Logistics Uncomplicated: Navigating Your Supply Chain Amidst COVID-19

Ascent recently presented a COSE webinar about how to keep your supply chain moving in a post COVID-19 world.

As many businesses begin to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, it’s important to understand best practices for effective supply chain management. With transportation in the U.S. operating at roughly 85 percent of its usual activity, navigating and proactively planning for your business’ logistics is crucial, now more than ever.

Ascent’s transportation experts address the most common questions and areas of confusion that relate to minimizing supply chain disruptions. This COSE webinar will refresh your knowledge of ever-changing shipping criteria and show how Ascent can help to keep your supply chain moving. Watch the full webinar:


 

Ascent has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (and answers) below:

What’s happening in the industry and what are people doing to react?

As can be expected, the logistics and transportation industry has been impacted by COVID-19. Many shippers have partnered with logistics experts for immediate help with LTL, Truckload, Intermodal, Expedite, Air Charter and time-sensitive shipments to get their supply chains back in motion. By working with a trusted partner, shippers gain access to all transportation modes in one place, with the added value of customer service support. Certain businesses have also turned to logistics partners for assistance with workforce management, as many individuals have been faced with the responsibility of juggling several new job functions. 

What can members do to help carriers with the shipping process and become preferred shippers?

The key to becoming a preferred shipper lies within developing a trusted relationship with your carrier. Being open and transparent in your communication and expectations, as well as honoring commitments, are all critical pieces of the process. As a preferred shipper, you gain the opportunity to negotiate better shipping rates. Additionally, partnering with a 3PL helps to foster relationships with a larger network of carriers and ensure that you are receiving the best rates.

How have carriers adjusted during this time? What plans have you seen going forward from a global perspective?

Many carriers have been forced to decide to drop their service guarantees or update implemented rules and policies due to various influences such as safety precautions, increased demand, and lower supply. Items such as food, cleaning supplies and PPE (personal protective equipment) have taken precedence when delegating the necessity for shipments amidst decreased bandwidth.

Additionally, in some cases, shippers have reverted to expedited shipping options during this time to guarantee service by a given date. Ocean shipping volumes have decreased by 30-40 percent, while air freight shipping volumes have seen a decline by as much as 70 percent over the past few months. Carriers across the industry have had to adjust operations multiple times to conform to life amidst COVID-19.

What efficiencies have helped shippers over the past 90 days?

When it comes to logistics, it truly takes a team effort to streamline your supply chain and retain the ability to make swift decisions. Functions like IT, Compliance and Finance are especially essential aspects in remaining as efficient as possible, whether they are handled in-house or outsourced to a trusted logistics partner. Additionally, reporting, audit consolidation, competitive rates and more all play a part in supply chain productivity.

What is the importance of remaining proactive and compliant as a shipper?

Whether you’re shipping goods domestically or globally, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date and compliant with updates and regulations such as duties, taxes, tariffs, NMFC rules, freight classes and more. By remaining proactive in ways such as securing transportation on time, obtaining cargo insurance and implementing technology solutions in areas such as freight audit and pay and order management, your supply chain is better positioned for success.

 

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