Consumerism and globalization have increased the demand and movement of goods across various supply chains. Most supply chains are highly complex because transportation involves coordination from several parties. Shippers, truckers, warehousing facilities, and distribution hubs are examples of supply chain partners that facilitate the procurement and movement of goods.
Efficient freight management processes are crucial for supply chain visibility. This efficiency entails streamlining freight management procedures to ensure timely deliveries, providing services at competitive rates, and doing business sustainably and profitably. Here are some strategies you can use to improve freight management:
- Establish A Plan
Having a clear strategy on how to improve freight management processes is essential. A good plan provides direction, allowing managers to prioritize tasks and be more decisive at every stage of the process.
Ideally, your plan must consider several elements, such as procurement, warehousing, and transportation methods. Additionally, it would be best to consider variables like freight shipping prices, choice of third-party logistics partner (3PL), and delivery time.
You can create a flow chart detailing the entire process during or after the planning stage. Remember, since your objective is to improve the freight management process, your plan should emphasize lowering expenses and boosting efficiency and profitability.
Furthermore, the freight manager must have backup plans for unforeseen circumstances. Problems could arise anytime. Thus, it's essential to have a contingency plan in freight management to prevent failure.
Moreover, for your plan to succeed, you need to establish a set of relevant metrics. Metrics will show you whether your plan or strategy is succeeding or not. If you don’t have a target metric, you won’t know whether you’re headed in the right direction.
- Choose The Right Carriers Or Partners
Choosing the incorrect carriers, supply chain partners, or third-party logistics partners can often be the underlying cause of supply chain and operational inefficiencies. As a result, it's critical to pick your partners wisely.
You should select carriers or partners who offer the best market rates. The cost structures of different firms will differ, and you must choose the right partner to save on freight costs while also ensuring they will be reliable.
Consider additional factors such as available routes and types of transportation. Remember that freight optimization aims to deliver products as quickly and as safely as possible. If you’re currently looking for the ideal business partner, you can enquire about EFS Freight's domestic freight services or a comparable service provider in your locale.
- Invest In Freight Management Software
If you want to optimize your freight management process, you’ve got to invest in the right software. Automating your processes allows you to be more efficient at every stage of the logistics or freight management process. One of the biggest advantages of automation is the elimination of human error. Plus, machines can gather and process heaps of data more efficiently than humans.
Freight management has a lot of moving parts. Therefore, keeping track of metrics and key performance indicators isn’t always straightforward. But since most freight management software is equipped with advanced tracking and analytics tools, it’s easier for you to integrate all your systems and processes in one place. This, in turn, allows you to gather more accurate data analytics to have a clearer view of the system's moving parts.
Real-time data analytics will allow you to assess your current performance and predict future outcomes. You can program your system to anticipate future possibilities with greater accuracy. With advanced reporting and analytics tools to guide your operations, you'll have complete control and visibility in your freight management.
- Improve Packaging
Some businesses make the mistake of not prioritizing packaging. But if done right, it may result in considerable cost savings and increased shipping efficiency. Improved packaging may also contribute to lower carbon and greenhouse gas emissions if you opt to be more environmentally friendly.
It would be best to consider optimizing your packaging to reduce waste. Small packages should ideally be packaged in smaller boxes; the opposite is true for large items. You should also ensure your packages are padded and secure to ensure safe delivery to prevent damage claims or returns.
- Improve Warehouse Management
You shouldn’t just pick a random warehouse for storing your merchandise. The warehouse should be specifically tailored for the things you’re storing there. Perishable goods, like meat and fish, require warehouses with refrigeration facilities. Likewise, grain products must be kept in a dry atmosphere free of humidity.
Given that you’ll likely have to pay for storage space, it would be best to maximize the warehouse space to the fullest extent possible. You want to maintain an accurate warehouse inventory to reduce waste, and neither should you pay for storage space you're not utilizing. You may consider investing in a warehouse management system (WMS) to streamline warehouse management or partner with a 3PL that has WMS.
Freight management has a lot of moving parts. Thus, optimizing your management processes isn’t always easy, but it’s possible with the help of technology. Most advanced technologies are equipped with analytics tools to help you track the system and make necessary improvements. Lastly, it’s extremely important to pick the right supply chain partners.