We’ve discussed the advantages of aggregating shipping through LandscapeHub. But, you might be wondering how does freight with LandscapeHub, overall, work? How does LandscapeHub actually produce those advantages that come from aggregating shipping? Or those advantages that come from using LandscapeHub to handle shipping, period?
Glad you asked! (Or wondered.)
We have an entire department that handles shipping and helps you get the best price, the best carrier, and the best turnaround possible. Here’s how it works.
Using trustworthy carriers
Our Logistics Manager, Rahan Omar says, “Handling nursery stock is not everyone’s cup of tea. When you call drivers and say ‘I have a load of trees that’s floor loaded,’ some drivers aren’t into it. But that’s why we have Rahan, because he is into it and keeps calling and working his (virtual) rolodex until he finds a carrier that works. “I’ve handled shipping for everything and nursery is a completely different ballgame.”
He has brought his experience to LandscapeHub and put it to work, transitioning LandscapeHub’s shipping operation from a mostly brokered situation to a direct carrier operation much of the time. By focusing on freight full time, Rahan can vet carriers and develop relationships with drivers who are not only knowledgeable, but happy to carefully deliver nursery stock on time and in great shape. “Going direct also allows us to pass cost savings along to customers,” he says. “And, when there is a delay or issue, there are many fewer phone calls to make to quickly get accurate information for the customer.”
Knowing when to call a broker (and which broker to call)
Rahan still uses brokers for LandscapeHub orders on occasion for complicated loads. This allows LandscapeHub to continue offering flexibility in freight that would eat up a lot of time (or even be impossible) for individual buyers. For example, if the LandscapeHub Market Managers and Logistics are trying to build a load that involves pickups in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio and dropoffs in Indianapolis, Carmel, and Westfield, Indiana, a well-connected specialty broker is much better positioned to efficiently handle the project and ensure on time delivery at a great price.
That ability and flexibility of LandscapeHub to build multi pickup and multi dropoff loads allows buyers to place much smaller orders without incurring high freight costs, especially if they are operating within a broad timeframe.
Coordinating pickup and delivery capabilities
It’s not enough to just find a truck to carry product. The LandscapeHub Logistics Department also coordinates with Market Managers, suppliers, and buyers to ensure which types of trucks suppliers can accept pickups from and that buyers can accept deliveries from. “Some people only want flatbeds, but there are fewer flatbed drivers with their own quality nursery tarps than there are dry vans (enclosed trucks) or reefers (refrigerated enclosed trucks),” says Rahan. It’s the responsibility of the LandscapeHub team to come up with a solution that works for everyone to get the products from point A to point B in good shape.
Getting the best price, regardless of load size
It’s much easier to coordinate orders that fill an entire truck from one supplier. Those are called “one pick” orders. In that case, Rahan sees an order come in and starts getting rates and seeing what equipment is available for shipping. Then he works with the Market Manager to clear the plan with the supplier and the buyer. “I might say, ‘I have a pickup with a flatbed Tuesday for delivery to the customer Wednesday. Can you accept this equipment for pickup and have the product ready by 8 am?’” He stresses, “There’s no delivery without successful pickup,” including the timing and the truck type. He’s careful never to send a truck that the supplier can’t accommodate.
In the case of a multi-stop pickup and dropoff or a smaller order, he will work to combine orders into one truck so that buyers can split the costs. “We just find out what their timeline is,” he says. “Sometimes, if a buyer needs product from a specific supplier on a short time frame, they’re willing to pay higher freight to get it when and where they need it. Other times, they’ll let us know they can wait and see what other orders come in.”
The same thing happens when there’s a weather delay. “If it’s raining and one supplier can’t dig trees on the customer’s timeline, the Market Manager might try to source from another supplier. It’s then my job to see how the freight compares and if it is worth trying to switch. Again, sometimes we’ll switch suppliers and sometimes we won’t.” Market Managers work closely with LandscapeHub customers to ensure the smoothest delivery possible for both buyers and suppliers.
An extensive network allows for flexible freight options
The short answer to how freight works with LandscapeHub is truly, “Our team takes care of it so you don’t have to.” We have the personnel and network to offer flexible freight options for orders large and small, over distances long and short, without stressing the resources of buyers searching for high quality material.
And that, well, that takes a load off of everyone.