2017 is less than two short weeks away – and third party logistics is facing a potentially transformative year.
A new president always has an impact on the economy, especially the first year, and there are major technological changes on the horizon. Self-driving trucks are the major disruptive technology that’s easy to talk about, but there’s plenty of minor disruptions taking place under the surface as well.
With so much potentially changing in the new year, you need to be ready to adapt.
But can you?
You can’t maintain an adaptable business when you’re constantly scrambling to keep up.
The problem with all that changing technology is that you can’t keep up. If you’re constantly having to scramble to keep up with your own business, who has time to keep up on changing technology?
That’s a problem. And it’s a problem that’s not going to get any easier next year, or the year after, or the year after that.
You need to take the time, now, to evaluate your current logistics management process and figure out how you could become more efficient.
Efficiency is how you can get the time to get ahead, and not feel as though you’re constantly putting out fires.
Efficiency is how you set yourself apart from the competition – especially in an industry where the customer often doesn’t see a difference between different third party logistics providers. Shipments get from point A to point B, after all – and they often don’t care about the specifics.
You do, though, and that’s why you’re so constantly busy. You’re managing carriers, load boards, and the million details that go into transportation logistics.
That’s precisely why you need to take the time to evaluate your process and make it more efficient.
There are several ways to do so, but the most popular – with reason – is the method pioneered by Toyota in the 80’s. Lean methodologies are so effective at making processes more efficient that they’ve moved beyond just manufacturing and into numerous other industries. Healthcare is one area that has seen dramatic improvements with Lean implementation, and many supply chains utilize it as well.
As a logistics broker, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be taking advantage of the same techniques to make your own processes more efficient.
First things first – identify easy to fix weaknesses in your process.
Before you have the time to find the little things that add up to major savings the way big supply chains, hospitals, or manufacturing companies do, you need to pick off the low hanging fruit.
There’s quite a few of these that are common problems for logistics brokers.
How much time do you spend double-entering your accounting information?
How much time do you spend hunting down documents or data?
Do your customers have to call you (or your sales team) every single time they want to place a shipment?
Do you check the insurance of each carrier you work with? Do you even have a way to do so without having to call them each time?
How do you find trucks for your LTL shipments? Load board, after load board, after load board, each visited individually?
These are just a handful of issues that can be solved with a relatively simple tool: a transportation management system. Effective software, the kind that consolidates all of your data into a single place, syncs with your accounting software, your warehouse management system, and the load boards you need to visit.
That kind of efficiency is a low hanging fruit you could knock out in the new year. The trouble is, how do you find the software that meets your exact needs?
We’ve discussed the key features your transportation management software should have in previous posts, and you can revisit those by clicking here.
It’s important to know what features are available before you decide on what features you need. So while you have precious little time to begin with, you need to take some of that time to identify what you’re currently doing that takes the most time, as well as what features are available out there.
The new year could be your opportunity to get ahead.
You have two options in 2017: become more efficient, or become obsolete.
We’ve got an option that could be the solution to your time efficiency problem. Brokerware handles all those little time sucking tasks that are eating away at your ability to get ahead in 2017.
Brokerware isn’t a fit for every business – especially if you’re just getting started. You may not need the extensive suite of options in Brokerware.
Luckily, we’ve got something for the brokerage that just needs the basics coming up. Sign up for blog updates on the right to be the first to know when we announce it!