As a business, it can be hard to choose what delivery method works best. You’ll have to take into account the kinds of goods you offer, your clientele and where they are in the world, timeline, budget, and many other considerations. This is especially true if shipping is the norm in your business. Then again, almost every industry in the world today does this—one way or another, or at some point in their existence.
Logistics, in light of supply chain, is vital for any business, whether it’s to supply raw materials, support a manufacturing process, or track, transport, and store finished goods. Fortunately, the technological revolution has also influenced the supply chain process over the past few years.
Several advancements have put the focus on smart, tech-driven logistics management to cut costs while increasing efficiency and meet consumer needs quicker and on time. This includes digitization in the form of Artificial Intelligence and wearable device usage, as well as of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in the supply chain.
What are the elements of logistics management?
Logistics management, or the careful control of goods leaving and entering your company premises, plays a significant role in your supply chain, as it can save you time and money while delivering ideal customer service. So, how can you improve your logistics management? Keep an eye out for these essential elements:
Finding the best vendor with transportation facilities
Whether you’re a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer, it helps to have a business partner that can offer your competitive options to transport your products, as well as well-maintained facilities where your goods can be stored safely and adequately.
Choosing the best routes
Logistics management entails doing ample research on which courses to take to optimize your cargo transfer’s travel time. You wouldn’t want any delays, as this may affect your product and, ultimately, your reputation. Settle for the shortest yet most secure course as this reduces inefficiencies.
Using software and automation to optimize processes
You can potentially avoid even more delays or mistakes if your operations are polished with help from modern technology. Using available supply chain software and taking advantage of automation can help in giving timely updates about your stock and goods that have been dispatched, procured from the warehouse, and delivered to a destination.
Utilizing the most competitive delivery method
When it comes to the transfer of goods, there is a myriad of choices available for you. Proper management, along with a deep understanding of your products and clients’ needs, can help you determine which one is the most appropriate, value-for-money method.
What are the factors to consider when choosing a shipping method?
When trying to choose between air or sea freight, it may be helpful to look at a few factors that will come into play.
In any form of transportation or freight mode, fuel costs are a factor when choosing a shipping method. The cost of oil, including bunker fuel, is continually changing; that’s why carriers are also affected by these fluctuations and may need to adjust rates, affecting overall prices and profit margins.
Cost, in this case, is the total amount of money your business would have to shell out for shipping. Naturally, a lot of other factors come into play, such as the weight or size of your shipments and their destination. In addition, you’d want to stick with your budget as much as possible.
Because shipping is a global industry, understandably, not every origin or destination country uses the same currency, making exchange rates significant in the shipping method, too. Even though the US Dollar is the most used currency for international transactions, shifts in other currencies also affect the standpoint of freight rates against the USD.
If the cargo were time-sensitive, you’d naturally want to pick the faster shipping method. Of course, choosing a speedy transfer also helps with keeping a timely delivery. Air cargo is faster (but more expensive), but note that technology has also helped ships to move more rapidly, in addition to finding and opening canals that have allowed for shorter routes.
Type of cargo
You want to be sure that the delivery method you chose will carry your load. Obviously, for air freight, there are several prohibited items, while sea freight is more flexible. Apart from the traditional parcel or box, sea freight is even used to transport heavy equipment.
As much as you want your goods to be delivered as quickly as possible, you cannot overlook safety. Cargo safety isn’t just about items being appropriately packed to avoid damage; it also entails preventing or dampening the adverse effects of both avoidable and unavoidable circumstances like natural disasters, fires, or falling victim to piracy on your products.
It’s safe to say that some cargo is time sensitive because it is perishable or immediately needed. Therefore, you’d want to go for a more reliable means of transporting—one that is sure to arrive at an agreed place, time, and date. Mistakes and delays in shipping, even for just a day or two, will definitely hurt your business, though air and sea transports are both prone to delays due to things like the weather.
Businesses today are expected to be aware of social issues, and nothing is more relevant to shipping than ecological implications. These days, your company can also be judged by how responsible you are with taking care of the planet, even when it comes to your preferred shipping.
What are the advantages of ocean freight?
Based on the factors mentioned, you may have concluded that sea freight is the best route to take for your business. You’d be happy to know that you’d get to enjoy these benefits when you opt for sea cargo shipping.
Ocean freight rates are more affordable, especially if you’re transporting bulky cargo or over long distances. This may be because the items are packed into containers, and the charge is based on the size or cubic meters of space your goods will take up.
In comparison, airlines calculate costs based on chargeable weight or the combination of the weight and size of the shipment. This could go four to six times more expensive than the ocean freight. Maintenance of water-based transportation is also relatively cheaper than that of air or rail transport.
Move oversized goods or in bulk
Another factor that makes sea cargo cheaper is its capacity to move items in bulk, mainly thanks to the enormous storage space. Smaller items can be arranged together with other loads to fill a massive container, which is easier for the shippers since they can agree to share the cost.
Bigger products, meanwhile, can fit in one or more containers, which can still be inexpensive thanks to sea freight’s bulk options. Oversized cargo like large vehicles, heavy equipment, and the like, often referred to as breakbulk or Not-in-Trailer loads, obviously can’t be transported via air or even through on-the-road transportation.
Allows various types of goods
Airlines have restrictions on what can be brought on board, such as those that may affect cabin pressure and safety. The industry has regulations in place, ships have fewer restrictions, and personnel are trained on how to carry hazardous materials properly. In addition, containers are designed to be sealed throughout transportation.
The ocean freight industry is working to improve its environmental friendliness. There is now a standard for ships’ fuel efficiency, with some vessels utilizing liquefied natural gas (LNG) for power. The industry is proactive in managing waste and recycling, such as the case with reusing old ocean shipping containers as storage units or offices. This is all in addition to the fact that ships have a lower carbon footprint compared to airplanes.
Sail to Success with Sea Freight
Logistics is hugely significant to trade and, in effect, the economy of the world. If your business relies heavily on shipping, make sure not to neglect your logistics management, as it can help you select the right shipping method for you. As proven by the advantages, sea freight is a clear, viable option for you, though it pays to do your research first before dipping your toes into the water, so to speak.
To learn more about sea freight or get things started with your own shipping container, contact BSL Containers today!