Working With Vendors And Carriers To Optimize Drop Shipments

Written by Paul Forand

outsourcing-shipping-managementTime isn't just money these days - it's also about customers.  Buyers large and small want their shipments to be delivered as fast as possible, and at the lowest possible price.

Optimized drop shipments can do a lot to improve any shipper's relationship with their clients.  Virtually anything you can do to speed up the process, or cut costs along the way, turns into an additional benefit you can pass on to your customers.  

When you can get your vendor, your carrier, and your own operations all on the same page, the result is usually greater profits and faster shipments for everyone involved.

Boosting Effectiveness In Drop Shipment Orders

1 - Compare Your Carriers' Pricing

If you and your vendors are using different carriers, do a little research into what everyone's paying. Look at detailed lanes to make sure you are taking advantage of the best rates being offered through your carriers versus your vendor’s carriers.

2 - Request Manifest Reports From Carriers

Rather than waiting days, or possibly weeks, for your final bill, most carriers can send you a manifest report for their previous days' shipments. This report lists all shipments by their Sales Order / Purchase Order number, along with details on every charge involved with the shipment.

Receiving this can allow you to quickly reconcile the unaudited freight charges against quoted amounts and affords you the opportunity to determine billable freight charges before the freight bill arrives. Faster invoicing means faster payment, at least in theory.

3 - Full Document Imaging

There's normally no need to keep paper copies of shipping documents. They are difficult to deal with, bulky, and can create huge slowdowns if a specific one ever needs to be located.

Automated document imaging is a must-have. All paper-based communications are scanned into a central database, tied to each individual SO/PO number.  This will greatly speed up your auditing, as well as reducing delays from having to look up paperwork.

4 - Keep The Vendor And Carrier In CommunicationeCommerce-Shipping

Unexpected charges and delays can often crop up if the vendor misunderstands the shipping instructions or otherwise isn't "in the loop."  However it's done, simply keeping lines of communication open will go far in reducing mistakes.

This is especially vital for keeping track of shipments in progress.  Your vendors and carriers need ways to alert you and/or each other if any problem creates a delay for the other parties.

5 - Go Through A Vendor Portal

One of the best overall solutions is to utilize a vendor portal, which allows your vendors to access optimal routing instructions online via a secure web portal. When tied to a direct reference number, it gives you visibility of your shipments from start to finish with full accountability every step of the way.

A vendor routing portal not only helps to ensure vendor compliance of least cost routing for inbound and drop shipments, but it also helps you free up time internally by reducing the number of requests you receive from vendors for routing instructions.

6 - Choose A Third-Party Logistics Provider

The other option is to hire a 3PL who specializes in shipment optimization.  In many situations, a good 3PL can reduce your total shipping expenditures, while greatly improving your overall customer experience.  No matter how many carriers or vendors are in the mix, they can find an arrangement that suits everyone - and takes the burden off you.

For a free cost-savings analysis, contact ReTrans Freight today to discuss your shipping needs!