Digital improvement in logistics and supply chain

The evolution of technology is pushing the boundaries and changing how the world does business. Today, we’re accustomed to everything being online and right at our fingertips for immediate access. Improved technology has also increased productivity in the supply chain, minimizing costs and errors. According to the Logistics, Supply Chain and Transportation 2023 report by Forbes Insights, nearly two-thirds of logistics executives say they expect technology to deliver significant productivity gains. They are looking at blockchain allied to IoT and telematics to enable greater visibility while 53 percent of respondents say they expect technology to enhance the whole of the customer experience, with solutions like artificial intelligence and machine learning at the heart of that. Here are five major technology advances that are changing the future of the logistics industry.

  1. Shipment Tracking Systems
    Previously, customers booked shipments, received an estimated delivery date and then were left in the dark, unless they decided to make a phone call. Today, internet and software advances allow customers access to shipping and tracking systems 24/7. Not only does this enhance the user experience, but it saves time and money for the company as well.
  2. Internet of Things (IoT)
    IoT is opening up many opportunities for the supply chain, such as reducing costs and delays by avoiding risks. Sensors are built into cabs, cargo ships, trains, etc., and connect to an alarm system or dispatcher that is monitoring and tracking. These sensors process and transmit the information to the crew who then gains insight into hidden risks and knowledge. Data collected from IoT devices gives fleet management companies valuable insights into driver and vehicle behavior, any possible acts of law breaking by the driver, breaking speed limits and more.
    IoT tracking and tracing tools make companies more profitable – according to Frost & Sullivan, using IoT solutions in the trucking industry to improve traceability and control of freight leads to an increase in profits of 10-15 percent annually.Although IoT isn’t an entirely new technology, it continues to impact the future of logistics, allowing for a more accurate in-transit visibility and delivery of goods.
  3. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
    RFID technology, which has also been in use for a few years, is a popular labor-saving way companies can track their inventory. A tag or sensor is placed on the product and radio waves are sent out. The data is then received and processed by the company. Similar to RFID tags are barcodes, but the superior speed of information delivery and data processing of RFIDs is more appealing to businesses and the way technology is moving. Today, many companies are using RFID tags in their distribution warehouses to monitor containers. Other industries are already using RFID tags, such as the apparel industry and major theme parks.
  4. Enhanced GPS Accuracy
    Long gone are the days when you printed out directions from the computer before you left the house. Now almost everyone uses GPS, whether built-in on their vehicles or on their cellphones. The accuracy of these devices has drastically increased throughout the years, not only helping frustrated, lost drivers but also improving the supply chain. The advanced accuracy of GPS allows for increased productivity and satisfied customers, by tracking trucks’ locations and improving hauls through access to updated traffic data.
  5. Social Media
    Who doesn’t check some sort of social media platform every day? The power of social media is optimizing the logistics industry and operations as a whole. These platforms are becoming the easiest and most efficient way for companies to communicate with customers, conveying urgent information, industry news, and customer responses quickly.

To remain competitive and enhance efficiency, keeping up with the latest technology is a must. The breakthroughs in technology will continue to push the boundaries for years to come and the logistics industry will continue to grow as more advances are made.

Importance of TMS in logistics

Transportation Management System (TMS) has become crucial. Often times, people initially think of a TMS as a simple tool in routing freight from origin to destination. Although, this is a core feature, utilizing a TMS during the fulfillment process creates greater efficiency and productivity in the daily operations.
There are many types of TMS solutions, that vary from more traditional on-premise TMS solutions, to network TMS solutions. The right TMS can optimize your core operations and transform the way your business functions.
Here are the Benefits of Transportation Management System

  1. Reduction in Cost: The more you use it, the more you save! The TMS has the ability to log and track all carriers, their fees and the amount of transactions daily to achieve more savings.
  2. Time Savings: Instead of doing manual work or sending disjointed emails, shippers can instantly access the information they need through a single digital platform. The TMS let shippers compare rates side by side and make strategic choices regarding their shipment
  3. Efficiency and productivity: implementing a TMS into your fulfillment center processes allows you to dedicate more time to areas that need it. These systems are built to be customized to suit your needs and are in place to enforce business rules and processes to ensure proper execution.In combination with a Warehouse Management Service (WMS), you get the overall supply chain visibility you need to make business decisions that drive additional cost savings and reduce inefficiencies.Manual processes are eliminated, leaving little room for error.
  4. Improve customer service levels: Providing excellent customer service is crucial for business growth. Consumers like to know where their orders are at all times and a TMS allows you to do so. With the ability to monitor on-time performance, a TMS can show you how frequently a carrier meets, or doesn’t meet, their transit times logged in the system. If your customer is paying a higher rate for expedited service, you can help them save money by holding the carrier responsible in meeting those times. Additionally, you can use the tracking and reporting to identify service failures; enabling you to solve problems before they occur.
  5. Increase Business growth: Using a TMS is a great resource to help manage your supply chain. Companies that use a TMS have a competitive advantage against competition and see many opportunities to grow their business.

