Intermodal and Import Strategies that Will Improve Your Supply Chain Management

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A third-party logistics provider (3PL) can help you implement all your distribution initiatives by optimizing your intermodal supply chain. They understand the complexities of supply chains and can guide you away from costly decisions. Having the right supply chain strategies in place can enable businesses to take advantage of new opportunities, increase revenue, and improve profitability. In addition to providing efficient solutions for shippers, omnichannel strategies help meet the on-demand delivery needs of consumers. 3PL companies can also help you choose the best shipping solution for your cargo. Whether it is air, sea, or truck transportation you need, they can ensure that your goods are moved safely.

intermodal and import strategies that will improve your supply chain management logos logistics

Sometimes it’s best to just let a professional handle certain tasks for you, especially so for intermodal and import optimization. Experts make things so much easier, whether it’s getting a professional technician to fix your car, a physician to help you feel better, or a commercial pilot to get you where you need to go safely. Most importers trust a 3PL company to take care of all the details when it comes to importing strategies like intermodal, multimodal, intramodal, and other modes of transport.

Let’s explore the key strategies employed by 3PL companies to ensure the most efficient shipment process for your import and export business.

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Strategies for Optimizing Your Supply Chain


Intermodal and Multimodal Shipping

For this sort of freight transportation, one or more containers are sent using a mix of different types of transportation channels. This (these) container(s) are never opened, and the goods inside are never moved to a different container. The goods will stay in the original container for the entire trip. Intermodal shipments are mostly employed in long-distance shipping in the U.S., or shipping into Toronto or Guatemala from the U.S.

Multimodal shipping also utilizes at least two distinct kinds of transportation. But it is handled in a very different way. First of all, a multi-modal transport operator (MTO) is in charge of all multimodal movements. This company or person will be responsible for getting the freight from where it started to where it needs to go. And unlike intermodal shipments, the goods can be taken out of their containers to make them fit better on a different type of carrier. Your only point of interaction is the MTO, but they use carriers as well as contractors who are already part of their network. There is only one contract, so there is a far lesser chance of mistakes or frustration.

Related article:

What is the Difference Between an Intermodal and Multimodal Transportation?

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Prepaid Shipping Labels

Because of the sheer volume of orders they manage every day, a 3PL may buy a certain amount of shipping labels ahead of time. This could save you up to 20% on your current shipping costs and further optimize your supply chain. Note that this technique only really works if you ship orders that are always the same size and weight, or if you know this information ahead of time. Otherwise, the shipping costs will all be wrong.


The Integration of E-Commerce

During peak seasons or busy times for your e-commerce business, it’s a good idea to entice your customers with early bird discounts and encourage them to place their orders well in advance. For example, during the holidays, parcel delivery service providers often set their own cut-off periods for each service so that gifts don’t arrive late. This means that customers should place their orders before the cutoff time so that they don’t have to pay more for faster shipping.

More so than running out of time for shipments, there may be other things that affect cutoff dates, such as a shortage of labor, poor weather conditions that stop carriers from operating, federal holiday breaks that shut down operational processes, and other small details. 3PLs should pay close attention to the cutoff times for their specific carriers and the cutoff times for receiving inventory.

Also, make sure to ask about turnaround times during the holidays, any ship-on-time (SOT) extenders, as well as the general holiday schedule. It’s also essential that your client makes the entire order placement process easier and simpler for shippers on their platforms.


Strategic Plans for Packaging

A 3PL provider with years of experience and a wealth of knowledge will know when and how to ship regular, non-fragile items like clothing in a mailer wrapper or polythene bag. This way of packing takes up less space on delivery vehicles and needs less packing materials like adhesive and bubble padding, so it’s a much cheaper option for stores that sell light, non-fragile products.

Shipping requires a lot of additional details, like choosing different sizes of boxes and envelopes, padded wrappers, bubble wrap, adhesive, and tags for packing and shipment. When you add up all of these costs, they can take a big bite out of your profit margins. Consider purchasing them in bulk. Most companies will give you a discount if you buy in bulk.


Regional Carriers

You don’t just have USPS, FedEx, or UPS to choose from when looking for import and intermodal optimization options in the United States. You will find many larger, local carriers that might be willing to give you a discount, or give you free services like insurance or tracking, that make your package even more valuable. The only problem is that they normally do not have multiple ways to deliver packages, or only a limited number of services to support your shipment. Check to see whether they work for a certain area where the demand for your product exists. Even if it’s just for a small fraction of your business, they may be worth looking into.

Best-In-Class 3PL in the Midwest
3PL warehousing, automotive logistics, trucking & transportation, e-commerce order fulfillment, contract logistics, and freight brokerage in Michigan

The Bottom Line

Some large and established 3PL companies employ all of these import and intermodal optimization strategies, and many more, to ensure the most efficient and speedy shipments of your goods. For over a decade, Logos Logistics has been helping importers in the Midwest with flexible and affordable transport solutions. We make sure you get the best prices, experience business growth in real-time, and, most importantly, have enough space to run your business without having to worry about warehousing, logistics, or complex order fulfillment requirements.

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