Among business operations, transportation faces several challenges that can have acute consequences if not addressed in advance.
Unfavorable road conditions, logistical concerns, regulatory compliances, capacity constraints, among others, each represents a risk that can result in missing deliveries, unnecessary costs, and ultimately the loss of valuable business.
So how do you plan your transport to reduce these risks?
Here are five critical factors which are essential for planning a transport without disruptions.
1: Be realistic (and flexible) about your service-level needs
Setting the right expectations is critical. The more realistic you are, the more you can potentially save in time and resources later on.
For instance, if your customers expect 3-5 days of shipment, you don’t need to overpay to get delivery in just one day.
Being realistic and understanding your service-level needs will enable you to reduce the risk of unnecessary spending.
The same applies to flexibility – flexibility is key!
The more flexible you are with delivery time, alternative routes, or shipment consolidation, the more unnecessary headaches you can avoid.
We encourage you to talk to your supplier to see if there are alternatives in terms of delivery. It might take longer, but maybe it will be cheaper, be more ideal in terms of local regulatory requirements, or be better for the environment because there are fewer disruptions along the way.
2: Be strategic with your shipment
As trade and commerce rise, the demand for shipping and containerized transportation increases as well. The consequences are longer waiting time, unavailability of containers, and increased freight costs.
Due to lower volumes of shipment, small and medium enterprises are mostly affected because they don’t necessarily have enough orders to fill a container, thus driving up operational costs.
Capacity shortage is a big challenge in the transportation industry because there’s a natural limit of how much cargo can fit in each truck unit. Therefore, utilizing a fleet efficiently means being strategic about your shipment.
Consolidated shipment could be the solution!
Many transportation companies are able to consolidate small shipments from different companies that are traveling to the same destination.
With strategic shipment consolidation, you can reduce the risk of incurring high transportation costs – especially if you have less-than-truck-loads (LTL) or less-than-container-loads (LCL) shipments.
The most significant benefits of consolidated shipments are:
- Minimized shipping costs – you only pay for the space your freight takes up
- Reduced damage risks – you can considerably reduce the on-again, off-again handling of products. Fewer touchpoints mean a lower risk of damage.
- Better shipment scheduling – the loading process is faster, and docking time decreases.
- Increased efficiency – a consolidated container has less shipping time, faster transit time, reduced costs, and decreased wait time.
3: Planning is everything
The ‘downside’ of consolidated shipment is that you need to spend a little more time organizing and planning.
But this is not necessarily a bad thing, because, in general, if you want to avoid disruptions in your transport chain, planning is key.
Suppose you have an organized approach to planning. In that case, you will be able to include and consider factors such as pricing, early booking, extra time for document release, making sure your custom procedures are okay, and many other specifics to guarantee that deliveries arrive both safely and promptly.
Furthermore, if you plan and have a solid overview of your shipments, you can be much more flexible and adaptable to unforeseen circumstances and still achieve secure transportation.
4: Choose the right transportation partner
It goes without saying that choosing the right transportation partner is a must.
But it can be a challenging task to find the right one – and the decision will have a considerable impact on the day-to-day operations of your business.
Therefore, selecting a partner entails a closer look into the capacity requirements and shipping needs of your company.
What is most important to you?
- Is price a determining factor?
- Is a quick and stable delivery time a must?
- Does the shipper have high levels of service and reliability?
- Should the carrier follow sustainable practices?
- Do they offer cross-border services?
- How flexible are they in terms of booking when and what you want?
It differs from business to business, which will be most important when finding and selecting the right transportation partner.
But there is no doubt that being aware of your shipping needs and priorities before choosing a carrier will be a determining factor in reducing risks throughout transportation.
5: Map shipping criteria with your carriers
Once you find a suitable carrier, you need to map your shipping criteria and match your expectations.
A business can significantly minimize accidental circumstances if you sit down and match your requirement expectations with the carrier’s services and fees – that way, by mapping out criteria, you can reduce the risk of incurring additional costs.
In fact, experience tells us that companies that fail to work more closely with their carrier can spend significantly more on their transportation services than companies with a good and close relationship with their transportation partner.
As you can see, there are several ways you and your business can reduce risks when planning your transportation. Choosing a transportation partner with both capacity and stability is the be-all and end-all in addressing and reducing the risks that can occur during shipment and transportation of your goods.