When you’re up against a global pandemic, new industry regulations, and rising consumer expectations for more sustainability, every step you take toward optimizing your transportation processes makes a difference. It may be cliché to say it, but it is an unprecedented time for the logistics industry.
If you are a shipper experiencing any of these challenges, here are four tips you can use to lower shipping costs and combat the current market conditions.
- Automate Your Critical Processes
Achieving a fully digitized supply chain has quickly become the goal of most industry leaders. This is because technology and automation present opportunities to streamline even the most complex transportation processes with the payoff seen almost immediately.
For example, integrating new technology like a TMS can help improve route efficiency and optimize carrier selection for a more cohesive logistics workflow from end-to-end. Most shippers, however, should start the process of digitization with a focus on the simple, but important shipping tasks that need the most help. Cutting out unnecessary phone calls and reducing paperwork are two easy to achieve “wins” that the most basic logistics technology can provide. This is important because trying to do too much all at once makes it hard (and expensive) to get started with tech, and it is where most shippers fail.
- Audit Your Freight Invoices
While freight audit is a great way to identify and correct shipping invoice errors, they’re also a business-critical source of data that companies are using to measure and improve their operational performance. By consistently auditing your freight invoices, you can analyze key transportation information that highlights opportunities for growth and leads to crucial business insights that can increase your profit margins.
Don’t underestimate the value and impact actionable data analytics, better visibility, and increased payment accuracy can have on your business. With a freight bill audit strategy, whether you’re managing your invoices internally or outsourcing to a third party, you and your company will be setting yourselves up for success.
- Work with a 3PL
Shipping costs are always rising, just like your customer’s expectations for service performance. While this reality is inevitable, hiring a reliable 3PL can help significantly reduce logistics expenses without requiring you to make big capital investments on your own. With their industry expertise and advanced technology resources, 3PLs can help you secure favorable rates, improve process efficiency, gain a network of trusted carriers, and give you more control over your logistics processes.
Outsourcing is a great solution for saving money and improving service that takes all of the responsibility off of you, allowing you to focus on other priorities.
- Be More Flexible
Logistics costs are most often a direct function of a shipment’s distance traveled and the speed in which the delivery needs. The cost of sourcing inbound materials or location of your distribution centers in relation to customers, shouldn’t ignore the cost of shipping and the benefits of shorter lead time to your overall supply chain.
With better delivery and sourcing options, you can maintain an advantage over your less flexible competitors. Strategic action plans like this work to improve service to customers while also mitigating inbound shipping costs.
There are many different ways to lower shipping costs; however, a lot of them are overlooked. The current market conditions are exceptional and require businesses to look for new and better ways to deal with the situations we are all faced with. These four tips can help you develop more sustainable business practices that consider all of the factors necessary for driving efficiency both today and in the long run.