Information is key in maintaining a smooth logistics chain. The more information every individual supplier and manufacturer in a given supply chain has access to regarding the status of materials, the more effectively and efficiently those individual companies can manage their own part of that chain. In our modern era, quality logistics and shipment tracking software is a key part of any track and trace logistics solution, and utilization of the superior software to superior effect often marks key differences between two logistics companies.
There are many factors to consider when evaluating shipment tracking software. A software suite that excels in pinpointing shipments en route and stays up-to-date on changes in local shipping conditions may lack equally robust inventory tracking tools, may not output adequate analytics, or may fail and numerous other ways. Here are just a few factors logistics companies should consider when selecting software:
Identification of Points
Before a piece of shipment tracking software can offer anything else, it must be able to accurately map the key points of your supply chain:
- Data Collection: How much information does the shipment tracking software collect at each data point? How accurately and easily does it do so? Using software that allows you to quickly access requested information tremendously speeds up the logistics process.
- Data Assessment: While raw data has its value, smarter shipment tracking software offers more in the way of analytics. Can the software give you full analytics on any possible damage rate or accurate delivery times and updates?
- Integration: Good software ‘plays well with others’. The information produced should be readily available to share across programs or between suppliers, manufacturers, and transporters on the supply chain.
Identification of Goals
A good logistics firm also keeps in mind three end goals in all its evaluations of shipment tracking software:
- Will the software improve supply chain speed?
- Will it improve supply chain reliability?
- Will it create a leaner supply chain?
With those goals and the above factors in mind, it becomes simple to decide which software program to use on a regular basis.
STC Logistics uses the most advanced track and trace shipment tracking software on the market to support its clientele. Under the guidance of logistics experts across the nation and using a massive network of transportation affiliates in hubs across the nation, STC Logistics maintains a 99% on-time delivery rate—better than any of the major shipping companies. Whether your chain needs air, rail, sea, or road travel with large shipments to distributed locations or small shipments to a single location, STC Logistics can provide unmatched precision and reliability. Contact us today for a service quote!
For those who are in the medical industry, the partnership created with logistics professionals can impact the way that life and death decisions are made. This could involve moving new medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, biological samples heading off for lab analysis or life-saving artificial organs. While saving lives is always the top priority, there are many risks involved in the transport process that can affect the reliability of those goods.
While there is a lot at stake in regards to the life saving capabilities of doctors by transporting artificial organs or medicines efficiently, there is no greater risk during the supply chain process than when medical equipment is being moved. In fact, just one piece of medical equipment can cost millions of dollars. Fortunately, the best and most reliable logistics companies know how to deal with such matters accordingly.
With the integrity of expensive pieces of medical equipment being at stake, a company’s ability to transport such equipment safely begins with better organizational practices. Technology plays a huge role in this through the deployment of cloud-based enterprise solutions that make the organization of medical equipment inventory simple while creating a lightning-fast internal communication stream to forward concepts such as:
- Stocking locations
- Special packaging and handling instructions
- Temperature control instructions (when applicable)
- Real-time tracking information
- Delivery confirmation electronically of all medical equipment
Being able to provide detailed reports about how a shipment is being organized from beginning to end will not just lend credence to the abilities of the logistics company, but will also help them to save time and money for their customers.
Creating an Air of Complete Transparency
It is important that the customer is able to see the nature in which their medical equipment is being shipped just as much as it is for different parts of the supply chain to be on the same page. Fortunately, the same cloud-based systems used internally can be made accessible to customers as well. From any internet capable device, the customer could look up information about their shipment including but not limited to, tracking status, the scheduled delivery time and who signed for delivery. With the right digital solutions, logistics outfits make it easy for their clientele to feel completely comfortable with how their situation is being handled.
Responding With Adaptability
Just as there are certain precautions that must be taken when handling hazardous chemicals or other temperature sensitive goods, the same meticulousness must be applied to the handling of medical equipment. There are some pieces of medical equipment such as x-ray machines or MRI devices that are extremely sensitive to problems such as:
- Vibrations or jostling during transit
- Dirt and dust
- Corrosion or oxidation
Since even the smallest transit issues can lead to medical equipment needing to be recalibrated or becoming unusable, logistics companies respond by offering packaging assessments. Suggestions for the use of foam packaging, including bumpers and floating bases, both of which can effectively cushion equipment properly, adequate crating, and weight distribution. This, combined with accurate dimensions and weights, valuations and pictures will allow even the most sensitive pieces of equipment to be handled properly.
A Complete Solution:
The most reliable logistics companies know how to handle all aspects of medical equipment shipping. This means that their customers can count on complete service solutions. Thanks to concepts like proper packaging, real-time tracking, and white glove service, these delicate yet expensive shipments will always be handled with grace. STC Logistics is a trusted provider of logistics solutions for the medical industry. Call us at 1-800-547-4324 or click here to learn more.
