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Reducing Waste and Optimizing Your Supply Chain

optimizing

Reducing Waste and Optimizing Your Supply Chain

Waste is, well, it’s a waste; and if you’re trying to optimize your supply chain, it can be an expensive waste. There are a lot of sources, both internal and external, which can create waste in your supply chain, like process inefficiencies, communication gaps, lack of or delayed responses, and even errors in ordering or procurement. Whatever the reason, they often end up becoming an enormous waste of time and money, which can be drastically reduced by making supply chain processes more efficient. In fact, most successful companies focus heavily on decreasing waste and reducing wasteful processes.

One of the most effective methods for reducing waste is developing lean methods for supply chain management.

How to reduce waste and optimize your supply chain

Analyze Product Design

One way of not just reducing waste, but also optimizing your production is to examine and re-evaluate your products’ design. Identify any areas or methods to reduce raw material use or replace expensive materials with cheaper ones. If you can shave off small costs, they might result in substantial savings.

You should also evaluate your product packaging options and see if there’s any way you can use cheaper materials.

Manage Resources

Apart from just looking at just using cheaper materials, you should examine each of your production processes to identify which ones are generating waste. Redesign processes that are creating non-recyclable or non-reusable waste. Even recyclable waste should be assessed and you should take the cost of recycling into account.

When you’re optimizing processes, the cost of implementing changes may seem high, but the cost of the waste, as well as associated handling, disposal and even recycling, can add up over time.

Select the Right Equipment

On the topic of handling and disposing of waste, having the right waste management equipment can save time, money and a lot of hassles. We’ve made a lot of advancements in waste management technology and equipment. Trash compactors are a great example of simple solutions to make managing and handling waste much more efficient and save a lot of money over time.

It’s very important to first know how much and what kind of waste your supply chain produces, so start with that. There are a host of solutions, some with very specific uses which you might benefit from.

Improving Production Quality

Quality control is often focused on finished products, but one of the goals of quality management should be minimizing raw material wastage. If you optimize your manufacturing processes to reduce overall waste, it might have a two-fold advantage of increasing the number of goods that clear quality inspection.

Employee Feedback

The employees who have the task with the actual production will probably have a much better idea of where waste is being produced and the challenges with managing it. They could also provide a lot of feedback on how best to reduce waste and optimize waste management.

You can create focus groups tasked with identifying and optimizing waste since this kind of collaborative approach tends to have effective results.

Inventory Management

Lean approaches like JIT (Just-in-time) logistics can help you get closer to a 100% perfect-order measure. Apart from reducing order errors, it can also help you cut down tremendously on a lot of associated costs of inventory management like warehousing, utility costs rentals, and even insurance and taxes.

However, placing multiple orders may increase transport costs and your vendors might charge higher rates if each order is of a lower value, so weigh the pros and cons carefully.

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Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting Northern California Compactors, Inc blog.

international shipping

How to Save Time and Money With Your International Shipping

Whether you are just dipping your toes into international shipping, or you are a veteran who wants to update the firm’s processes, there is always more you can do to make your shipping practices more streamlined and efficient. After all, if you are going to compete with local players, then you need to be offering the best deal possible on international shipping. How you can do that is going to be unique to your firm, but some general practices can help.

From managing customer’s expectations of speed to optimizing your packaging, investing in cargo insurance to getting help when you need it, read on to learn how to save time and money with this guide to international shipping.

1. Balance your need for speed.

Generally, the quicker you want your shipments to be delivered, the more expensive the shipping is going to be. Therefore, it is essential that you balance your need for speed with your budget and your customer’s expectations. Customers expect reliable delivery times, not necessarily the fastest possible time, and in many cases, they are happy to wait a couple of days to bring costs down.

Therefore, your best strategy is to provide them with a variety of delivery options to choose from. That way, they can decide how much they are willing to pay and how long they can wait for their goods. Keep in mind that for most companies, the goal is to limit the number of individual shipments and instead maximize the amount of cargo shipped. This generally brings about the most efficient results.

When organizing international shipping for your customers, it is essential that you make their experience as pleasant as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by providing them with accurate shipping information that keeps their expectations in check.

