On Time, Every Time: Comparing FlockDirect & UPS LTL Guaranteed
As a business owner that relies on LTL shipping, you need to find the most consistent and cost-efficient way to get your freight from your warehouse to its final destination—without it being late. Late deliveries result in dissatisfied customers and/or receivers, additional fees, and ripple effects on anyone down the supply chain relying upon your product.
The best way to avoid this scenario is through a carrier that offers guaranteed on-time delivery. However, policies differ from company to company, and it can be hard to figure out which one works best for your needs. We want to help make your experience quick and easy, so we’re reviewing our own FlockDirect service against some of the biggest and best names in the logistics game. First up: UPS, and its premium LTL freight service, LTL Guaranteed.
Standard UPS Freight LTL Service
In addition to being a go-to shipping choice for the average individual consumer, UPS also provides a variety of freight services to businesses, including less-than-truckload (LTL) transport. With UPS Freight LTL, you can ship LTL with UPS anywhere within the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and U.S. territories like Guam and the Virgin Islands. UPS offers three- and four-day cross-country transit, thousands of one- and two-day lanes, as well as electronic BOLs and online tracking through its proprietary Quantum View service.
As part of UPS Freight LTL, the carrier guarantees on-time delivery at no extra charge. However, “on-time” simply means at any point on its scheduled delivery date, up to 11:59 p.m. that evening. This begs the question: what do you do if you need your items delivered not just any time, but by a specific time?
What Is UPS LTL Guaranteed?
If you’re running up against a hard delivery deadline, it’s unlikely you’ll want to leave your freight’s drop-off date to chance. Common scenarios include:
- Seasonal inventory and deliveries
- New product launches
- Set-schedule production lines
UPS offers an added service called UPS LTL Guaranteed that provides assured delivery on the date that you schedule. This “guaranteed reliability” service comes in two flavors:
- UPS Freight LTL Guaranteed, which promises end-of-day delivery (i.e., 5:00 p.m.) on your scheduled drop-off date.
- UPS Freight LTL Guaranteed A.M., which promises delivery by 12:00 p.m. on your scheduled drop-off date. You’ll only be able to upgrade to this service if your freight’s final destination falls within an eligible zip code.
UPS Freight Guaranteed is available on all shipments moving between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, whereas the Guaranteed A.M. service is limited to only those shipments traveling throughout the contiguous United States. These guaranteed delivery schedules are based off of published transit times. To qualify for either service, however, your shipment must be picked up by 5:00 p.m. on the scheduled pickup date; if the pickup is late for any reason, your guarantee no longer applies to your order.
Another catch: UPS Freight Guaranteed is an add-on service, meaning you’ll pay extra for the luxury of your items arriving by the hour you need them to. The fee is determined by current freight tariff rates, plus any additional surcharges (like fuel, for example) associated with the expedited service.
FlockDirect vs. UPS LTL Guaranteed
Both FlockDirect and UPS LTL Guaranteed offer quick quoting, electronic BOLs, and online tracking. But what does “money back” mean to each carrier, and what other differences will you find with your carrier experience?
|FlockDirect||UPS LTL Guaranteed|
|Uses TL network for direct service||Standard LTL service via terminals|
|Single on- and offload||Frequent on- and offloading|
|Less handling = low damage risk||More handling = higher damage risk|
|Request delivery appointment window; no extra fee||Delivery by noon (select zip codes only) or 5 p.m.; added fee|
|Pooled direct freight = low carbon footprint||Multiple trucks = higher carbon footprint|
|Dedicated account manager for each shipper||General LTL customer service department|
With FlockDirect, Flock Freight gives you full control over your pickup and drop-off schedule, providing on-time delivery — every time. Conversely, shippers that book UPS LTL Guaranteed pay in full at the outset; if that shipment delivers late, the shipper must submit a refund request to receive the money back.
Additionally, only FlockDirect transports shipments with shared truckload (STL) service, the most cost-effective, environmentally-friendly method to move LTL shipments. Flock Freight’s proprietary technology matches freight from multiple shippers with other freight that’s going the same direction, optimizing loads based on route and tapping into the TL network to find one truck that can haul them together. Each shared truckload is load to ride, meaning, instead of offloading at hub-and-spoke terminals and risking delays, the freight stays on the truck the entire time and travels directly to its destination. And since your freight moves via efficient TL service, it gets there faster than shipments that travel via the hub-and-spoke system, which UPS adheres to. Even better: STL greatly reduces your shipment’s risk of damage, since it avoids frequent trans-loading and handling at carrier terminals. Plus, pooling freight together and sending it along via direct service removes trucks from the road, reducing the environmental impact of every shipment.
One area where UPS offers significant value: Its time-based guarantees. Both LTL Guaranteed and LTL Guaranteed A.M. offer specific delivery time thresholds by which the carrier promises the shipment will arrive. (You’ll pay an extra fee for these services, though.) FlockDirect delivers on the drop-off date you specify. However, you can request both pickup and delivery appointments, which ensure your freight arrives at a specific time (at no added cost!). If you miss your pickup with UPS, the company voids your delivery guarantee altogether.