Opus9 Blog

The Impact of Customer Expectations on Trucking - Holiday Shipping

The Holiday season has a huge impact on businesses across the country. Many drivers and operators experience a litany of pressures during times like these.

Jingle bells,
Jingle bells,
Jingle all the way!
Oh, what fun it is to drive holiday season freight!

Or perhaps you’re singing a different tune this time of year? Carriers and logistics professionals in the shipping industry face more and more challenges each year, as demand and speed expectations continue to rise for US consumers.

In the world of “Free 2-Day Shipping,” items are just one click and 48 hours away from consumers’ doorsteps, putting pressure on the trucking industry year round. But in the wake of the shopping craze that many refer to as “holiday cheer,” shipping demand and pressing punctuality needs become exacerbated by tenfold. In fact, major retailers are ramping up their shipping game during the holidays in an effort to compete with the shipping champion, Amazon. Naturally, Amazon met this challenge in 2018 with a feisty rebuttal, offering free shipping with no minimum purchase to all non-member customers. And if that wasn’t enough, Prime members were granted free same-day shipping on many items.

As a carrier in the industry, it is crucial to set yourself up for success in order to ensure smooth sleighing.

Spoiler alert: Santa is real.

He is embodied by the carriers on the road sporting packages where they need to go over the holidays.
The good news: trucking professionals do not need to shimmy down chimneys to deliver their freight.
The bad news: they also don’t get milk and cookies.

Along with the logistical challenges that the holidays bring to freight shipping come the emotional challenges. The holiday season is when many people take their time off of work to get in some quality time with loved ones. That is often not a reality for carriers, who keep their wheels on the road so the rest of us can press pause. The staff at American Trucker notes that for many in the industry, Christmas is just another day on the road.

Careful preparation can create a frictionless shipping experience during the next festive season.

Shippers can get the ball rolling smoothly by planning well in advance. This includes booking transportation as early as possible, acknowledging the high volume and the shortcomings that brings to the shipping process, communicating clearly with each link of the chain — from supplier to carrier to customer —, and having plans set in place for each possible worst-case scenario.

Furthermore, shippers can educate themselves about holiday shipment schedules and pencil in the best days to ship items, especially perishables. The high volume that accompanies this season is stressful for shippers and carriers alike, and it is important that shippers be mindful of the challenges that their goods may face in transit in order to set their carriers up for success. 

Carriers can and should plan ahead by getting their routes set up in advance. This will make their transit as safe and efficient as possible.

All parties involved can benefit from employing a Third Party Logistics company (3PL), like Opus9, to ensure transparency and efficiency throughout the shipping process. Opus9 offers instant freight quotes to help save you time, as well as providing you visibility on all your shipments to minimize delay. We ensure that logistical problems that accompany high volume are quickly understood and addressed, elevating the experience for all. 

Dec 26 | Posted by Opus9