Retail Shipping Changes

Big Changes Are Coming to Retail. Are You Ready?

Honoring retailer timelines with accuracy and reliability is more important than ever. Major retailers have recently been instating more stringent delivery requirements to better manage inventory and, ultimately, better serve their customers.

How does that affect the supply chain? As a shipper, you can expect:

  • Compressed delivery windows
  • Increased compliance thresholds
  • Financial incentives to achieve and maintain compliance

Shippers are finding creative solutions for achieving compliance. Check out the ways that partnering with the right carrier can make these new goals attainable.

1. Seek a carrier with fast, precise service offerings

When vetting carriers, inquire specifically about the solutions they have in place to address narrow delivery windows. You can take control of window requirements by partnering with carriers that offer expedited shipping, as well as guaranteed delivery windows that allow you to designate the beginning and end dates you need. Some carriers, like YRC Freight, even offer time-critical hour window service.

2. Consider destination consolidation

Destination consolidation provides shippers with greater flexibility because you’re consolidating shipments over a shorter distance – destination terminal to the distribution center rather than coast to coast. This option gives you more freedom to work within your existing shipping process without upping the inventory you ship.

3. Look for carriers that offer free storage

Retailers don’t want to double as warehouses, which is why they are narrowing windows. While shipping ahead of schedule may sound like you’re exceeding expectations, when it comes to specified window delivery, you’re not meeting compliance if you are early or late.

The good news is that if shipping early helps you optimize your own process, there are carriers that can accommodate you. Select carriers that offer free storage in conjunction with window delivery services at their destination terminal, so that you can ship inventory to arrive in advance of your MABD and have it staged for delivery to meet your window requirement.

4. Match lead times to carrier transit times and adjust to avoid weekends

Understanding the way lead time works can help you effectively manage your process. Lead time is the number of days between (and including) the day a purchase order (PO) drops and its must-arrive-by-date (MABD.) Compare lead times to carrier transit times to make sure you have ample lead time to make the MABD.

Setup a shipping schedule to put carrier’s standard on or before the MABD. By changing your lead times so that there are no weekend MABDs, you can avoid unnecessary weekend delivery charges or missed windows. If you do have a weekend MABD, simply subtract lead time to move your MABD to the preceding Friday.

Fortunately, carriers that have long-term relationships with major retailers have a strong grasp on any changes in delivery requirements and how to navigate supply chain congestion. Look for a carrier with a consultative approach to help guide you toward profitable, compliant shipping.

Remember, we’re all in this together

Retailers everywhere are looking to “right size” their supply chains in response to increasing consumer omnichannel demands. The answer lies in rethinking the way we manage the supply chain. The more we can work together to create new efficiencies, the better you can differentiate your business.


YRC Freight has proven services to meet retail window delivery requirements.

We’ve been helping our shippers successfully meet MABD for the last 8 years.

  • Guaranteed Window and Multiday Window service can accommodate a 1-day window as well as 2-or-more-day windows
  • Time-Critical Window service (TCSW) can also be used to meet both 1 and 2 day window delivery requirements and moves shipments in our expedited network

Both services are guaranteed and have performed at 97%+ compliance levels for hundreds of suppliers since 2009.


Consult with a retail expert to find a solution for your business.