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Ecommerce Expert Explains How to Develop an International Supply Chain

international supply chain

Ecommerce Expert Explains How to Develop an International Supply Chain

When selling products, you may need to import them from other countries and have them delivered to a warehouse or home. There are different ways to do this whether by air, train, or by sea. During this process, there are fees and regulations you should be aware of.  I will be explaining how to develop an international supply chain with three key elements: the type of shipping, selecting and booking your freight, and post-delivery supply chain.

Types of Shipping

There are several well-known types of shipping, such as Free Carrier, Free Alongside Ship, Cost and Freight, Cost/Insurance and Freight, Cost Paid To, Carrier and Insurance Paid To, and Delivery at Place, among others. In my experience, I have found three types that are used more than the others: Ex Work, Free on Board, and Delivery Duty Paid.

Ex Work means your goods are at the manufacture’s warehouse and you are responsible for shipping the product to your destination. In this case, you will have to pay for customs, customs bonds, taxes, and any charges that may come up during the process.

Free on Board (FOB) is when your product will be delivered to the port or ship. What does this mean? The manufacturer will get your product on the boat, but you will be in charge of getting it off the ship, through customs, and delivered to you. What I do not like about this type of shipping is that when the manufacturer drops the product off, it is unsupervised, and my insurance does not kick in until the next step. There is an uninsured moment, so I recommend avoiding FOB shipments.

Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) is one I deal with all the time and I also call it Door to Door. The goods are shipped to you and delivered to your warehouse or your house location. Whoever you negotiate with will pay all deliberate duties, and it is a good way to avoid unseen costs.

These three terms are extremely important when negotiating with manufacturers. I usually quote Ex Work or DDP, because, throughout the entire process, there is someone in charge of the shipment.

Select Freight

A freight forwarder is a person or company that deals with the shipment of goods from the manufacturer to a customer, market, or point of distribution. You have traditional ones, like DHL and FedEx, which more commonly do air shipping. DHL is usually the most expensive option, but the fastest large provider and can take two to ten days to deliver. FedEx can take up to two weeks, depending on the shipping type.

You can tell your freight forwarder where to pick up your product and where to deliver them to. The forwarder will handle the rest. They help you in handling customs, bonds, and taxes. There are plenty of companies that do this and can help you with all forms of transportation. I use freight marketplaces, which work like Expedia, giving you options and quotes from several freight forwarding companies. I regularly use Freightos and have had a good experience. Pro-tip: make sure to insure the full shipment, and don’t fudge your invoices.

Domestic Supply Chain

Once you have chosen your type of shipping and selected a freight forwarder, you need to find a place to store and ship your goods. What you will select depends on your business model. Some common solutions are Amazon FBA, delivering it to your warehouse, or use a third-party logistics or fulfillment center (3PL).

The ideal supply chain would be choosing Ex Work, using a freight forwarder, and ensuring shipment the entire way. You will have to pay for the cost of freight, taxes, and tariffs. The quickest route would be shipping to California, and from there, to your 3PL or warehouse. You can put everything in one location and distribute to the rest of the country.

Mastering these three key elements will guarantee the successful shipment of your goods and the success of your commerce. Having a good partner or a 3PL will add value to your business. It is important you do your research before you start importing products.

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Scott Bartnick is a strong professional leader with a degree in industrial and systems engineering, specializing in public relations. Bartnick is a serial entrepreneur, published author, and successful business owner. He has extensive and diverse experience with eCommerce consulting, operational excellence, public relations, sales, and marketing. You can reach Scott at The Five Day Startup.

supply management

Six Steps to Writing a Reliable Supply Management Plan

Whether you operate in the eCommerce industry, shipping, or physical retail with your own warehousing, a supply management plan is a must. Procuring goods and raw materials for further refinement, production, and overall monetization in an organized manner is a necessity of modern global industries.

According to Jigsaw Business Group, over one-third of businesses don’t have a clear image of how their suppliers and supply management is performing. Additionally, 37 percent of firms perform no practices for supply risk management, with only 8 percent performing above-average in these conditions. This showcases a larger issue in the supply management department of many large international businesses that rely on stable procurement without proper precautions and planning.

In worst cases, it can lead to loss of reputation, important clientele, and subsequent bankruptcy as a result of ad hoc management. To avoid that, outlining and implementing a supply management plan of your own is more than welcome going further into 2020. With that, let’s take a look at the specific benefits of having such a reliable plan in place, as well as the steps to get there.

