Industry

  • After a wild year that 2020 was, the arrival of the covid-19 vaccine, at last, got along a great deal of relief for everyone. However, the already-stretched supply chains are now up for a more significant challenge- to execute an unprecedented worldwide distribution of the vaccine. What we are witnessing today is the post-pandemic phase shape the global supply chains. Several new supply chain trends are sure to emerge through this phase and beyond. Chances are these trends will yet again impact the way supply chains operate and pave the way for further growth.  COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution: Monumental task for the logistics industry How is the air cargo industry ensuring that the vaccine reaches its due destination safely and soundly?  A news report by The Hindu Business Line stated, “The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that it will take the equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747 flights to carry enough single-dose vaccinations to inoculate the globe’s 7.8 billion people—a monumental task.”  Moreover, the task’s magnitude is just one of the many challenges the industry is facing today. Due to most of the vaccines’ low-temperature requirements, the air cargo logistics industry is facing a massive challenge concerning cold chain transportation. Also, the transport of these vaccines has to be executed amid a high degree of scrutiny by manufacturers and governments to ensure safe and efficient delivery.  Another aspect that logistics service providers have to take care of is the varying temperature requirements of vaccines by different manufacturers. Service providers need to ensure that Pfizer’s vaccines are transported and stored at  -70°C whereas the Moderna and Astra Zeneca vaccines can remain stable between 2°C to 8°C. These challenges and the world’s dependence on air cargo for the vaccine have made it critical to ensure the cold chain’s integrity.  Demand for marine reefer...
  • Getting competitive prices each time you ship your freight is critical to your bottom line. While traditionally you might be relying on your internal freight rate history to determine the best lanes and rates for your freight shipments, today there’s a better way.  It is here that freight benchmarking or freight rate index tools step in. It’s your one-stop solution to determine the best possible trade lanes for your shipments, negotiate the right rates and ultimately drive savings.  It is one practice that can benefit you immensely irrespective of whether you are a big shipper with thousands of shipments per month or a small shipper.   What does freight benchmarking using a Freight Rate Index mean?  Freight Index or benchmarking tool – refers to systems used by export-import oriented businesses to evaluate and compare the freight rates they are paying for a shipment against the rates for similar shipments in the market.  Benchmarking freight rates enables companies to ensure that they’re paying the right rates for their shipments. Besides, it helps companies understand the movement of the freight market, identify the peaks and troughs and more.    Here are the top 5 reasons why your organisation should use a freight rate index tool: Your recent freight rate history for a particular lane isn’t enough The first thing that will probably come to mind when you consider using a freight rate index tool is that you can benchmark rates by merely checking your internal freight rate history for the concerned lane. But that’s just not enough.  Your internal rate or lane history will give you a myopic view of the rate trend. Or in other words, it’s too small of a picture to base your decisions on. It will stop you from getting an idea of what other competitors are paying for their...
  • Freight audit and payments may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of ways to reduce freight costs. The cost of manually reconciling freight invoices is one expense that remains hidden and silently affects your bottom line.  Industry studies estimate that manual invoice processing costs around $5 to $12 per invoice. Moreover, the process is time-consuming, prone to error, and stifles the productivity of your team.  This article explores various factors associated with freight invoicing and how automation technology is transforming invoice reconciliation.  What is a freight invoice? Freight invoice is a document issued by the carrier. It has information such as the description of the freight, point of origin, name of the shipper, the shipment’s weight, charges applied and more.  Typically, logistics managers and the accounts team deal with invoice processing regularly. With invoice reconciliation, on some days everything works out well while on most days invoices don’t match the original quotation and lead to laborious person follow-ups for rectified invoices.  However, today there’s a way to ensure accurate invoice matching and save your team from accounting nightmares.  Here are some freight invoice facts that you should know if you still rely on manual freight invoice processing:  Industry studies show that approximately 75% of logistics leaders believe that there are negligible discrepancies between the final quotation they get and the freight invoice. By merely considering the sheer volume of freight invoices that your logistics teams receive, you can gauge how costly mistakes can, and do, happen. From our data and experience working with leading organisations, we have discovered that up to 60% of freight invoices do not match the final quotation. Besides, in about 20% of the cases, these discrepancies go unchecked and lead to mistakes such as:  Duplicate payments: There are times...
