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This event is open for all professionals interested or currently working in Starups in Hanoi, or supply chai professionals in Hanoi, or who are interested in looking for business collaboration for U.S. market through meeting with a delegation of Baylor University (U.S.), Executive Master Program.

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163 Ways to Supercharge Your Supply Chain (part 1)

2014-02-27 14:35:00

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Supply chain gone stale? Inbound Logistics compiled these actionable tips to help revitalize your warehousing, 3PL, trucking, and global logistics operations.

 

Global Logistics

 

Managing imports and exports, overseas manufacturing, and international shipping policies is complex, and involves details such as documentation, customs clearance, compliance, and regulations. These tips will help you operate a flawless global supply chain.

 

1. Make help accessible 24/7. Crossing borders may mean crossing time zones, and problems don't always occur during office hours. Have a staff member at your company ready 24/7 to deal with problems as they happen. A fast response can save you days.

 

2. Learn the lingo. FAST, C-TPAT, CSI—you almost need a PhD from MIT to understand government agency programs. Being patient and learning which programs suit your company and industry can go a long way toward speeding shipments and communicating clearly with transport providers.

 

3. Collect data about your products. Understanding product composition is vital to correct classification, which, in turn, drives many aspects of import/export compliance. Work with product managers, engineers, and scientists to understand the components and functions of the items you plan to import or export.

 

4. Understand dual-use implications. Look beyond the obvious uses of your product to anticipate any extra compliance responsibilities. Seemingly innocuous items could have potentially dangerous or nefarious dual uses, and require export licenses.

 

5. Screen your trade partners. Most countries maintain lists of individuals, businesses, and governments that are ineligible to participate in trade. It is your responsibility to ensure your trade partners don't appear on any of these lists.

 

6. Understand total landed cost. Understanding the true landed cost of your products—including duties, taxes, and other fees—informs your pricing strategy. Don't forget to factor in the cost of shipping, insurance, and payments to your logistics providers.

 

7. Maintain comprehensive audit trails. Mistakes happen, and even the most experienced global shippers may incur violations. Documenting actions, decisions, classifications, and filings go a long way toward mitigating potential fines and penalties.

 

Customs

 

8. Know your government agencies. Some imports are subject to specific government agency requirements. In most countries, each agency establishes its own import regulations. In almost every case, customs will not release your shipment until you fulfill all government agency requirements. Make sure you submit that information with your customs entry.

 

9. Provide correct information. Get comfortable with global trade terminology and provide the correct information, including harmonized tariff numbers, export commodity control numbers, country of origin, Incoterms, and units of measure. Supplying your customs broker with correct data increases the likelihood of an accurate customs declaration.

 

10. Focus on what you can control. When you ship globally, you can't control every link in the chain. So designate one person in-house to create your company's customs compliance procedures. Write them down and communicate them well. It's a big job, but failing to account for even small details can lead to delays and extra costs.

 

Documentation

 

11. Know what documents each country requires. Provide suppliers with a document guide based on each shipment's destination. Many order management systems allow suppliers to interface with their orders and print documents generated by your system. Leaving document preparation to your service providers increases costs and results in shipment delays.

 

12. Localize your documents. Creating documents in the importing country's language significantly helps customs brokers and local customs authorities review and accept your paperwork. In addition to language translation, localization includes the use of local currency and units of measure. Localizing your documents also helps avoid transaction or currency errors.

 

13. Use electronic communication. Communicate your documents electronically over the Internet. This delivery method allows supply chain partners to integrate your documentation data with their systems, eliminating manual data entry errors and delays.

 

14. Audit your documents. Implement a program for routinely editing your customs brokers' entries. Make sure brokers are complying with your policies and accurately using your documents and their content. You can also measure cycle time to ensure brokers are processing your documents quickly and efficiently.

 

15. Confirm document receipt. Once you've created and communicated your documents, confirm their receipt so you can correct a missing document situation before an actual shipment is delayed.

 

Expedited Shipping

 

While expedited shipping can be expensive, it doesn't have to break the bank. With a little thought and planning, shippers can control the factors driving expedited shipping costs by following these tips.

 

16. Hire the right people. Employing a staff experienced in logistics management ensures that you can proficiently assess shipments to determine the most economical transportation mode. Your logistics team must be able to effortlessly evaluate a shipment and convert it to the most cost-effective—but expeditious—mode.

 

17. Determine why you need to expedite. Take a good look internally. Is the use of some expedited freight due to poor planning? If it is, work on improving the root cause of the problem.

 

18. Reduce fulfillment time. How quickly can your warehouse get a fresh order out the door? Can the process be improved? If you cut order-to-ship cycle time, you can reduce expedited freight costs.

 

19. Establish metrics. Start measuring to start managing more effectively. If you've already established some metrics, make sure they're the right ones. If they're not, make changes.

 

20. Share the metrics. Make sure senior management understands how much money is spent on expedited transportation. Approach them with solutions. For example, "If we improve forecasting, we can cut transportation expenses in half."

 

21. Improve sales forecasting. Although you may not have a crystal ball that will predict sales demand with 100-percent accuracy, you can strive to get as close as possible and reduce the need for expedited freight.

 

22. Eliminate padding. Everyone along the logistics chain—from the person placing the order to the production team to the transportation manager—sometimes adds "safety" time to ensure on-time delivery. Pretty soon, a shipment that is required by 9 a.m. becomes required by 5 a.m. and needs a more expensive transportation mode. Stick to the original delivery time.

 

23. Choose the right expedited mode. Utilizing the wrong mode costs shippers the most when they make premium transportation decisions. Choosing air charter over exclusive-use trucks, or same-day air rather than next-day air, quickly increases unnecessary costs.

 

24. Ask the right questions and provide accurate information. Inaccurate information relating to shipment weight, dimensions, and timing can cost thousands of dollars. For example, a shipper might request a pickup of a six-piece shipment weighing 2,000 pounds, but when the van arrives the pieces are too long or too heavy to fit on a van, and a truck needs to be dispatched. Logistics specialists encounter these scenarios every day.

 

25. Buy quality expedited services. Failure to deliver on time is costly and can cause production stoppages, failed customer commitments, and lost business. Using a sub-standard or inconsistent carrier costs more in the long run.

 

26. Build a comprehensive coverage network. Many expedited shipments originate outside common carrier lanes. When you get a call from a customer at 2 a.m. for a shipment originating in Smallest Town, U.S.A., be sure you have a plan of action to support that region.

 

27. Let technology work for you. Leveraging the right technology to manage shipments and link your customers allows you to easily access and implement best practices. Your technology platform should also offer your customers ease of use and configurable options. Harnessing a single control point will help you drive quality assurance and streamline your customers' entire supply chain process.

 

28. Ensure visibility. Do your customers have true door-to-door visibility of every shipment? To successfully manage expedited shipments, it is imperative that your system link shippers, suppliers, and carriers. Whether through the Web or some other platform, customers need to see where their freight is every step of the way.

 

29. Operate 24/7/365. Expedited shipments are often unpredictable, and they certainly don't keep bankers' hours. To provide customers with the level of visibility expedited shipments require, have a logistics specialist available at all times to identify and resolve any potential problems that may arise.

 

to be continued...

 

Source: inboundlogistics