The Advantages of a Supply Management Plan

Let’s briefly discuss the purpose of supply management before we dive into writing a plan centered on its implementation. As the name might suggest, supply management revolves around active tracking, procurement, and management of raw materials, production supplies, or items for handling and shipping. A standardized supply management plan is a welcome addition to any B2B-reliant business as it will effectively streamline your processes of ordering items from suppliers.

While rudimentary requests and correspondence can be achieved with writing tools such as WoWGrade and Evernote, creating a template for easy supply procurement is advised. Having such a document in place and available to your sales and supply departments can lead to highly beneficial outcomes for your business, including:

-Faster, more efficient cooperation with constant supply partners

-Minimized margin for supply procurement errors or mismanagement

-Increased production efficiency, turnaround time and bottom-line ROI

Writing the Supply Management Plan

1. Internal Company Survey

To achieve the most out of your supply management plan writing initiative, you should audit your current supply pipeline carefully. Assess the status of your supply routine, paperwork, existing communication channels, and QA processes before writing a plan outline for future use.

It’s important to take a good look at how things function in your company at the moment to identify bottlenecks and improvement opportunities early on. Additionally, forming a supply management plan task force can also prove useful since it will give several employees a clear goal in writing the document.

2. Assemble your Writing Stack

Writing a supply management plan is not unlike writing any other form of business document. Meaning, it should be done in a planned manner to avoid mistakes, related to both grammar and legalities. To ensure just that, several cloud-based writing platforms are available for your convenience:

Grammarly – platform dedicated to spell-checking, proofreading and error-free writing

Trust My Paper – outsourcing platform with numerous professional editors available for writing assistance

Hemingway – tool designed with readability and sentence construction in mind, useful for supply documents

Grab My Essay – platform which houses numerous editing, rewriting and on-demand writing services

Thesaurus – a vocabulary tool useful for industry-specific terminology required for supply procurement

Studicus – in addition to procurement documents, various types of correspondence can be outsourced here

3. Supply Management Plan Overview

The easiest way to get ahead on your supply management plan writing is to start with the outline and move things forward from there. An outline represents a set of subheadings and categories that will be filled with important procurement information once the order is about to be made.

Given its nature, some of the elements it should contain include storage information, transportation details, special order requirements, personnel information, etc. Use editing and formatting tools such as Supreme Dissertations and Readable to create legible documents for your B2B procurement and correspondence. Make a clear plan of which items are primary to your business to give the supplier enough information on how to proceed with your order.

4. Supply Requirements & Timelines

Once your outline is in place, it’s important to include fields for numeric data in your supply management plan. Information on the number of your orders, types of materials you’ve requested, as well as the optimal delivery timeline field, is essential in the document. These details can be outlined via writing platforms such as Best Essay Education or even Google Docs depending on the complexity of your typical procurements.

In practice, the supply requirements and timeline fields will be the first items your suppliers and B2B partners will scan through to ensure their availability. To further improve the document’s legibility, you can include easy-to-spot contact information in regards to your sales department. This will allow for a faster approval process and further streamline your supply management in light of newly-outlined standardization documents.

5. Detail the QA Standards

Lastly, risk management is a pivotal factor in the supply chain management, one which can make or break your pipeline’s efficacy going forward. The supply management plan you outline and ship to B2B partners must require detailed information on the QA standards of your company.

Shipping items such as hazardous materials, medical equipment, chemical compounds, and other dangerous elements will naturally require careful handling, shipping, and storage of said goods. Be upfront with your suppliers in regard to QA standards. This is especially welcome if you order materials from abroad – your shipments and B2B relations will be that much more stable as a result.

Supply Management Plan Implementation

While supply management trends continue to spiral toward digitalization, written procurement documents are still vital for effective B2B communication and shipping of essential goods. Create an outline that reflects both your service portfolio and internal work ethics using the above-discussed steps as guidelines.

Don’t be afraid to revise and reformat your own supply management plan as much as necessary before settling for a standardized template for company-wide use. Once you get a handle on your procurement writing pipeline, supply chain management of your warehousing and shipping requests will become that much simpler.

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Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer. Kristin runs her own FlyWriting blog.

tyson foods

TRANSPLACE GETS BOOSTS FROM TYSON FOODS, DANA INTERNATIONAL

Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, which is one of the world’s largest food companies, bestowed its 2019 Premier Carrier Award to Transplace, the logistics/transportation/technology company headquartered in Frisco, Texas, and operating offices all over the United States and overseas.

