When it comes to delivering your inventory, how you ship depends on the product and the shipping class. The main ways to ship items are LTL (light truck load or less than truck load), a designated flatbed, or FTL (full truck load).
The price of your shipment depends on the class of the inventory you are shipping. Shipping class is determined by a few factors:
- Density: the space your item takes up
- Stow-ability: what different items can be stored together, if inventory can be stacked easily, if the material is hazardous or otherwise difficult
- Handling: ease or difficulty in loading and carrying the items
- Liability: probability of theft or damage
There are 18 classes ranging from 50 to 500, and the higher the shipping class, the more expensive it will be to ship that item.
If you are shipping a smaller load, you would go LTL. Multiple loads of inventory from multiple different companies can be on one truck, and this option would be a bit cheaper depending on the class. When shipping LTL the items go through multiple distribution centers and are loaded and unloaded each time before reaching their final destination.
A designated flatbed or FTL would be used for bigger shipments, or items that are heavier and bulkier or a higher class. We ship a lot of pallet rack on flatbed trucks because some of the items are bundled, not palletized, which can be difficult to ship LTL. A designated flatbed is also less likely to result in damage to the inventory since it is being loaded at one facility and unloaded at the end destination without any handling in between.