There are many things to consider when hiring a third party logistics company today. While the basics involve utilizing air, land, or sea transportation to move goods from one point to another, there are many intricacies that are added to the process in order to increase efficiency—both for the customer and the logistics company itself. With shifting trends and the notion of new logistics technologies being ever present, there are many concepts that are improving the way freight gets moved.
Overall, the most revolutionary changes that are happening in logistics technologies today are widely due to advances in mobile logistics technologies. In the past, there were only primitive ruggedized devices that were specifically put into use for supply chain environments. Now, the lines between consumer and commercial grade equipment are becoming blurred because of new logistics technologies. This provides customers, as well as professionals, with crucial solutions to improve processes in every step of the supply chain.
Technology and Logistics in the Warehouse
The utilization of mobile logistics technologies in the warehouse has completely changed the way that companies think about setting up, as well as sorting and segregating inventory. With a single smart phone, warehouse employees are now able to:
- View inventory counts remotely
- Scan inventory both short and long range
- Use voice activated commands to conduct operations hands free
- Send information through the cloud for instant results
- Track and trace transportation itineraries and transit times
Another warehouse trend that cloud-based logistics technologies have set is the use of complete mobile solutions. Because logistics technologies have spider-webbed into so many devices, warehouse teams can now use smart phones and tablets in combination with mobile printers. These scanning devices enable the warehouse workers to reduce the need to move back and forth to different stations in the warehouse. This eliminates issues with sorting, segregating, picking and packing, setting up RFID solutions, scanning barcodes and printing.
For the Customer
Mobile logistics technologies have made the customer end of logistics more productive than ever before. With app development at an all time high, the customer now has more information at their fingertips than ever before. These logistics technologies allow the customer to forgo contacting 3PLs directly in regards to queries such as:
- Inventory quantities
- Price quotes
- Real-time transit status updates
- Delivery times
- Confirmation of POD
Tracking has always been a huge issue for customers until recently because there was little information available without making hard inquiries by phone. But now, trucks, trains, ships, and planes can be outfitted with GPS trackers that the customer can dial into from their smart phone to see exactly where their freight is. This allows them to not only satisfy their curiosity, but plan accordingly based on suggested arrival times.
For the Driver
Utilizing the same type of logistics technologies, truck drivers can now perform many functions with far greater efficiency. Smart phones allow drivers to accurately capture customer signatures upon delivery, track their hours, and even examine statistics about their driving performance. GPS systems can also provide real time data about traffic situations so that they know about areas that should be avoided to achieve shorter transit times.
The Wave of the Future
The smart phone based logistics technologies available today are completely changing the way that everyone thinks about logistics. It is even paving the way for other advances in the future such as 3D printing and greater use of green solutions. For now, 3PLs and customers alike can enjoy the way that mobile logistics technologies has helped to improve the process overall.
Photo credit: manufacturingdigital.com
The biggest challenge with any 3PL provider is the ability to report up-to-date feedback on the status of a clients’ cargo. This challenge requires a strong element of control when dealing with time sensitive processes. It is crucial that a successful logistics plan is in place for any manufacturing or distribution establishment. According to a survey by Ernst and Young, more than 5% of all sales go to transportation. It is obvious that most organizations and businesses desire to have their customers served in the most efficient manner. This is where the latest technology practices come in to establish flexibility and reliability in logistics.
3PL Technology Removes Complexity
In order to instill the right confidence in a transportation transaction, 3PL providers integrate new technology for capturing and analyzing data points along the supply chain. These data points include updates on preparation and planning, cargo dimensions, customer-specific instructions, packaging/handling, restrictions and destinations. All this information needs to be coordinated in order to track, trace and control the movement of cargo within a specified time frame. Without using new technology, this can be challenging to manage, especially since each cargo requirement is unique.
3PL Technology Integrates with Customer Processes
The value of the new technology that 3PL’s provide is very useful to the customer when they can relate it to their priorities. Many customers desire having the option to check up on cargo status as well as being able to specify times and dates for collection, storage and delivery. Most cargo deliveries are quite sensitive to the degree of where specific ambient conditions are specified and bound within a specific delivery time. Advanced 3PL companies present an integrated way of interacting with a system. Many allow their customers to interact with their orders in a real-time fashion which offers control over the period, the condition and the handling requirements for their cargo. This integrated approach presents the 3PL company as a reliable service that is respondent to a customer’s specific needs on demand. In turn this allows the 3PL to understand the dynamic needs of each client to ensure quality, service satisfaction and efficiency.
