Tips for Improving Your Shipping Process

If your business can not afford to hire a 4PL company like Millennium Logistics to create an effective and efficient shipping strategy. Here are some tips to help your business save money on shipping:

 

1.) Match delivery requirements and fees for common shipments

Once you’ve chosen a shipping service provider — such as UPS, FedEx, DHL or the U.S. Postal Service — work with its small-business specialist to match the carrier’s fees and services with common shipping requirements for your business, such as mode of transportation and delivery timing. Businesses that don’t work with their carrier to map out shipping criteria can spend more in fees than those that do.

 

2.) Establish transportation cost charge-back policies

Let customers know when they will pay for shipping and when your business will. For example, three-day parcel service may be the standard level of service that’s paid for by the company, and any premium services — such as overnight air or two-day parcel — are paid for in part or entirely by the customer. Once these policies are set, inform your sales and customer services staffs, as they generally deal directly with customers.

 

3.) Track carrier performance

One way is to have your carrier keep a “scorecard,” which usually tracks service and cost. Service factors can include pickup, delivery, response to customer service inquiries by shipper, access to on-line status data, accuracy of that data, meeting pickup or delivery appointment times and meeting agreed-upon in-transit times (from time of pick up to time of delivery).

Cost factors usually include baseline by weight or distance, cost by service level (premium overnight or expedited, standard service, for example), non-essential fees such as special handling or meeting time-specific delivery times. Work with your carrier to identify and resolve lapses or failures in service or cost performance. Anderson also recommends soliciting input from your customers.

 

4.) Know when to consolidate

When sending shipments weighing between 150 pounds and about 20,000 pounds (usually referred to as “less than truckload” shipments, or LTL) consider working with a freight consolidation service, which will combine yours with other shipments to create a full truckload. Less than truckload or container load rates are usually much higher than full truckload or container load rates. LTL shipments have to go to a truck terminal to be consolidated by the carrier into a full truckload for shipment. If the small business has a full truckload shipment, then the carrier can pull up to the company’s terminal and load the truck and go, saving time.

 

5.) Use a postage meter

A postage meter is a portable machine equipped with a scale that weighs packages, assesses exact postage charges and prints shipping labels. Systems like these can help eliminate the need for mailers to guess the weight of a package and purchase additional postage. Using a postage meter can eliminate over-postage and is much easier than going directly to your shipping carrier and waiting in line.

 

In closing, shipping merchandise can be one of the most complicated operations for any small business. Poor or no planning can result in owners overpaying, as well as losing sales if the company can’t provide consistent and cost-effective delivery to customers. Regardless of whether or not you can afford to hire a 4PL company to improve your shipping process, make sure you are taking a closer look at your shipping process.

 

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Benefits of Using a 4PL (4th Party Logistics) company

Implementing a 4PL freight management system can bring clients many benefits including access to a uniform process via a transportation management system (TMS). Here are some of the other main advantages of using a 4PL company

 

  • Advantages of Outsourcing Logistics via 4PL
  • Single point of contact
  • Open-book management, full transparency
  • Industry best practices benchmarking
  • Data ownership & visibility (reporting)
  • Material flows optimization
  • Substantial logistics costs savings
  • Gain in productivity
  • Global sourcing strategy & synergies

 
4PL’s act as a single point of contact between you and all of the logistics providers required in operating your logistics network. This is why 4PL’s are also commonly referred to as Lead Logistics Providers (LLPs). 4PLs can simplify the process, because they reduce supply chain functions being controlled by many providers in a myriad of ways.

 

Is a 4PL right for you?

With a single interface, you are not required to work directly with a large number of companies that provide your services. That keeps the time and money spent on your logistics lower, and can make it easier for you to keep everything running smoothly. Some of the most common reasons companies utilize 4PLs include:
Supply chain partners lack uniformity and consistency
Lack of end-to-end visibility across supply chain
Acquisitions or rapid growth have created an inefficient and fragmented logistics network
Cultural alignment and success with the right logistics provider

 
As a 4PL, Millennium Logistics Management realizes that every client has different priorities for their logistics operations, and since we are non asset based and maintain low overhead, we exhibit flexibility in supply chain solutions that asset based 3PL’s do not. Contact Millennium Logistics Today

 

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Benefits of Establishing (SOP’s) Standard Operating Procedures

One of the best ways to create a stable company is by ensuring you have set standard operating procedures for your supply chain/warehousing. Not only will SOP’s save you money. You will also create stability against employee turnover (essentially, creating a well oiled machine). Here are some of the benefits to implementing SOP’s:

 

1.) Eliminate mistakes

When a process is well documented, there is no guessing game. By following the standard operation procedure mistakes are significantly reduced.

2.) Standardize your process

A consistent process among all team members ensures everyone is on the same page. Not only does this enhance the professionalism of an organization, but also allows a manager to easily replace or fill resources (when) and should turnover occur.

3.) Reduce onboarding/training costs

Time is money. If an internal training program is not in place, organizations typically require another employee to take time away from regular duties to onboard a new resource.  A well assembled SOP could help reduce the amount of time spent onboarding and potentially allow other resources to stay on task.

4.) Empower employees

Well documented SOPs enable team members to develop routines and more efficiently perform their role without having to make assumptions.

5.) Support organizational growth

A solid SOP template can be replicated and deployed to other areas of the business to save time and money.

 

Need help setting up some standard operating procedures for your supply chain? Contact Millennium Logistics!

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