“Transplace has been a partner for more than 35 years with a superior track record of on time and on budget delivery across our entire North American network,” said Chris Kozak, Tyson’s associate director of Contract Carriers. “Over the years as we’ve expanded and developed new consumer-appealing food products, Transplace has adapted its transportation management technologies to support us in staying at the forefront of our industry. Transplace consistently rises to our toughest logistics challenges and remains flexible to the day-to-day changes in our dynamic schedules.”

“In the more than three decades that I’ve been leading our 3PL strategies for Tyson Foods, it truly has been a collaborative relationship,” says Jay Moss, president of Transplace Specialized Services. “We are grateful for the award and honored to work with an organization that’s continuously evolving to meet consumer demands. Our access to data from North America’s largest transportation management system allows us to offer cost management insights and unprecedented efficiencies of scale. The Tyson Foods teams are open to our recommendations and together we’ve overcome countless supply chain challenges over the years.”

In other news, Maumee, Ohio-based Dana International, which engineers solutions for passenger-vehicle, commercial-truck, off-highway and industrial-machinery clients, recently selected Transplace to manage its North American transportation network.

vascor

APL Logistics Vascor Celebrates 2019 with “Best 3PL Company” Recognition

As 2019 came to an end, APL Logistics Vascor was recognized for the first time as a shortlist nominee for the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), earning the title as this year’s “Best Third-Party Logistics Company” award.

This recognition reiterates the Delhi-based automotive 3PL as a leader in providing bulk transportation options within the region. APL Logistics Vascor is a joint-venture between  APL Logistics and VASCOR Ltd. established in 2012.

“Our unique rail-based solutions have proven to be a great success among the Automotive companies and OEMs,” commented Umesh Bhanot, Managing Director of APL Logistics Vascor.

“This award is a testimony to the commitment and hard work our employees put in to achieve operational excellence. We are honored to receive this award and will continue to strive to provide a seamless and delightful experience for our customers,” he concluded.

Held annually, the 2019 Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence awards took place the second week in December in Bengaluru, India and highlighted leading logistics and supply chain successes from the year. Factors evaluated to determine category winners were based on four main pillars which included:

-Overall business performance

-Financial performance and stability in supply chain

-Operational supply chain performance 

-Enablers of supply chain  management through submission of case studies  

expert logistics

The Benefits of Hiring an Expert Logistics Company

When it comes to running a business, it’s extremely important to always keep economic efficiency in mind; that’s the only way to expand your business while maintaining a profit. And in many situations, that means making sacrifices. However, if you work smart instead of hard, you can avoid most of that.

For example, it’s crucial to know when your company needs to do something on its own, and when to hire a third-party to do the job for you. If you need goods transported across vast distances, hiring an expert logistics company is probably better than doing it on your own. There are many benefits to such a move, and we’re here to lay them out clearly!

Saving Time

You probably know the old adage “time is money”. Well, there’s no field in which that’s truer than in business. At the end of the day, no matter your managerial capacity, you’ve only got so much time to deal with the important details of running a business. That’s why it’s important to have professional staff and third-party companies who will handle crucial parts of the job for you, so you’re not stretched too thin.

 To give you an example – most businesses are aware that there are many advantages to maritime shipping. However, it’s also incredibly complicated, which warrants the hiring of an expert logistics company to deal with the goods transportation for you. After all, if you were to do it in-house, that would mean tons of research, a lot of new staff, not to mention all of the compliance issues. But if you hire a logistics company to take care of this instead, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of international shipping and trade without dealing with the pesky minutiae.

Consider Cost Efficiency

If we’ve established that time is money and that hiring an expert logistics company saves time, let’s take a look at the former side of that coin. In other words – the money part of the equation. Naturally, many companies around the world have in-house logistics departments. But bear in mind, these are usually large, multi-national conglomerates – companies that can afford to avoid hiring an expert logistics company and bear the costs of transportation themselves.

 On the other hand, if you’re a medium-sized business (and on a global scale, most companies are), you should keep in mind that this will be very costly. And why do it in the first place, really? Outsourcing some of these tasks means not dealing with all of the doing-business costs of a full-fledged logistics department in a large company.

High Standard of Service

Bear in mind that, if you’re thinking of hiring an expert logistics company, you should go with a reputable one. Logically, renowned logistics companies have a brand image to uphold, just like any other firm. And that means that they have well-trained staff and tight schedules – everything you need in order to make sure that your logistics are handled the right way! If you want your end-users and consumers to have a product in their hands without delay, building an in-house logistics team just wouldn’t cut it.

 Also, if your company needs some international transportation, the details of that are definitely something you don’t want to handle on your own. There are plenty of US custom clearance issues and pesky bureaucratic procedures. And while these could seem arcane to you, expert logistics companies handle that kind of stuff on a daily basis.

