Companies usually have regular transits, which are repeated periodically, or which are at least similar enough to be able to resolve them with their most used transport services. But when we have to make a new type of shipment or when we rethink how we make our current shipments – something that we should do on a regular basis – we can see that the number of transport services at our fingertips can seem like a huge supermarket in which we hard to choose Keeping the following rules in mind will help you to take the most appropriate transportation service.
What should you look for your transport services
The shipping characteristics themselves will help you determine which will be the best transport service for each occasion. These are some of the variables that you must know how to interpret:
Where are we going to send is the first question that comes to mind. Is it possible to reach the place of destination with all the transport services? It is logical that, for modes such as plane, rail or ship, the close presence of an airport, a station or a port is very important to be able to consider its suitability.
Although this principle also affects a small scale. If we want to send a shipment to a central area of a big city or to a small rural area with narrow streets, we have to keep in mind that a trailer, no matter how efficient it is when transporting many pallets, may be unable to reach the unloading places.
Distance is practically a tyranny when choosing one transport service or another. While the sea is the king of long distances, the road practically monopolizes short distances. In the same way, the railway becomes a better option as we add kilometers to the journey.
How is your supply chain?
Not all supply chains are the same. In fact, the logistics of one company may have completely opposite objectives to those of another. Some want to be the most cost-efficient to compete on price, while others want to provide ultra-fast delivery options, thus positioning themselves as a brand and assuming that their customers will agree to pay extra for these premium shipping services. Or perhaps our company’s supply chain wants to specialize in offering highly specialized and customized products, which will also change the typology of your logistics. It seems evident, for example, that the logistics chain concerned with offering many versions of the same product is hardly going to be the most cost-effective.
What are you sending: type of material, weight and size
Once again, we are faced with some variables that strongly determine the transport service to be used. If we transport liquids in bulk, we will be much closer to the world of ships and ships than to airplanes. However, pharmaceutical and sanitary material, due to its size, weight and urgency, can better support the costs of the plane.
In the same way, the dimensions and weight of your materials will define whether it is more appropriate to send them by parcel, palletized, in full loads or in groupage -reserving truck meters for their special dimensions-.
Tips for choosing transport service
The above data will not be the only ones that you should take into account. Next, we add some fundamental advice to optimize the way of choosing and managing the transport service that you need.
Calculate actual transportation time, not transit time
Transit time and delivery time is not always the same. To illustrate it with the most basic example, express services called 24 hours usually refer to the fact that the merchandise is delivered the day after it is collected. However, the mistake of believing that the 24-hour period refers to the hours since the collection is made can occur. In other words, a shipment picked up at eight in the morning would be delivered at 8 in the morning of the following day, instead of the following day.
It is something that, in a similar way, occurs in international transits. The transit of a ship can be for X days, but to calculate its route you must know the day on which the ship leaves (it can be a certain day of each week, of each month, etc.); If you only count the transit time and add it to the day you have your merchandise ready, you will surely have problems. In addition, in very long transits that can last weeks and go around half the world, it is important to take into account the possibility of delays, which may be greater the more distance there is.
When choosing your transport service, do you take into account the possibility of using multimodality? Using more than one method of transportation can be very efficient on certain journeys. Although studying the possible combinations and alternatives will require an initial dose of effort, you may find ways to optimize your journeys that would not be achievable using only one mode of transport.
Calculate the total cost
If when we talk about cost you think exclusively of the carrier’s budget, you will be leaving aside other equally important factors. For example, going back to the assumption of a ship that is delayed. What problems could we suffer from a delay? How much cost could we have with respect to the client both in image and in lost business or sales? Do we have to face higher storage costs in order to have a margin of safety merchandise?
Be an expert of what you send
When we talk about expert we mean when it comes to logistics and shipping. Surely most companies will already be experts in their product in terms of its characteristics for the customer or the market. However, we may not be so so about how we get these products to market. What characteristics do our products have? Do they fall under the category of dangerous goods? What legislation affects them? Does this legislation change in each country I ship to? What role do we have in the stowage of merchandise? Could we modify your packaging to optimize your logistics (increasing the number of products per box or per pallet)?
You will also benefit from everything you learn about logistics. Being able to know when it is convenient for you to resort to the express pallet store or when you are going to be able to make the most of the wait until you get to accumulate merchandise for a full load (or know how to find the intermediate point between speed -not having to wait to fill the truck- and cost to use groupage services).
Types of pallets, dimensions, weights, taxes, management tools… Everything you learn will work in your favor when designing what the transport service you should use is like.
value over price
We have already seen how we should not look only at the price to make our decisions, but it is worth emphasizing it. Giving a better service to customers is an asset that you must value, in the same way as the reduction of incidents and the lower cost related to solving them. Other qualitative additions that you must take into account is the quality of the information received (control of your traceability, the creation and compliance with performance indicators, etc.).