Logistics and Transportation Services: Choosing the Right One
A good percentage of businesses today deal with the selling of products to customers. As a result, a channel that ensures the delivery of these products from the business to the customer is imperative. This is the point where logistics and transportation services come in. This process takes care of moving products from one point to another through several transportation modes.
Below, we'll explain the intricacies of choosing the right logistics and transportation services for your business and what to look out for in a partner.
What are Logistics and Transportation Services?
Logistics and transportation services are the essential and final aspect of the supply chain and distribution process. They plan, control, and execute the movement of products in a way that meets all customer needs and demands.
An effective logistics and transportation management system will find the most ideal means of transportation for product delivery, manage the process, and incorporate the entire network to ensure visibility, stability, and control of the entire transportation system.
Logistics and transportation services can either be handled in-house by employees or outsourced to dedicated logistics and transportation partners. These logistic transportation providers are third-party companies that help businesses, both small and large, efficiently organize their logistics needs through planning, strategizing, and implementation, with customer satisfaction as the end goal.
What to Look for in a Logistics and Transportation Partner
Handling logistics services can both be high-risk and high-volume for businesses. To be as effective as possible, there's the need for balancing performance, reliability, and cost.
Working with the right logistics and transportation partner can help businesses get their transportation needs in check in a cost-effective and reliable manner. Different businesses have variating distribution needs, which could range from order handling and fulfillment to handling several logistics functions.
Here are some important factors to look out for when seeking the right partner:
Expertise in the Subject Matter of Your Company's Needs
While most third-party companies can provide the most vital services, it's important that you choose a partner that's an expert in the area of your company's needs. When you consider the different terms of cargo handling, transportation procedures, and the inherent bureaucracy of distribution, you'll understand that it's different for several businesses.
To determine these, you need to put some important things into consideration. They include:
- Business goals
- Customer needs
- Existing capabilities
These factors will help you when processing the realities of your business niche and the transportation needs you're trying to meet.
The team that handles your distribution services should include analysts that have expertise in areas that you can leverage to gain an advantage in your company operations. They should also be able to share regular insights that can help your organization stand out in the marketplace.
State of the Technology
The present and future of logistics and transportation services revolve around state-of-the-art technologies. A company that claims to handle efficient transportation and distribution services must work with a chain of technology systems that allow for integrated management systems and flexible distribution services.
Predictive analytics is another important aspect of logistics management. If for any reason the carriers don't use systems that allow real-time communication or distribution estimates, it'll affect the efficiency of the process and, ultimately, customer satisfaction.
Continuous Improvement Initiatives
A good transportation services partner realizes the need for ongoing analysis to reach delivery optimization and drive continuous improvement. The business environment that we have today goes beyond the "one and done" approach and focuses on continuing to improve delivery processes while reducing costs as much as possible.
Consider whether the partner in question is concerned about continuous improvement and works towards new possibilities. This can depict the effectiveness level of the logistics service and how far they're willing to go in a situation where there's a mishap or unforeseen circumstance.
Trust and Flexibility in Their Operations
Considering the global nature of the supply chain management world today, trust and flexibility must be major players in a potential partner's goals and vision.
First, flexibility allows for the possibility to tackle the ever-evolving needs and demands of customers, the development of varying solutions, the urgency of customer needs, and the unforeseen circumstances of organizational partnerships.
Trust, on the other hand, is important for you as a business owner. There's hardly any point in engaging a third-party company to handle your distribution operations if you have no trust in them. For a partnership to work, your organization has to trust the partner enough to establish a form of relationship, while ensuring that they align with your organizational vision and goal. Ensure that you trust your distribution services partner enough to share resources, technical knowledge, and influence.
Company culture plays an important role in how successful any kind of partnership will be. Ask questions about the company culture to ensure that it's compatible with yours. If there's a level of divergence in your organizational structures and cultures, it may eventually become a hindrance.
Customer service is an important aspect of company culture to put into consideration. The best logistics and transportation partners put a great emphasis on customer service and experience. The manner through which your inquiries and services are handled will determine the manner through which your logistics services will be handled also.
Effective communication is what strong transportation management services are hinged on. If there aren't systems in place to coordinate order taking, the shipment process, and freight transportation, your logistics experience will suffer. Effective communication is an excellent predictor of the success of a partnership.
Summarily, when choosing a logistics and transportation management partner, ensure that you precisely define your expectations and seek an established, reputable provider.
4 Common Logistics and Transportation Methods
Several modes of transportation exist within the industry, each with different benefits and requirements. There are four primary modes that can be options for your business, depending on several factors - the type of product, shipment destination, urgency, budget, and more.
The four major transportation modes include:
1. Freight Transportation
Truck or road transportation is an ideal option for businesses that need both small and quick truckload shipments delivered directly to businesses, warehouses, or a consumer’s doorstep. Freight shipments are typically equipped to handle feasible delays on the way.
Businesses that deal in computer shipping, electrical machinery, eCommerce, agriculture, or construction will typically take advantage of full truckload shipments. Freight transportation is a great idea for these types of businesses due to:
- Fewer restrictions
- Economical option
- Possibility of door-to-door shipments
2. Ship Transportation
This option is most feasible for businesses that require transportation of cumbersome and heavy loads, especially inter-country or intercontinental shipments. Ship transport is a great idea for goods like building supplies, metals, agricultural products, and other bulky goods because of the following reasons:
- Weight and space feasibility
- Safety of shipments
- More economical than air transportation
It's important to point out that although it has the capacity of carrying more loads, maritime transportation can take much longer than freight transportation.
3. Railway Transportation
The transportation industry has evolved through centuries, but rail transportation is one method that's stood the test of time. Commodities like vehicles and motor parts, plastics, and mineral fuels are the most common products to be shipped via rails.
Railway transportation is a great option because it carries more goods and reduces the chances of delays. You may however want to consider the accessibility of the final destination to rails and the time that the cargo may spend in transit.
4. Air Freight
This is a newer form of logistics and is a great idea because of its location range around the world. It covers a wide range when compared to rail and freight transportation networks.
Air freight allows for a speedy route and offers a higher level of security when compared to other shipment options. On the other end, the cost and limitations of materials that can be allowed on flights must be considered.
Intermodal transportation is another form of logistics service that integrates two or more forms of transportation for a delivery to be made to its final destination.
Choosing the right logistics and transportation services company is one of the most important business decisions you can make when it comes to improving your company's logistics management, specifically in a cost-effective and reliable manner.
If what you're looking for is a fast and efficient transportation management partner for your company, consider Ziing today. Ziing provides hassle-free and on-time delivery solutions for businesses primarily in Canada and the U.S. Contact us today to learn more about the options available to you and how you can get started on this journey.