Obtaining end-to-end supply chain visibility for inbound shipments can be an ongoing and sometimes frustrating battle. When every supplier has its own proprietary methods and systems for booking and communicating, it can be challenging to get an accurate and complete picture of what is expected to arrive and when. It is even more challenging to keep track of actual shipping costs when a company doesn’t have control over its inbound shipments.
What Is Inbound Logistics Management and Why Is It Important?
Inbound logistics refers to shipments that come from your suppliers or vendors. As every vendor manages and books freight differently, it can be complicated to maintain any visibility on inbound orders. Inbound shipments are often overlooked in supply chain optimizations yet they can account for up to 40% of a company’s overall transportation costs and have a significant impact on a manufacturer’s ability to meet every tightening final customer requirement.
In some organizations, inbound supply chain costs can account for 40 percent of the total transportation budget. The best way to uncover hidden efficiency opportunities, reduce your transportation costs, and provide better visibility into the shipping process is by utilizing robust inbound freight visibility software.
Key Drivers of Inbound Logistics Management
What are the key drivers to a successful inbound logistics management program? An easy start to reworking a company’s supply chain strategy is to take a close look at the key parts that make up good inbound freight management:
- Vendor compliance
- Control of inventory
- Visibility and tracking on inbound shipments
- Supplier relationships
- Inbound freight costs
It is extremely important to assess whether your supply chain vendors meet your inbound logistics compliance program how much inbound visibility a company actually has, and how much control it has over the booking, pricing, and management of inbound shipments. A critical part of any supply chain is the trusted relationships with your suppliers, which are supported by mutual transparency and cooperation. If there is poor communication and little trust, a company loses many benefits of a collaborative partnership to control its inbound shipment flow
How to enhance inbound logistics management?
Inbound freight shipments are a critical part of every supply chain. Many companies decide to let vendors and suppliers manage inbound freight on their own thus having little visibility into the transportation process, which results in hidden costs and late deliveries.
The first step to reducing costs on inbound shipments is to gain inbound visibility and take control of the inbound freight management process. This way, you can identify gaps and opportunities for optimization early in your process, allowing you to manage exceptions before they explode into customer product delays. Apart from cost-efficiency, analyzing and improving your inbound freight movement can improve delivery speed, and go a long way to increasing customer satisfaction.
Inbound freight can be a blind spot for global supply chains, impacting receiving teams, production lines, inventory management, shipping, and ultimately the delivery to end customers. Using a robust visibility platform means providing suppliers and vendors with 24/7 access to manage their daily business. Vendors, suppliers, can enter shipment details and book with pre-approved, contracted carriers and services. This ultimate control significantly enhances shipment visibility, improves forecasting, and supports better freight cost management, including the control, and reduction, of expedited shipping costs.
How Can Inbound Freight Software Enhance Visibility?
The more visibility that a company has on its inbound supply chain, the better. But this increased visibility requires a technology platform that supports this area of the supply chain.
- Gain visibility down to the part number for inbound shipments
- Ensure booking compliance with preferred and contracted carriers and services
- Manage and forecast inventory
- Monitor freight costs for inbound shipping
- Use the data as an ASN to tie shipment information to PO details
With the help of inbound visibility software, supply chain executives can outline their own terms and conditions under which suppliers and vendors must operate. An inbound shipment visibility platform facilitates the generation of standard carrier routing and service level guidelines. This empowers a firm to automate its logistics procedures and routing rules. This takes the control back on supplier, or vendor, originated shipments and provides pre-shipment visibility to support better customer satisfaction levels.
Improving Inbound Visibility with Agistix
Onboarding suppliers to book shipments in visibility-focused software is the most optimal low-effort and a high-return way of gaining inbound shipment visibility and reducing inbound logistics costs. Agistix has a proven inbound shipment visibility solution that enables firms to gain increased control and a reduction of related freight costs.
Agistix is an industry-leading visibility software provider that can uncover hidden opportunities within inbound supply chains, identifying both increased control and cost savings. With the Agistix solution and team, there are no IT resources and implementation time required from your company. With a minimal set-up and an hour of training, suppliers can be entering shipments for visibility today!
Check out our solutions for inbound visibility here!