Challenges like the driver shortage, capacity crunch, increased final mile delivery expectations and rising freight prices have shippers looking for ways to improve their supply chains. The solution to these problems is to implement a transportation management system (TMS). A robust TMS can speed up logistics operations, reduce waste and improve the company’s bottom line.

7 Fundamental Tips for New Exporters

Before launching an export initiative, it is essential to plan and prepare. Selling a product or service overseas means doing business in a new environment where language requirements, export documents, and payment options all may be different.

To deal with these challenges, here are 7 tips for success:

Tip #1—Make a Commitment

Businesses new to exporting can expect to face numerous challenges such as redesigning packaging or establishing a new distribution channel. The whole process usually takes time—often two to three years to establish a foothold. No matter how prepared businesses are to enter an overseas market, they initially will make mistakes. It’s important that top management understands this because, without that strong backing, there may be a tendency to pull back at the slightest sign of a setback.

Tip #2—Do Your Research

Many companies spend more time and money researching how to expand their existing domestic market than on how to sell in another country. To be successful overseas, do some research on potential markets. Which countries are leading suppliers or leading importers of your products? Which countries have the lowest duties? Write an international marketing plan, but whatever strategy you choose, address a range of potential issues from unique labeling requirements to new competitors.

Tip #3—Focus Your Efforts

In creating any new process, it’s best to focus on one area first. Likewise, many successful exporters began by selling in just one overseas market, learning from that experience, and then applying that knowledge to new international markets. For example, first-time exporters in Minnesota often target Canada as the first international market to enter. The proximity of Canada and the benefits of the reduced North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) tariffs are advantageous for new Minnesota exporters ramping up on their export knowledge.

Tip #4—Set Aside Resources

Entering new markets requires resources—primarily time and money. Companies in the best position to export already have an established track record of domestic growth and a steady revenue stream. When you enter an overseas market, you’ll have a steep learning curve. Often, new requirements and in-house procedures can range from how goods are packaged to how sales orders are processed. For many companies, gearing up a business to export means having to reallocate resources from domestic business opportunities.

Tip #5—Increase Your Company’s Export Knowledge

Look for opportunities to develop and expand the export knowledge of your staff. Work toward credentials to ensure you develop a baseline of skills. For exporting companies, encourage staff to attain the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) credential. The CGBP credential is a nationally recognized professional designation that demonstrates an individual’s practical knowledge in conducting international trade including supply chain management, international marketing, and trade finance.


Tip #6—Line Up Experts

It’s unlikely that one person will know all aspects of the export process in full detail. As you prepare to export, establish a network of specialists with expertise across a range of issues such as export documentation, letters of credit, or international contracts. You will want to develop some expertise in-house; others you will want to outsource.

At a minimum, you will want to identify a freight forwarder, banker and attorney who can assist you. A good starting point for new exporters is your state’s District Export Council, an organization comprised of local business leaders who act as consultants to small- and medium-sized businesses that want to export.

Tip #7—Leverage Government Resources

The U.S. Commercial Service, which has Export Assistance Centers located across the U.S. and offices in many American Embassies and Consulates overseas, is a global network of trade professionals who can provide ground support in many overseas markets to assist U.S. exporters. Services include helping U.S. companies find new business partners overseas, exhibit at international overseas trade shows, research opportunities in new markets, or address market access issues.

Reasons Why Businesses Needs Logistics Company

Research has shown that 24.7% of supply chain professionals agree that the costs of delivery are the biggest challenge that B2C businesses face.

Logistics is a word that was initially used to refer to the process of sending supplies and equipment to military troops. However, today, the word has immense value in businesses development.

It has, therefore, gone through a long way to be part of supply chain management. Through trucking logistics, one can plan, execute, transport distribution, and control the storage of resources sold or used by a business.

Here are five reasons why business logistics is essential for your company. 

