January 2009 | Sponsored | Knowledge Base

A Slice of Time for Logistics

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As the global economy shrinks and slows down, manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and merchandisers have to squeeze every ounce of efficiency from their operations. In the rush to cut costs, however, they sometimes overlook the impact that time has on the ability to sell more products or to be more efficient.

Time is a precious commodity in all businesses. When seeking to optimize supply chains it is important to look not just at cutting costs. True supply chain excellence can only be achieved by analyzing the time it takes for each element in the logistics operation; a time slice.

Many logistics providers understand how to cut costs, but only a few have mastered the ability to effectively manage the time it takes to perform each function of the supply chain. Many 3PLs offer expedited solutions only as a supplement to standard services. This approach can be ineffective because of the natural tension between more efficient standard modes and higher-cost expedited solutions.

DEVOTED TO SAVING TIME

Many general logistics companies tout their ability to offer economies of scale. But expedited logistics providers are completely geared to helping their clients save time.

Take stripping containers as an example. This is a standard supply chain function: containers come into a facility and are de-vanned as part of the business day's normal workload. An expedited logistics company will process this load at a specific time in a specific time frame, aligning the distribution operation with carrier schedules so that goods can get to market faster.

Assembly and kitting services offer another example of how expedited 3PL specialists can boost sales and efficiency. Let's say a consumer electronics company plans a new product launch for the holiday season. A major electronics retailer operating more than 1,100 stores gives the custom POP display prime floor space for one month. The logistics provider must assemble and kit these displays with product, and deliver to all 1,100 outlets on the same day.

As products are assembled and shipped, companies can invoice faster ≠ improving their cash flow and, at the same time, achieving maximum marketing exposure to consumers. Expedited logistics providers give the competitive edge to companies that are willing to use a partner with expertise in this approach.

HOW THE TIME SLICE EXPERTS DO IT

Each component of the supply chain must be broken down in time values. There is no reason for a company to have a hard timeline for transportation yet have no control of the time frame for other logistics components. As each logistics component is assigned a time frame, companies can better quantify the effectiveness of logistics policies and marketing efforts.

All transportation modes should be treated using a similar time concept. Ocean freight, for example, has a longer time frame than air freight, but there is no reason that a time value cannot be put on this mode of transportation.

UNDERSTANDING THE TIME SLICE CONCEPT

Do your logistics partners understand the "time slice" concept? Do they have fundamental experience in managing time and your expedited demands? Do your providers merely "broker" services out or do they take responsibility for transportation and provide in- house services for various logistics projects?

Finding true efficiencies in a tough market requires that your logistics partners understand the fundamental tension between time and buying on price/scale alone. DBA has provided expedited logistics solutions to leading companies for more than 27 years. We have the experience and will take the time to do the same for you.

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