  • 2020 has come to an end, but the gaps and risks it exposed and the urgency for supply chain resilience it created will continue to drive companies in 2021 and beyond.  The pandemic rattled supply chains worldwide while simultaneously emphasising its importance and gave birth to new goals for the years ahead.  Today companies across industries are re-evaluating their processes, partners, systems and looking for ways to build resilience. As we begin the new year, here are some of the vital supply chain management trends that will gain momentum and dominate the industry in the years to come: Companies will increasingly turn towards automation and AI systems:  Automation has emerged as a critical trend permeating several industries in the last few years, and the adoption of these solutions is only set to increase. The wide acceptance of automation and AI technology in the supply chain landscape seldom illustrates the value these solutions have managed to provide.  Right from minimising manual efforts to enabling organisations to analyse data better and draw insights, make informed decisions and drive profitability, digital automation based solutions have gone a long way in empowering global supply chains. Moreover, the covid-19 pandemic further emphasised the need for organisations to leverage digital automation solutions.  These systems will continue to dominate 2021 as well.  Better transportation strategies and services powered by intelligent SCM tools:  Supply chain management tools that help you determine how to leverage speed vs space, which is the best possible trade route for your shipment and which carrier offers you the best service are set to gain more popularity this year.  These tools will help you optimise your supply chain management by equipping you with carrier and vendor performance based on historical data analysis. This will enable you to make accurate transit time predictions and plan...
  • As a shipper, one of the best ways to minimise risks and unpleasant surprises when shipping your goods is to keep a close track of your shipment’s movement. Undoubtedly, the key to running a smooth supply chain is to have real-time and end-to-end visibility over the location of your cargo.  Earlier, logistics managers had to manually visit websites of shipping lines or make calls to their freight forwarders and key in the booking number for every container, each time to keep track of all the shipments.  Besides, the intervals at which these sites would update their data were not known and often led to inaccurate information about the container’s location.  Fast forward to the present day, and technological advancements have simplified the process by a thousand folds, making it possible for companies to track sea shipments in real-time effortlessly.  New Age Container Tracking Systems The emergence of state-of-the-art container tracking systems has made it possible to get timely, live updates on the exact location of your freight. The market is flooded with online tracking tools that allow real-time container tracking and enable you to deal with any rerouting or delays proactively. However, when choosing a container tracking system, you should choose one that auto-notifies you about the different changes in your shipment’s status. Such a tracking system will give you timely updates every time your shipment achieves a milestone in the logistics and transportation process. Some of the most critical status changes that you should look for are: When the container leaves your facility When the container arrives at a terminal and is ready for the customs clearance process When the container is loaded onto the carrier at the port of origin When the carrier carrying the container departs the port of origin When the carrier arrives at the port...
  • For companies with an import-export oriented business, reducing transportation costs has always been a critical priority. While traditionally cutting down on transportation costs was quite a challenge, various technological advancements have made it possible to manage costs better and drive savings.  Today, there is a wide range of ways in which you can optimise transportation costs, enhance your supply chain procedures and save money for your company. Strategies for shrinking logistical expenses can range from streamlining inventory levels, optimising warehouse space, mapping shipping networks, optimising shipping routes, investing in improving relationships between suppliers and other stakeholders etc. A key ingredient in reducing logistics costs is to leverage the latest technology available in the best way possible, and increased efficiency and savings will follow. Reducing costs with a logistics software The emergence of automation technology, mobile devices, robots and a spate of other technological advancements are rapidly changing how goods are shipped from one place to another. Companies are increasingly turning towards various supply chain solutions to leverage the opportunities that have come to life through these innovations. These solutions are playing a vital role in modernising and optimising logistics operations.   One such solution that is transforming the supply chain industry is logistics management software. These cloud-based systems are helping companies streamline their operations and build cost-effective and resilient supply chains.  This article explores how logistics software can help you reduce transportation expenses while simultaneously revealing growth opportunities.  Why do you need a logistics management software? Traditionally shippers have been relying on emails, spreadsheets and phone calls to manage their supply chains. However, these traditional practices are not sufficient to get ahead in the market with ever-evolving trade environments, increasing competition and customer demands and rising freight costs. A logistics management software gives your organisation a toolset that enables you to...
  • In supply chain management, a combination of an efficient workforce, automation of particular workflows, and perfect coordination between various functions is critical to a smooth functioning supply chain.  Above all, there is always room for improvement and boosting business. Each time your business witnesses growth, the key is to proactively look for ways to improve the output by leveraging the resources at hand.  This article looks at some crucial tips that can enable you to manage your logistics more effectively.  Here’s a list of essential tips for logistics management and resource optimisation:  Accurate planning:  The first step towards boosting efficiency is planning well. Planning is an umbrella term encompassing multiple factors such as procuring the goods, managing storage facilities, prompt delivery of the cargo to the right destination, etc.  The other crucial factor is the cost involved in carrying out all the processes. A good starting point to plan well is chalk out a detailed flow chart of your end-to-end supply chain operations. The goal of proper planning is to get more work done in the least possible time while simultaneously, driving cost savings and maximising profits.  When we speak of prompt planning, it can be regarding a product, an unprecedented situation, an internal disruption or a disruption caused by external factors such as last moment cancellation of an order, natural disasters and the like.  It’s best to have an emergency plan at hand, which can be executed efficiently in times of distress.  Automate workflows:  Automation technology has transformed how supply chain management operates and is an excellent enabler of supply chain efficiency. These solutions can play a vital role in driving process optimization. Today, several logistics management software that automate multiple workflows have been developed and are widely used.  For instance, these systems can provide automated updates on your...
