Take these 3 Actions to Streamline your Supply Chain in 2015
Did you do a health check of your supply chain at the end of 2014?
Yes or no, it’s not too late to get a solid logistics plan in place for 2015. Whether you’re a broker-carrier or simply need to get your product to market, all you need to do is take the three actions I’m about to outline.
And when you do, you’ll create a turnkey system for managing and administering logistics this year. And that will save you time and money.
Better yet, the good news is you can probably accomplish all three in an hour or less.
So let’s get started…
#1. Supply Chain Review
Ok, if you haven’t completed a supply chain review, you need to do this first. Ask yourself –
- Where were we strong last year?
- Where were we lacking? For example, maybe you had great LTL service locally, but outside your region it was a little more difficult.
- Will our needs be the same this year, or do we have new areas to account for? Maybe you’ll need to accommodate intermodal or international shipping this year.
- Did you ship a lot of partial TL last year?
- How much time did you spend focused on customer service, and how much on coordinating logistics?
These questions can get you started. After reviewing last year, then identify what you will need this year. And if you’re looking for assistance with this review, many third party logistics firms like BlueGrace can help.
(And if you’re a broker/carrier, consider that partnering with a 3PL can immediately expand the services you offer customers…in turn increasing your revenues. More on this in a moment.)
Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, prepare for what you will need this year.
#2. Prepare now (and make more $$ in 2015) .
You’ve probably got a good process in place for managing the majority of your freight needs. Look at this step like you would if you were going to buy a car.
When you buy a car, you find the best car to fit your need. If you need to haul, you get a truck. Or maybe a sedan fits you best. Whatever you buy, it will meet your needs – most of the time.
But there are always those other times when you may need to arrange for other transportation. If you have a sedan for the great gas mileage, but need to move a few small trees back home for that big landscaping project…well, in that case you may need to rent a truck. Or if you’re flying to another city, you’ll need to rent a car.
You know when you’re buying your car these situations can come up. And you already know what you’ll do.
If you’re a carrier, you can follow the same process (I’ll get to those shipping in a moment). Identify the customer requests that are outside your offering and find a partner like a 3PL who can help.
The good news is that unlike a personal need which costs money, you can make these special customer needs a profit center. Prepare for these customer needs now, and when asked, you’ll be able to say ‘Yes.’
And that means more profits for you.
For those shipping, you can do the same thing. When you can identify all the possible freight needs you’ll have this year, you can make getting your cargo around much, much simpler.
And you may be able to save a few dollars while you’re at it. For example, maybe you found you had a lot of partial truckload shipment last year. This year, you could look into Volume LTL. In many cases, volume LTL will get your cargo delivered faster, and for a lower price.
This second step is key as it identifies solutions for the gaps you identified in Step 1. And that brings us to the final step.
#3. Find a Strong Partner.
Don’t wait for the need to arise before you go out and find a logistics company to help. Take advantage of the time now, before the busy season really gets into gear.
Take a few minutes and do a little research now. Go online or call a few brokers or 3PLs and learn about their offering. They’ll be happy to share their services and references with you.
At the very least, you’ll have current information to refer back to when that unexpected need arises. And you know it will happen.
And as I tell my Truckload clients, you should never turn away a customer’s request for LTL services. Working with a 3PL gives you the full services and national coverage you need to accommodate every customer request.
So find a partner now. You’ll save a lot of time and money later.
Prepare now, have the answers later
These three steps will prepare you to best serve your customers this year. And when you prepare, you have the answers at hand. And when you work with a good logistics partner, the answers are always on the other end of the phone, or a quick reply in an email.
So what are you waiting for? Take a few minutes and follow these three steps.
Do it now! You’ll be glad you did.