Latest Technology

When it comes to delivery services and things like freight forwarding, believe us – not hiring an expert logistics company would be a huge mistake. While this might seem like purely menial labor on the outside, shipping involves far more than the loading and unloading of crates. In reality, especially in the contemporary world of global interconnected trade, any kind of concerted transport involves the usage of highly advanced software and technology.

And that kind of modern transport tech is more expensive than you might think; adding a further reason to not bother with logistics on your own. If you hire a specialized company to do it for you, there will be no further investment in logistics that you’d have to make. And that’s definitely important from the cost-efficiency side of things. That’s right, you’re beginning to see why even the biggest product-oriented companies in the world opt for using external logistics experts. At the end of the day, if you’re not a company solely focused on logistics, they’re complicated enough to warrant leaving them to a company that does. 

So, what can you take away from this small outlook into the world of transport logistics? There’s really no other conclusion you could reach, save for the fact that it’s best to leave logistics to the experts. In other words – hiring an expert logistics company to handle all of it for you. That gives you ample time to focus on issues that deserve your attention more, like growing your business and improving the revenue streams.

And that’s something you’ll be able to do if you don’t spend your valuable time on logistical details. More specifically, it would also be fiscally irresponsible to spend money on managing and developing an in-house logistics team, when outsourcing is a much cheaper option. Sure, outsourcing isn’t always the obvious solution, but if you ask us, in this case, it’s a no-brainer.

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 James Greene is a freelance journalist, most often providing insights into topics related to international commerce. He also advises people on topics ranging from global shipping solutions to how to transport your vehicle in no time from Saudi Arabia. When he’s not writing articles on trade, he likes playing chess and hiking on Appalachian trails.

Shipping

Five Important Ways to Negotiate Better Shipping Terms

The final price of your product or service depends on a wide range of factors. Shrewd people in business know there is more to making profits than keeping your buying price low and selling price high. Additional business expenses can reduce your final margin. These include shipping, marketing, storage, and a range of legal expenses.

Negotiating a low price from your manufacturers is just the beginning. Supply chain negotiation training seminars can teach you several ways to gain value before your products reach your customers.

The shipping industry can offer you notable savings opportunities. To identify these, you have to have a keen eye. In this article, we look at five ways you can apply negotiation training skills to obtain better shipping rates.

Understand the Shipping Terms

Global trade has thrived on the back of shipping and logistics companies for hundreds of years. As a result, the shipping industry has developed a unique culture and language. Whether you are dealing with local or multinational shipping companies, there is a range of terms that you should know.

Terms such as CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) and FOB (Free on Board) are used freely in the shipping industry. If you are new to the business, you can learn shipping terms by attending a seminar on the essentials. If you don’t understand the industry’s regular terms, you risk making a deal that can be negative for your business. 

Negotiation training seminars can teach you how to prepare before sitting down to make a deal. You can improve your position by researching the industry before meeting companies. Also, you can carry out mock discussions with shipping company agents. This can give you a feel of the language and questions that may come up during a real negotiation.

Research Possible Hidden Costs

One of the things that can diminish your profits is hidden logistics costs. The final price for your products should factor in all the costs you expect to incur before delivery. Talking to the different authorities that can come into contact with your products in transit can clarify your overall costs. Knowing the factors affecting your shipping rates can help you negotiate to reduce hidden costs.

By working closely with your shipping company, you can identify smart ways to cut down your costs. Many companies have different shipping rates based on weight as well as box dimensions. If you use the standard boxes the shipping company provides, you can save a few dollars on each load.

Develop Your Negotiation Strategy

Once you have understood the market and options available, negotiation training can help you plan your strategy. Writing down your strategy and goals can give you an overview of the entire process. The points listed below are some of the elements taught in negotiations seminars that can help to strengthen your strategy.

Budget

Based on your business model, you should have a price you are not willing to go above. Your strategy should include the ideal and maximum price you are willing to offer for the shipping service.

BATNA

A BATNA is your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. It refers to a set of alternative options you can take if you cannot reach a viable deal in your negotiations. A well-planned BATNA can help you to recognize a bad deal and give you the confidence to walk away.

Timelines

Time constraints can have a significant impact on your negotiations strategy. The earlier you start discussions with shipping companies, the less pressure you will have to close a deal. Beginning your negotiations early can give you more time to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

The Urgency of Delivery

Your strategy should state how fast you need the products to be delivered once ordered. Same day deliveries often cost more than two or three days of delivery. The delivery time constraints depend on the nature of your products and promises made to your customers.