  • The logistics and supply chain industry are among the most dynamic and complex industries involving several bottlenecks, movement of assets, reliance on third parties, etc. Above all, the industry is prone to disruptions and more particularly unforeseen events, making a solid case for why companies are increasingly turning towards data-driven supply chains.  The Globalisation of every aspect of the industry, including shippers, consignees, trade routes, sourcing locations, etc. have made it crucial to leverage data to gain a competitive advantage and stay ahead in the market.  Data-driven logistics  While the shipping and logistics industry is transforming due to changing regulatory rules, emission concerns and political tensions, you can optimise resources, drive savings and efficiency by leveraging logistics analytics. Adopting a system that enables logistics analytics will allow you to cut down on your operation costs, make informed decisions and gain visibility over your supply chain, irrespective of the circumstances.   You can gain valuable insights through various data points a logistics analytics software captures and use it to streamline multiple functions, offer better customer service and more.  By adopting a data culture approach, you are potentially eliminating the scope for guesswork and making decisions based on facts backed by advanced data analytics. It’s vital to note that a data-driven approach enables you to consolidate your various supply chain functions which have been traditionally fragmented.  With the help of a logistics data management system, you can anticipate peak and lean periods, potential future supply shortage, and respond accordingly.  Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can use data and analytics to optimise various logistics functions: Performance management Logistics data analytics dashboards enable you to keep track of and improve the performance of various parties involved in your supply chain. For instance, the system captures every single data...
  • To keep your supply chain running smoothly, it’s essential to have visibility and control over your supply chain operations. By having access to real-time data on your operations, automating repetitive tasks and gaining insights through big data analytics, you can build a flexible and robust supply chain network.  It is here that a competent logistics management system steps in. Besides virtually streamlining and automating your various supply chain functions, the system helps you bring down costs significantly and allows your team to focus on more meaningful work.  Here’s a list of some ways in which a logistics software helps your business:  It allows you to secure the best possible freight rates. You can monitor the status of all your shipments on a single dashboard.  It enables you to manage both inbound and outbound logistics shipping schedules. It helps you make informed and data-driven decisions based on predictive analytics, which help drive down costs.  Logistics management software does all of this and more. However, finding a top performing software that suits your business perfectly requires a bit of research.  Let’s look at what logistics management software is, what kind of system will suit your business, and the critical factors you must consider before choosing a system.  What is Logistics Management Software? Logistics management software is a tool that enables you to streamline your logistics operations and gain visibility over multiple supply chain functions all at the same time.  The system helps you drive process efficiency and significant cost savings by leveraging intelligent, technological solutions.  A competent logistics management software helps you virtually manage the following aspects of your business:  Production cycle planning  Capturing information related to supply chain Inventory management Warehouse management Product packaging and labelling Scheduling shipments  Getting quotations for shipments Tracking shipments till they reach its destination Freight invoicing...
  • An integral part of running a robust and agile supply chain is having end-to-end visibility over the entire supply chain network, particularly on the movement of your goods. While traditionally tracking containers required you to visit shipping companies’ websites and manually check for your container’s location, modern-day container tracking systems have been quite a game-changer.  One key reason that container tracking has gained importance is that shipping goods is a long and complicated process. You would want to monitor your shipment to ensure that it reaches its destination on time in sound condition. If at all unpleasant surprises are to come your way, you can take timely mitigatory measures by exactly knowing the location of your shipment. To better understand the benefits of container tracking software, it’s vital to comprehend party logistics and their respective container tracking considerations. Different logistics parties involved in supply chain management: Tracking shipping containers wouldn’t have been so complicated if only a single party and transportation mode were involved in getting the ships from its point of origin to its destination. If only one party was responsible for the shipment, then all it would take was to attach a small tracking device to the container. This device could pick up real-time location information and report to the vessel’s IT hub; it could be further transmitted via GPS to the satellite.  Unfortunately, the process isn’t this simple as it involves four different logistics parties playing a different set of roles. First-party (1PL):  It’s the party that has manufactured the goods that need to be shipped using shipping containers. The first party is concerned with container tracking to a great extent as any delays or disruptions in their containers’ movement will translate to a disturbance in their supply chain and inconvenience to their customer.  Second-party (2PL):  The...
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