Plugging Cost Leaks Before Shipping Your Consignment
International traders and shippers are susceptible to losing money in the form of time, resources, and other avoidable expenditures in more ways than they are aware of. These cost leaks can be broadly classified into three categories — those pertaining to planning, processes, and people. Almost all of these cost leaks can be attributed to the lack of transparency and visibility over shipping operations, which has been a concern for global supply chains for years now. By partnering with a new-age digital forwarder like Freightwalla, international shippers can gain greater visibility into their shipping processes and thereby, prevent these cost leaks. Read on to know the different forms of cost leaks that supply chains suffer from, and how a digital freight forwarder can minimize them.
Planning-related cost leaks
Planning-related cost leaks in shipping generally occur due to a lack of accurate information made available to shippers. This information could be regarding the estimated shipping prices during a specific time of the year or the availability of cost-efficient shipping options.
The wild fluctuations in carrier prices on a season-to-season or even a day-to-day basis is no secret. Seasonal demand and changing fuel prices, among other causes, make the total cost of shipments unpredictable and therefore hard to account for while planning and budgeting. As a result, shippers forego opportunities for cost optimization.
Moreover, shippers often have access to limited carrier options, as getting freight quotes from even a single shipping company can take anywhere between a few hours to a day or two via traditional forwarders. Getting quotes from multiple carriers and comparing prices will then, naturally, take longer. This is not only cumbersome and inefficient but also detrimental to any business’ sales, as longer turnaround times for quotes will likely result in customers walking out. This leads to heavy costs in the form of lost business.
Furthermore, hidden local charges not declared clearly by carriers and traditional forwarders also add unplanned components to the total shipping cost, driving expenses further upward.
How Freightwalla helps minimize planning related cost leaks:
Freightwalla’s digital platform provides shippers with all the information they need to plan their shipments instantly while optimizing their costs. By offering multiple shipping options for all trade routes with just a click, it eliminates the need for shippers to spend days on gathering freight quotes through calls and emails. As a result, shippers are quickly able to identify the most cost-effective option for every shipment. Consequently, they are able to quote their customers almost instantly, leading to higher conversion rates due to quick turnaround. Also, these carrier options are accompanied by all the necessary vessel details and full cost breakdown, ensuring there are no surprises during shipping due to unplanned costs, such as local charges at different ports.
Process-related cost leaks
Ocean-based shipping, in general, is riddled with inefficiencies and unreliability — the second half of 2019 saw 1 in 5 transshipped containers rolled over. When cargo misses the cutoff deadline and gets rolled over, it leads to heavy expenditure in the form of demurrage and detention charges to be paid for the extra time that the cargo is held. Cargo delays without advance notification are especially damaging to OEMs and eCommerce businesses, as in many cases, missed deadlines mean canceled orders, lost goodwill, and a damaged reputation — all leading to heavy short- and long-term costs.
While most shipping delays and their associated costs are unavoidable, there are some that can be avoided. For instance, delay in documentation processes due to inaccuracy and non-compliance is an avoidable cause of cargo rollover. And even if there are delays due to unavoidable reasons like bad weather, proactive and timely notifications on expected delays can help in reassuring customers and keeping the supply chain agile and responsive.
How Freightwalla helps minimize process-related cost leaks:
Due to Freightwalla’s convenient online documentation feature, documentation processes take at least 30% less time than when done through traditional freight forwarders. Freightwalla’s digital platform also serves as a unified repository for all shipment- and order-related documents. Shippers can use this repository to avoid confusion in documentation and account management by allowing users to upload and access documents from anywhere. As a result, they don’t just save valuable man-hours that would be otherwise wasted in organizing and finding documents but also avoid fines due to non-compliant or missing documents.
Businesses shipping with Freightwalla receive regular updates on the status of their cargo, even for transshipments. Any expected delays and updated ETAs are communicated in advance through the digital platform as well as email so that shippers can notify their customers proactively and avoid financial and reputational losses.
People-related cost leaks
International businesses that use traditional freight forwarding services are heavily reliant on manual processes for virtually everything — be it quotation, booking, documentation, tracking, or invoicing. Businesses that ship in large quantities have entire teams dedicated to managing their shipments. SMEs with smaller teams that use traditional freight forwarding are swamped with paperwork. And all of this is non-negotiable as a lack of diligence in managing shipments can lead to lost business and even legal trouble.
As a result, such organizations incur heavy opportunity costs that are hard to quantify. This is especially true if they have small enterprise teams that are forced to spend most of their time on managing and tracking customer orders instead of business development and scaling.
How Freightwalla helps minimize people-related costs:
The Feightwalla platform minimizes the need for manual data entry, repeated phone, and email inquiries, and frequent back-and-forth communication to book and manage shipments. As a result, it releases the shippers’ human resources, which can be directed towards more value-adding activities.
International shipping, due to a variety of factors, is an inherently inefficient affair as it is today. The onus is on the supply chain participants to adopt the strategies and technologies that can enhance efficiency through cost-saving wherever possible. Hiring Freightwalla as your digital forwarding partner would be the ideal first step towards a more efficient, agile, and transparent supply chain.