Payment Terms

Although one-off payment offers come with attractive discounts, they can also be quite risky. Making payments in installments is safer and keeps the shipping company committed until the final payment. Offer well-balanced payment terms that enable your shipping company to deliver your products on time while limiting your financial risk.

Concessions

Well-trained negotiators plan the concessions they are willing to give before discussions begin. In your research, find concessions that can create value for the shipping company and present them in your meeting. The negotiation process can become very challenging if you are too rigid.

Use Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL)

According to the World Shipping Council, the intermodal shipping network plays a significant role in the cost and rate of service delivery. An intermodal network is made up of ships, airplanes, trucks, and trains. The connection points where cargo is transferred between modes of transport are also part of the network. Many companies depend on intermodal networks for the inland dispersal of cargo from harbors and airports.

Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL) provide a useful service by shipping your cargo via their own intermodal networks. A trusted 3PL provider can save you time and money while allowing you to focus on your core business.

3PLs allow you to negotiate with one service provider who can manage all the regulatory and intermodal networking issues you may face. Further, your 3PL can help you connect and share shipping costs with other dealers in your vicinity.

Negotiate with Other Shipping Companies

Before signing off on a deal, make sure you have exhausted your other options. If you only deal with one shipping company, you may miss a better option. In a comprehensive negotiation seminar, you can learn how to leverage competitive bids to secure better deals.

Additionally, training to negotiate with multiple companies feeds into your research. It teaches you more about the existing challenges in the shipping industry. The knowledge you acquire can help you create value as you deal with the shipping companies.

Round-Up

The shipping industry presents smart people in business with a wide array of chances to negotiate better deals. The techniques in this article are not exhaustive. However, they can set you on the right track and feed into your strategy.

Negotiation training seminars are designed to maximize your potential and spur you into action. However, there is no strict rule book that is applicable in every case. As you grow in business, you can develop your own strategies based on your training and personal preferences.

logistics strategy

10 Experts Share Tips on How to Develop a Winning Logistics Strategy

Effective transition of resources cuts production costs, which in turn gives you more maneuvering space to improve other aspects of your business. However, choosing the optimal strategy is demanding, especially for startups. Less experienced business owners can easily fall into a trap and focus their attention on expensive solutions that never show results and live to see their business crumble.

Therefore, we’ve decided to share some of the most constructive pieces of advice from people who mastered logistics strategy development.

Shawn Casemore

Founder and the president of Casemore & Co, Inc. wrote a book on operational management, focusing mainly on sales but most of his ideas are universally applicable. Shawn states that the distribution network holds significant savings potential if properly handled. Leveraging predicted sales volume to negotiate a lower price is one of the key components in logistics. 

Providing long-term cooperation to a courier service often leads to reduced freight costs, meaning more money stays in your pocket. It’s the same as it’s with professional writing services, the more work you need the better terms you get in return. 

Danny Yunes

Coyote Logistics’ Manager of Supply Chain Strategy is a veteran in the industry, with an immense experience that provided him with an important takeaway. Danny Yunes claims that logistics should be calibrated according to the needs of your customers. If your core consumers expect quality service rather than speed because their priority is to receive undamaged goods and according to specifications, your target strategy is clear.

Samuel Levin

SaaS transport management and outsourcing are what MavenWire‘s Managing Director has to say to startups that can’t afford substantial investments in logistics during the first few years. He argues that these options are affordable and easy to keep up with, allowing less experienced managers to stay on top of the process.

Steve Murray

Experienced Chief Researcher at Chain Supply Visions claims that implementation of Sales and Operation planning is the most effective way to build up the performance of each company department to its full potential. This strategy includes cooperation among departments, synchronization of each operational process to reduce loses, avoid penalties, keep data updated, and keeping this harmony in place through constant process auditing and dealing with every issue as a team.

Imagine running an assignment service and your writers sit idle because the orders are not coming through. The whole team should work on finding the solution that will allow seamless workflow and keep the customers happy with the turnaround time. 

Nick Martin

Founder of RiskLogic says that logistics strategy should be resilient. His thoughts are that Just-in-Time strategy seems perfect in the short run but it is fragile because minor setbacks can put your entire operation to a halt. A resilient strategy is one where you are prepared for every eventuality and there’s not much that can disrupt your flow.

Rick Blasgen

Council of Supply Chain Management President and CEO, Rick Blasgen, keeps it simple. His advice is to hire a logistics expert with a proven track record and let that person analyze your options and start working on your strategy. You could start your hunt on LinkedIn and carefully pick top candidates. You could also visit professional conferences for potential hires. Think of it like googling to decide would you hire AssignmentMasters, Assignment Geek, or Grademiners review service to develop marketing content for you.

