With fuel costs continually rising, and consumers demanding faster delivery (even for free) it is more important than ever for businesses to control their shipping costs. The dynamics of this industry have changed also with;
- changes in business models e.g. drop-shipping and transport auctions
- changes within the supply-chain e.g. The Pallet Network
- increase in Networked Operators e.g. Fastway Franchise (amongst others)
Take note of the following Logistics Advice for your business;
1) As with all effective procurement exercises, define your requirements accurately. Ensure you fully understand your unique shipping profile defining characteristics such as weight, destinations, volumes, growth trends and product mix.
2) Keep abreast of industry rates. Due to the market drivers above and increased competition, market rates have been squeezed to the benefit of the consumer e.g. Parcels up to 30KG can now be delivered next-day nationwide for only €4.95. Conversely rates can increase also due to external factors (fuel prices) so keep informed of such economic factors.
3) New Thinking – Design For Shipping (DFS). At the design stage, ask, how will the product ship (individual pack, cartons etc.)? How many packs per pallet, any overhang (causing possible damage). How many pallets per container, will the container have lots of extra space, are you shipping air? Can the product be lighter, when shipping by weight.
4) Source a solid Logistics partner. You must be confident that your Logistics partner is your business partner. Look beyond cost – review on-time performance percentages and claims rates, then examine overall return on investment, rather than just price. As always, consider their financial stability, insurance, experience, technological advances etc.
5) Assess geographic coverage and infrastructure. When comparing your company’s logistics requirements, visit various operators to assess their capacity and facilities. Ensure their geographic locations match yours also including to accommodate peak seasons, new products and/or locations.
6) If appropriate, get your Logistics partner to meet your customers. Use your Logistics partner to define the exact customer requirements e.g delivery times, key personnel, stock holding, returns, reporting, invoicing etc.
7) Use a Logistics Expert. As you do with Insurance and Utilities costs, use a strategic partner to manage all your Logistics requirements. Their expertise will find the best Local and Global Transport solutions for all your inbound and outbound logistics requirements.