1. Business Logistics: Maintain a Competitive Edge

Being sure that your customers receive your merchandise on time and in good condition is a satisfying experience. You should be able to track the progress of your merchandise when shipping it to the recipient.

However, the assurance that you are a step ahead of your competitors in the market is even more fulfilling. This is what trucking logistics does. It puts you a step ahead and helps you to maintain a competitive edge.

2. Preventing Loss

If your business struggles with spoilage delay, losses, and theft of products, it is highly likely that you don’t have logistics management in place.

Logistics guarantees that your shipment is delivered in good condition and on time. For instance, if merchandise was to get to the customer after two days but it takes three days, then you have a right to confront the shipping company.

Logistics management helps you build confidence with the shipping company and enhance the recipient’s trust. When there is a problem in logistics, you have to change a segment or the vendor for smooth business operations.

3. Reliable Customer Experience

When you satisfy your customers, they are likely to come again or even refer your services to friends and family. Customers want to have an experience that will trigger them to come back for more.

You don’t have to share with them what you go through in developing or shipping products. Instead, ensure they can get what they need within the stipulated time frame.

4. Support Expansion

Any business aims to grow to a bigger level regardless of its current size. Being able to expand your business guarantees that you are doing right in your field. However, when there is much to work on, including transporting, concentrating on growth might be challenging.

With logistics taking care of your transport, it gets easy to notice the progress of your business and support rapid expansion.

5. Promoting Transparency

The assurance that merchandise will be shipped faster is a complete reason to trust logistics. However, when you can track real-time shipment, it gives you the confidence that there is transparency in business.

Additionally, when a delay in shipping happens, both you and your customers will be able to analyze its history and understand its cause. Therefore, you will not have to point fingers in case a problem comes up during shipping.

Bottom Line

Business logistics is the best way to ensure that your business is different from competitors on the market. It guarantees that your operations are running smoothly and your clients receive an exceptional experience.

Creating added value with efficient logistics solutions, strategic acquisitions

Where does this leave customers?

“Current market rates are not sustainable and this is evident in the number of LSPs closing down. For the interim this is unsettling however in time, perhaps over a period of years, it will lead to price stabilisation,” says Steven Gottschalk, CEO of Value Logistics.

“We, for example, are geared to bridge this time of volatility, ensuring that customers continue to enjoy a valued service offering with a long-term future vision. With our economies of scale and ability to offer vertically integrated services, combined with our approach to finding innovative ways to save cost and improve efficiencies, we work hard at doing this,” he says.

Logistics viability needs the right capabilities

One of the challenges faced by LSPs is a shift to small consignments as customers look to distribute smaller loads in depressed market conditions.

“LSPs need to rethink their business strategies to accommodate this requirement of small consignments as running full truckloads at partially loaded prices are, in many instances, no longer achievable due to low volumes,” he explains. “Where service providers have been distributing smaller quantities but not adjusting rates, many can no longer do so. On the other hand, customers find themselves unable to absorb higher prices.”

Strengthening service offerings through strategic acquisitions

“The skill lies in finding the right match. Being able to identify companies with offerings that complement our service portfolio and that will fit our customer-focus and innovative culture, is imperative. Also, such acquisitions should increase our economies of scale in a profitable way.”

How to offer exceptional logistics services?

Offering high quality logistics services is the first step to attract freight forwarders interested in partnering with your company. And since the logistics market is mostly b2b, having a long list of partners can increase a lot your business opportunities.

If you are wondering what aspects you should work on to attract more partners, this post if for you! Below, we have listed the main attributes a freight forwarder should have in order to offer good logistics services and, therefore, have more partners. Check it out!

Have the right infrastructure

One of the first things a freight forwarder considers when looking for a logistics partner is the infrastructure provided by each option considered. Having a good infrastructure means you are more equipped to handle logistics operations of any kind, therefore, it is really important to invest in the quality of your company’s facilities!

Count on the right team of professionals

It does no good to have good infrastructure if you can’t rely on a good team of professionals. Each logistics operations requires special handling and processes, and only by offering a staff with the appropriate expertise will you be able to offer outstanding logistics services.

Offer integrated logistics services

If you work in the logistics market, you probably know how time is a precious thing in this segment. Logistics professionals can’t wait for too long, they always want to get their cargo shipped and delivered as soon as possible.

Therefore, freight forwarders tend to choose partners that offer integrated logistics services, so they can have their entire operation handled by a single company – which makes the process faster and more effective. For this reason, offering integrated logistics solutions is a must!