Clay Gentry

Transportation Insight’s VP of Logistic Operations says that one should develop a strategy according to its impact on your business goals and customers’ operations. His advice is to focus on fulfilling service level goals while implementing the most cost-effective method of resource distribution. Moreover, Clay suggests that outsourcing is sometimes more effective than investing in the development of logistics infrastructure.

Mark Broussard 

CEO of SAMI emphasizes the importance to keep investments in logistics rational, especially in the early days of conducting business. His idea is to be clear that each action you take makes perfect sense for your business at the time that action is taken. Mr. Broussard thinks that every investment and step forward in the development of your strategy needs to support your entire process. 

Kenneth B. Ackerman

Mr. Ackerman devoted his entire professional life to logistics and warehousing management, eventually founding Warehousing Forum, a vault of industry wisdom. His advice is to follow the corporate strategy. Let’s say you decide to start a business and write custom papers for college students and your goal is to provide the fastest service on the internet to take over the market from bestessays.com.au and myassignmenthelp review because they are your main competitors. From the moment you pick up an order to the moment of delivery, the process efficiency depends on flawless logistics. 

Tim Garcia

As it’s to be expected from one of the leaders in the chain management software development industry, Mr. Garcia suggests you should invest in digital solutions to enhance your logistics. His arguments include commonly understaffed supply-chain which makes people work faster and make more mistakes, ability to keep track of each item and financial leverage against a team of experts that would do the same job for much more money.

Conclusion

Enhancing your logistics doesn’t necessarily mean you should pour money into expensive infrastructure or state of the art management software. In most cases, it’s all about organizing that which you already have to serve your purpose the best. However, working with limited resources makes planning and organizing the chain that binds the production somewhat of a challenge. We hope these words of wisdom will help you in achieving your goals.

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This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies, he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.

5 Tips on Obtaining the Right Logistics Company

In whatever industry you are in, whether you sell products in a brick and mortar shop or you deal in e-commerce, you do need a logistics company at some point.

Some logistics companies are not reliable at all times and may deceive you into a contract and not deliver afterward. How can you fork out the bad weeds and choose amongst the good logistics companies?

Logistics company capability

Check for the coverage of each freight company by going through each service area listed on their site or catalogs. If a logistics company has knowledge in your specific target area, you will get faster service and efficient transportation of goods.

Above a large service area, a freight company should be able to handle all your needs. You should set out all your requirements before you commit to a contract with any freight company no matter how reputable it is.

Confirm the maximum load capacity if you will be shipping and transporting heavy weighing goods and if there are any extra costs for that service.

Customer Service

The key to finding a reputable freight company is ensuring on how they treat their customers. Checking whether companies respond swiftly will help you know how fast your shipping related queries will be resolved.

Checking online for customer reviews and checking the estimated response time on Facebook, if the company has a Facebook page is a great start. Take for example, online writing service companies, when hiring a one you often read reviews about top companies like EssayGeeks, Rush-my-essay.com, https://www.ninjaessays.com or a-writer.com. You easily come to know about the quality of the services they offer.

Be careful when doing an online check, some companies may fake testimonials on their site, so try to delve deeper into that research. You can also tackle this problem by asking for references of companies that use that freight company.

If a company is clear and responds to your queries, that may be an indication of good customer service. If there is no good communication from the onset, you will likely face major problems in the future.

It doesn’t matter how affordable a company may seem because if that company compromises on customer service, you will face bigger financial woes in the future. Consider the money you will lose if your orders are late by weeks with no sound explanation and how much that will cost you.

Safety and protection offered

The safety and protection of your goods are paramount when it comes to choosing the perfect logistics company. The safety and protection of your goods include insurance that covers damage and theft of your goods even when caused by third parties.

Checking all the documentation of that insurance and doing your own background check of the underwriters will tell you a lot about that insurance company.

For example, it will tell you if a company will really pay out, how reliable it is and how long it usually takes for the cover to take care of all losses incurred. Read all the fine print and terms and conditions before you sign to avoid nasty surprises later on when you claim.

Make sure that the logistics company you choose has goods-in-transit insurance. Other added value services you should look out for are GPS trackers dashboard cameras and advanced driver assistance systems.

Check if the company is also registered with Truck Associations in your State to ensure its authenticity as there will be some level of accountability for that company.

Suiting your needs

This is again something similar to hiring an online writing service. You first check which one will be good for college essays and which one will more be suited for dissertation or thesis. It is then that you decide from services like EssaysOnTime.com, edugeeksclub.com, bestessays.com or Australianwritings.

