The logistics industry is on track for significant changes in 2019. Consumer confidence and spending are up, and companies are enjoying the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Unfortunately, failures to effectively manage inbound freight still exist, and freight costs are rising at record levels. For shippers to continue saving money and meeting the expectations of consumers, they need to understand the state of inbound logistics, including the driving forces of higher inbound logistics costs and the benefits of effective inbound freight management. Of course, that’s too much to handle in a single post, so this series will delve into every aspect of inbound freight management and what shippers can do to rise to the occasion of better inbound freight throughout 2019.
What’s Pushing the State of Inbound Logistics for Shippers?
The state of inbound logistics is in the perfect position for continued growth throughout 2019 as a result of a confluence of factors contributing to a strong economy and demand for an increase of greater product variety (i.e., SKUs) from resellers. In addition, consumer spending, while increasing, is on track to beat all records, and companies across the country are turning to new technology and resources to give consumers more buying options. In a sense, this is the result of strong e-commerce growth, and brick-and-mortar retailers have developed new technologies, such as online order vending machines, to stay competitive with Amazon. For over-the-road carriers, growth throughout the industry will lead to higher demands in a constrained industry. Vendors and suppliers also have a duty to streamline operations and meet the orders from shippers. Unfortunately, this creates problems with inbound freight management.
For example, more orders to vendors will naturally lead to an increase in the number of inbound freight shipments. At the same time, new vendors and suppliers are growing in popularity, presenting new challenges for shippers with tight dock schedule. However, effective inbound freight management can overcome these problems.
Top Benefits of Effective Inbound Freight Management
The leading benefits of effective inbound freight management include:
- Compliance. Improved compliance with inbound freight routing guides among vendors will effectively lower costs associated with inbound freight management.
- Visibility. Increased visibility on the dock for inbound freight shipments will lead to a reduced carrying cost of inventory, as well as better insight and understanding of the current dock schedule.
- Collaboration. Effective inbound freight management also leads to increased collaboration between shippers and suppliers, but such relationship benefits have additional implications for manufacturers, who can use more information and ties to create better forecasts and plan accordingly.
- Access to Data. The access to data will also contribute to more effective inbound freight management and, vice versa, will have a significant impact on reducing freight management costs and improving vendor relationships.
- Improved Customer Service. A leading benefit of proactive inbound freight management involves customer service. Since inbound freight management is really about ensuring accurate and adequate inventory for consumers, maintaining sufficient inventory and avoiding issues with backorders is crucial to keeping consumers happy.
- Increased Omnichannel Presence. As more companies begin to embark on omnichannel strategies, effective inbound freight management will allow more stores to be used as distribution centers, fulfilling orders locally and giving consumers greater shipping options.
What to Expect From This Inbound Freight Management Series
This series will explore the state’s inbound logistics and what shippers can do to restore visibility and control over inbound freight management. Some of the top posts to expect throughout this series include:
- How Walmart is impacting the industry
- The indispensable value of inbound freight consolidation
- Ways to avoid inbound freight pickups
- Parcel inbound logistics management
- The use of a TMS to reduce consolidation issues
- Security concerns of high-tech inbound freight management
- Exception automation in inbound logistics management
- Inbound freight management integration via TMS
- Inbound vendor compliance
- Costs of compliance violations
- Inbound freight visibility benefits
- Inbound freight controls and shipper-of-choice status.
- Inbound freight data management
- Procurement and its role in effective inbound freight planning
- Inbound freight vendor selection
- Dynamic inbound freight management
- Avoiding detention time for drivers
- Key issues affecting prepaid and add-on logistics management services
It is a lot of information, but the informed shipper is effective at inbound freight management.
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