Value Added Features
It is reassuring when customers know the status of the cargo. In terms of location, expected time of arrival, status and condition, it is crucial for business to run smoothly. This information gives clients a confidence of service reliability since the 3PL company is committing to the customer service process. From the 3PL perspective, things might look a little hectic in meeting this requirement, but the best companies have adopted the following accurate practices:
- Monitoring the cargo through time-stamped status updates which reflect the condition and location of the cargo. Tracking information is relayed directly to the customer portal where it is reflected as real-time information.
- Tracing the whereabouts of cargo in the event that the delivery instructions change or there are unavoidable circumstances that would prevent timely delivery of the cargo. This is typically monitored internally and serves as a tool to pin-point cargo.
- Implementing a logistics plan allows for management and structure of the cargo. This ensures that odd-sized or delicate goods get specialized attention, that handling precaution has been made and that the cargo is moving by means of adequate transportation services.
Determining and Managing Transportation Methods
Premier 3PL companies use many methods of transportation; whether by sea, rail, road or air, their clients’ products, priorities and constraints are central to accomplishing a common goal. These methods allow 3PL’s the flexibility to respond quickly to time or budget critical orders. In order to serve all customers with integrated equal maintenance, accessibility to new technology practices is essential in allowing customers to plan effectively. The use of advanced technology allows all transportation schedules and parameters to be joined into one common operating system.
Achieving success in retail display environments depends on various factors. Every retailer must have an exceptional logistics system in order to offer the best quality service to their customers. Logistics play a major role in sourcing and inventory management, among other key activities in the overall supply chain. A retailer should provide customers with products they desire at the correct quantities, the correct time, and the correct place. In order for a retailer to successfully carry out these activities they require a logistics provider who demonstrates sufficient experience and one that is staffed with experts who can solve any complex transportation issues as they arise. Along with offering the best competitive prices, maintaining standards of service are important when implementing the correct mode of transportation and are a key focus of a knowledgeable logistics team. Here are some of the reasons why logistics are important to every retail display environment.
Logistics allows the retailer to concentrate on other core activities
For a retail business to produce successful results, the company must be able to spend a substantial amount of time focusing on the management of their company. Too much time spent on dealing with their logistics efforts denies their staff the ample time they need to concentrate on other key activities; such as marketing, administration, customer care or inventory management. It is important that a retailer chooses a reliable logistics provider that is experienced and cohesive. This way, it is possible for management to give attention to other activities that are core to the retail environment.
Logistics increase retail efficiency
The most critical requirement of every retailer is having the ability to offer products at the right place and at the right time. With a good logistics provider, an eye-catching flow of goods will be displayed in and out of the store. Having a reliable relationship with your chosen 3PL will allow for last minute changes and a working relationship that allows you to be confident in your transportation decisions. This means that your company rarely suffers from unexpected damages or delays that can cause negative impact on both the business and the customers. However, it is important that you implement good store management techniques to avoid losses associated with poor stock management. Make sure that the various stock levels are communicated to your supply at the right times. If last minute rush orders are necessary, have a logistics team behind you to accommodate those requests. This will not only strengthen your total supply chain, but may go a long way in helping to avoid losing potential customers.
Transport expenses are passed to a third party
There are many overhead expenses that are included in the transportation of products. In addition to clearing and forwarding in the case of imported products being moved, you may have extra expenses that you haven’t budgeted for. This could become very expensive for a retail business. Teaming up with a dependable logistics provider who offers insight and risk assessment will allow you to minimize these expenses as well as other transport risks. Pre-planning is key in maintaining your budgets.
Goods in transit are stored goods
When goods are being transported from one location to the other, there are considered to be stored goods. A good logistics provider will allow your company to avoid extra storage costs until the goods arrive safely at the retailer of choice. Make certain to negotiate storage fees upfront and get to know you 3PL’s policies on timeframes.
Using a trustworthy logistics provider is influential on the amount of success resonated in retail display environments. Your 3PL should be aware that the primary role of the retailer is to offer products to customers on-time and undamaged and at reasonable prices. A reliable logistics provider like STC Logistics can help customers have more time to focus on proper retail management of their company by managing the behind-the-scenes transportation effort that goes into a successful retail campaign. In turn this will help increase the amount of retail efficiency within the company. STC Logistics can also assist in pre-planning your shipping schedules and accommodating budgets, while maintaining the highest level of service. They will work to cover extra storage expenses that typically aren’t covered by other logistics providers and give you a clear picture, upfront, of what costs may be incurred through different modes of transportation. Learn more about our adding STC to your team at: https://shipstc.com/domestic-transportation.html
Companies strive to minimize transport costs and maximize the ability to meet the needs of their clients to achieve success in their business. The most crucial step in this process is to execute an effective supply chain management system. This involves managing products to be transported, ensuring the correct method of transportation is used and establishing the most cost-effective route between the origin and the destination. These factors determine your capacity to derive value from using a supply chain management system.
