Speed, accuracy and security are important for every shipment – from paper towels to fancy electronics. There are a handful of segments, however, in which the importance of these elements becomes amplified. Both manufacturers and their transportation partners must be more diligent when dealing with high-value shipments that require special packaging and come with specific handling instructions – namely, medical equipment and certain types of computer equipment.
Companies should place a strong emphasis on choosing the best transportation partner possible when dealing with fragile products that require expert handling to ensure a damage-free delivery. In addition to a strong track record of safe deliveries, the right transportation company will also be adaptable and provide top-notch flexibility by offering both full truckload direct shipments and a national LTL network.
CRST Specialized Transportation President Bill Clement knows a thing or two about moving fragile, high-value goods. Specialized transportation requires a large degree of planning, advanced staff training and dedicated customer service resources.
“A lot of companies have had negative experiences shipping these kinds of goods in the past. Often they have ended up with something broken,” Clement said. “A typical LTL network may have a damage rate of up to 6%. We have a damage rate of about one-fourth of 1%.”
CRST is known for moving intricate shipments with excellence – including awkwardly shaped equipment and high-value goods. The company moves everything from computer servers to motorcycles to medical equipment.
“If you are shipping equipment that isn’t that expensive, it may not be a big deal. A 6% damage rate may be OK in those circumstances,” Clement said. “When you are shipping important, fragile goods, you have to make sure it gets there on time and undamaged. The manufacturer also does not want to suffer brand damage because of a bad shipment.”
Very few large trucking companies participate in the high-value products market segment. Playing in the segment comes with a lot of risk, training staff can prove expensive and the barriers to entry are numerous. When manufacturers are choosing a company to move their high-value and often fragile products, Clement urges them to consider each company’s reputation.
Looking beyond just damage rates and word-of-mouth reviews, companies should ensure that their transportation partners have a significant amount of experience moving products similar to their own. It is much simpler to move a truckload of household cleaners with a low damage rate than it is to move several pieces of highly breakable computer equipment without incident.
Clement reiterated the importance of choosing a company that offers both truckload and LTL services. This flexibility ensures shipments are moved in the most efficient way possible, preventing potentially damaging wait times. It also helps ensure that there is enough capacity in the network to tend to these sometimes urgent high-maintenance shipments. In terms of flexibility of network offerings, CRST is a clear standout among its peers.
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