Have a global business perspective

Having a global perspective can be an incredible differential for your company to attract more partners. Even if you only specialize in a specific market, it’s important to be known by forwarders worldwide. This way, whenever an international forwarder asks for suggestions of companies in your area, professionals in other countries have more chances of knowing and recommending your company to them.

A good way to do this is networking as much as you can, whether it’s by attending logistics fairs or joining specialized networks, such as Twig Logistics Network.

Provide flawless customer service

The quality of your company’s customer service is as important as the quality of the services you provide. If a forwarder comes to you and get excellent treatment, they will more likely come back in the future and recommend you to other people in need of a partner in your area.

However, if your company takes too long to answer quotes or provide any assistance needed during an ongoing logistics operation, you will certainly not cause a good impression. And in this segment, first impressions really count!

Invest in technology

There are currently several tools to improve and optimize logistics processes. Offering these tools shows that your company is up to date with the market trends, which can definitely put you ahead of the competition. For this reason, make sure you offer intelligent and modern logistics systems, allowing your partners to do things like monitor inventories or track their cargo on real-time. Don’t stay behind, technology is everything!

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT FREIGHT FORWARDERS

Freight forwarding is one of the most widely used methods of international transport for both business and personal use. Freight forwarding companies, like 6DIGITS Cargo and the International Logistics Centre, coordinate the shipment of goods from one destination to another using a range of carriers, including air freightocean freightroad freight and, in some cases, railway freight.

The process of freight forwarding might seem daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the process of freight shipping, but these thirteen facts you need to know about freight forwarding will help you through the process.

1. What is a freight forwarder?

A freight forwarder is responsible for the transportation of goods between one destination and another. Freight forwarding companies specialise in arranging the whole process for their shippers, from the storage to the shipping of their merchandise. They act as an intermediary between the shipper and transportation services, liaising with various carriers to negotiate on price and decide on the most economical, reliable and fastest route.

2. A hassle-free way to import and export goods.

Using a freight forwarder to import and export goods can make the whole process much less stressful. Extremely knowledgeable in the elements of supply chain, freight forwarders can assist on all levels, from the packing and warehouse stages to the customs procedure, taking some of the pressure off you.

3. Freight forwarders provide a range of services.

Freight forwarders can assist with the supply chain process on multiple levels including:

  • Customs Clearance
  • International export and import documentation
  • Insurance
  • Packing
  • Storage
  • Inventory management

4. Advantageous to your business.

Using a freight forwarding company for the transportation of goods to your consumer can be advantageous to your business in many ways. Using their knowledge and expertise, freight forwarders will ensure that your goods will arrive at the correct destination on time and save you money in the process, compared to doing it alone.

5. They are not responsible for shipping delays.

Freight forwarding companies are not responsible for delays in shipping. These delays often occur due to bad weather, breakdown, port delays or unforeseen route changes. Although shipping delays can be frustrating, it is important to remember that it is out of your freight forwarding company’s hands and that they’re trying to resolve it as quickly as possible.

6. It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your freight forwarder.

Your freight forwarder is in charge of your precious cargo, so it’s important that you establish a good working relationship with them. You want to ensure that you choose a company that you can trust and rely on, as well as one with impeccable customer service to ensure that your cargo shipments arrive safely and on time.

7. You need to make sure your paperwork is up to date.

Before leaving your goods in the hands of your freight forwarder, you need to ensure that all of the paperwork for transporting your goods is completed. Your freight company will be able to help you with this, but it’s an incredibly important step to reduce the risk of your items not being released from customs or the bank refusing to release your funds – neither of which would be beneficial to your business.

8. Shipping restrictions apply to certain products.

Freight forwarding companies adhere to strict regulations and will not carry certain goods and substances, particularly by air or sea freight. Although the list of prohibited items varies from country to country, freight forwarders are generally restricted on:

  • Dangerous Goods (including flammable liquid and toxic items)
  • Drugs (prescription and recreational)
  • Alcohol
  • Batteries
  • Perishable items (except for those on special express delivery)
  • Sharp objects

9. Ask your freight forwarding company about extra services.

Many freight forwarding companies offer extra services for your shipment, so it’s always worth asking them when receiving a quote. These extra services include warehouse storage, cargo insurance, cargo tracking and dangerous goods handling. Even if you don’t require them, it’s always worth bearing these additional services in mind for future reference.

