Blog International Freight Shipping

Don’t Become a Victim of the “Fast, Easy” Quote

Don’t Become a Victim of the “Fast, Easy” Quote Some supply chain managers would like to believe that an internet price check is a quick and practical way to find a freight hauler who will save them time and money.  After all, it seems so easy. All you have to do is type in what you’re hauling and where it’s going and just like that some stranger will hook you up with a trucking or sea-going company that is willing to accept your check. No fuss, no bother – at least until your shipment is packed incorrectly, left sitting in a warehouse, sent with improper documentation, delayed when another internet customer took priority, or stuck because a customs officer didn’t understand the bill of lading.  That’s how some supply chain managers learn a lesson the hard way: Shortcuts can lead you to a dead-end. That’s because operators out there lure you in with a low quoted price that ultimately costs a bundle. With some freight forwarders, anything can happen from the time the cargo is picked up.  The supposed quick and easy solution…

In Difficult Times, Our Industry Rises to the Challenge

In Difficult Times, Our Industry Rises to the Challenge In the logistics and freight delivery business, finding solutions to the challenges of our clients is all in a day’s work.  Recently, however, three names in the news have pushed many in our industry to abandon normal protocols and find new ways to deliver the goods. By now the names are familiar to anyone with a TV or access to the news:  Harvey, Irma and Maria — a trio of devastating hurricanes.  They closed shipping routes, blocked highways, flooded warehouses and cut off the routine supplies of goods that are the basic necessities for millions of people in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, the Caribbean and most recently Puerto Rico, where the destruction was historic and the continuing challenges have been monumental. Now, in this difficult time when the stakes are highest for the people we serve, our ability to improvise and innovate is not just essential, it is critical, and sometimes a matter of life and death.  While much work remains to be done, we have heard of heroic shippers…

Logistics Decisions are Too Important to Make Alone

Logistics Decisions are Too Important to Make Alone Logistics Decisions are Too Important to Make Alone Researchers tell us that on average, adults make 35,000 decisions a day. Some are less consequential than others – oatmeal for breakfast, or eggs?  One egg or two?  White shirt or blue? Brown shoes or black?  Loafers or boots? Studies also note that as we assume greater responsibilities in our lives, we make more independent decisions that have consequences well beyond a menu or choice of clothing.  Children, for example, make about 3,000 decisions a day; adults nearly 12 times more. If you are a manager in a complex a supply chain organization, the consequences of your decisions have rippling impacts on others. That’s why it’s so important to consider the needs of others up and down the line and bring them into your decision-making process.  “Without transparency, communication and cooperation you create silos that can be damaging in a supply chain,” says Dan Cser, owner ICAT Logistics DTW.   “Networks of customers,…

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. …

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.  In the auto industry,…


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