The modern supply chain is filled with roadblocks that impact a smooth operation. When it comes to inbound logistics management, shippers must navigate through a minefield of hurdles that range from end-user demands to changes in operational costs of doing business. The truth is that shippers face multiple issues that can throw a curveball in their inbound logistics management programs. Noted below are five of the most common roadblocks that impact a smooth and efficient inbound logistics program.
When you create or manage an existing business, one of the first things you likely did was establish set hours of operations. While it’s quite possible that you put in more time than the standard 9 to 5 job when you started, once it’s operational, you likely created policies for all phases of operation. This includes your policies regarding inbound shipping. A company has inbound shipping policies to reduce the potential for safety issues or on the job accidents, ensure proper inventory control, and have time to secure items in the warehouse after receiving.
Without question, the first roadblock to managing an efficient logistics inbound program are vendors who either don’t understand or don’t care about your organization’s procedures and policies for receiving inbound goods. An easy way to combat this problem is to create an online portal that all vendors who deliver must review and sign off on in order to deliver to you. Remember, you’re the boss when it comes to receiving goods – so take proactive steps to protect your policies, so you can maintain a solid and efficient operation.
A report completed by the Peerless Research Group indicated that nearly 45 percent of supply chain stakeholders do not have active plans in using an effective TMS (transportation management system). A robust and modern TMS will allow a company to analyze their inbound supply chain procedures and actual activation to find areas of inefficiencies or areas that need improvement. Metrics created by good TMS solutions can recognize and streamline all logistics-based activities of any company – from receiving inbound products to shipping products and supplies to your customers. Due to this fact, having some sort of TMS software solution is a hurdle that can be eclipsed.
While TMS and other metrics reporting solutions are important to creating a strong inbound logistics program, the truth is that they can’t be the only sources of education. A major stumbling block that several shippers and receivers encounter is the dependence of reporting and numbers in determining the effectiveness of their inbound logistics program. It’s critical to seek the input of your employees and vendors when it comes to how your policies and procedures impact their ability to safely and effectively do their jobs.
A successful logistics program requires open and clear communication throughout the entire supply chain. Sometimes, however, the breakdown in communication is internal – with departments failing to communicate clearly. In many cases, the problems can be attributed to outdated communication platforms – ranging from emails to mobile technology connectivity issues. The communication gaps can cause missed deliveries, problems with inventory control, accounting issues and in some severe cases, lost business.
Inbound receiving is again an area where the recipient has control. If they are paying to have products shipped to them, they should have a say in what carrier is completing the service – especially if they pay for it. While in many cases, this is not controllable by a recipient, there are ways to accomplish this step – which can improve your overall inbound logistics management programs.
Third-party logistics or 3PL’s are exceptional at helping companies streamline their inbound logistics management solutions. From working with companies to review areas of strength and weakness to finding the right carriers to work with daily, the best way any organization and reduce the landmines associated with inbound receiving is to work with an experienced 3PL.