If you have large shipment requirements, you need to look for freight companies that have warehouses and storage facilities in the areas you wish to ship to. It should also be able to suit your needs of any transportation mode you will require to ship to your destination.

At this point, you also should not compromise your quality of service with affordability because low-cost companies are not always reliable and offer less visibility, which are two factors that are an enemy of progress. However, you also should not pay exorbitant prices, so try to balance out the services offered and the pricing.

If you have a smaller company that needs fast courier services, you can opt for express courier services offered by various companies. Some courier companies offer next day delivery services and these are great because of several reasons.

Some of those reasons are that even if your delivery does fall short, it won’t be delayed for long. Another reason is that your package stays for only a short while at the hands of the courier company, which minimizes the risk of theft and damage.

Real-time data and tracking

Hiring a freight company that offers real-time data and live tracking services for your goods is a valuable factor in your decision-making process. You should go for a courier company that will let you know where you package in real time and get an accurate estimated time of arrival.

Many companies claim to have this feature only to find out later that they actually don’t, so ask for each company to subject you to a sample. Automated systems are taking this industry to higher levels and if a company is not willing to change, it may be an indicator unreliable service.

The importance of this feature is seen when your freight company has unavoidable delays. With that feature, you can tell your customers exactly where their products are and when they can expect them. So, another feature that is important in your decision-making is the accuracy of the data you receive.

Choosing the best logistics company is a hard and tedious task to do but with these points outlined above, you can make the best use of your resources. Saving your time and costs is always good for business.

To save your time in businesses reliant on logistical support, you should aim at getting swift delivery services. Keep a close eye on the customer service you receive and if it starts to change, consider converting to another company before it starts crippling your business. Lastly, always ensure the safety and security of your goods as the damage might prove to more than a monetary loss.

This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.comon various academic and business topics. 

3PL

IN-HOUSE VS. 3PL: WHAT TO CONSIDER

Otherwise known as a third-party logistics provider, a 3PL is utilized by a range of businesses to support logistics and supply-chain management specifically as it applies to distribution and fulfillment services. Pre-1970s transportation contracts were comprised of the shipper (the giant retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers) and the shipping carrier. This all changed however with the introduction of an increased number of “sellers” to the market. These sellers didn’t count on logistics as part of their core competencies, and that produced what economists refer to as a “gap” (in the market). The 3PL jumped in to occupy said gap and the rest is history.

Major legislation passed in 2008 legally held 3PLs as responsible for the inventory they receive/hold/transport as the actual owner said inventory. Roughly 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies and nearly all (96 percent to be exact) of Fortune 100 companies use 3PLs today. 

Despite the high uptake of 3PLs, like most industries there are detractors when it comes to outsourcing order fulfillment. Some of the pros listed for keeping things in-house are:

-You understand your business at a level no third party could.

-Issues are easier to resolve.

-Change and/or minute-by-minute adjustments are more flexible and manageable.

Along the same lines, there are experiences with 3PLs that have left sour tastes because:

-Once a relationship is established and a contract signed with a 3PL, it can be difficult to exit.

-Relinquished control can be complex when it comes to deliveries and client relations.

-It can be difficult to communicate with external drivers/shippers or similar transport personnel in the field.

Of the above, the last point, communication with field personnel, is the principal sticking point. If order fulfillment is linked closely with 3PL transportation personnel, which in most cases it is, having a clear understanding of supervisory roles and what to do in the event of delays or poor communication is vital. Notwithstanding for the most part, the pros to working with a 3PL in a smart and effective manner far outweigh the cons.

For example, concentrating order fulfillment and similar tasks in-house takes up a tremendous amount of resources, which equates to more work and a larger staff. Many relationships, with the carriers most notably, are characterized by a disproportionate number of problems due to the complexity of the job, and it is also equally difficult to know if the rates one is paying in-house are truly competitive with what a 3PL can provide.

A 3PL can compare and select the most competitive rates due to a very wide supply of carriers. They, of course, have lower overhead costs and less staff overall is needed. Then there is perhaps the most compelling argument in 2019 for a 3PL relationship: the latest technology is always up-to-date.

With regards to order fulfillment, a 3PL provides an array of functions, but two areas stand out:

Warehousing

Many 3PLs maintain extensive warehousing facilities and especially when confronting the decision to invest and open a warehouse in a foreign company, a 3PL might make better sense. Granted, one does lose a bit of control not being able to oversee warehouse management processes, but it is likely that a 3PL with warehouse management experience in said foreign country would encounter fewer costly surprises than a new company in a given territory.

