There are various modes of transportation available to move goods. Some fast, some not so fast. Every mode has pros and cons. For example, rail is economical but slow, LTL is economical and relatively fast but often unreliable. If you are planning to move any product by air and not exactly sure what you’re getting into, you’re in the right place.
Here are some benefits of using air freight to help you understand it and determine if it’s the correct mode for you:
6 Good Reasons to Pre-establish Your Air Freight Routine
1. Fastest Shipping Method Available
Time is money. This is never more apparent than when you need product to arrive immediately and each minute that painfully ticks off the clock is another lost sale to your Big, Ugly Competitor (let’s call them B.U.C.) with an inferior product whom you HATE losing business to. When you fly your freight you can ensure on-time delivery with happy, smiling customers on the other end. You might even avoid B.U.C.’s sly, annoying smile that makes your skin crawl at next year’s trade show.
Air freight, despite it’s higher cost, can play a healthy role in your transportation mix to help you balance late shipments & budgets with keeping customers and your boss/owner happy. The effects of air freight are often magnified 10x when working with overseas customers and moving international air freight shipments. The difference between an int’l ocean and air shipment can very easily mean an entire month. A word to the wise, consider sending the Minimum Viable Product that is needed immediately via air (think 1 square life-saving pallet of brown boxes soaring in to the rescue with a cape) and packing the rest in the slow-moving steel box to float across multiple oceans for pennies on the mile. This way you can save the day and restock your customer without smashing your monthly budget like a sledge-hammer through a cake.
2. Highly Reliable
When your freight is moving via LTL it’s prudent to build in additional transit days as a safety buffer for potential delays. For example, as I write this, I am keeping a close eye on multiple LTL shipments on a specific LTL carrier (I can’t name names, sorry!) that has taken on more than it can handle and is backed up like an LA traffic jam on a Friday afternoon. While, there are certain “go faster” levers we can pull on LTL shipments, there is only so much that can be done and at the end of the day, there’s no guarantees (even guaranteed shipments fail). But, when you fly a shipment, you can rely on a fast, mostly issue-free transit time. Of course, there is weather, mechanical failures and you’re still using a truck for first/final mile so things can go wrong but at the air freight level, failures are few and far between. It’s as safe as you can get.
3. Unlock the Global Economy for Your Business
Air freight = options. Imagine a new customer stumbles on your website from a quick google search and sees that you have exactly the type of custom widget for his widget distribution business based in the Philippines. He is out of his generic widgets and thinks he can sell thousands to a captive audience with your fancy never-before-seen doo-dads in the Philippines. Alas, there is no time for boats, but you can impress a new customer AND secure the future for your company by connecting the dots fast. You easily setup a small economy air shipment that arrives and breezes through customs 5 days later and within a week you are suddenly an international business magnate in the making. Tapping into the global economy, you can take a deep breath and relax while your widgets fly off the shelves in the Philippines. Maybe time to start reaching other companies in other countries...
4. High Level of Security
No matter what kind of air freight service you choose to ship your products you will not have to compromise when it comes to security. Every driver that is allowed on site at an airport must first apply for and then physically carry a TWIC card which is issued by the TSA. Beside the driver’s background check and thorough scan by the man with rubber gloves, all air freight shipments must enter the system via a TSA Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF), think of this as the security line for skids.
Bottom line, the airline industry offers a high level of security at every level that ensures you your cargo is safe from theft and will reach it’s destination.
5. What is the Cost of Using Air Freight?
The process of shipping goods by air is fast in compared to ocean or OTR. You might be thinking “Yea, but it’s going to cost me an arm and a leg”. Actually it might only be a finger or a toe. And really the cost of transportation should be considered from a top-down perspective keeping in mind the net benefits of getting your product to your customer faster. Beyond that, there are soft, intangible benefits like customer satisfaction and perceived value of an item received by a premium service.
In addition to asking “what is the cost of air freight? You should be asking yourself “what is the cost of NOT using air freight?” If you play small ball and pray to beareded, white-clocked transit time gods your LTL shipment makes it on time, are you risking losing the customer to B.U.C.?
“What is the cost of NOT using air freight?”
6. Low Rate of Damage
Hidden in plain sight on top of the Air Freight layer cake is a big, juicy red cherry: Low Damage Rate. The nature of air freight handling makes it extremely safe for your product. I don’t want to bash my good friend, LTL, but when it comes to damage, a lot can happen in those washing machines that are the tumbling and bouncing stiff steel-bedded trailers. LTL terminal dock floors are like giant dusty pinball machines with your shipment being smacked from one end to other as fast as possible. LTL is a volume-based business and the only way to stay profitable is by moving goods at speed through these systems. Just saying...
Air Freight provides a smoother, easier ride, typically travelling less than 50 road miles before being fitted into a shiny protective air freight container by a gentle man with white gloves.
With these 6 reasons in mind I hope you will consider getting an Air Freight program setup. It won’t take much effort but it could pay HUGE dividends to you when the day comes. To make this as easy as possible there is the only step you need to take in order to get setup: