5 Ways to Build Great Carrier Partnerships

A great carrier partnership should begin with a comprehensive service agreement that is a win for all partners involved. Choosing a third-party logistics provider with a commitment to good relationship building with their carrier partners is key to excellent service.

Great relationships with your carrier brings many advantages to your business:

Expand Your Network

Effective carrier partnerships should expand your capabilities to reach your global customers more efficiently. Some partnerships only focus on the needs and routes that their clients are looking for today, but building a long-term, strategic relationship with your carriers will open up comprehensive planning and optimize your logistics network.

Improve Cash Flow

Working with carriers in a transactional manner as well as a long-term collaboration with contract rates is essential in meeting our customers’ need. One way we continually keep our relationships with our carriers is by paying quickly. Paying within contract terms, usually within 7 days of receiving invoice documentation, makes carriers more flexible with their drivers and other costs that improve each business’ cash flow.

Increase Efficiencies

A great carrier partner has processes to streamline shipments to ensure success. We work with carriers to help them utilize their equipment and drivers more effectively and also allow them to use our technology as a bridge to streamline track & trace and electronic data interchange.

At Langham, we believe in continuous improvement in our partners and ourselves. One of the most significant goals in 2015 is to further our culture of quality through LEAN and Six Sigma processes.

Increase Profits

Cultivating a great carrier partnership means taking care of the bottom line, too. Paying a fair price for good service creates respect in the relationship. We work in collaboration with our carriers to create better customer profiles and increase efficiency so profits continue to grow.

Create Opportunities

We work to create a win-win-win relationship with our clients and our carriers so that all parties are enthusiastically involved. We find this helps foster long-term relationship growth with carriers and customers.

We believe in developing long-lasting relationships by offering shipments that effectively utilize carriers’ equipment, drivers, routes and networks to meet our and their goals.

For more information about starting a carrier partnership with Langham, please contact info@elangham.com.


Top 3 Supply Chain Trends for 2015

As the new year rings in around the world, Langham Logistics continues to look for opportunities for increased client satisfaction and streamlined supply chains. We expect the following trends to continue to shape the logistics landscape in 2015.

Mobility

There is a growing demand for mobile-accessible supply chain information for both B2B and B2C businesses. This opportunity provides end-to-end delivery information to management in real time to inform better decisions, improve customer service and drive down logistics costs.

Also, the data taken from mobile devices and connected businesses provides predictive analytics for 3pl providers. For example, equipment and vehicle breakdowns can be anticipated, or a series of events that needs further investigation can be flagged. This allows organizations to transform spontaneous, expensive maintenance into planned downtime and improve efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.

Collaboration

Utilize collaboration tools to share documents and plan more accurately while simplifying standard procedures. This increases supply chain efficiency, drives down costs and increases compliance. For example, using customs-approved electronic documentation, labeling and electronic submission at all stages of the supply chain expedites the process of moving goods through customs.

Transportation

The increased trends of mobility and collaboration are driven by the transportation needs of the modern workplace with multiple partners and business entities and operating world wide.

Increasing the efficiency and visibility of supply chains can significantly reduce transport-related costs for the supplier. This can include additional spending related to last-minute transport mode decisions, fees for cargo detained at port, non-compliance with customs regulations and beyond.

Effective transportation systems provide key insight into costs so enterprises can be confident in their accuracy.

Although many exciting innovations to the logistics industry such as drone deliveries are likely to be seen in 2015, the continued investment in good customer service through collaboration, transportation and connectivity are still the most effective ways to increase supply chain efficiency in the coming year. With enhanced communication and visibility comes greater opportunity for streamlined supply chain processes.


5 Reasons to Choose a 3PL Provider

For many companies, choosing between an in-house logistics department and a third party logistics provider can be time-consuming and confusing. Companies like Langham can help you make an informed decision by sharing potential benefits of outsourcing to a 3PL provider. Though there are many more, here are 5 advantages to outsourcing your supply chain needs:

 

Save Time and Money

Building an in-house logistics department means investing in a warehouse, technology, transportation and staff to execute your comprehensive logistics plan. Experienced 3PL providers can minimize costly mistakes and allow your business to build a global logistics network with lower overhead risk and higher return.

 

Benefit from Established Relationships

3PLs have access to a vast network of resources to meet business’ needs that create advantages over in-house logistics operations. They have the connections necessary to navigate logistics roadblocks quickly and effectively.

3PLs can leverage their relationships to provide volume discounts and faster service to benefit their clients. Choosing their vast network often reduces overhead and creates opportunities to improve your return on investment.

 

Stay Flexible

Capacity fluctuates. A lot. Depending upon the state of your industry, time of year, truck driver shortage or unforeseen fads and trends, your carrier capacity will ebb and flow. Your business can gain access to thousands of carriers with a comprehensive logistics plan created by a third-party logistics provider.

