Posts made in January, 2016

3 Things That You Can Do to Keep Freight Costs in Check

Are you looking for ways to keep freight charges affordable? Consider the following suggestions so that freight charges do not take a large share of your company’s revenue.

Embrace Technology

Several software vendors provide transport management software (TMS) systems. Consider getting a software package that you will allow you to get a real-time update of which freight carrier offers the most competitive terms for a route where you would like to ship goods over. The system can rate different carriers based on their capacity, cargo consolidation opportunities and current rates. You will be able to use the carrier that offers you the most cost-effective terms of delivering cargo to clients.

Renegotiate Accessorial Charges

Many times, the cost of freight goes up by a significant margin because of charges associated with delays to load trucks, like surcharges for less-than-load consignments (shipments that do not reach the minimum quantity that a carrier can profitably transport). These accessorial charges can add up and dent your profits. You can reduce the impact of those additional costs by negotiating with your preferred freight transport company so that there is a cap on how much can be charged for those extras. You can increase your chance of succeeding at those negotiations if you first build a business relationship with the freight company for several months. The figures of the volumes that you ship and the freight payments that you have made will help to make your request for a standard accessorial rate more convincing.

Consider Alternate Modes

Take a critical look at the modes that you have been using to move freight to your clients. Explore other modes that can be incorporated into your freight transportation options. For instance, it may be more affordable to transport goods by rail in case such a mode is available in your area of interest. You can also consider inter-modal transportation of the same consignment if that yields a cost saving. For example, the cargo can initially be moved by rail before it is transferred to a truck that will deliver it to the final destination. The freight transporter can help you to find ways to be more efficient in freight transportation.

Develop a habit of periodically reviewing your freight transportation systems and costs. That review will help you to keep tabs on how well you are managing freight costs. That review will also challenge you to find additional ways that you can employ to adjust those aspects that are causing freight costs to creep up. For instance, you may discover that you dispatch less-than-load consignments frequently. A remedial plan may include negotiating with a small carrier so that those consignments are consolidated with other shipments.

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How to Handle These 3 Driving Emergencies

Whether you have been driving for a week, a year or ten years, you likely know the basics of handling different types of situations. You know when to speed up, when to slow down, and when to notice warning signs coming from your vehicle so you can get in the right lane fast enough. However, there are some emergencies that tend to happen less often, so you might not know how to handle them. Here are some situations you may encounter one day, and how to safely handle them to avoid an accident.

Flat or Blown Tire

When you have a flat or blown tire, the instinct is often to either speed up or slam on the brakes, neither of which you should be doing. You want to focus on getting to a safe place on the side of the road, slowing down your vehicle, and getting control of your vehicle all at the same time. If you are on a residential road or the right lane of a highway, you’re in luck. If you are on the highway in the middle or left lane, throw on your hazard lights and start making your way over to the shoulder. Only speed up if necessary to get around cars.

To slow down your car after a tire blowout, you want to remove your foot from the gas pedal to slow down but not push too hard on the brake pedal until you have better control over your car. Otherwise, your car might spin and put you and other people at risk. Keep slowing down the vehicle and moving over to the shoulder of the road while driving straight and never trying to turn the vehicle.

Overheating Engine

This is one of those emergencies that people assume is not a big deal and will continue driving to their destination. If your vehicle’s temperature gauge is above the halfway point and starting to overheat, practice caution. Another sign of overheating is if smoke is coming out from under the hood at the same time as the gauge moving up. Do not try to race home and hope you make it. You need to get to a mechanic as soon as you can, but driving there with an overheating vehicle could make the matter worse. Instead, try to find a safe place to pull over and call for a tow truck. If you know it is overheating due to lack of water, you can add water to cool the vehicle down temporarily. However, be very careful, and do not add water to the radiator when the car is hot.

If the overheating leads to an engine fire, park the car on the side of the road, turn off the engine, and get as far from the car as you can while you call for help.

Loss of Brakes

There are few things scarier than driving down the road and realizing your brakes have stopped working. If this happens, start by pumping the brake pedal as fast as you can. While the brakes aren’t working, this motion helps to create brake pressure, which can still help to slow down the car. After pumping the brakes, shift your vehicle into a lower gear and begin looking for a safe place to stop or pull the car over. If you have anti-lock brakes, stepping on the brake pedal might be enough to trigger the ALB and stop your car.

These car problems can be scary, but you can handle them if you remember the tips above. Then, make sure you have a reliable mechanic you can work with to get your car back into working condition if possible. 

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