Every day, organizations generate huge volumes of freight and send it out across the globe. But despite the scale and reach of their shipping operations, there is often little standardization to be found.
Individual facilities and supply chain managers frequently operate in a vacuum, making decisions that may not reflect the goals and preferences of the organization as a whole. As a result of all these rogue decisions and siloed processes, visibility suffers, confusion proliferates, and productivity can slow to a crawl.
By standardizing shipping across the entire organization, companies can improve efficiency in several critical ways. As part of our ongoing series on the competitive advantages companies can gain by boosting supply chain efficiency, here are some of the key benefits standardization can bring.
Reducing the IT burden
Technology is complicated enough. But if different facilities across the global supply chain are relying on different systems to get things done, this can generate all manner of unnecessary issues.
Standardizing shipping processes requires standardizing the technology that supports them. This removes the need for IT to support disparate systems while also reducing the risk of incompatibility issues across the organization.
As a result, the IT department will only need to master and maintain one unified system. This ensures the tech team is fully equipped to handle any issue in any facility, allowing them to provide better support and freeing up time and resources for them to focus on other initiatives and improvements.
Implementing a robust and fully integrated transportation management system (TMS) helps to streamline and standardize shipping across the organization. But alleviating the IT burden is only one benefit of this approach.
Increasing visibility and corporate governance
Silos and rogue spending are all-too-common supply chain plagues. When leaders lack a bird’s-eye view of the organization and have limited visibility into or control over regional spend, individual facilities are free to act in a bubble—approving premium shipping costs at will, relying too heavily on spot quotes, and even missing viable opportunities to cut costs. When these decisions go unmonitored and unnoticed, they quickly add up—having a major impact on the bottom line.
Standardizing shipping processes provides organizations an opportunity to increase corporate governance without limiting flexibility. By putting controls in place and enforcing them through the TMS, rogue decision-making and spend can be stamped out virtually overnight, ensuring all facilities are operating under one shared version of the truth. Regional managers can still utilize shipping options that fall outside of the standard process when necessary, but the TMS can trigger an alert or approval process that ensures key stakeholders are made aware of these actions.
This standardization also increases visibility into both regional and company-wide freight spend. The TMS will automatically collect and centralize data from across the organization, making it easier for leaders to track shipping patterns and spot opportunities to save
Automating tedious shipping tasks
While enforcing standardization using a best-in-class TMS solution can improve many high-level processes, it can also streamline everyday shipping operations on the ground.
A TMS can automate many of the most tedious and time-consuming manual tasks involved in the shipping process, from lane routing to load tendering. This not only saves employees’ time but helps ensure that optimal shipping options are selected every time. This standardization and automation can also streamline load time—reducing the amount of time carriers spend twiddling their thumbs waiting to hit the road and increasing the likelihood that orders will be delivered on time.
All these improvements have a direct impact on the accounting department’s ability to process payments efficiently. By standardizing the data capture process during shipping, the accounting team does not have to wrestle with disparate systems, paper invoices, and missing information. This standardization also improves the accuracy of accruals, helping companies secure on-time payments and avoid major accounting headaches.
The result is a significantly streamlined accounts payable process and improved order-to-cash cycle time. Plus, with fewer exceptions and other mistakes to deal with, the accounting team can focus their energies elsewhere.
Reap the benefits of standardization
By standardizing and optimizing their global shipping processes, companies can boost efficiencies in a myriad of small and large ways. These efficiencies have a huge knock-on effect throughout the organization—putting the company in a prime position to out-perform its competitors.
CTSI-Global has been helping companies maximize their supply chain efficiency for over 60 years. Our industry-leading transportation management solution can help standardize shipping, improve visibility, and bring costs down.
Increase efficiency across every link of the supply chain. Partner with CTSI-Global today.