Published on Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Taking some ideas and attitudes that have been around for a while I developed this document for a 3PL logistics provider in Zimbabwe. It really applies to any company who ships or any company who hires a 3PL to ship for them. With everything going on in Supply Chain Management (control towers
, etc) and the "Omni-Channel Revolution
" underway, we can at least make our shipping process more effective.
Build great relationships with your logistics providers.To get the best of what they have to offer you need a strong and trusted relationship with them. By the same token, a good provider wants some kind of commitment from you too. Take your time to find the best shippers, then stick with them and integrate with them. Too many shippers want to stay aloof from their providers and try and catch bargains from somebody else. Yet they expect to get all the same benefits and services. Won't happen.
Like everything in Supply Chain Management, communications is paramount to success in Logistics. Good communications brings benefits in the day-to-day processes by avoiding "foul ups", getting better service from the provider, and making things happen faster. Good communications also helps process improvements and uncovers savings by conversations between your staff and the staff of the logistics providers.
Set up a process for EVERYTHING related to shipping. Communicate these processes to all of your internal team, your logistics partners and your shipping customers. Great idea for cross training and continuous improvement too.
Technology in your workplace is even more critical than ever before. Start with EDI. EDI is your most important technology because it is your data link to both providers and customers. An internal shipping/tracking/management system tied into your EDI system will do wonders for tracking freight and watching costs. Doesn't matter what you are shipping or what mode, there are many, many good tools available to make your process World Class and make you more profitable.
A good company regards an efficient shipping function as a competitive advantage. Employees and logistics providers are carefully chosen. Decisions are made on value, not just price. Carefully chosen partners will minimize service failures. The outcome: a win-win-win: excellent price, excellent service; excellent performance.
Measure what you do and what your providers do. Improve the process as you go along. You will need to determine metrics (key process indicators) first thing. Nothing complicated: things like timemy pickup and delivery, damage controlled, met quoted price, etc. Open up. Share successes and failures with employees, providers and customers.