supply chain congestion. Look for a carrier with a consultative approach to help guide you toward profitable, compliant shipping.

Remember, we’re all in this together

Retailers everywhere are looking to “right size” their supply chains in response to increasing consumer omnichannel demands. The answer lies in rethinking the way we manage the supply chain. The more we can work together to create new efficiencies, the better you can differentiate your business.

As a preferred carrier for many major retailers, New Penn has proven services to meet your retail delivery requirements. We help our shippers successfully meet MABD.