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Don’t Wait till the Last Minute to Plan for America First

Don’t Wait till the Last Minute to Plan for America First “How is the Trump Administration’s America First policy going to impact my supply chain?” That’s a question our clients have been trying to answer since last year when, during the campaign for president, Donald Trump discussed his aim to renegotiate and overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He vowed to begin levying additional duties and tariffs on goods from foreign countries. This past April, the president signed an executive order entitled Buy American, Hire American, which did little to settle the issue or answer the question: “How do we plan and recast our business if financial pressure on our supply chain overwhelms our ability to do business in our current market?” If your business is international and your supply chain relies on goods and services from abroad, you have every reason to wonder about the impact of an America First policy on your ability to remain competitive.…

Thinking Inside the Box

Thinking Inside the Box Before looking “outside the box” for new ways to make your logistics or supply chain operations more effective, you may want to look first at how your team is handling what’s inside the box – as well as what’s on the side of the box and in the paperwork that accompanies it. Because when it comes to industrial freight shipping, it’s the little things like efficient and safe packing and loading of containers, clear labeling, and accurate documentation that go a long way toward ensuring proper delivery of your shipments and avoiding costly surprises, such as holdups at the border. Efficient and Safe Packing and Loading Packing with care and with the proper materials can save time, money and the inconvenience and expense of insurance claims. Risk management studies show that about a third of the cargo damage that occurs during shipment is the result of poor loading and packing. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, more than…

Control Supply Chain Costs by Asking the Right Questions

Control Supply Chain Costs by Asking the Right Questions When the going gets tough in the supply chain, the tough cut costs. But, where to begin? Purchasing, warehousing, sourcing, production, customer fulfillment, logistics, shipping, packaging, transportation — there are so many targets to choose from. Yet, by demeaning any one of them in a rash budget slash you may risk hurting your bottom line rather than improving it. Each link in the chain is essential and important. Instead of taking a slash and burn approach, a strategy of continuous improvement may prove more beneficial, because every link in the supply chain can be influenced by making even the smallest adjustment in the cost or the time it takes to complete a task. No matter how many times you’ve done a task, shipped a piece of heavy freight or used a supplier, it pays to hold onto the belief that there just may be a better way to get the job done. Ask yourself: Are my suppliers getting their raw materials from the best source? If you wonder, ask them. Are my warehousing…

Nurturing Supplier Relationships for Mutual Benefit

Nurturing Supplier Relationships for Mutual Benefit Of all the things that keep a business running smoothly – ample financing, strong products or services, effective marketing, an enthusiastic and professional team, and interested customers -- we put supplier collaboration near the top of the list at ICAT Logistics DTW. When your suppliers are cordial and cooperating with you, one another and among themselves, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. When they’re at odds, competing for attention or resentful of how they are being treated, you and your customers are bound to suffer. Organizational bliss doesn’t happen by accident. It takes consistent effort, nurturing, listening, and a willingness to make concessions to keep the crimps out of a supply chain. Last week in this space we talked about vetting suppliers, and that is a first step. But once you’ve established a relationship the next step is to nurture and develop it. At no time does that become more important than when economic conditions take a turn.…

Picking the Right Suppliers for Your Business

Picking the Right Suppliers for Your Business The ability to find and build a top-notch international supplier team can be the make-or-break key to the success of any business. Choosing well helps ensure you protect and enhance your reputation and ability to deliver; choosing poorly almost guarantees significant financial and operational distress. Nobody ever said that sourcing is easy. When you are half a world away from a potential supplier, how do you find the confidence to begin a relationship that could impact your reputation and your profitability? The trick is to develop a strategy and a plan for vetting that will mitigate risk and provide you with a clear and accurate picture of your sourcing target. Relying on search engines that seek to pair companies with potential suppliers may be a first step, but internet searches can be as dicey as dating services. On the surface they look spectacular, but you’ll need to do a lot of courting before you propose a permanent relationship. At ICAT Logistics DTW, we begin by tapping…


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