With tariffs, trade wars, and the end of the year approaching, we’ve all got saving money on our minds. All the changes we’ve seen in duties over the last year have placed new scrutiny on the costs of supply chains. This has businesses of all kinds cutting costs to offset the impact of increased tariffs, rising gas prices, unpredictable weather, and countless other factors. Luckily, there are loads of small changes that can be made at nearly every level of a supply chain to cut costs and make unexpected fees a concern of the past. 

Where do you start?

Reduce Claims

This one’s easy—take better precautions early in your process to reduce risks later on. Simple things like ensuring pallets and skids are stacked and packed properly and are wrapped securely can significantly reduce your chances of product being damaged in transit. When shipping fragile goods, don’t underestimate the power of those “Do Not Stack” cones—they’re the easiest way to alert all parts of your supply chain to treat a shipment with care. All in all, work with your suppliers to do everything you can to reduce the amount of product that is damaged, lost or unsellable.

Properly Document and Label

Another easy one. Messy paperwork and incorrect labels are some of the most common causes of fees and holds. And having your freight held leads to even more spending. A little extra time spent on diligence is far more affordable than the fees you could face without it. 

Negotiate Long-Term Contracts

It’s not crazy to shy away from these—they’re a commitment, and often a little daunting to jump into. However, once you find a partner you trust, there’s a lot of value in negotiating a long-term contract with your freight forwarder. We’ve never met someone who dislikes the promise of long-term revenue, which means most shippers are more than happy to discount a long-term rate. It’s an easy way to save money and build a little security into your supply chain.

Consolidate. Consolidate. Consolidate. 

Consolidating is one of the simplest and most beneficial things you can do for your supply chain. With a little bit of pre-shipment planning, you can arrange to fill entire containers and have fewer shipments to track on the road. By shipping FCL rather than LCL, you reduce the risks you may face from sharing containers with someone else. By filling a full truckload, you reduce the number of drivers you have on the road and the number of stops you may have to plan for before your freight gets to you. The fewer containers you’re shipping and the fewer trucks you’re moving, the less you’re paying and the fewer emissions your supply chain is responsible for. Really, just consolidate.

Don’t Neglect Your Warehouse

How’s your relationship with your warehouse provider? When was the last time you checked on your warehouse? Is it clean? Equipment all functioning properly? Proper storage and racking? An unkempt, disorganized, or neglected warehouse is destined to cause you trouble. Keeping the place where you store your valued product reduces risks of error and damaged or misplaced product.

Invest in Tech

There are so many advanced solutions to make your supply chain run more smoothly and efficiently just waiting to be used. Stay up-to-date on the latest supply chain technology, take the time to research what solutions may be available to you, invest in it, and learn how to use it well. Technology is meant to make your life easier—if your supply chain solution doesn’t genuinely do that, it may be time to seek something new.

 

 

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The Supply Chain Manager’s Guide