At a warehouse level most 3PLs run a warehouse management system (WMS). There is no “one size fits all” solution here as a WMS can be highly complex or as simplistic per firm needs. The value added with a WMS is shippers can access reports, track inventory and easily monitor progress. This is done remotely, of course, and most 3PLs that have an advanced WMS can seamlessly integrate it with enterprise accounting software or enterprise resource planning solutions.

Picking, Packing & Shipping

Once an order is placed or something needs to be retrieved or moved, picking, packing and shipping take place. This is where coordination meets timing meets client expectations. A wrong move will cost money and potentially a client’s contract. One of the more common mistakes that occur when trying to run a warehouse (in-house as opposed to using a 3PL) is if packing and shipping procedures are not clearly understood and/or if the company has little experience in this area, generating the appropriate labeling and being able to negotiate favorable rates with carriers such as UPS, USPS and DHL cannot be leveraged. An experienced 3PL in this instance is an invaluable resource to count on.   

Prior to transitioning into “things to consider” before choosing a 3PL, perhaps the best argument for their existence is technology related. A tech-enabled 3PL leverages the latest fulfillment software to streamline the flow of information, which saves time and automates nearly everything along the supply chain. Second, being able to split inventory across fulfillment centers via software integration and advanced analytics drives effective chains and reduces errors over the long term. No one firm can be an expert in everything and successful 3PLs invest in technology knowing that their clients simply do not have the time nor resources to do the same. They are rightly betting the 3PL will do that for them.

Things to Consider

Prior to embarking on a relationship with a 3PL in the order fulfillment arena, there are several issues that should be addressed:

-Can the 3PL commit to ongoing and irregular investments that will always be needed to keep up with augmenting capacity?

-Is it beneficial to commit to these investments on an ongoing basis?

-With seasonal drops or sales spikes, unplanned expenses generally come together: A good 3PL provider can manage these market fluctuations and protect businesses accordingly.

-Regarding handling, the amount of time spent handling special packing materials can be onerous: a 3PL provider can maintain consistency and decrease costs.

Specific Questions for the 3PL Provider

-How do you administer your accounts?

-Will I have access to your reporting data?

-Does the firm count on personnel with regulatory experience?

These issue areas and questions will help in the initial vetting process. Regardless of whether the firm chooses to stay in-house or contract a 3PL for order fulfillment duties, knowing what the other scenario that has not been selected will cost and look like is vital to any intelligent decision.

Global Trade Magazine Opens Nominations for the 7th Annual “Americas 50 Leading 3PLs”

Global Trade Magazine has officially kicked-off its seventh annual “America’s Top 50 Leading 3PLs” nominations process, with the 2019 list scheduled to go live in the September/October issue. This year will feature the most competitive movers and shakers transforming domestic and international logistics by raising the bar higher while exceeding client expectations and maintaining an exemplary company profile and reputation.

Companies leading initiatives in specific industries will have the opportunity to showcase their expertise among a variety of categories including E-commerce/Omni-Channel, Temperature-Controlled, Innovation, Hazmat, Retail, and much more. Following last year’s focus on “needs-based” categories, the 2019 feature will spotlight specialty industries with the highest demand.

“It’s a measure of the quickly growing/changing/evolving global marketplace that arguably the most critical industry serving it, Third Party Logistic Providers (3PLs), continues to grow, change and evolve at a dizzying pace,” explained former senior editor Steve Lowery in the issue’s introduction.

“That evolution has been chronicled over the years in this, our annual Top 3PL issue, as we have written about such things as an increasing emphasis and reliance on technology, the constant march toward transparency and, most recently, the increasing pace of acquisitions and consolidations.”

Global Trade Magazine will determine the final 50 nominations based on industry reputation, outstanding operational excellence, game-changing initiatives, disruptive technology, and unmatched levels of innovation. This list not only showcases leading players, but also serves as a comprehensive list for manufacturers seeking new partnerships and opportunities.

“It is easy to say that one must move faster, deliver services quicker, be more innovative and have an organizational agility to flex with the world, but it takes something quite different to lead the cultural transformation that is required to make these goals a reality,” said Rich Bolte, CEO of BDP.

“Leadership will have to change as well. Leaders will be measured by their ability to innovate and create potential disruptions. The old paradigm of measuring only performance and execution has changed.”

Nominations are currently open and will be accepted through August 15 at 5 p.m. CST.

To see a complete list of recipients, please visit www.globaltrademag.com and view the current issue.