The 14 most common errors in freight transport

Lots of companies ship merchandise. Whether it is finished products, shipments to the final customer or materials that still need to be further worked on, the volume of freight transport worldwide is immense. But, despite being such a daily action, on many occasions basic mistakes continue to be made that hinder companies.

These 14 mistakes make your costs higher than they should be every day, make your customers angry, worsen the service they receive, and create inefficiencies throughout your entire supply chain.

14 mistakes to avoid when transporting goods
1.- Not having a good packaging

Poorly packaged merchandise has a large number of ballots to arrive in poor condition. Despite the obviousness of this statement, it is surprising how much material is poorly packaged by the shipping company. And there is no excuse for it to be so. Even if you are not a multinational, things as simple as having bubble wrap, properly shrink-wrapping a pallet or purchasing quality boxes will always be within your reach. The alternative, risking your products arriving damaged, is not an option.

2.- Not taking weight into account

There are two ways of not taking weight into account: not knowing it exactly and not taking volumetric weight into account. In the first case, not weighing our merchandise can cause us to make a mistake when calculating the rate that we believe will be applied to us and even to make a bad choice between the different suppliers, since we may have decided on one that was more convenient for us. the weight we thought we were handling.

On the other hand, the volumetric weight is the weight that logistics operators assign to merchandise due to the physical space it occupies, which is usually done with bulky but light shipments. Not knowing what ratio of kilos per cubic meter your transport company applies to your shipments will give you more of a scare on the invoice.

3.- Have a single shipping method or choose it by default

People like to choose and freight transport is no exception. Whether it is to send or receive merchandise, being able to choose between several delivery options adds value to the customer: express or economic transit, home delivery or at a convenience point, allowing you to choose the time slot… By limiting your customers’ options, you will be limiting to your company.

4.- Pay for unnecessarily urgent services

This point has a lot to do with the previous one, and it is that there are several companies that use the most urgent service by default, regardless of the case and the need. To this is often added the lack of planning. Instead of counting from the outset how long each part of the process will take – order processing, manufacturing, shipping – you just get things done and when the freight arrives, you pick the “fastest” one to go. arrive as soon as possible Good planning will allow us to use cheaper shipments and, above all, be sure that we are within the expected deadlines.

5.- Forget the particularities of the delivery.

Does the place of destination have a dock to unload our pallets? Do we need a hatch truck? With what vehicle can you access? Are there any time or other restrictions? Not knowing these details can delay the delivery and make us have to pay an additional cost -second delivery, additional means, manual depalletization…- which we did not count on.

6.- Not inspecting possible damage before signing the delivery note

Haste, custom and trust, among others, often cause us to sign the delivery note without first inspecting whether it has arrived in good condition. However, the little time you save by not making a visual inspection of the merchandise does not make up for the difficulties you might have when claiming any damage.

7.- Wrong or incomplete addresses

Nobody knows better than logistics operators how frequent this problem is. And the possibilities are almost endless: absence of the contact person, of a telephone number, omission of opening hours, addresses written by hand and difficult to decipher, confusing delivery address and tax address… And, again, this will mean delays in deliveries and additional costs.

8.- Lack of traceability

Losing track of your merchandise, whatever the size of your company, is something you cannot afford. A quality logistics operator will provide you with the tools to carry out digital and real-time monitoring of your freight transport. Not knowing where your merchandise is is a black point in your logistics that you must resolve immediately.

9.- Not using the right carrier for every occasion

Freight transport is a very broad world and not all logistics operators can attend to all needs in the same way. Make sure that the transport company you work with has a good service in what you need, be it parcel delivery, urgent pallet delivery, full load and groupage service, storage and preparation of orders, etc. If you choose an operator whose processes are designed for another type of merchandise or task, you will surely get worse performance and at a higher cost. Or, even better, look for a logistics operator that can give you a good service in all fields.

10.- Not taking reverse logistics into account

When we have to send merchandise, it is easy that we only worry about the merchandise reaching the destination. However, we must not stop there. Do you have a good return system for your customers? Do you need to take care of or treat the remains of your merchandise? What procedures do you have to recover, repair or reuse damaged merchandise? Freight transport does not always end with delivery.

11.- Do not evaluate if you need to outsource

There are many companies, large and small, that are very involved with their logistics, even carrying out the transport of goods. This, by itself, is not bad. But it will be if you are not analyzing the cost of dealing with all this work. Are you able to do better than a specialized third-party provider would? Do you have enough volume to optimize your processes and your transits? Would it make your life easier to dedicate yourself to your business?

12.- Disregard risks

Supply chains and the transport of goods are riddled with risks. But, strange as it may seem, many times they are not sufficiently taken into consideration. It does not take into account what would happen if a supplier failed us, how long it would take us to replace a merchandise if it suffered a loss or what would happen in the event of a stockout. If you do not have a clear answer to these questions, surely you have not thoroughly analyzed your logistics risks and how to prepare for them.

13.- Pay for unnecessary services

Contracting the most urgent service by default, as we have seen before, is not the only way to incur unnecessary costs. It is very common for companies to pay for additional services that their customers do not really value; which doesn’t make sense. For example, pay for a delivery on Saturday when the recipient is not there or when it bothers you that it is delivered on that date or deliver in just one hour when the shipment is not in a hurry.

14.- ‘Guess’ the costs or not knowing them in depth

Understanding the rates of the transport companies with which we work is non-negotiable. Many times, for convenience or out of habit, companies calculate their costs by eye, comparing them with other previous shipments that they consider similar, and without paying too much attention to them. Which is an involuntary shortcut to errors and problems.

Find out about issues such as the cost of gasoline -which is included in some rates as a precaution against price fluctuations-, insurance and other additional items (delivery in a residential area, depalletizing needs…) that may cause your costs to differ from what you had in mind


Each of these mistakes is repeated daily throughout companies and transport chains around the world. From something as basic as preparing a pallet to wondering about concepts such as reverse logistics and risk management, correcting these 14 points will improve your logistics.

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Khaterine William

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