What is the last day I can ship ground and still make service?
I am asked this question all the time when planning for event logistics, and my answer to this question always comes with options. My objective is to provide the safest and most economical option first, and then adjust based on our clientâ€™s schedule and/or requirements. I always start with the due by or on date and work backwards. If the show you are going to has an advanced receiving location I will use the deadline date to avoid late fees as my deliver by date. If going direct to show site then the first day of receiving is our delivery date. Depending on the date you can be ready will affect which option is best, if the first option may not work for your schedule. For example, sometimes shipping late the advance warehouse is more economical then shipping direct to show site.
The distance between pickup location, delivery location, day of the week and if either location is outside of a major city airport terminal will affect how long standard ground services my take. Although ground shipments do not fly on aircraft, truck schedules work in a very similar way that air travel works for passengers. Your shipment needs to move from your location to the city terminal, which is often close to the major city airport terminal you would fly out of. Then your shipment will move on a truck with other shipments to the delivery terminal sometimes making a stop in the same way airlines have connecting flights. Once your shipment arrives the delivery terminal (which again is often located by a major city destination airport) it will be recovered and scheduled for delivery on the next regular driver schedule.
Unlike air travel ground services takes days vs hours. Plus, there are normal delays that are caused by increased freight volumes, driver absences, mechanical issues, weather and/or road traffic that can add an extra day or two to a regular ground schedule. In order to plan how many days, you should give yourself to ship your items please try this formula if you have traveled by air before. If it takes you one hour or less to fly between two cities take 1 add 4 and give yourself 5 business days for shipping. If it takes you two hours or less to fly between these two cities take 2 add 4 and give yourself 6 business days. If it takes 3 hours or more add 4 and give yourself 7 business days.
Now most places that you can fly to in an hoursâ€™ time are likely places that would be serviced on the ground in one or two days. However, if a shipment doesnâ€™t make the first truck, connects or gets in later than expected due to any number of the normal hazards Iâ€™ve mentioned above then itâ€™s subject to the risk of increased costs and/or missing the intended date. Giving yourself, extra time is the best way to avoid added cost or risk to any shipment you are planning, and if youâ€™d rather ask then using this formula please donâ€™t hesitate to ask us.
-Brad Jarzemski / ELITeXPO Account Executive