5 Steps to Success
When the shipping point is not your dock and the process is not managed by your resources, those responsibilities can be pushed to a vendor and, along with it, your control of costs and visibility. Here are some inbound shipping basics to help put yourself in a more favorable position, saving you time and money along the way.
So first off, what is inbound shipping? When we say inbound shipping, we're referring to the logistics of inbound freight. Inbound freight is defined as any incoming material good that is received by a company which has been transported from the material's original location.
Below are some inbound shipping best practices that will save you both time and money.
- Create a Vendor Compliance Policy
The inbound shipping process starts with a well-defined Vendor Compliance Policy. A Vendor Compliance Policy is a document that will help you establish clear expectations from the very start of the inbound shipping process. Should any complications arise, a Vendor Compliance Policy ensures that your needs and requirements are met and, when they are not met, you aren't held accountable for extra bills and fees due to noncompliance.
- Be Detailed
In addition to the Vendor Compliance Policy, it pays to be meticulous with your shipping instructions. Use detailed 'Ship Via' instructions and stray away from using broad terms like 'Best Way'. Shipping 'Best Way' translates to 'Most Convenient' to your vendor and, in most cases, the most convenient route for your vendor will not be the cheapest route for you.
- Plan ahead
When it comes to Murphy’s Law and inbound shipping, anything that CAN go wrong WILL go wrong. The best way to avoid complications is to plan out shipments in advance. Delays due to weather, mechanical issues, or government regulations are inevitable. Building in adequate lead time grants you more flexibility, which translates into less unnecessary fees and more savings for you.
- Use a Transportation Management System
If you’re looking to save money on inbound shipping, visibility is key. The best way to gain visibility is through the implementation of a Transportation Management System (TMS). There are a wide variety of Transportation Management Systems on the market to fit every business’ needs. Additionally, should you decide to partner with an elite 3PL, such as GTS, they can cater their TMS software to fit your processes and budget, in addition to other highly valuable services.
- Partner with a 3PL.
It’s hard for companies to both optimize their inbound shipping program and their own internal business processes at the same time. Partnering with a 3PL gives you the visibility, efficiency, and technology you need to gain an edge in an increasingly competitive economy. Additionally, partnering with a 3PL gives you peace of mind, allowing you to focus on running your business.
Inbound shipping can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. With over 20 years of experience and access to the latest cutting edge technology, our team here at GTS wants to help you simplify your inbound shipping process.