Logistics and Security of Tracking Shipments

industrial warehouseSafe and Secure Shipments

With the increases in technology tracking shipments has become a science. Barcodes are scanned at each locations allowing the person who shipped the package or the person who is receiving the package to track its movement into and out of each servicing center. Not to mention the security services involved in making sure that packages and containers are not broken into or carrying illegal substances.

This process has also reduced the number of lost packages. It helps logistics companies locates areas of weakness providing them with internal controls that can spot errors and correct them quickly. Software programs are able to track shipments from the moment the logistics company receives the package to the moment the end location receives the package.

From the consumer prospective, updated emails or text messages can be communicated so the receiver knows exactly where the shipment is at all times. This high degree of accuracy has provided faster shipments, fewer lost packages, and better customer service. The new software and technology has provided excellent resources for logistic companies to manage the millions of packages that they transport every day of the year.

A business home security system is required to make sure the environment that stores all of the shipping containers is safe. It will be complete with home security cameras and include a CCTV.

Better tracking has enabled smaller companies to be competitive with larger companies like Federal Express, UPS and DHL. Small logistics companies can partner with other companies and freight forwarders to provide the same fast service as the big companies, often with more personalized services. This has created a multi layered industry for logistics companies. The smaller local company will partner with a consolidator. This is a company has dozens of companies within their network that can provide seamless tracking throughout their network. So several small companies can now act like and provide the services of the larger company, without having to carry the expenses associated with running an international logistics business.

Through these partnerships. They hand off packages between companies, yet share a common tracking system. This prevents lost packages and coordinates billing so that each company that handles the package is paid for their leg of the delivery process.

While it may seem complicated and intricate, with modern technology and the advances in tracking software, this can operate seamlessly for the shipper, the receiver and all the companies in between. The reality is that all the shipper cares about is the package arriving on time and undamaged to the end location. The receiver wants the same things, on time delivery and no damage.

The logistics companies in between are only recognized when their job fails. When a package is damaged they must determine which shipping company is responsible. This results in extensive contracts between companies that spell out the process in the event that a package is lost or damaged.

It is important that when things go wrong that the customer (shipper or receiver) are not the ones left holding the bag.  The logistics company must step up and correct the problem so the consumers are made whole.

When companies try to pass the blame onto another member of the logistics stream, the customer can be the one who loses out. If this happens at any level of frequency customers will turn to the larger companies that offer more streamlined claims services, and that will hurt the small logistics companies.

How Does Overseas Shipping Work?

ShippingWhen it comes to international shipping there are several pieces involved. Whether you are shipping from the US to an international destination or from an international destination to the US, the process is similar.

The shipper is the person who is sending the shipment. This might be an overseas company that is shipping a product to the US or a US citizen that needs to have a package delivered to an international address. The shipper is the person who initiates the shipment of a package.

The international shipping company or the move manager can be operated by several companies or a single company. Companies will often partner with other companies so they can provide global coverage for shipping purposes, without having to have facilities and trucks to carry the shipment all over the world.  For example a US international package starts with the shipper and is dropped off with a local transport company. That company may truck it to a port that will take the package, via another company. The company that owns the ship or the plane (depending on how the package is sent), will take the package from there. Then when it arrives at its international port, another company (that has partnered with the first company) will collect the package and move it closer to its destination. Sometimes this company will deliver the package to its end location. Sometimes it will carry it to the country where the package will be delivered and another company will transport the package to its final destination.

Generally if a shipment is sent by ship a freight forwarder will be used. This is a company that will complete all of the international paperwork that is required to move a package or shipment across borders. They will often arrange for the package to be shipped once the paperwork is completed.

A consolidating warehouse is where the package will arrive next. This is where the package will be held until it clears the customs of the country it has arrived at. With every border crossing, just as people, packages must clear customs to ensure that no illegal products are shipped to the country. This also allows countries to manage import export businesses and determine how much in goods is sent from one country to the next.

From this point the package will be forwarded to its final destination. There are many companies that will touch an international shipment in order to move it safely from one country to the next. Commercial shipments and shipments of goods for business purposes are treated differently than individual shipments sent from one person to the next.

There are also international companies that ship goods to individuals. As the transport process has become more streamlined, it is easier for businesses to ship packages internationally. This has enabled small companies from china to market products online and then send the goods directly to the customer in the US, bypassing retail chains. This process is becoming more common with the growth of the internet and impact the process or worldwide shipping.

Why Do Freight Companies Add Fuel Surcharges

shipping over seas 2One of the biggest pet peeves with customers is extra charges that get added to the bill, after they have received a quote they believed was the final figure. In the airline industry this can include charges for baggage, fuel surcharges, food charges and it seems like anything else the airlines can think of. Shipping companies, when dealing with commercial shipments often charge fuel surcharges as well.

Consumers often wonder why these extra charges are not simply accounted for in the initial quote. The reason is that fuel prices are very volatile and change daily. Companies do not want to constantly change their pricing each week to accommodate the rising or falling prices of fuel, therefore fuel surcharges live on.

The logistics industry believes that customers would be more frustrated with constantly fluctuating prices with each quote, rather than the addition of fuel charges. With a freight company the fuel charges make up a large percentage of the total cost of doing business. Trucks, planes and even ships use an enormous amount of fuel when moving packages across the country and across the world.

As a result fuel charges, can actually save customers money. This is because the fuel charges are calculated once a week. They are averaged based on the cost of fuel for the previous 7 days. This average is what is used for the fuel surcharge for all shipments sent the following week. This method creates a fairly accurate measure of what the company is paying for shipments. It is then added to the formula to determine the total cost of the shipment for the shipper.

For the shipper, the person or business that is sending the package, they are getting rates that reflect what the fuel prices are immediately, rather than over a longer period of time. This method benefits the logistics company as they do not have the accounting issues that must be dealt with when prices are constantly changing. It provides the shipper with the ability to rely on a quote as the cost of shipment with the only addition at the actual time of shipment being the fuel surcharge.

Keeping costs down is important for a logistics company because today this is a very competitive market. International shipping costs fluctuate even more than US based shipments. Finding a method of passing along the accurate operating costs to the customer can mean the difference between being profitable or not.

The dynamic pricing and advances in technology are opening the doors for more companies to enter the logistics market. This increased competition makes pricing an important aspect of growing a business. Since most companies share transportation routes, it boils down to price and service. This market sometimes looks like the cell phone market where most companies are charging about the same price for the same service.

Differentiation is the key to success, and having accurate costs, can enable a shipping company to keep their costs down, while providing the best customer service, and thus growing their business.