3PL providers also have strategically placed warehouse facilities to quickly ship your goods anywhere in the world. Their resources create opportunities to seamlessly support growth to new markets across the nation and around the globe.

 

Reduce Your Risk

To select carriers on your own, you’ll need to examine their operating authority, insurance information and safety ratings. However, 3PL-approved carriers will be routinely checked for compliance with standard logistics safety regulations.

By having a team of experts who specialize in supply chain management, you can rest assured that your products will deliver on time no matter the size, shape, time or place. That way, you can focus on your business’ revenue building instead of your supply chain transportation challenges.

 

Update Continuously

3PL providers have the resources and incentive to update and optimize processes by evaluating and improving each link in your supply chain. Professionals work to ensure this by using the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective logistics methods and technology available.

Sophisticated logistics management software and Six Sigma methodology can monitor and analyze your supply chain to eliminate inefficiencies and bottlenecks. These improvements strive to bring your supply chain to an average of 3.4 defects per million deliveries. With such a high standard, 3PL providers are sure to bring you more supply chain efficiency.

Ultimately, third-party logistics providers have the capability and responsibility to maximize profits, reduce wait times and improve customer service. For more information on how 3PL can maximize benefits for your business, read about 3PL and your long-term business strategies.


5 Signs It’s Time to Change Warehouses

5 Signs It’s Time to Change Warehouses

Are you on the fence about your warehouse? Do constant errors and excuses make the hair on your arm stand up? Do you continue to have issues with your warehouse distribution? Sometimes a warehouse’s processes and tools are not efficient enough.

What are the signs of the difference between an efficient process with unorthodox practices and a nightmare waiting to happen? Here are some telltale signs of a bad warehouse.

 

1.Post-it Notes Label Your Merchandise

The number one key to a successful warehouse is easy to read labeling. Using Post-it notes means written labels that may not always be legible. Post-its fall off our desktop corners after a while. Imagine the dangers of a dusty warehouse atmosphere to the already fragile adhesive! Then what do you do when the labels fall off? We suggest using a print-out labeling system with a custom product ID or SKU.

2. Your Barcode Equipment is from the Jurassic Period

Some warehouses use ancient equipment that still relies upon a cassette for memory storage. (Where do they even get cassettes?!) Obviously these tapes are prone to damage and require relying upon ancient equipment for playback as well. If a tape goes missing or gets tangled, you don’t stand a chance.

Upgrading to a used system that is a few years old doesn’t have to break the bank and will offer a better backup system. As a rule of thumb, try not to use equipment a modern teenager has never seen before.

 

3. Cross Docking Means Crossing the Street

Some warehouses have a main storage area with backup storage across the street. Imagine taking a pallet of merchandise in a forklift and having to pass over a city road! This may function for rare exceptions, but routine trips shouldn’t be made. Crossing a road means increasing the risk for accidents. If the forklift is in an accident, the operator may be seriously injured, and all your merchandise will be strewn across the road.

 

4. They Don’t Perform Regular Physical Inventories

We aren’t saying you need to do a physical inventory every month, but periodic inventories and cycle counts uncover surprises that wouldn’t be noticed quickly otherwise. Sometimes, people get sloppy and enter numbers wrong. Sometimes things fall and aren’t found for a while. Complete an inventory at least once every year to keep your numbers accurate and your space optimized.

 

5. Old Pallets Are Stacked Sky High Inside

A giant stack of pallets isn’t very stable and could fall and cause a tragic accident. Also, the stacks take up valuable space and may hinder movement within the warehouse. (Again, you don’t want to hit that with a forklift.)

There are many ways to take care of an excess of palletes. For instance, sell them to the community around you. Online DIY culture has created lots of choices of ways to use and dispose of old pallets and would love to take them off your hands.

We promise to always provide the best experience with our Indianapolis and Los Angeles warehousing services. Check us out for a peace of mind that these and other bad warehousing practices won’t interrupt your supply chain.


4 Ways to Become a Better Leader in Logistics

For years, no one understood the powerful asset supply chains were for companies. The supply chain was treated like an expense – an expense without the need of leadership and dynamic strategy.

 

In the past 15 years, however, supply chains have become one of the most integral departments of any business, and now logistics is being consulted in every step of new product creation, marketing and production. Supply chain management is rising to the occasion but needs logistics leadership to grow and maintain a dynamic supply chain.

 

Here are some ways to position yourself as a leader in the field of logistics.

 

Start with the right education.

It is getting more difficult to rise up in the management ranks as based on experience alone. Post-secondary education for logistics leaders comes in two levels: The first level is improving formal writing, dynamic communications practices and quantitative analysis – essentially a business degree. The next level encompasses learning the industry, logistics management styles, leadership, logistics laws, economics, finance, freight systems and global trade. These can be learned with an apprenticeship or through some grad school programs.