10. There are six key stages of freight forwarding.

The freight forwarding process can be broken up into six key stages, including:

  • Export haulage – the transfer of goods from its original source to the freight forwarder’s warehouse.
  • Export customs clearance – the goods receive clearance to leave its country of origin.
  • Origin handling – the unloading, inspection and validation of the cargo against its booking documents.
  • Import customs clearance – the customs paperwork for your cargo will be checked by the authorities.
  • Destination handling – the handling of cargo once it reaches the destination office, including transfer to the import warehouse.
  • Import haulage – the transfer of cargo from the import warehouse to its final destination.

11. Your freight forwarder should provide you with a range of documents.

With freight forwarding comes a lot of paperwork, especially when shipping overseas. Your freight forwarder should provide you with all of the relevant documents, including:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Bill of Lading contract
  • Certificate of origin statement
  • Inspection certificate
  • Export license
  • Export packing list
  • Shippers export declaration document

It’s essential that all of these documents are provided in order to ensure that your goods reach your customer without any issues arising.

12. The strength of a freight forwarders’ network is vital.

Well-established freight forwarders will have an incredibly strong network of contacts and experience in the business. Not only will this help you to get the best price for shipping your cargo, but it will also ensure that your goods arrive in a timely manner. Experienced freight forwarders will have encountered a multitude of problems along the way, so they’ll be able to quickly and efficiently deal with any issues which may arise as your goods are transported.

13. Does your freight forwarder specialise in a particular cargo type?

Some freight forwarders focus on a specific type of cargo, whereas some other companies accept a variety of goods. Finding a freight forwarder who specialises in what you’re looking to ship is beneficial. Not only will they have a team of specialists in place, but they will also have vast experience in dealing with cargo similar to yours.

Doing your research before choosing a logistics company will ensure that your goods get to their final destination in a timely, cost-effective manner.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF USING A FREIGHT FORWARDER

What are the advantages of using a freight forwarder?

If you’re new to importing to Nigeria, or you just want the process to be as simple as possible, you might benefit from using a freight forwarder. Here are some advantages to consider:

  • You’ll only need to deal with one person to arrange your shipment, rather than several different haulage and freight companies
  • Many freight forwarders are experts in import/export paperwork, and can help you navigate the complex processes involved
  • With their local connections, freight forwarders can find service providers all over the globe to complete your shipment
  • Freight forwarders can negotiate on shipping, haulage and warehousing costs on your behalf
  • Using a freight forwarder offers peace of mind – if something goes wrong, or you need to submit an insurance claim, they should be able to help out

What are the disadvantages of using a freight forwarder?

Of course, there are also some downsides to choosing a freight forwarder. Bear in mind the following:

  • Using a freight forwarder can increase the overall costs of your shipment
  • Using a freight forwarder means you don’t have control over the details of your shipment – you’ll be leaving all the details to a third party and need to trust them
  • If you have the connections needed to arrange and negotiate your own shipment and haulage locally, you might be able to get better deals keeping the process in-house
  • If you use a large forwarding company, for a relatively small shipment, your needs might not be prioritised
  • Not all freight forwarders cover every market – and not all markets are well regulated. You’d need to check the credentials of your chosen supplier to make sure they can actually deliver what they say they can

Life is busy for any entrepreneur – and never more so than if you’re working in import/export, and needing to deal with suppliers all over the globe. Using a freight forwarding agency can take a load off your mind, as you’ll know a specialist has picked up the haulage, shipping and even customs processes for your goods. You can then get back to growing your business, safe in the knowledge your shipment is in good hands.

Goods-in-transit

Goods-in-transit insurance is a contract by means of which the insurer assumes any damage and material losses caused to the transport equipment and/or the objects being transported during transport by water, rail, air or sea.

Although goods-in-transit insurance is not obligatory, insuring the goods being transported against any risk that may exist during their transfer from origin to final destination is highly recommended.

Goods-in-transit insurance is a contract that covers goods against the various risks that may affect them during their transfer from one place to another during a certain period, e.g. stays, or in situations related to transport, e.g. loading and unloading.

Indemnity underpins all insurance, including goods-in-transit insurance. The principles of indemnity are based on the following:

  • No one can claim compensation in excess of the damage suffered.
  • The insurance cannot constitute a cause of profit or benefit for the insured party.
  • Compensation from the insurer must not produce a more advantageous situation than if the loss or damage had not occurred.