Some say the best investments in growing a company are advertising and marketing and, while these are important, supply chain professionals would vote for packaging, warehouse visibility, and transportation efficiency. Forward thinking businesses are eager to invest capital and energy in processes that will allow them to cut costs, improve plant operations, and increase the effectiveness of their packaging, warehousing, and transportation. They realize that the ability to cost-effectively manage their supply chain system is key to remaining competitive. Here are three investments of time, energy, and capital that industry leaders are making now.
The transportation companies are dictating packaging changes for all of us unlike we have seen in 25 years. For instance, UPS and others began charging significantly higher rates in the last year for “oversized cartons”. This change surprised many small package shippers with significantly higher transportation invoices because the cartons they shipped were taking up more space according to the new calculation even if the weight was minimal. In addition, most Less than Truckload common carriers have invested in “dimensionalizers” to make sure that they are capturing extra charges if pallets are larger than the customers tariff rates allow. The trucks are moving full, so the carriers are taking every advantage of the scarcity environment to make sure they are optimizing the profit on these trucks. This is a good time to re-evaluate your packaging and take into consideration the macro changes in transportation rates. If you do not need that extra couple of inches of length for a box, make the box smaller.
Effective warehouse management requires consistent appraisal and review of new technologies that can improve your business’s competitiveness. Many of the largest technology providers like Manhattan Associates have their own user conferences, and associations like the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, CSCMP, have annual events where providers have booths and meeting rooms in order to demonstrate their latest solutions; and they have a solution that works for almost any sized company. If you don’t have a warehouse management system, or WMS, today and ship over 500 shipments per week, put it on your priority list to at least investigate. If you already have one, invest in the latest versions and upgrades to improve efficiency. The level of control, visibility, and efficiency gained with a technology solution allows you to measure every metric imaginable from picks per hour, throughput, minimum and maximum levels, administrative time, and more. If your preference is not to invest, consider partnering with a third-party logistics company like Langham Logistics that has the level of WMS technology you require.
Transportation: Expedited, Truckload, Less than Truckload, Small Package
In 2019, there have been approximately 6 loads of freight available for every truck. Carriers and drivers have had the luxury of triaging loads that pay the most and deferring the others. This has driven costs up for the shippers in the less than truckload and small pack space as well as truckload. Review your 3PL and carrier partnerships and build loyalty by extending contracts and committing to growing together with them. Your carrier, or 3PL partner, should be able to give you full transparency to warehousing, packing, shipping, and delivery details. But more than that, they should be able to provide business intelligence to help you manage your supply chain and gain or keep a competitive advantage over your rivals.
Let’s improve customer experience by spending the time, energy and resources now to get a jump in 2019. An unbroken chain that links suppliers, businesses, and consumers is crucial. Langham Logistics would like to help by being your packaging, warehousing, and transportation expert and trusted partner. Contact us today.