When it comes to your business, you need everything to be as quick and as smooth as possible. When you have all of the right frameworks in place, you will soon find that very little is left to chance. There are a few places that you will certainly need to look at when you have a product-based business. Your primary focus will always be delivering the products in a timely fashion to the customer. There are many things that you can do in order to optimize your shipping process.
Increase Lead Times
This might seem counterproductive when you speak about getting the product delivered in a timely manner, but this is about planning. The further in advance the carriers have notice of pick up and delivery, the more likely it is you can find a reduction in the costs, and research the best carrier to do the job. One of the highest costs will be when the products or a trailer is sitting idle. You still need to cover the time here, even without anything being moved. Plan far in advance for pick up, staging, and load. Carriers can then reduce the idle time, reduce costs, and you’ll be the one who saves.
If you have a lot of deliveries in the same region but are sporadic shipments, then you are wasting a lot of precious cash and time. Pooling the shipping for a specific region, country, or city saves a lot of money. If you give advance notice of the available dates, people will book accordingly. You can also work with a company that has the ability to coordinate with their own fleets and deliveries and do the leg work here for you. You’ll still be saving in the long fun too.
Before you start receiving anything, you need to ensure that you have the best process in place for managing all of your inbound freight. If you are in the early days, then you might like to perform an audit every few months, but after that, yearly will work. You should work out what percentage of orders have “collect” shipping terms, versus what is “prepaid.” It is most often the case that the buyer will be the one in control of inbound transportation. There is a risk associated with prepaid freight too. You’ll need to consider that significant 10-40% premiums. And while that is profitable for the supplier, it is going to hurt your bottom line.
You should also pay close attention to the sales tax you’re paying. Check your bills for freight allowed, or freight included.
The best course of action here is to use a routing guide. This will instruct your suppliers which carriers to use, and you can attach this to your shipping instructions and purchase order. When you control those details, you can be sure that you are streamlining the process to your advantage.
There will come a time where you will need to consider if you should be buying any of the larger moving parts like lorries, warehouses abroad, and of course, bulk carriers like those on http://www.nautisnp.com. When you choose to put money into any of those areas, you will gain even more control over the process and will have more insight into where changes can be made and what you can improve.
It is no secret that when people buy something, they expect it on their doorstep the next day, and the closer you can get your product – the more likely it is you can deliver on that. Even if you are B2B, you should consider where your most significant clients are and get the product somewhere close. The last-mile delivery is something that isn’t always within your control once the goods have been handed off to a courier. You can, however, show around in advance to get the most competitive quotes. It is also worth running a small test too. Ask for quotes from a range of couriers and see who gets back to you the quickest. Compare the speed of response with reviews and professionalism and narrow it down to companies that you would like to work with. Leveraging a countrywide network of warehouses will mean your products will never have to far to travel on the last-mile.
You can really make the most of backhauls with careful planning. Ever lorry load and ship has traveled to your warehouse or storage facilities – and of course, they need to travel back too. It is often the case that this trip is underutilized, and it will be an unloaded truck. The truck will still be costing money, even if it is empty. But you can use that backhaul to negotiate credit, or a shipment back to a warehouse on the way to their base. A few conversations with the office will give you a clear idea of the possibilities here, and you might find you can make double the shipments without double the cost.
Outbound Routing Discipline
There are thousands of companies that you can choose to work with. But, opting for the lowest cost all the time isn’t always in your best interest. In fact, on occasion, you get what you pay for. You should be sure that you are using a carrier that works for the whole of your company and fits with the company culture and ethos too. Open communication and someone on the end of a phone when needed goes a long way for optimizing your whole process. Use a transport management system combined with a network of carriers, and all of your team will have access to the details that make the whole process run smoothly. In general, you should look at price, speed, who their clients are, and the transit service.
Make decisions driven by all of the data that you have access to, and you will find that you can optimize your shipping process incredibly quickly, and see the benefits in your bank balance and the satisfaction of customers and clients.