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|
Flock Freight gives you full control over your pickup and drop-off schedule, providing on-time delivery — every time. Conversely, a shipment booked with UPS LTL Guaranteed is charged fully at the outset; if that shipment delivers late, the shipper has to submit a refund request to receive the money back.
Additionally, only FlockDirect taps into the TL network, providing you with premium full truckload service at competitive LTL rates. Our unique algorithm finds the most efficient route and carrier for your freight, then pools shipments together to travel via TL. And since your freight travels directly to its destination, it gets there faster than traditional LTL like that served by UPS. Even better: FlockDirect greatly reduces your shipment’s risk of damage, since it isn’t handled nearly as much and avoids frequent on- and offloading at carrier terminals. And when you pool freight together and send it along via direct service, you remove extra trucks from the road, thereby 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, though remember that you’ll pay an extra fee for these services. FlockDirect delivers on the drop-off date you specify—however, you can request both pickup and delivery appointments, if available, which would provide you with a specific time for your freight delivery (at no added cost!). And if you miss your pickup with UPS, your delivery guarantee is voided altogether.