Logistics cost form an important part of the overall cost structure in any organization. Focus needs to be on renegotiating freight and shipping rates, reduction in overall freight costs and streamlining operations.There are six best practices that can be followed by most businesses to reduce costs.
New carriers: Constant market rate check is a best practice. Usually, logistics managers get into a comfort zone with the existing carriers. This leads to cost creep. Market rate check will bring to light other more economical operations. New carriers may be more flexible in their quotes.
Freight costs: There are several options to optimize freight costs. Renegotiation of minimum billing to a minimum for a zone needs to be explored. Product delivery coordination is another useful tool to streamline freight costs. Today both the USPS and Canada Post offer viable options for small packages. Arrangements with a number of smaller local carriers sometime s provide the best rate/best service combination. Internet offers excellent tools for comparing and optimizing freight costs
Improve shipping and receiving: Streamlining shipping and receiving practices will offer substantial savings. This can happen through reduction of window time for receiving. Starting point should be mandating delivery appointments. A flow chart needs to be made of all the operations to determine wasteful processes and combining existing processes.
Technology: Internet tools enable substantial reduction in paperwork. Documents are scanned and emailed to customs, ports etc. In case of cross border trade, documents needs to reach at least twenty four hours in advance to avoid delays at the border. Technology also allows coordination of all shipments to optimize loading.
Managing returns: Reverse logistics is an important element of freight costs. Most companies offer a liberal returns policy. If the customer is not satisfied with the product, it can be returned in 30, 60, 90 days depending on the seller. At times, the seller also arranges to pick it up. To minimize costs associated with reverse logistics processes needs to be streamlined.
Audit of freight costs: Use specialized agencies that provide post payment audit of freight bills. These agencies are usually paid on a profit sharing basis. These audits also provide valuable insight into patterns and other cost reduction opportunities.