In any good system, you ought to be able to measure performance and execution; otherwise you will not be able to assess whether value has increased or decreased in your company. Benchmarks are set to determine the acceptable limits of performance pertaining to different business environments. Try to follow these four guidelines to ensure your supply chain is operating smoothly:
Don’t Delay Your Delivery
Any company that implements supply chain management typically guarantees reliable delivery of raw materials and finished goods through use of a bid, which outlines job parameters and expectations upfront. This involves a close working relationship with suppliers, customers, shippers and warehouses. If any of these parties fail to perform their role on time, it is likely that the entire process will be delayed, resulting in direct consequences on all the parties involved. Establish your deadlines early on and monitor production schedules to ensure a reduction in delays.
Keep Strong Relationships
Another fundamental component in having an effective supply chain is to have lasting relations with suppliers and customers. This means you should have stable prices available. The inability to guarantee stable prices for a final product is typically associated with an increased cost of doing business, increased material costs and the transportation necessity. This can make it impossible to maintain product prices. You should detail the factors that cause such internal and external price fluctuations. Include these factors before a final price is set and take them into account when developing ideas and negotiating deals.
Break Down Your Information
In an effort to guarantee a seamless supply of raw materials and finished goods, companies enter into agreements with stakeholders to deliver different types of cargo on specified dates or at certain inventory levels. This eliminates the need to recurrently place orders for such goods, which also removes incidents of stock-outs and subsequent lost sales. However, there are times when the suppliers may deliver goods at the wrong time or place, or deliver entirely the wrong goods. This is a failure of coordination in the supply chain and can have devastating effects. Pre-planning schedules and offering verification checks can help to diminish stock-outs or production of poor quality goods due to use of improper inputs.
Streamline Your Technology
Any manufacturing company that desires to have an efficient supply chain must monitor various production costs to guarantee that they remain within manageable limits. This can involve integrating systems, with your chosen 3PL. Doing so can provide for optimal inventory levels, ensure orders are processed quickly and accurately, tracking is internally transparent, and back office accounting is streamlined. A reliable logistics service provider can help to minimize delays and damages, which are other key outlays in supply chain. Switching transport responsibilities between providers often involves a change in processes, therefore integrating with a technology driven partner can save time and money year over year. By streamlining your supply chain management through the help of a dependable shipping partner and cohesive technology, you can stay one step ahead of the competition.
Every company should strive to take these tips into consideration to demonstrate a reliable supply chain that integrates various stakeholders and resources to guarantee the quality, price and reliability of the entire system. If a firm overlooks negative signs that show inefficiencies in such systems, there is high likelihood that these systems may fail in the long run. Automation paired with having a fully-fledged supply chain department can help manage the supply chain effectively, and in turn, success should shine through in your business.
A third party logistics provider (3PL) offers outsourced or third party logistics services for part of or all necessary supply chain management operations. 3PL’s typically specialize in warehousing and transportation needs that can be customized to a customer’s requirements. As a business decision maker, there are many benefits to partnering with a 3PL.
Did you know that over 82% of Fortune 500 companies partner with at least one 3PL? Here are the top four reasons why:
- Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have a professional partner on your side to manage the transportation of your goods will allow you to focus on other operations. Look for a 3PL with years of experience, professional service and the resources to get your items from point A to point B on time and undamaged.
- Risk Reduction: If you choose transportation carriers on your own, it can be easy to overlook important factors such as operating authorities, insurance information and safety ratings. Utilizing a 3PL ensures that you won’t put your freight in the hands of an incompetent carrier. STC standards of excellence and rating systems are imposed to safeguard against ineffectiveness.
- Time is Money: Do you really have the time to route, track and manage day-to-day issues that arise from your freight? Many little issues can arise in logistics and 3PL providers have dealt with it all. Electronic transfers of data can minimize inaccuracies and provide real-time updates throughout the duration of your shipment.
- Speaking of Money… 3PL providers have an eye for logistics. They can arrange your freight, consolidate LTL shipments and recommend unique solutions that you may not have thought of before. Having the ability to find a different, yet better way to ship your products is a valuable asset that a 3PL can offer. Look for a provider that can provide assistance for your unique freight shipments.
STC Logistics has industry expertise and a reputation for quality. We provide expert consultation and have relationships with a vast network of nationwide secure cross-docking facilities. If you are considering hiring a 3PL company, you should analyze some key areas of your shipment needs to determine what your logistics partner should provide. Download the free resource, “Hiring a Third Party Logistics Company,” by clicking here.