Earlier this year, Inbound Logistics ran an article on 163 Ways to Supercharge Your Supply Chain that had good advice to improve your global logistics, customs, documentation, expedited shipping, warehousing, optimization, equipment, trucking, 3PLs, maritime, security, risk management, and general supply chain operations. Besides all of the obvious ways to improve your supply chain and cut your costs, and the more advanced ways that are covered regularly on SI, there are a few often overlooked nuggets of cost savings that should be singled out because they cost many companies money and go undetected. Today we will cover the first seven (7).
Collect Data About Your Products
Not only is understanding product composition vital to correct classification, which determines your tariffs, but it makes sure you don’t get any surprises when you product gets detained at the US border because your new hard drives with built in encryption were designed primarily for industrial information security and do not automatically qualify under Category 5, Part 2 of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations like your hand-held personal digital cameras.
Focus on What You Can Control
When it comes to customs, you have no control — but you can create a position for a Customs Compliance Officer and make sure everything you do is fully compliant, fully documented, and fully auditable at a moment’s notice to prevent unnecessary delays when some newbie mistakes your fig paste ship for hash.
Confirm Document Receipt
Just because you sent the documents, it doesn’t mean they were received, even if they weren’t returned (or the e-mail didn’t bounce). For critical shipments make sure the documents were received and noted in the system before your goods hit the border.
It’s a typical situation where everyone along the logistics chain adds “safety” time to ensure on-time delivery. It only takes a few layers to transform a shipment required by 9 am into one that is required by 5 am which requires expensive expedited shipping. Make sure unnecessary padding is not added to the delivery time.
Processes Need to be Quality Based
When a mistake happens, get to the real root cause. As per the article, if a forklift knocks off a sprinkler, don’t just ask why it was so high and how to prevent the forklift from getting so high again, but if it should even have been there in the first place. It might not just be a storage height issue, but an overall storage plan issue. If boxes are being stacked to the ceiling in multiple locations, maybe you need a new storage arrangement or maybe you need more storage space!
Recognize the Environmental Impact of Your Pallets
Plastic pallets, which require oil, cannot be repaired and must be melted down to be recycled — requiring more energy that likely uses more oil. Wood pallets are easily repaired and recycled.
Place your production facilities close to major cities.
Metropolitan areas have a substantial concentration of LTL trucking firms and terminals, which minimize your freight charges.
Come back tomorrow for Part II.