Countdown to 2013! What’s your Supply Chain Improvement Plan?

There are 181 days, 15 hours, 6 minutes, and 55 seconds until January 1, 2013. Make that 54 seconds, 53, 52, 51, 50, 49…oh you get the drift. We're over the halfway point in 2012, and this is a time when business begins to reflect on the first half of the year. Did you hit the milestones, goals, and vision you'd cast so far? What do you need to adjust and improve upon in the second half of the year? If you’re not sure of where you presently stand in the marketplace, and maybe your past market positioning has been a bit blurry, you may want to be taking a fresh look at where you’re headed.

Taking a new perspective on your budget and spending patterns for shipping freight, for example, might require you to shake free of daily routines that have become nonproductive this year. But it’s hard to know where you’re headed (and even harder to know when you’ve made a difference), if you don’t first explore where you’ve been.

Mid Year Progress Report
This is not to suggest embarking on a long re-hash journey into the past or getting caught up in what should or could have been. Rather, the prompting to reassess past performance is intended to ignite some ideas about the best ways to move forward based on what you’ve learned.

What, exactly, did you do that succeeded in cutting or minimizing shipping expenses in the past? What steps did you take that maximized productivity? What do these experiences make you think about that might be useful to try now?

Record Keeping
Keeping track of monthly shipping rates and expenses is Step One.

Put your monthly shipping rates and expenses alongside your past and present practices of outsourcing your transportation management system (TMS), or past and present practices of relying on your own in-house services. What do the numbers and relationships show?

If no one’s keeping accurate track of this kind of information, and not continually analyzing it to determine next-step decision making, odds are good that too much is being left to chance.

Where to Spend Your Time
When your company’s higher-ups buy into the idea of outsourcing logistics provider services, they are making a decision to step aside from time-consuming functions like managing rates and tariffs in spreadsheets.

Companies that retain 3PL TMS services are able to have their company expend more time and energy on the parts of the business that they do best. This usually involves increased attention to sales—and almost always has a positive impact on the bottom line.

Plan for Success-On PURPOSE!
A professional 3PL team can generate hard cost TMS savings from consolidation and optimization of shipments. Soft cost savings can be realized via operational efficiencies, finding the best qualified, most experienced, and most readily available carriers, and by striking repeat customer arrangements within the 3PLs bank of qualified carriers available for hire. We'd be honored to help you determine how you can make the rest of 2012 as productive and profitable as possible, setting yourself up for a true “Happy New Year”!