Implementing these best practices can help companies reduce the impact to transportation operations and save costs during business disruptions.
1. Collaborate with trading partners by connecting to a digital supply network. By connecting to a digital supply network, you gain visibility across the supply chain, helping you to proactively respond to what is happening on the network and share loads with other shippers for fuller trucks and lower expenses.
2. Improve the customer experience with enhanced customer service. Differentiate your organization by providing better on-time delivery, ensuring orders are delivered safely and efficiently. Proactively alert customers if there is a delay in a shipment.
3. Analyze historical records and trends. This will help you uncover any issues within your transportation operations that can challenge efficiencies, add to bottom-line costs, and inhibit improvement.
4. Audit all freight invoice charges. A high percentage of freight bills are incorrect, and if you don’t review them, you are leaving money on the table. Make sure you understand all surcharges and accessorials and that you are being charged accordingly.
5. Pay carriers quickly. Carriers can decide who they want to do business with, so make it easy to do business with your company by becoming a preferred shipper. To that end, treat your carriers as partners and pay them quickly.
6. Eliminate unnecessary fees. Sharing a sales forecast with your carriers alerts them as to when you need a truck so you can avoid expedited charges. Minimize accessorial charges by ensuring documentation is accurate and communicating clearly with those who apply these fees.
7. Utilize a transportation management system. A transportation management system (TMS) optimizes routes to reduce mileage; offers multiple modes including ocean and air; supports multiple languages, multiple currencies, and multiple time zones; optimizes multi-leg trips; integrates with other systems, such as an enterprise resource planning system (ERP) or warehouse system; and more. The TMS’s optimization engine can balance customers’ service-level requirements as cost efficiently as possible.
8. Connect transportation to other operations, eliminating silo management. When the TMS, procurement, ERP, and other systems integrate, barriers come down between departments, which provides opportunities for greater visibility, communication, and collaboration.
9. Minimize risk by connecting to a network that captures data from all trading partners. A shared data network delivers transparency across the value chain. Some networks track global incidents and connect these incidents to purchase orders and shipments to assess the potential impact to stakeholders.
10. Use next-generation technologies powered by data to make more informed supply chain decisions. Machine-learning algorithms can enhance the data you capture from trading partner communications, transactions, and collaborations across the supply chain, delivering more problem-solving insights, such as alternative sources of raw materials or logistics services.
SOURCE: David Cahn, Director of Global Marketing, Elemica