 

But the need for education doesn’t end with school. Good leaders should be growing in understanding of related fields like marketing and retail. Challenge yourself to think big-picture in many aspects of your life, as that is the primary function of a manager in supply chain.

 

Stay focused on the horizon.

The defining characteristics of a great manager include the ability to tune out all the noise and steer his/her team through challenges. Avoid getting bogged down in day-to-day operations. That will often lead to a reactive way of handling problems, but identifying them in advance will allow you to proactively fix problems instead of treating symptoms.

 

You can achieve a methodical attitude toward daily operations by cultivating 4 abilities: future planning, simple organization, diligent motivation of yourself and your team and control without micromanagement.

 

Collaboration is key.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people refuse to lean on someone else when things get too difficult or don’t meet their skill set. Wherever you lack as a leader, build a team around you to pick up the slack. Making your second in command the yin to your yang shouldn’t feel threatening. It’s just good business sense.

 

Play to Win.

Set far-reaching goals for your team to push their limits and strengthen the supply chain. Businesses are always trying to do more with less: fewer warehouses, longer supply chains, fewer employees. Have your team ready for challenges that will most certainly come. Treat your supply chain like an integral team by addressing needs, goals, opportunities and threats.

Growing yourself and your team by investing time in others and forward thinking is the key to success in becoming a true leader in any field.


Intensified Congestion Drowns Major U.S. Ports

The U.S. is experiencing severe congestion again at the major ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York and Vancouver and foresees no relief until the end of the year.

Terminal operators are spending millions and taking extraordinary steps like running costly “hoot owl” shifts from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. to relieve congestion in their container yards. Still, cargo piles up at a rate of 4.5 percent more containers than the same time last year.

Each terminal operator has a different reason for what may be causing the backlog. One common complaint is the limited chassis availability. Operators are calling chassis the Achilles heel of the modern supply chain due to their frequent need for maintenance and the recent and unforeseen spike in costs. Their lack of availability has filled the shipping yard with containers.

“There are times when the imports are not moving. The numbers are outrageous —6,000 to 7,000 containers just sitting at the terminals,” Pacific Maritime Association President Jim McKenna told JOC Group.

In California, this lack of chassis availability may be stemming from the International Longshore Warehouse Union itself. ILWU members have been reportedly targeting high-traffic terminals and requiring lengthy safety inspections on trucks and chassis far beyond the standard inspection. Working without a contract since July 1 has given the workers few reasons to move traffic along.

“Our sources are telling us the ILWU is purposely slowing down operations,” said Eric Sauer, vice president of policy and government relations at the California Trucking Association.

Another problem at the port stems from the truck driver shortage. At times, hundreds of chassis and containers sit awaiting available drivers. So although terminals are working around the clock to relieve congestion, the rest of the transit system is unable to handle the increased volume at this time.

“We’re using 20 percent more labor to do 1 percent more volume,” McKenna said.

Langham promises to provide as many solutions as possible in this time of frustration. In most cases those solutions include trans-loading cargo and getting it into over the road trucks.  For more information, please contact Deirdre at 855-214-2844.


Langham Welcomes New Female Leadership

INDIANAPOLIS–Langham Logistics announced its expansion today with the addition of Tina Tharp and Sharlene Chapman. Both of these women will take on roles as a business development manager.

Tharp has a long history of excellent customer service skills. During her 16 years of
experience, she received numerous awards. Her dedication earned her an appointment to the diversity council during her time at FedEx Freight. Tharp also worked for ABF Freight and started up a transportation business in Seymour, Ind. She has held positions such as co-owner, customer service representative, account manager and terminal manager. Now excited to be joining the logistics powerhouse,

Tharp sees great opportunities for customer growth in the company’s future. “I am coming to Langham at a time of significant growth,” Tharp said. “But we don’t want to let any clients fall through the cracks as we grow. That’s where I come in.”

Chapman also boasts extensive experience – more than 20 years of it. After graduating from Miami University, she went on to specialize in domestic trade transport. Chapman’s expertise has earned her a spot as an active board member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, but she credits her success to the team that has surrounded her.

“I am so lucky to have been brought into the driven, passionate environment at Langham,” she said. “It is my hope to contribute and build mutually beneficial relationships for us and our customers.”

Langham Logistics continues to grow rapidly. Team members attribute the consistent expansion to the variety of leadership experience and a commitment to excellence. “We want to leverage the experience and passion of these accomplished women.” said Cathy Langham, president of Langham Logistics. “Both Tina and Sharlene are great examples of how enthusiastic professionals in our industry can have an impact at a high level.”


