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  • With a faint light in sight at the end of the COVID tunnel, pent-up demand has emerged as a major concern for businesses across industries. Every few weeks, there seems to be a speed bump here or an upswing there for the global supply chains, making it impossible to forecast what’s next. Why the fuss over ‘pent up demand’?   When the pandemic hit the manufacturing hubs, goods couldn’t move despite the demand. For instance, there was a demand for 10,000 packages of a commodity, but the company had to be shut down. The demand remained, but manufacturers couldn’t produce the goods, and hence these goods never made it to the market.  However, with the vaccine roll-out and gradual normalisation of trade patterns, this pent up demand is now set to unleash. But no company today is in the position to accurately forecast this demand let alone prepare their supply chains for the impact.  Countering the muddled demand forecast Although most companies have abundant data, it hasn’t necessarily served them well during a once-in-a-century event. They need new tools to look at that data differently, solutions that can automate processes and help strategize and achieve business resilience. It is here that state-of-the-art supply chain technology steps in.  Amid the turmoil, innovative tech solutions are helping companies gain the much-needed agility and have a better chance of not only surviving but thriving during these volatile times.  Automation technology to the rescue Automated negotiations to secure best deals In light of faltering contracts, organisations are rushing to the spot market to keep their goods moving. For companies with hundreds of shipments per month, the traditional practice of manually contacting each vendor and comparing each quote is impractical. However, competent tech solutions can automate everything from creating enquiries to conducting dynamic negotiations and awarding...
  • If there’s one thing that you certainly can’t overlook when your organisation embarks on a journey to strengthen supply chain management, then it’s supply chain visibility. Comprehensive shipment visibility and the resultant operational efficiency benefits everyone in the supply chain.  Today, organisations across industries are rapidly turning towards cloud-based online container tracking solutions owing to the ease of usage and visibility these systems offer. Here are some of the benefits of a modern-day container tracking system: Benefits of container tracking system to your organisation Auto-capture every movement of your shipment State of the art tracking systems are designed to track your containers in real-time .and compare planned milestone dates with actual events. This makes it possible for you to assess the performance of your carriers.   With the traditional tracking method, which involves visiting shipping lines’ websites to track containers, you are very likely to access outdated information. It can further lead to miscommunication and confusion between you and your customer.  However, with present-day tracking solutions, this problem doesn’t arise. The software tracks your shipment round the clock in real-time and gives you timely updates. Automated updates to your inbox You don’t need to put in efforts to seek updates on your shipment’s location anymore. Your new container tracking system will not only capture the live location of your cargo but also auto-notify you each time your shipment attains a journey milestone.  Depending on the system you choose, you will get an auto-generated email or message straight to your mobile phone.  Improve customer relationships Competent systems also allow you to share tracking data with your customers for their particular shipment. This allows your customers to get detailed journey updates and enhances overall customer experience.   Actionable insights through a performance analytics dashboard Intelligent tracking solutions have a comprehensive analytics dashboard which enable...
  • When shipping is an integral part of your organisation, managing and processing invoices and making timely payments becomes a critical task.  It is crucial that you have a system in place that ensures visibility over freight invoice processing and payments. When done right, it will become an opportunity to save costs and ensure process efficiencies.  Unfortunately, financial clarity into the supply chain has long been a challenge that professionals have failed to overcome. Manual, paper-based freight audits and payments are bound to get tedious, costly and time-consuming. However, no more.  But the emergence of freight bill audit software has made seamless, accurate and efficient audits possible.  Why is Freight Bill Audit and Pay (FBAP) important?  Freight Bill Audit and Pay is an essential component of any export-import oriented business. However, despite several advancements in this space, companies are reluctant to leverage technology to match invoices and process payments, resulting in a lost opportunity to save costs. The old way of manually processing freight invoices and assuming that not much can go wrong can cost businesses big money.  Industry studies reveal that freight invoice processing costs around $5 to $12 per invoice. Worst yet, the process is mundane, time-consuming and prone to errors. Add this to the sheer volume of invoices, and it’s clear how costly the process can get.  Primarily if your organisation deals with hundreds of invoices every month, effectively managing paperwork can be exhausting, and errors can be inevitable in several cases.  Besides, many companies do not have sufficient resources to audit every bill, and random checks can often be misleading. In such cases, problems such as overpayments, hidden fees,  duplicate payments or redundant costs due to delayed payments are bound to happen. Key Features of a Freight Audit and Pay Software Implementing a system that automates your...
  • February 1, 2021

    How to better negotiate freight rates

    Whether you are a big company with thousands of shipments per month or run a small business with few shipments occasionally, negotiating your ocean shipping rates well is crucial to your bottom line.  If done right, it is the simplest way to drive cost savings every time you ship. Being in control of how much you pay for your shipments and using the right tools to negotiate better can help you make a significant difference to your business. In this article, let’s look at how you can ensure that you negotiate rates efficiently and secure competitive rates for all your shipments.  Win with the right approach Managing your freight rates well despite uncertainty is a skill. The way you approach your negotiation directly affects the rates you procure, and the relationships you develop with your vendors.  When you start negotiating, try your best to arrive at a deal that mutually benefits business relationships. Another thing to keep in mind is that securing the cheapest rates may not ensure the best value. The idea of a good deal varies from shipper to shipper depending on the service and goals he has in mind.  At the end of the day, it’s how your company approaches negotiations that makes all the difference to your bottom line. When your business involves ocean freight procurement, your golden rule is to research well, benchmark rates and make data-driven decisions.  Know the basics of your freight negotiation:  Before you start negotiating, do your research and get a solid idea of the numbers that are likely to come up in the process. Be sure about where your estimated rates stand within the price range for your shipment.  You can go through your freight rate history or simply use a freight management system that automatically accumulates and analyses your...
