Freight 101 Blog

From Freight to Warehouse: Tips for a Smooth Hand-off

By: Brandon Rollins

Any company that ships large volumes will run into this issue at some point – moving inventory from freight to warehouse. It’s unavoidable. But the hand-off process can be fraught with challenges from several angles, from communication barriers to unexpected delays.

However, with the right strategies in place, these hurdles can be overcome. This guide provides four quick tips for a smooth hand-off, emphasizing the importance of proactive planning, clear communication, and adaptability. Whether you’re shipping your first or your fiftieth bulk shipment, these tips will help you seamlessly transition your stock to the warehouse and cut down on delays.

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Freight Delivery Appointment Scheduling: Navigating the Challenges

Timing and accuracy are mission-critical in logistics. But the actual process of scheduling freight delivery appointments isn’t always easy.

First, as with any cross-company communication spanning multiple time zones, there are communication gaps. The timeliness of freight delivery seems like it should warrant a call. But as people silence their phones to avoid robocalls, there are a lot of issues that come with that – missed calls, voicemails, and endless games of “phone tag.”

On top of that, large shipments require a lot of coordination to unload. Just think of how much can fit in a 40-foot shipping container! Many freight warehouses want to be notified at least 48 hours in advance to secure necessary dock space for unloading. This is easy to overlook, which can lead to delayed deliveries and sometimes additional charges from freight and/or fulfillment partners.

There’s also an inherent unpredictability at play as well. Delays at ports are common, affecting even well-planned schedules. A single delay at the port can push everything else in line back by a few days. That means freight delivery appointments can get rescheduled, often with little advance notice.

All in all, the picture is clear – it’s harder than it looks! So here are some tips you can follow to cut back on issues.

Tip #1: Submit Your Transport Documentation

The first step towards a smooth hand-off from freight to warehouse is submitting your shipping paperwork correctly. This includes submitting an Advance Shipping Notice (ASN) or Warehouse Receiving Order (WRO) to your fulfillment partner, alongside any other necessary documents. Make sure each document includes a reference number for the shipment along with all other details of the shipment, including what it’s carrying, who it’s for, and the quantities of all items on board.

Getting all the transport documents sent correctly the first time minimizes back-and-forth communication and speeds up the receiving process. Done properly, this will ensure that your warehouse knows exactly what’s coming, when, and for whom, enabling them to prepare in advance.

Tip #2: Communicate in Writing

“I’ve found the fastest and easiest way to schedule freight delivery is by email. Calling leads to issues such as going to voicemail and not receiving a callback.” – Sol Muller, Senior Account Manager, Fulfillrite on the subject of efficient freight delivery scheduling. 

When in doubt, send an email. It’s often the most efficient method to schedule freight deliveries. 

When sending those emails, make sure the subject line explicitly mentions the freight’s recipient and includes a reference number. This will make sure your email is noticed and acted upon swiftly. Attach all the relevant documents you have to avoid delays so your warehouse has everything needed to receive your shipment.

Something else to consider here is that email trails serve as a reliable record, offering accountability and a reference point in case of disputes or misunderstandings. Every detail matters in logistics when large shipping volumes are involved, especially for international shipments where customs agencies are involved. To that end, email not only simplifies communication but also provides peace of mind through its traceability.

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Tip #3: Be Extra Proactive with Huge Shipments

“If you are sending sea containers, make sure to warn your warehouse 48 hours in advance since dock space will be needed for an extended period.” – Sol Muller, Senior Account Manager, Fulfillrite

With large shipments, especially sea containers, advance notice is critical. Inform your freight warehouse 48 hours before delivery to secure the needed dock space. This isn’t just courteous; it’s essential for smooth operations. Sea containers tie up dock space longer than standard deliveries. Your heads-up allows the warehouse to accommodate your shipment without disrupting others.

When notifying the warehouse, propose a delivery window rather than a fixed time. Warehouses juggle numerous deliveries daily; offering a range of dates eases their scheduling burdens. This approach also increases the likelihood of your shipment being prioritized.

After giving your 48-hour notice, confirm dock space availability. A quick confirmation avoids last-minute chaos, guaranteeing your shipment proceeds as planned.

Remember, communication is key. Clear, proactive exchanges between shippers and warehouses mitigate risks of delay, making for a smoother hand-off of your valuable freight.

Tip #4: Delays Happen, Plan Accordingly

Delays are a part of logistics, especially at ports. Accepting this reality allows for better planning. Always prepare for the unexpected.

Communicate with your warehouse to set up a contingency plan. This might include alternative delivery dates or temporary storage options. Such planning prevents last-minute scrambles and ensures your inventory isn’t left in limbo.

Understanding common delay causes at ports is also crucial. Weather, customs holds, and congestion can all impact schedules. Stay informed and share this knowledge with your freight warehouse and logistics team. This shared awareness helps manage expectations and facilitates smoother operations despite disruptions.

Being proactive about potential delays not only minimizes their impact but also strengthens your relationship with warehouse partners. Planning for delays isn’t just about avoiding inconvenience – it’s a strategic choice you can make to keep your business responsive to change.

Final Thoughts

Proactive planning, clear communication, and flexibility. If you have these three qualities, you’re going to have a much easier time ensuring a smooth hand-off from freight to warehouse.

Submit documents early, communicate in writing, and plan for delays. For truly huge shipments, be even more proactive. If you can do this, you’ll be much more likely to seamlessly move your goods from point A to point B.

Brandon Rollins is the Director of Marketing at Fulfillrite. His main areas of expertise are online marketing and supply chain management. Need help fulfilling your orders? Click here to request a quote from Fulfillrite.

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