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How to Improve Supply Chain Visibility

How to Improve Supply Chain Visibility One of the best ways to enhance the performance of your supply chain operation is to improve visibility. That means knowing precisely the location of products, freight and inventory no matter where they are along the chain. The advantages are obvious: besides controlling your shipments and orders in a complex global environment, real-time visibility introduces opportunities to reduce inventory and mitigate risk that could crop up if you are unaware of the status of your freight. A global supply chain can be a knotty operation. Visibility helps remove the knots by improving the speed and accuracy of shipments, putting a clear focus on products and supplies that are in transit or in house and enabling supply chain managers to intercede when kinks show up that will slow progress or increase costs. There are numerous platforms on the market that help companies establish global supply chain tracking systems. They can be very effective and – depending on what you need -- very expensive.…

Golden Rule Applies to Logistics, Too

Golden Rule Applies to Logistics, Too Of all the management advice we’ve seen in the past three decades, none is more important than the simple lesson we were taught as children: Follow the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When assessing a company or management team for the kind of business they run, you can sum up their integrity and character by the way they treat their employees, contractors and customers. A manager who puts fairness and respect above all else is more than half way there. All the performance metrics are smoke and mirrors if people are not treated with decency. That life lesson was brought home once again recently after we read a stunning USA Today investigative report about the worst of some port trucking companies in Southern California. These companies reportedly profit by squeezing their drivers for every hour and penny they can get from them — forcing them to finance their own trucks, take on debt they can’t afford, and then using the debt as leverage,…

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…


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