Freight Shipping: Technology & Your Supply Chain
Freight Shipping: Optimizing Your Supply Chain
Once you’ve gained visibility into your supply chain, you have the ability to truly see where your company is doing well, and where there may be room for some improvement.
Read on as Unishippers outlines how to optimize various aspects of your supply chain — including your freight shipping logistics — for greater efficiency.
Supply chain network communication
Like most supply chains, your business probably works with at least a few different suppliers, freight carriers and other partners. Be sure to establish ongoing communications with your supply chain network to ensure you understand any current issues and can plan for any potential challenges down the road. When communicating with your network, make sure to:
- Be transparent. Business efficiency can improve when there is increased transparency from the top to the bottom of your supply chain. Make sure to let your team know if you expect any potential service disruptions and spell out expectations should an unexpected disruptions occur. The more transparent you are with your partners — and vice versa — the easier you can pivot if any supply chain issues do occur.
- Stay proactive. Don’t wait until there’s something wrong to hold a meeting or have a discussion with your supply chain network. Establish regular patterns of communication with every partner involved — whether that be quarterly, monthly or even weekly.
Demand planning & inventory management
Life and business would be much easier if we had a trusted psychic on hand, but new demand planning technology might be the next best thing! There are now algorithms that can automatically optimize your demand plans, adjusting stocking strategies and inventory as needed while eliminating the need for time-intensive manual planning. These technologies can help you optimize your supply chain for inevitable fluctuations in product demand — saving you time and cutting labor costs in the process.
In addition to adopting enhanced demand planning technologies, you may also want to consider investing in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking devices. RFID tracking eliminates the need for hand-scanning your products, which can reduce manual errors and give you greater visibility into your inventory. RFID tags can be attached to nearly any item, so there are plenty of applications to help increase your supply chain visibility and optimize your inventory throughout the year.
Warehousing & fulfilment
Warehousing (and eventual fulfilment) is often one of the most labor-intensive steps in the supply chain. However, by incorporating new technologies, you can find ways to save time and money on this step. Consider adopting innovative manufacturing technologies — such as robotic arms and automated, guided vehicles — to work alongside your employees, which can help increase picking speeds and support same- and next-day delivery.
But perhaps implementing new technology isn’t in your budget — what then? There are likely still positive changes you can make to enhance productivity. Talk to your employees about the most time-intensive steps of the warehousing and fulfilment process. How can you help improve efficiencies in these areas? It might be as simple as re-arranging employee workspaces for more efficient maneuvering or establishing a clear system for packaging and labeling products. Whatever it is for your unique business, you don’t have to break the bank to optimize your processes!
What can you do to optimize your freight shipping for greater supply chain efficiency? Consider these tips when preparing your freight for transit:
- Plan ahead. The fourth quarter is one of the busiest times of the year for many freight shippers. Occasionally (or frequently, depending where your business and customers are located) this time of the year can also have inclement weather. By planning ahead for your peak shipping season and the elements, you can ensure you leave enough time in transit for your freight shipping — avoiding any unnecessary delays to your supply chain.
- Adopt technology. In today’s market, consumers expect fast and competitive shipping — which means you need technology to help your business keep up! By using a transportation management system (TMS) you can quote, book and track shipments in one convenient place — helping you fulfill, ship and deliver orders more efficiently.
There are plenty of ways to optimize your supply chain, but those ways will look different for each business. Whether you’re ready to make sweeping changes to your supply chain logistics, or are looking for less time-intensive optimizations, there are surely ways you can enhance your company’s efficiency — and your bottom line. Contact Unishippers to learn more about optimizing your freight shipping for greater efficiency.