Langham Welcomes New International Team Member

INDIANAPOLIS – Langham Logistics continues to grow with the addition of a new International Business Relations Specialist, Danny Holmes. Holmes has been hired to help Langham grow and foster strong relationships with their customers by delivering first-rate customer service and exceeding their expectations.

“I am extremely excited about joining the Langham team. My ultimate goal is to not just move freight around the world for our clients, but to provide an exceptional customer service experience for them.” Holmes said.
Holmes has 13 years of experience in the logistics industry, working in different capacities within air and ocean imports, management, and sales. He is attending Indiana Wesleyan University for business with intent to graduate with an associate’s degree in the fall. His primary focus at Langham will be building relationships with clients to consistently deliver solutions tailored to their unique needs.
“We are excited to have Danny as part of the Langham family,” said Rick Riedinger, Director of Operations for Langham Logistics. “His passion for excellence and superior customer service is sure to compliment Langham’s current operations. We are already impressed with his immediate contributions.”

TSA Raises Tariffs

The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement – an agreement representing the 15 largest carriers in the U.S. import trade from Asia – announced plans Aug. 18 to increase rates $600 for all 40-foot containers beginning Sept. 1. This rate hike looks to account for heavy traffic on the East Coast, as bookings have exceeded vessel space during the ongoing contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on the West Coast.

This rate increase has been put in place to assist in the rate restoration program outlined by the TSA in January, which aimed to raise rates $300 per Forty-Foot Equivalent Unit each year. Though rates from Shanghai are up an average of $297 per FEU (a 16.2 percent increase) since that time, the additional funds were not able to meet the needs of individual carriers.
Eight General Rates of Increase have been proposed over the course of 2014, each obtaining a realization rate of 50 percent or less. The Aug. 1 GRI was realized at 72 percent, but has lost an average of $89 per FEU since.
In contrast, TSA member Maersk Line reported a groundbreaking 42 percent increase in profits over the second quarter. Though it is difficult to attribute the soaring profits of the world’s largest container line to one route’s raised pricing, the conflicting evidence is compelling. Maersk officials account for the surplus differently.
“This came through the continuous focus on operational cost savings mainly from vessel network efficiencies and improved vessel utilization,” a Maersk Line representative told SeaTrade Global.
 
For your convenience, the 15 carriers that make up the TSA are listed below:

American President Lines, Ltd.
China Shipping Container Lines
CMA-CGM
COSCO Container Lines, Ltd.
Evergreen Line
Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd.
Hapag-Lloyd AG
Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd.
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd (K Line)
Maersk Line
Mediterranean Shipping Co.
Nippon Yusen Kaisha (N.Y.K. Line)
Orient Overseas Container Line, Inc.
Yang Ming Transport Corp.
Zim Integrated Shipping Services
Contact your Langham representative with any questions or concerns you may have about how this change may affect your supply chain so that we can continue to evaluate the best cost/service model for your container shipments

Why the West Coast is Staying Open

Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles has reached tentative agreement with Teamster to avoid possible port disruption. PMA will send on-site staff to all Southern California terminals to watch and measure any abnormal events.

The ILWU master contract was officially extended until this Friday morning 8a.m. PST. Both parties have agreed to take a 72-hour break from negotiations on a new coast-wide contract while the ILWU attends to an unrelated negotiation in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2002, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s contracts were gapped for nearly a month, resulting in a 10-day shutdown of 29 ports along the West Coast. Ports only reopened after former President Bush invoked the Taft-Hartley Act to save the $1 billion in fees the U.S. citizens were paying for each day the ports were closed.
Why are the ports staying open in 2014? Why haven’t the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association reached an agreement? Keep reading to learn more about the West Coast shutout.

Money Talks

Today, a strike would cost the U.S. more than $2 billion each day, over twice as much as in 2002. Uneducated citizens ogle over the protection and opportunities of a union job that pays $25 to $40 an hour. So, the heightened press that comes with a strike could undercut the ILWU’s bargaining position because of the high demand for those jobs.

Peer Pressure

Mexico, Canada and Gulf ports have expanded their staffing and hours to accommodate the congestion foreseen with the ILWU contract negotiations. This puts pressure on the West Coast ports to stay open because after changing routes, fewer retailers are likely to return their supply chains to an unreliable port.

Expanded Opportunities

The 29 ports in question are responsible for moving 12.5 percent of the U.S.’s gross domestic product each year, a 50 percent increase from 2002. They also handle over 70 percent of imports from Asia. A prolonged dispute between the ILWU and PMA could result in ripple effects in the U.S. economy that are too big to ignore.
To stay ahead of the game, the National Retail Federation still suggests keeping your contention plans at the ready in the case of a disruption. There is too much uncertainty surrounding the matter to feel at ease just yet, and a good contention plan should keep your supply chain moving smoothly.
Please let us know if we can help.  Contact our international team by email international@elangham.com or get help by calling 855-214-2844.