December 3, 2018

Can a small shipment program save time and money?

Employee relocations are critical to getting the right people into the right roles. There are tons of program options, from lump sum to VIP relocations, and as an HR or mobility professional it’s important to find the right fit for your candidates. Recently, you may have heard about small shipment employee relocation programs, also referred to as crate and freight, or containerized employee relocation, and how they can save companies time and money.


What is a small shipment program?

A small shipment program is a way to move employees from one location to another using methods outside the traditional transportation approach.

In recent years, changes to the moving and storage industry, including truck driver shortages, heavily mandated driving hours of service and reduced peak season capacity, have created challenges for the industry. One of the biggest issues is during peak season, when employees are subject to big gaps between when their household goods are picked up to the time they are delivered.

With a small shipment program, employees are not affected by these roadblocks. Using this method, household goods are containerized and individually shipped to destination immediately after packing using a third-party carrier, leading to less delays.


How does this process work?

Because third-party carriers don’t have to wait until an entire truck is at capacity to depart or make multiple stops before destination, the small shipment program can move an employee’s goods coast-to-coast in six to nine days, which is significantly faster than traditional methods.

Employees still enjoy a full-service, white glove experience that includes international packing and wrapping on each shipment, which is higher in quality than domestic pack and wrap procedures. The shipments are then containerized and immediately sent to destination. Because they arrive quickly and safely, employees can be settled in the destination faster to completely focus on their new role.

Another advantage of the small shipment program is it cuts down on claims. The enhanced packing and wrapping standards keep your employees’ goods safe and secure, and the only time their goods are handled is during their move.


Who does a small shipment program benefit?

This type of program benefits both employers and their relocating employees.

For HR and global mobility professionals, one of the biggest benefits is that employees can be in the destination quickly, allowing them to be immediately productive. It also saves the company money because it greatly cuts down on per-diem expenses, including hotel stays and temporary living expenses.

What type of employee is the best candidate for this program?

As shipments continue to shrink, the pool of candidates for small shipments grows. Because there is no minimum weight requirement, this type of transportation is most cost effective for those with small shipments that don’t exceed 5,000 pounds. While larger shipments are still possible, some of the pricing advantages even out as the shipment weight increases.


How does the process work for the employee?

The process can be broken down into four simple steps.

Step 1: The container and crew arrive at the employee’s residence

Step 2: All household goods are packed and wrapped using international packing standards

Step 3: The container is transported to the new destination

Step 4: Household goods are delivered and unloaded at the employee’s new residence


How can I learn more about small shipment programs?

Sterling Lexicon offers an in-house Small Shipment Solution for companies and HR teams looking to relocate today’s employees faster, easier and more cost-effectively. Our innovative service makes a big impact on your program by streamlining the move process, allowing  employees to be settled and productive in their new role faster, while spending less on per diem costs. By combining this innovative solution with Lexicon’s superior customer service, global mobility professionals can focus on their key objectives with peace of mind that their employees are well taken care of in their new destination. 

Contact us today to find out how our Small Shipment Solution adds up to big savings and smiles.

Want more? Visit our blog to get up-to-date information from the experts on the latest trends and topics in global mobility.

Kristin White

Kristin White

Kristin brings nearly 30 years of experience in global workforce mobility, PR, marketing, editorial planning and communications to her role as a member of the thought leadership and content development teams. Before joining the company in 2020, she worked for many years at Worldwide ERC® in collaboration with cross-departmental teams and industry stakeholders to develop in-person and virtual event programming, digital and print content, and served as editor of Mobility magazine. Contact Kristin at

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