July 2019 | Commentary | Logistics Management

4 Steps to Streamline Global Shipping

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For global manufacturers, managing logistics and carriers across locations, countries, and regions is no easy task, particularly given the current unpredictable business environment. But while shippers can't control fickle global relations, they need not be at their mercy.

Anne Sexton, Digital Content and Publishing Consultant, QAD Precision, +353 1 406 0780

Streamlined transportation operations are mission-critical for best-in-class global shippers. The most important step in streamlining consists of introducing standardized procedures, work flows, and processes across all sites, supported by automated software solutions. Here are four steps to simplify global shipping.

1. Automate compliance. Whether you ship containers or parcels, all your shipments must adhere to global trade policies. Manual compliance requires hours of labor and maintaining denied parties lists, and reviewing each shipment is virtually impossible for high- volume shippers.

Automated trade compliance streamlines this process and eliminates missteps. Integrating compliance with your transportation execution solution also shortens processing time.

2. Automate documentation and reporting. Global shipping requires massive amounts of customs and export reporting. Manually creating all the documents needed to complete a shipment is time-consuming and incomplete documentation or license errors can delay shipments. Automating documentation and customs reporting streamlines international shipping and reduces the possibility of hold-ups.

3. Leverage a global multi-carrier solution with consolidations. In an attempt to simplify the complexity of their transportation needs, global shippers often rely on a few carriers that they know and trust. But relying on a handful of carriers makes them vulnerable to higher pricing and capacity crunches.

A global multi-carrier shipping solution is especially beneficial for enterprises that ship high volumes of small packages. Global shippers can use one carrier to move a consolidated shipment cross-border and then a local carrier for the final delivery. This lowers transportation spending, particularly on the international leg, and reduces regulatory headaches given that a consolidated shipment requires only one customs declaration.

Shippers can manage consolidations in-house by using the zone-skip functionality available in multi-carrier solutions. On-the-fly consolidation is particularly beneficial when the sequence of processing packages going to the same destination spans the business day.

Furthermore, shippers can use an automated routing guide alongside multi-carrier software to manage carrier and service selection. The routing guide applies your unique business rules to automatically choose the optimal service within the constraints of the shipment characteristics.

4. Ensure ongoing carrier compliance. Leveraging multiple carriers reduces costs, but it can be a challenge to remain compliant with each carrier. When you use a multi-carrier solution, however, your multi-carrier vendor is responsible for ensuring that you remain up-to-date with carrier standards. For further cost savings, an automated freight audit system provides alerts for unanticipated costs and changes to rating rules.

When you work across multiple sites and geographies, standardized processes may seem an impossible dream. But by automating trade compliance checks and documentation, along with global multi-carrier shipping and ongoing carrier compliance, shippers can streamline transportation across all locations.

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