2. Optimize your packaging.

One of the most overlooked ways to reduce international shipping costs is to optimize your packaging. The ideal packaging keeps your products safe and secure while also reducing shipping weight and box size so as not to receive additional charges. In order to find the optimal packaging for your goods, you need to take different factors into consideration, including a product’s height, weight, and volume.

From there, look for boxes that fit your product while leaving minimal wasted space. Additionally, choose lightweight packaging materials that still protect your items. Depending on what you are shipping, you may want to consider utilizing standard sized packaging that is provided by your freight provider, as this will remove your firm’s requirement to source custom box sizes.

When planning your packaging strategy, it is vital to think dimensionally, which means knowing the length, width, and depth, which together comprise the dimensional weight of your goods. If you are shipping in bulk, keep in mind that you want your packages to be shaped so that they can be expertly arranged to fit into the smallest size carton.

3. Invest in cargo insurance.

Just as you have insurance for your home, car, and health, it is also essential that you have coverage for your cargo. Unfortunately, it only takes one international shipping incident for your firm to feel adverse effects, which is why cargo insurance is so important. By getting this insurance, you will be covered for damaged goods, cargo theft or loss in transit, and any other unforeseen events that affect your products.

While many carriers and freight forwarders offer liability insurance, this is generally limited to a specific monetary amount and has many exclusions. Therefore, you don’t want to solely rely on this liability insurance because it usually is not enough to cover the costs of severe loss or damage. On the other hand, cargo insurance will render you a more comprehensive level of protection, ensuring you can recover the full value of lost, damaged, or stolen goods.

Having cargo insurance is highly recommended because it provides you with greater peace of mind which, in the long run, makes for a more efficient and streamlined international shipping process. The last thing you want is to be worried about your firm going under because something happens to a shipment that is out of your control. Do your company a favor and invest in cargo insurance.

4. Get help when you need it.

No matter what size your company is, what products you are shipping, or whether you are moving individual parcels or sizable cargo, there is no need to do it all on your own. After all, there are experts in these fields who have the knowledge and experience to help you reduce your costs and the number of resources you have to spend on shipping logistics.

By opting to work with an online freight forwarder, such as Shipa Freight, you are not only setting yourself up for shipping success now but also in the future. From generating an online quote to scheduling your shipments and then tracking them, an online freight forwarder provides you with all the tools you need to make your international shipping processes as streamlined as possible.

For example, as an individual, it can be challenging to locate the ports and other destinations that you need, but a high-quality freight forwarder can find them for you. Additionally, you will be personally guided by a representative throughout the process so that you can be assured that you are choosing the best options for your firm. When working with Shipa Freight, you will always be treated as a partner, not a commodity.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to international shipping, if you want to come out on top, then your firm must incorporate as many cost-saving and time-effective measures as possible. By including these steps into your international shipping strategy, you will be well on your way to having the most efficient shipping process possible.

What do you think are the most effective steps for reducing costs and time related to international shipping? What strategies does your firm use?

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As Chief Product Officer for Shipa Freight, Paul Rehmet is responsible for translating the vision of Shipa Freight into an easy-to-use online freight platform for our customers. Formerly Vice President of Digital Marketing for Agility, Paul managed Agility’s website, mobile apps, content marketing and online advertising campaigns. In his 25-year career, Paul has held various technology leadership positions with early-stage startups and Fortune 500 companies including Unisys, Destiny Web Solutions, and US Airways. Paul has a Masters in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Computer Science from Brown University. Paul is based in Philadelphia.  

GSO

Western U.S. package delivery company GSO completes brand conversion to General Logistics Systems US, Inc.

Three years after West Coast package delivery company GSO was acquired by international delivery group GLS, the company has officially changed its name to General Logistics Systems US, Inc. (GLS US).”

“GLS is an international company with 30 years of experience and allows me to proudly say, we now have global experience delivered locally,” said GLS-US CEO, Randall Swart. “Over the past year, GSO has gone through many exciting changes, and we remain committed to providing the best service to our valued customers. In 2020 we will celebrate 25 years doing what we love — delivering packages as an extension of our customers’ businesses.”

Swart said the company looks forward to using the knowledge and experience of the GLS Group to invest in new technologies, new facilities, new vehicles and future growth to support customers’ growing shipping needs. “We are excited about the potential to accelerate our growth and presence in the market,” he said.

