Logistics is one of the hardest elements of the supply chain. Getting supplies, parts, and finished products from A to B (and then onwards to C while touching down in D and so on…) sounds easier than it usually is.
Depending on the nature and origin of your supplies, logistics involves lots of paperwork, scheduling, uncertainty, and trust, especially with international shipments. There’s no reason to panic, though.
there are a few tricks to make sure your shipments don’t get lost somewhere along the way
Even if you think your small business lacks the resources and manpower to manage successful logistics operations, there are a few tricks to make sure your shipments don’t get lost somewhere along the way.
1. Clear Communication
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many small businesses fall into the trap of making assumptions. This is especially true when you start working with a new business partner. Based on the way you’ve always run your business, you assume your business partner does it the same way.
This can lead to miscommunication, delays, quality and quantity issues, and even misplaced shipments. Make sure to discuss the smallest details to avoid any logistics issues that could harm your business.
Keep a close eye on your supplies. Depending on your production process and speed, determine which supplies are about to run out and plan to replenish your stock well ahead of time. This way, you’ll be able to calculate shipping times when placing your order according to your JIT (Just in Time) schedules.
Determine which supplies are about to run out and plan to replenish your stock well ahead of time
Similarly, when shipping to customers, bear in mind any upcoming holidays or busy shipping seasons. If your business allows it, plan ahead for possible delays.
3. Logistics Software
Logistics involves a lot of information, planning, and scheduling. Using a logistics software can help you keep track of all the paperwork and make sure nothing is forgotten. Choose a software that fits the size and budget of your small business.
Ultimately, you may even pick a comprehensive platform that takes care of your whole supply chain management, including warehousing, inventory, and updating lead times. Software like SAP, NetSuite, Apprise ERP, Halo offer all these and more.
4. Teaming up with Partners
Like most things in life, the shipping process is easier if you don’t face it alone. Try to find contacts in your business network to team up with. Do any of your contacts need the same supplies? Are they shipping something else from the same producer? Or from the same location?
Sharing the shipment means sharing costs, responsibilities, and workload
Sharing the shipment means sharing costs, responsibilities, and workload. This makes your logistics more competitive, and your life a whole lot easier. However, if you go this way, make sure to communicate with your shipping buddy on a regular basis and share all the information about the process.
Today, tracking a shipment is easier than ever. “Where are my products?” is a question that can often be answered with a few clicks of your mouse. Most logistics software offers this feature, which can help eliminate uncertainties from the process. Check with your carrier to find out what technology they use to enable tracking.
6. Third-party Logistics
If you can budget for it, employing third-party logistics (or 3PL) can take a lot of these issues off your plate. 3PL companies offer various services, including warehousing, packaging, labeling, tracking, handling of paperwork, and much more.
Unfortunately, 3PL services are not cheap. However, if you can afford them, check out this database to find the best carrier for your business’ needs.
Once your shipment arrives, you need to send a counter-shipment: payment. Astonishingly, this part of the process may be one of the trickier ones, especially if you’re paying an overseas supplier.
Sending an international payment the traditional way (i.e: through banks) takes time and costs a lot of money. Why not treat yourself to an easy solution and try paying your overseas supplier through Veem?
Veem is the next generation B2B payments platform. Due to a unique multi-rail technology, Veem allows you to send international payments quickly, securely, and as easily as sending an email. And even better, Veem charges no wire fees and offers competitive foreign exchange rates.
How does it work? Veem creates a direct connection between you and your business partners, eliminating the middlemen. This means no hidden costs and no unexpected delays. In addition, Veem allows you to track your payments.
What’s not to love?
Sign up for a free Veem account and start sending easy international transfers.