  • The global logistics and container shipping industry are mammoth, and keeping them in a smooth motion and overcoming obstacles is quite a challenge. While most of the world’s cargo continues to get shipped in containers, container shipments face their own set of problems too.  As a shipper, one of the best ways you can minimise risks when shipping your goods in containers is to track your shipment’s movement closely. The key to avoiding unpleasant surprises is having real-time and end-to-end visibility over the location of your shipping container.  In this article, let’s look at some of the challenges associated with container shipments: Lack of clear communication When you rely on your carrier and freight forwarders to get updates on your container’s movement, miscommunication often can and does happen. Going a step further, this results in poor communication between you and your customers as well.  In a world where customers prefer having real-time visibility over their shipments’ movement, communication is an integral part of supply chain management.  Modern-day solutions such as GoComet container tracking system allow you to track your container in real-time and share tracking data with your customers for their particular shipment. This enables unprecedented transparency over the movement of goods for you and your customer and eliminates the scope for miscommunication.  Security concerns – everywhere  Container shipments pass through several pairs of hands, more so if it’s a long-distance shipment. This makes the security of goods a key concern. Each shipment tends to go from a trucker to the storage facility and then from there to another truck, further to two-three ports and so on.  All this movement of your freight becomes a significant security concern without visibility; especially if a party involved in your chain breaks the security procedure. The solution? Keep track of your shipment at...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • With tightening capacity and ever-soaring rates in the face of COVID-19, managing logistics and shipping goods has become a turbulent experience. Investing in the right TMS can streamline your operations and boost business.  However, with so many options to choose from, how do you identify the TMS best-suited for your organisation and your budget?  What does a TMS do? A good TMS should simplify your shipping process by helping you plan, coordinate and track your shipments. It should also be designed to process data and generate insights that can assist you when making decisions. An efficient TMS should automate your freight management, improve your communication with vendors, save time and help you reduce costs.  Check out Sailing Schedule – a smart tool to make smart decisions while planning the movement of your freight. Key factors to consider when buying a TMS The true cost of the system Be aware of companies offering you a low-cost solution as chances are further hidden charges lay in wait. Choose a system that caters to your business needs without having to rush to vendor’s support services or costly code changes every other day.  A low-cost system may appear attractive at the time of purchase, but over time, you may find your money going towards maintaining the system- instead of your bottom line.  Easy integration with existing systems A TMS is only as good as its functionality. Make sure that the TMS you choose is designed for easy integration with your existing systems and quick onboarding. A mistake here can affect you for the life of the system you select.  Scalability Ensure your chosen TMS is able to handle the depth of your existing requirements both in your jurisdiction and throughout your organisation.  Server-based systems are best avoided as these quickly become outdated. It is...
  • With cost-saving strategies more important than ever, companies around the world are facing a situation where faltering contracts and a widening gap between container demand and supply is forcing them to turn to the spot market to fulfil shipment orders.   For organisations with hundreds of shipments per month, suddenly having to manually create, compare and negotiate each and every rate to ensure they have secured the best deal is straining many beyond breaking point.  To ensure the best deals, your vendors need to be engaged in a series of negotiations to shrink their rates. For many, however, relying on the traditional system of negotiation is simply no longer an option.    Automate to win, with GoComet’s spot RFQ software  Quickly and easily strengthen your supply chain resilience through GoComet’s automated spot RFQ software. Deploying the power of our unique Recursive Rate Reduction system, you can ensure that you receive the very best rates from your vendors, every time, by automating freight negotiations and driving double-digit savings and efficiencies. Create and share inquiries with all of your logistics service providers in seconds and then sit back and relax, as our automated software takes care of the rest. Every time your vendors submit their quotes, the module instantly calculates the net landed costs of their quotation and reveals their rank as compared to their competitors. Crucially, however, the identity and price of their competing vendors remain concealed.  As your vendors battle to secure the coveted first rank to increase their chance of winning business, with each bid, your rates are squeezed lower and lower.  Low-touch, but high-tech GoComet is the most user-friendly logistics resource management software available in the market today. Whether combined with your existing ERP or as a stand-alone platform, our team will have this up and running for you in...
  • In today’s fast-paced freight world, more and more businesses are looking for a way to redesign their distribution methods. After dispatching your shipment, there are a lot more forces involved in getting your freight from point A to B—Freight forwarders, shipping lines, port handlers, marine insurers, inland transportation and others. Although, real-time tracking is an integral part of this process, having so many players moving your freight effectively takes the control away from your hands. The question here is—What exactly is going wrong with your distribution and how significant a role does tracking play in this picture? Manual tracking of freight and 3PLs are hurting your business The pressure associated with meeting delivery deadlines is quite high. This responsibility falls on your logistics team and the logistics team goes a long way to ensure that your freight reaches on time and in full (OTIF). This is where tracking plays an important role:  Lack of knowledge on delays in exports can spoil your relations with your customers and affect future business. In imports, lack of knowledge can result in you incurring extra detention charge and ground rent. But tracking freight is not easy. At present logistics teams deploy both or either of the following ways:  Manually visit each shipping line’s website or agent and track shipments using the consignment number. Outsource tracking to Third Party Logistics (3PLs) and let them take care of the freight. The former process is time-consuming and riddled with inefficiencies. A rough estimate states that the manual process of tracking takes nearly 133 hours. Being updated with the location of freight is almost impossible in this case. Any delay or carrier failures push the expected time of arrival even more. The challenges of the latter process of outsourcing the implementation of IoT visibility solutions to 3PLs outweighs...
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