5 Tips to Creating an Effective Routing Guide for Your Transportation Services By Joseph Logan
Posted: Jan 24, 2015
If inbound shipments just seem to appear on your dock without you knowing about it until they show up, you might want to do something to gain a little more control over your transportation services. Considering how incredibly expensive this realm of business can be, it would be well worth your while as a business owner to take the necessary time and efforts required to gain the right amount of control over your vendors and carriers. After all, transportation can equal to - and even exceed - the price associated with warehousing, order processing, and customer service combined.
Yet there is no cutting corners when it comes to freight transportation, considering how integral this part of moving goods is to your business. As the supply chain continues to be streamlined, effectively managing logistics becomes increasingly important. All the capital that's put towards transportation needs to be incredibly efficient. Control is of the essence, yet many organizations simply do not have the protocol put in place to provide the necessary amount of control needed to keep transportation as effective, efficient, and cost-effective as possible.
In order to maintain the highest degree of control over your logistics, consider the following 5 tips.
1. Organize Shipments By Their Origin and Destination
Make sure that your customer files are organized according to origin and destination for the total distribution network. This doesn't have to be overly-complicated - it can simply involve a state-to-state grid if you want to keep things simplified.
2. Determine the Capabilities and Limitations of Each of Your Transportation Suppliers
You'd be wise to find out early on what the strengths and weaknesses of your transportations vendors are. For instance, while one carrier may be superior at delivering perishable very quickly with high-quality refrigerated cargo, but they may only deliver to local destinations. Others, on the other hand, might travel to all states and cities, but don't necessarily offer top-notch outbound services. Know who to access for each of your needs at the right time.
3. Look For opportunities to Consolidate Shipments That Stay in Line With Your Budget and Needs
Many times shipments are organized in such a way that they come in from order processes or sales. But a rule of thumb in the transportation industry is the fact that more volume typically comes with increased discounts from carriers. If you are able to have more shipments combined, you'll most likely be offered better rates. Check out the rates that your carrier offers, and see if they offer better prices for such consolidated shipments.
4. Come Up With a Simple Matrix
All the decision-making responsibilities should lie with you, the business owner. If you give flexibility to vendors to choose a carrier on your behalf, they may not necessarily select the one that meets all of your criteria. For this reason, you should devise a simple matrix that can be given to all vendors so that your needs are clearly communicated. This will make it easier for vendors to stick to your requirements when choosing a specific carrier for a certain job. A lack of control in this area can cause non-compliance, documentation errors, and freight rate exceptions.
5. Create Rules for Handling Exceptions That Fit Your Business Procedure
Giving all the information possible to vendors is ideal. However, there will be situations for which you cannot account. Under these circumstances, it would be helpful to give your routing assignments and rules out to deal with unique circumstances and shipments. Come up with a shipment authorization or contact form for your vendors so that they can easily provide you with all the info needed to book a carrier that can meet all criteria specified.
About the Author: Joseph Logan is a produce importer who depends on the use of transportation carriers to get his goods to all of his customers. He's come to rely on the logistics of Landstar Transportation Services for all incoming freight to keep his business running smoothly and profitably. To learn about transportation services provided by Landstar Transportation, visit InboundLogistics.com today!
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