The world of logistics is evolving, and Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipments, which consolidate multiple smaller shipments into a single truckload, are playing a key role in its transformation. LTL carriers specialize in transporting goods that do not require an entire truck, allowing businesses to save on shipping costs and reduce environmental impact.
In recent years LTL shipments have become increasingly popular due to their ability to provide quicker delivery times, accommodate smaller shipments, and lower transportation costs. Currently accounting for approximately $83 billion of the overall trucking industry, the LTL marketplace is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 7% through 2027. However, LTL shipments also face many of the same challenges impacting the wide trucking and logistics market, such as rising costs due to driver and carrier shortages, and the complexity of managing delivery schedules.
Areas for improvement in LTL shipments
Efficiency is paramount when it comes to LTL shipments, and that is tied directly to how quickly trucks can get from destination to destination. Improving the process of loading, transporting, and delivering shipments is crucial. Additionally, greater visibility of the shipment process is key to identifying bottlenecks, delays, and opportunities for optimization. Enhancing visibility and integrating this information directly with Transportation Management Systems (TMS) can significantly benefit overall operations.
Technology plays its part
Advances in technology have brought important advantages to the trucking industry in recent years, and LTL shipments stand to benefit too. One of the easiest ways to bring process improvements to the market is through digital payment solutions like Relay’s. The Relay Payments app enables pre-authorized, instant, secure digital payments for lumper services, fuel purchases, and more directly from the app. These digital payment platforms are revolutionizing the industry by streamlining the payment process and injecting efficiency throughout the shipment cycle.
Speedy payments for lumpers
Lumpers play a pivotal role in the unloading and loading of LTL shipments. Traditional processes for paying lumper fees involve paperwork, delays, and often manual approvals. Digital payment solutions like Relay expedite this process and allow for swift, secure lumper payments without delays, late-night phone calls and lost receipts. This means trucks and drivers can get off the dock and back on the road quickly, helping to maximize driver hours and optimize delivery times.
Integration with TMS systems
The leading digital payment platforms are designed to seamlessly integrate with popular Transportation Management Systems, allowing for a holistic view of the entire shipment process, from order creation to final delivery. Data from digital payments can be overlaid with other logistics data, providing a comprehensive view of efficiency, delays, and opportunities for improvement. This data-driven approach empowers businesses to make informed decisions, optimize routes, and enhance overall operations.
Simplified back-office operations
Digital payments can also greatly simplify back-office operations for LTL carriers. Managing schedules, approvals, and payments for all those different deliveries is cumbersome at best – and can often involve late-night phone calls and manual paperwork. A digital payment solution for fuel and lumper costs can let back-office staff efficiently manage financial transactions and tasks in real-time. They receive instant receipts and tracking information, reducing the administrative burden and even enabling them to focus on more strategic tasks.
With benefits across the business
The adoption of digital payments in LTL shipments offers benefits that extend across the entire system, improving work for carriers and drivers, providing cost savings and reducing fraud, and building process efficiencies.
Improved driver experience
Drivers are the backbone of the transportation industry. Digital payments reduce the administrative burden on drivers, allowing them to focus on their primary task: safe and timely delivery of goods. Swift payments to lumpers helps them keep moving to maximize their time, and simplified administrative processes contribute to a more positive and less stressful experience for drivers. And all of that helps with driver retention, which is critical at the moment, when the industry is facing a shortage of skilled truck drivers.
Enhanced efficiency for back-office staff
With modern tech and payments solutions, back-office staff in logistics companies can finally be freed from late-night calls for approvals and stacks of manual paperwork. Digital payment solutions empower them to manage payment approvals effortlessly, leading to a smoother and more efficient workflow.
Cost savings that matter
Ultimately, the integration of digital payments into the LTL shipment process results in tangible cost savings, both directly while on the road and by eliminating the most common method for fuel fraud: physical payment cards. Efficiency improvements across the board, from driver productivity to administrative operations, add up to real savings that are particularly impactful in the context of LTL shipments, where margins can be tight.
Digital payments are proving to be game-changing for trucking companies and stand to make a significant impact on the LTL market. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, embracing digital payment solutions like Relay's not only streamlines operations but also enhances visibility, reduces stress on drivers, and ultimately delivers cost savings that truly matter. The future of LTL shipments is undoubtedly digital, and businesses that embrace the transformation can navigate current challenges with greater ease and efficiency.