In this tight freight market, it can seem daunting to be efficient, streamline the process and find the best freight rates and proper solutions for your freight strategy. But there are steps you can take to optimize your supply chain to get the most out of your shipping budget. Below we talk about how to optimize your supply chain, so your business operates like a well-oiled machine.
If you’ve been shipping recently or even tried to buy things online, you might be noticing some common themes; higher shipping rates, longer transit times, lower inventory. Sound familiar? COVID-19 certainly has had economic impact on the global supply chain that will be felt for some time, and manufacturers are still feeling the impacts of material shortages and price hikes. What does that mean for you as a shipper who wants to optimize your supply chain? It means the relationships between you and your suppliers has to be stronger than ever before.
Maintaining good communication between you and your manufacturers opens up transparency not just between you and them, but between you and your customers as well. The last thing you need is a supply shortage that impacts the shipping experience for customers which is so vital nowadays. Handling your customers’ shipping expectations and providing a seamless, easy shipping experience are at the core of that goal.
Whether you’re continuing a longtime partnership with a certain supplier or forging new relationships with others, everyone can reap the benefits. Good relationships can also help you better manage your internal protocols like inventory management, fulfillment rates and ultimately control costs and make more money.
Even before COVID, the digitization of supply chains was well underway. Transportation management systems (TMS) became more of a necessity than a luxury, and that still rings true today even more so than before. Embracing modern freight technologies is one of the most important ways to optimize your supply chain.
What a TMS does is centralize your search for carriers, lanes and rates all in one place so you can compare. And the options you’re shown are based off of your shipment’s details and what works best for servicing that shipment. A truly powerful TMS goes beyond that and helps you manage all your paperwork and track your shipments as well. You can gain powerful insights with analytics from a TMS like load optimization and route planning, as well as discover inconsistencies between invoices and rates. A TMS uncovers trends and provides intelligence to help you optimize your shipping.
Strategy and Other Tips
Optimizing your supply chain doesn’t just happen, not without a strong plan at least. You’ll want to make sure your shipping strategy isn’t costing you customers in the end. Maintaining supplier relations and embracing technologies are a good start at optimizing your supply chain, but there are even more best practices you can implement in your internal processes to fully optimize your supply chain:
- Prepare for the unexpected. Incorporate a business continuity plan in your supply chain strategy to help handle unwanted surprises. Whether it’s rapidly changing market conditions, weather impacts, cyber-attacks or a pandemic, an optimized supply chain is one that can adapt.
- Package like a pro. Packaging plays such a huge role in shipping freight. Proper packaging helps reduce the risk of delayed deliveries and concealed damaged freight. Package and ship more efficiently by consolidating your freight into one large volume shipment to save money and headaches!
- Partner with a 3PL. Third-party logistics companies (3PLs) specialize in giving shippers and supply chains personalized freight shipping solutions. They also have the expertise, tools and resources to handle all your freight shipping needs, providing the know-how to help you overcome industry challenges.
Optimize Your Supply Chain with FreightCenter
For over 20 years, FreightCenter has been the preferred one-stop shop for everything shipping for supply chains everywhere. Optimize your supply chain with the competitive rates and a dedicated shipping agent to help facilitate your shipments. You focus on running your business, and we’ll take care of everything else.