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West Coast and California Logistics Blog

3 Candy Transportation Habits You May Need to Break

Thu, Feb 15, 2018 @ 08:00 AM / by Jerry Critchfield

When it comes to eating too much candy, some people find it a hard habit to break.  And, when it comes to candy transportation, many confectionery shippers have a few bad habits of their own.  The following details three common examples.

BAD HABIT #1:  Gambling with Reefer Trailers During Winter

Winter is cold, right?  Especially in the eastern part of the U.S. where much of the country’s candy is manufactured.  For some confectionery shippers, this “winter = cold” logic is enough to forgo refrigerated trucking and rely on Mother Nature to keep their candy at the appropriate temperature during transport.  For them, it’s a cost-saving measure that simply takes advantage of natural – and free – refrigeration instead of paying for it. 

This flawed approach to candy transportation can result in costs far exceeding any anticipated savings.  First, while the Eastern U.S. is typically cold during the winter, it is not consistently so.  It’s not uncommon for temps to rise to well-above-normal before plummeting back down below freezing.

candy transportationNext, consider the weather in regions the shipment must pass through.  If your candy is produced in Pennsylvania, sure it may be cold there and in surrounding states. But if it’s heading west, it could easily face temperatures as high as 90 degrees during the winter in states like Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and California. 

In short, weather is too unpredictable to roll the dice on refrigeration.  It takes just one region on your route to have well-above-average temperatures and your entire load is at risk.  The cost of the unsellable products will easily exceed the costs of refrigeration.  So, play it safe with reefer trailers and ensure the appropriate conditions for your products on every leg of the journey. 

BAD HABIT #2:  Ignoring LTL Weight Breaks

LTL is a fact of life in candy transportation, as it is in many industries.  It’s expensive, yes, but sometimes necessary.  To mitigate LTL’s expense, shippers can take advantage of weight breaks on LTL loads.  This cost-saving measure can really add up over time – if companies prepare shipments with these breaks in mind (which they often don’t). 

Read the Free Weber eBook,  Pool Distribution for Temp-Controlled Products

LTL rates are calculated based on many factors such as weight, distance, freight classification, density, and relevant surcharges.  For the weight component, the higher the weight the lower the cost. So, a load between 0 and 499 pounds will be one rate (for each hundred pounds); a load between 500 and 999 pounds will be a lesser rate, and so on. Many 3PL providers will offer additional discounts on top of standard weight break discounts. 

So, while LTL is going to be more expensive than other modes of transport, the cost can sting much less if you prepare your loads to take advantage of these weight breaks.  If you have a load that is 1,998 pounds, can you get it to 2,000?  Can you make your 4,945-pound load 5,000 pounds?  These are the types of cost-saving questions you should ask yourself the next time you turn to LTL. 

BAD HABIT #3: Using Truckload Stop-offs Instead of Pool Distribution 

Many companies rely on full-truckload (TL) shipments for candy transportation, with stop-offs at multiple delivery destinations (this is known as Multi-Stop Truckload, or MSTL, shipping).  MSTL is priced on an arranged TL rate with the carrier, plus additional costs for each stop.  A typical MSTL haul may look like this: a full truck will travel from Pennsylvania to San Diego and make deliveries in Chicago and Phoenix along the way.  The extra cost of the Chicago and Phoenix stops are added to the fixed Pennsylvania-to-San-Diego TL rate. 

While it may seem like an efficient transportation solution, there are inherent problems with MSTL shipping.  Namely, it is associated with high costs and decreased performance; it ties up two scarce commodities (truck and driver) for long periods of time; and it is often unpredictable, as carriers can turn down the additional stops. 

Pool distribution may be a better option.  With pool distribution, you deliver your entire load to a 3PL at one of its consolidation centers.  That’s it.  The 3PL then pairs – and transports – your loads with other similar (e.g., same temperature) loads from other companies going to the same destinations.  Using the above example, your 3PL would segment your load and make separate runs to Chicago, Phoenix, and San Diego, shipping your goods together with similar products from its other customers.

The pool distribution method offers substantial cost savings vs MSTL, and it also prevents needless overlap of resources. 

Another key pool distribution benefit is that the 3PL likely visits these locations every day or multiple times per week as part of its normal schedule.  This means that the 3PL and its drivers understand the operations at consignee facilities and are thus more likely to meet RAD than a traditional provider. 

Sweeten Your Operation with Help from a 3PL

Bad habits are hard to break.  If you find that you could use guidance in evaluating and optimizing your current confectionery shipping processes, there are 3PLs that have the capabilities, resources, and industry experience to help.  Weber is one of these 3PLs.  Contact us today and we’ll make sure your candy melts in your mouth, not in our trucks. 

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Topics: Confectionery Logistics

Written by Jerry Critchfield

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