GLS US, which serves California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Utah, is converting all trucks, drop boxes and supplies to GLS.

GLS acquired California-based GSO in October 2016. Since then, the two companies have worked seamlessly to integrate systems. The conversion to GLS reflects shared values between the two companies – reliability, security, transparency, flexibility, and sustainability. Customers started seeing the GLS brand in the Northwest when the company bought Seattle-based Postal Express in 2017 as part of a focused geographic expansion.

GLS US continues to expand and provide unmatched Priority Overnight, Ground and Freight delivery services throughout the Western United States. It has 2,300 U.S. employees, 48 depots, two hubs, and a customer service center to support more than 20,000 customers with a high-quality level of service including later pickup times, earlier deliveries, and proactive package tracking – all at competitive rates.

“Throughout the years, our service offerings and technology have evolved based on the needs of our customers,” Swart said. “We are committed to continue making improvements to ensure the best shipping experience possible. We’re growing quickly and are committed to living up to our reputation of providing all our customers with the same excellent delivery and customer service standards we’ve built over the years.”

GLS US will continue to offer customers an overnight delivery footprint unmatched by the national carriers with significantly reduced transit times across the West Coast using its ground and freight services. “We look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for our customers and our company,” Swart said.

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GLS, General Logistics Systems B.V. (headquartered in Amsterdam), provides reliable, high-quality deferred parcel services for over 200,000 customers, complemented by logistics and express services. Through organic and inorganic expansion, the Group has grown to provide network coverage of 45 countries via wholly owned and partner companies, and it is globally connected via contractual agreements. Seventy central transshipment points and about 1,400 depots and agencies are at GLS’ disposal. With its ground-based network GLS is one of the leading parcel service providers in Europe. In the financial year 2018/19 GLS achieved revenue of €3.3 billion. For more information about the Western U.S. parcel and freight delivery services offered by GLS, visit www.gls-us.com.

Supply Chain Professionals: Unilever

Unilever is no rookie when it comes to competitive supply chain management strategies, as the company highlighted close to $34 billion for total spend in their May 2018 Supply Chain Overview report. Within those figures, logistics and operations made up 44 percent of the total cost with marketing and business services closely following at 34 percent. The report also revealed the regions heavily involved with the total spend was split between Asia (32 percent), Europe (30 percent) and the Americas (27 percent), which all together made up 89 percent. The remaining 11 percent were split among regions such as the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Africa. These numbers make it very clear that Unilever boasts a significant global presence and shows no signs of slowing down.

The company has also been making news headlines with efforts toward waste-elimination, which creates an environment supportive of cost reduction and maximizing the use of packaging. Through what’s known as the Loop, premium packaging that is delivered directly to the customer is returned and refilled. Aluminum and glass were among the materials announced in the waste-free shopping system. The goal is to reduce the number of packages being thrown away. Global brands such as Dove and AXE confirmed they will test the Loop system with a stainless steel designed to last for at least 100 cycles, according to Unilever.

“We want to put an end to the current ‘take-make-dispose’ culture and are committed to taking big steps towards designing our products for re-use,” says Unilever CEO Alan Jope. “We’re proud to be a founding partner of Loop, which will deliver our much-loved brands in packaging which is truly circular by design.”

Unilever is a prime example of what it takes to sustain growth when the environment isn’t willing to cooperate. The company released information revealing that 2018 proved to be successful with total growth of 3.1 percent, minus spreads and July Argentina growth. Argentina’s hyperinflation was to blame for the exclusion.

“Looking forward, accelerating growth will be our number one priority,” Jope vows. “With so many of our brands enjoying leadership positions, we have significant opportunities to develop our markets, as well as to benefit from our deep global reach and purpose-led brands. We will capitalize on our strengthened organization and portfolio, and our digital transformation program, to bring higher levels of speed and agility. Strong delivery from our savings programs will improve productivity and fund our growth ambitions.

“In 2019 we expect market conditions to remain challenging. We anticipate underlying sales growth will be in the lower half of our multi-year, 3-5 percent range, with continued improvement in underlying operating margin and another year of strong free cash flow. We remain on track for our 2020 goals.”