Ever wondered why some shippers prefer completing orders in multiple deliveries or shipments? You can face multiple last-minute challenges like a batch of sub-par or damaged goods, hold-ups at the manufacturing units, bulk orders, and more that make it difficult to complete the entire order in a single trip.
Thus, you break the order into partial shipments to ensure partial delivery of the order on the first trip and the remaining order on subsequent trips.
While that’s just one use case, multiple small businesses, FMCG brands, and high-tech or electronics-related companies with multi-sized shipments find partial truckloads as a feasible alternative.
But is it a fail-proof solution for every business? No!
In this blog post, we delve into the nuances of partial shipments, explore their pros and cons, and discuss strategies for efficient tracking to help shippers like you decide if this is the right solution for your business.
What is a Split Shipment or a Partial Shipment?
Partial shipment means the fractional shipment of orders such that they do not utilize the full capacity of the transporting vehicle or container. Instead of waiting to accumulate a full load, businesses opt for partial shipments to expedite delivery, optimize costs, or accommodate varying shipment sizes.
For example, let’s say you urgently need to deliver 5000 school almanacs, but your manufacturing hub or active inventory only has about 2000 pieces. Such an order might be large for a Less Than Truckload (LTL) and too small for investing in a Full Truck Load (FTL). Moreover, the urgency of the situation demands that you don’t wait for orders to fill the truck but rather deliver whatever fraction of the order you can.
Thus, you can complete this order in partial shipments carried out in two or more trips, depending on the manufacturing hub and the restocking of inventory required to fulfill the order.
Pros and Cons of the Partial Shipment Process
Pros of Partial Shipments
Avoid Freight Class Hassle
Partial shipments often simplify the classification process, as they involve smaller quantities of goods. This can lead to fewer restrictions and requirements compared to full truckload (FTL) shipments, making it easier to navigate regulatory compliance and documentation.
Avoid Accessorial Charges for LTL
Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments often incur additional charges for services like liftgate usage, inside delivery, or residential surcharges. By utilizing partial shipments, businesses can sometimes avoid these accessorial charges, contributing to cost savings.
Reduce Risk of Asset Damage
Smaller shipment sizes can result in reduced handling and loading/unloading times, minimizing the risk of damage to goods during transit. This is particularly beneficial for fragile or sensitive items that require careful handling.
Cost Effective as Compared to FTL
Partial shipments can be a cost-effective alternative to FTL shipments, especially for businesses that do not have enough volume to justify a full truckload. By paying only for the space they use, organizations can achieve significant savings on transportation costs.
Cons of Partial Shipments
Longer Transit Time
Due to multiple stops and transfers, partial shipments may experience longer transit times. This can lead to delivery delays, affecting overall supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Expensive as Compared to LTL
While partial shipments can be cost-effective in certain scenarios, they may still be more expensive than traditional Less-than Truck Load (LTL) shipments on a per-unit basis. Since your shipment would comprise multiple assets and will take up a larger area of the container than LTL, the Hours Of Service (HOS) of the truck driver/container will be significantly higher than that of LTL.
Tracking Multiple In-Transit Assets
Managing multiple partial shipments can be challenging, as it requires tracking and coordinating multiple in-transit assets simultaneously. This complexity can lead to logistical headaches and operational inefficiencies.
Lower Customer Satisfaction
Extended transit times and potential delays associated with partial shipments can negatively impact customer satisfaction. Businesses need to manage customer expectations effectively and communicate proactively to mitigate these risks.
Prone to Manual Errors
The fragmented nature of partial shipments increases the likelihood of manual errors in documentation, labeling, and tracking. This can result in additional administrative burdens and increase the risk of compliance issues.
Well, now that we have analyzed the pros and cons, you might have garnered a better understanding about the relevance of partial shipments in your business-specific landscape. If you are keen on trying out this method of shipment, the following section would be a crucial cog in your endeavors.
How To Track Partial Shipments Efficiently?
Integrate with Courier Tracking Software
Utilizing advanced courier tracking software can streamline the tracking and management of partial shipments These systems offer real-time visibility via AWB shipment tracking, automated alerts, and comprehensive reporting capabilities that enable businesses to monitor and manage their shipments more effectively.
Real-Time Delivery Shipment Tracking
Seamless API Tracking
Truncate shipment details like reference number, packaging number, etc., from multiple courier partners in real-time and track them on a single unified dashboard.
Capture Digital POD
Automate and track captured proof of delivery (POD) in the form of digital images, signatures, and comments. This will help you recognize revenue early and tackle customer queries easily.
Mobile App for Manual Updates
For non-technical solutions, you can install driver apps that truncate delivery shipment tracking data updated manually by drivers and organize it on the unified dashboard for your perusal.
Alerts and Notification System
The ideal partial shipment tracking solution has built-in alerts and a notification system that intimates you in case of supply chain disruptions.
Public Link for Transparency
An added use case of the partial shipment tracking system can be the provision of public links. These are tracking links that you can share with your end-customer to track their shipment whereabouts in real time. This visibility helps in easing out the anxiety of an online purchase and also reduces the chances of missed deliveries due to a lack of customer availability at the time of delivery.
Now that you have caught up to the ins and outs of partial shipment tracking, why not give it a shot?
At a Glance
Partial shipments offer a flexible and cost-effective shipping solution for businesses with varying shipment sizes and requirements. While they come with certain challenges, such as longer transit times and increased complexity, strategic planning and efficient management can mitigate these risks. By integrating advanced tracking software, streamlining operations, and leveraging automation, organizations can optimize their partial shipment processes and deliver superior customer experiences.