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Choosing a logistics service to transport your products is an important decision. Depending on the type of product to be transported you should choose a suitable logistics service that can deliver your products safely to the destination. Items like printed material need to be transported carefully as it is a fragile item. Therefore, for printed material logistics you must have a logistics partner who can fulfill all your transporting conditions.
What is printed material logistics?
Printed material logistics refers to the transportation of printed matter including newspapers, magazines, books, periodicals, direct mail orders, etc. Most of these publications have strict delivery deadlines therefore, supply chain management practices in the printing Industry are rigid which helps publications reach their readers on the designated day.
How is printed material transported?
Printed material logistics happens every day when you think about newspapers being read around every corner of the country. Even the remote corners of India get their newspapers delivered early in the morning.
Let us understand the printed matter logistics with the help of this example. Once the newspaper is printed in the printing press, the packaging of newspapers is done either mechanically or manually. Newspapers are bundled together with strings in bunches. Some newspaper companies choose to wrap their bundles in a layer of plastic for added protection. However, the wagons are well prepared by ensuring they are clean and dry for protecting the newspapers.
The wagons which are tasked with carrying the newspapers to the depot usually have an annual contract with the newspaper company. The number of wagons that carry these newspapers depends upon the number of newspapers to be circulated and the distance of depots to which they have to be transported.
These bundles are then loaded into wagons who transports the newspapers to the newspaper depots. At the newspaper depot the vendor companies collect their share of newspapers which is then transported to the doorsteps of the readers.
The main characteristics of printed material, especially products printed on paper, are hygroscopicity and sensitivity to temperature. If shipment of printed matter is over long distances, there should be a preset humidity level. If humidity levels increase paper can swell and become heavier, crumpled, and warped. Sudden temperature fluctuations can lead to changes in color, texture, and durability.
Printed paper products are also susceptible to the effects of other harmful external factors. The paper decays under the influence of dirt, dust, light and mechanical damage like compression, impact, pressure, or friction. To avoid damage, printed material is transported in boxes with additional protection from mechanical impact. A certain temperature and humidity are maintained inside the vehicle.
Logistics services for printing industry
Have a look at a few types of logistics services you can explore for printed material logistics:
- Third party logistics
Many businesses prefer using third-party logistics services or 3PL services for logistics outsourcing. Warehousing, inventory management, shipping and receiving, picking and packing, reverse logistics are the services that are offered by a 3PL service provider. These service providers can ship anything ranging from food products to hazardous materials.
Most companies prefer 3PL services as they can handle the entire supply chain with live order tracking. Companies can also choose to outsource a single supply chain activity like warehousing to a 3PL service provider.
- Fourth party logistics
Fourth-party logistics services or 4PL services is when a firm outsources its entire supply chain management to a single logistics provider. These service providers are charged with managing warehouses, shipping, and delivery partners. While a 3PL service might only be responsible for a single task in the supply chain, a 4PL service is tasked with managing the entire supply chain and is therefore the single point of contact for a company for its logistics support.
- Full truckload (FTL) services
If the size of your printed material consignment needs the space of an entire truck to fit in, then you can opt for FTL services. This is normally used to transport shipments in large quantities. Here, one truck will carry a dedicated shipment from a single company where products stay in the same truck from pick-up to drop-off. Since there are no pickups and drop-offs along the way, FTL shipments reach their destination sooner and only require minimal handling.
- Partial truckload (PTL) services
Partial truck load (PTL) services are low-cost logistics services often chosen by small businesses for their transportation needs. PTL services are used when a company’s consignment doesn’t require the space of an entire truck, especially when the purchase order is small. These services are used when the shipment only needs a part of the truck.
The rest of the space is used for cargo from a different firm, which means that you will share your delivery truck with another company. Your shipment will stay on a single truck and will only be stopped for a limited time to unload the other company’s load. This also results in minimal handling of your finished goods, ensuring the safety of the shipment.
- Less than truckload (LTL) services
LTL services are for transporting small quantities of goods. Many logistics services companies in India offer this option to businesses who need to transport small quantity shipments frequently. This is an economical method to transfer smaller goods and is another low-cost logistics service.
LTL service providers combine different orders from different companies on a single truck. This helps companies split costs of transportation and eliminates hiring an entire truck for a small consignment. This is one of the types of logistics services that offers a cost-effective shipping option to companies.
Things to keep in mind
Have a look at a few points that you must keep in mind for printed material logistics:
- Many logistics companies are not equipped to handle shipments of printed matter. Even though they offer printed material delivery service, it tends to be generic which means printed materials are treated like other freight.
- Printed material needs to be properly packed and sealed while in transit to avoid moisture damage and other forms of deterioration.
- Print subscribers expect to receive their publications on time and regularly, therefore, the logistics service you select must have rapid and reliable delivery to meet the specific needs of print material shipping.
If you want to transport printed material, you must first explore what are the ideal conditions for transport of the product. Careful logistics arrangements of the printed materials must be made for the products to reach their original conditions.