Expedited transport is definitely the hot topic in the consumer world, and time-critical transport is still a hot topic in the JiT manufacturing world. But just how critical is the topic of “time-critical” transport?
We addressed this topic in the past, and looking at it again (as a result of some vendors promoting real-time logistics visibility), the reality is still that, for any Procurement and Logistics organization that is with the times and using the right technology, time-critical / expedited / rushed transport is easy but should only be needed very, very rarely.
Traditionally, time critical transport was needed when something went awry in the supply chain and a shipment had to be expedited to prevent a disruption or stock-out that could be disastrous to a company’s bottom line. Otherwise, unless you were talking about perishable deliveries on a non-refrigerated truck, proper planning mitigated the need for expedited shipment. This situation, of course, worsened with the introduction of JIT (Just in Time) Manufacturing and delivery in the supply chain, especially considering that not only have natural and financial disasters been on the rise since this paradigm became popular, but, as expected, so did disruptions as there were no longer weeks worth of buffer inventory to absorb a minor supply chain shock.
But if you have good visibility, proper planning, and the right tools at your disposal, whether or not you are JIT makes no difference — the odds of a disruption being so significant as to require expedited shipping are low.
Specifically, if you have:
- multi-tier supply chain visibility,
like the kind multi-tier risk management or supply chain visibility providers gives you (like Resilinc or SourceMap), and know about a disruption the minute it happens three levels down in your supply chain, and not the day after a product was supposed to reach your warehouse
- access to modern platforms to find and secure transport in real time,
like FreightOS or TenderEasy, then you can quickly get a truck when you need a truck and
- license to global trade document platforms,
like Integration Point or Amber Road that handle import and export compliance, including advance notification, that help you to insure there are no delays at the border
then you will be notified of potential disruptions well in advance and in time to take appropriate actions, and in the situation where it was an unpredictable disaster (such as a fire, earthquake, or flood) at your supplier’s DC just as product was about to ship, and a new shipment has to be made immediately from another location, your immediate ability to secure a new truck almost always alleviates the need for an expedited shipment — a need which is further alleviated by your ability to get your import, export, and compliance documents in order before the product ships, preventing unnecessary delays at the border.Basically, about the only time you should have to do an expedited shipment is if you were a medical organ transport company and a new donor heart, needed halfway across the country, just became available. Other than that, with all of the options available to you to prevent the need for unanticipated (rushed) shipments, or to get them under control as soon as the need arises, there just isn’t that much of a need for overpriced time-critical transport anymore. (Unless you’re still living in the eighties and using paper and fax to manage your logistics.)