In an era of ever-increasing globalization and market complexity, the role of transport logistics is paramount to the success of a business. Nevertheless, with today’s major supply chain challenges, volatile markets, record inflation and ever-evolving regulations regarding the movement of goods, companies are being forced to navigate unprecedented complexities regarding multi-modal logistics networks—on a global scale.
Cogs and bottlenecks in logistics networks can greatly affect a company’s operational efficiency, competitive edge, and customer satisfaction—all while increasing its vulnerability to risks that the C-Suite never saw coming. And that is not to mention the costs associated with transport logistics; companies pay about 11% of their total profits on logistics spending—with nearly 51% of it attributed to transportation.
So how can businesses simplify their transport logistics and mitigate skyrocketing costs? This article provides the top tips that companies should consider for their transport logistics to safeguard their supply chains, business goals, and bottom lines.
Even if you don’t think you have the time, plan ahead
Whether you’re importing or exporting goods, it is critical to plan ahead as much as possible to avoid incurring major costs due to poor forecasting or rushes that didn’t have to be…rushes.
By working with your transport logistics partner in advance, you can optimize routing and scheduling, better choose transport vendors, and ensure incoterms, customs and regulatory paperwork are in check. Can you and your transport logistics vendor reduce LTL freight costs?
For example, at Globco, with over 7000 shipments per year, we have the necessary information to choose the right supplier according to your needs. We also offer 2 transportation options to give you the opportunity to choose the supplier that will meet your expectations according to the price and the desired transit time.
Our suppliers are selected and many are not on our list simply for the sake of service. Our load history, internal research tools and the experience of our people ensure that we maximize the geographic and operational strengths of each.
In the end, adequate planning prevents headaches regarding delays and costs. Taking the time helps save time and unexpected expenses.
Rely on a partner that offers end-to-end transport logistics services
While it may be tempting to pick and choose a variety of transport logistics companies (think: one vendor for air freight, another one for customs, for example) based solely on price, this is a misguided strategy. For one, working with multiple vendors requires more time and effort to coordinate and communicate with each party, not to mention managing contracts. This can lead to additional administrative costs and increased complexity in managing relationships.
Secondly, different vendors may have varying quality, service and reliability levels. Do they communicate with each other just by handing off information and form to the next business in the logistic chain? If you run into a problem, who will take accountability or at least resolve the issue so that the goods are properly delivered as expected?
Most importantly, a partner should have extensive expertise in logistics as a whole, whether it’s about rules and regulations, market prices or simply about the suppliers available for particular locations. By working with a transport logistics partner that offers end-to-end services, like air freight, ocean freight, ground transportation and customs consulting, you can achieve economies of scale and benefit from a smooth, streamlined process. You can tap into the expertise of multidisciplinary teams that work together to get your good where they need to go.
Never assume you’re up-to-date on trade regulations
As they say, the devil is in the details. Whether it’s iconterms, local taxes, how products should be packaged and labelled, or transport logistics rules in importing countries or states, regulations can change. You, therefore, cannot skimp on the paperwork and count on past delivery history alone.
Most of the time, the Canadian government gives the importer a time to adjust to the new regulations. If you’re not aware of the requirements, ‘’I’ve always done it that way’’ won’t do it and your shipment might get stuck during several weeks waiting for that new paper or piece of information.
Always contact your transport logistics provider in advance to learn what you need to provide as information to ensure compliance—and avoid referrals, fines, demurrage and detention, delays and other complications related to customs clearance.
Globco’s team works very hard each day to keep track of even the smallest of changes. SIMA regulations might add thousands of dollars on your invoice if you don’t look into it before ordering your goods, transforming the ‘’deal of a lifetime’’ into unsold goods in your warehouse.
Transport logistics quotes: Are you comparing apples to apples?
The following scenario is a weekly occurrence with transport logistics companies. A customer calls for a quote to import merchandise, say, from Asia. The customer looks at the prices and opts for the cheapest quote, perhaps from the merchandise vendor itself. Two months later, the merchandise is stuck at an airport in Eastern Europe. There is no ETA for when it will arrive in North America, let alone at the company’s facilities for a production line to resume again. So much for getting the best price, right?
This type of scenario happens when companies don’t take the time to read the quotes carefully and fully understand what is included in the price. Maybe you got the best price, but that doesn’t mean it will be backed up by fast delivery times, minimal hand-offs, and the stellar, white-glove service you expect.
Next time you compare contracts with transport logistics vendors, be sure to check the service levels to avoid nasty surprises later on. Require that vendors list all the inclusions and exclusions in the quote so that you can make a more informed decision.
Above all, be clear about your needs, whether that means the transport mode or service responsiveness. With defined criteria, there is no room for interpretation, and your transport logistics partner will guide you toward the best options. For instance, if your delivery is not urgent, don’t demand expedited services, which will lead to unnecessary costs.
Upskill your team’s knowledge in transport logistics
Companies with lots of transport logistics needs should not only work with a reliable, long-term partner but also train in-house staff on some of the basics when it comes to having goods delivered. The reason? It can ward off potential problems with their very own customers.
A case in point? Your star salesperson closes a deal for a set price. Everyone is ecstatic—until it is realized that the iconterms were never negotiated in the sales contract. Keep in mind that sales contracts have to be aligned with iconterms, not the other way around. Then what happens? The company just took a hit on the sales margins because it doesn’t want to renegotiate with its customer regarding the additional costs. The customer is still irked: delays in settling the iconterms and updating the documentation caused delays in getting the merchandise. Fun times.
While it is not expected that sales and marketing teams, for example, will become savvy in transport logistics, raising awareness can be key to avoiding potential pitfalls.
Get a handle on transport logistics insurance coverage
How intimately aware are you of the insurance coverage you have when you export or import goods?
It is important to insure your goods. Damage and loss of cargo are part of the risks in transportation. Since international conventions limit the liability of ocean carriers, purchasing cargo insurance ensures that you are covered in case of loss, damage or even general average.
Most of the time, the value of the goods exceeds the limited liability of the ocean carrier. If you do not have insurance, you risk facing significant losses if your goods are lost or damaged.
Keep in mind the following:
- Without proper insurance coverage, any company facing a breakage or loss of cargo is only eligible for compensation of up to $500 per container.
- Insurance allows you to have peace of mind regarding the progress of a shipment and to restart an order as soon as possible, without having to worry about the economic stakes of a loss.
- While most companies only consider transport and logistics insurance when the need arises, there are countless unforeseeable circumstances that can affect any shipment at any time.
On several occasions, Globco has recovered large sums of money for clients who were unfortunate enough to have their merchandise damaged or lost in transit. This often allowed us to restart an order, relieve the economic pressure the client was facing, and allow the client to take care of the relationship with its customer.
In summary, businesses can access the expertise, flexibility, and efficiency necessary to achieve business goals, manage risks and guarantee compliance partnering with a transport logistics provider. It is essential to look beyond price and consider the long-term value that a strategic alliance can provide.
Interested in learning more about Globco’s integrated transport logistics services? Contact us today to discover the difference we make.
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