How Freight Forwarders Can Reduce Supply Chain Related Risk
Welcome to the fifth piece in our exclusive series for freight forwarders and 3PLS, exploring how to go beyond expedited shipping. Fast shipping is one small aspect of great service, and speed alone might not even be what your customers are looking for. There are many other ways to bring added value and cost savings to the services you provide, especially when you partner with the right transportation management team.
In this article, we’re taking a look at how S-2international has the expertise to both anticipate and mitigate the risks associated with supply chain issues. Globally, the supply chain across nearly every industry is experiencing unprecedented volatility, leading to delays and other issues that can cause t shippers to lose faith in their forwarder or 3PL. Working with a premium transportation management (PTM) provider can help protect you from the financial and reputational turbulence caused by these ongoing supply chain issues.
Current State of the Supply Chain
As 2022 progresses, the supply chain seems to be constantly under threat. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had wide and varying geopolitical ramifications, including major impacts on raw materials, goods, and transport routes. It has also caused strain on energy supply, including diesel fuel. But even before this, the pandemic and its aftermath had created bottlenecks, with lockdowns in China and other parts of the world slowing and even halting freight carriage on land, sea, and air.
Some larger corporations are dealing with this by changing suppliers and moving production closer to their central offices. Mercedes-Benz recently announced that it is moving cell (battery) production from Asia to Europe and circumventing the global microchip shortage by working directly with manufacturers. Such significant changes, however, aren’t an affordable option for many enterprises, and shippers will continue to rely on forwarders and 3PLs to find the best shipping options for their goods.
Exclusive Use Vehicles and Industry-Specific Requirements
One way forwarders can mitigate supply chain risks is to work with a transportation management provider that understands the requirements of the relevant industry. Delays in medical equipment destined for hospitals or clinics could cost lives. S-2 understands this and leverages extensive industry knowledge plus access to exclusive-use vehicles (EUVs) to ensure time-sensitive shipments arrive with care and on time.
EUVs are often smaller vehicles carrying carefully packed goods to a single destination. The regulations surrounding driving smaller vans and trucks aren’t as stringent, which means the driver can go longer while remaining safe and legal, helping get important equipment and goods where they need to be despite ongoing disruptions within the supply chain. This creates expedited shipping services that are more than just “fast” — they’re handed off perfectly and with care.
Creative Solutions and Diverse Service Offerings
During the challenges faced over the past 2.5 years, S-2 has pivoted to go beyond expedite and develop a diverse service offering that meets the varied and changing needs of its customers. The pandemic and subsequent supply chain disruptions has required creativity and a shift in how companies approach the business of transportation. This has included a rapid expansion of the carrier base to meet capacity challenges, while continuing to ensure all safety and quality requirements are met. Added services include port drayage and inland transport of imports/exports, managing these shipments, arranging release of delayed containers from the port (helping to reduce or eliminate demurrage fees), and enhancing inland transit to consignee for customer satisfaction. S-2 has added managed LTL with leveraged volume pricing for economical shipping options, and for forwarders now offers leveraged heavyweight air pricing that is cost competitive with key wholesale air capacity providers. Added investment in TMS and Carrier Management technology ties these new offerings together providing a single-portal access for customers using S-2’s services.
Visibility and Safety
In addition to strategically selecting vehicles that can run faster for longer, shipment protection also requires careful tracking and monitoring goods. Digital tracking and constant communication with freight forwarders mean that bumps in the road can be dealt with before they become major incidents.
A trusted transportation management provider vets its carrier capacity stringently on the front end on an ongoing basis. Ask any prospective provider if they have guidelines in place for how long a partner-carrier has been in business, if they hold regular service conversations, and if they consistently review carriers’ insurance certificates for validity. If you already have a transportation management team, verify that they use advanced online tools to check carrier safety records and have specific safety thresholds — because they should.
S-2 provides specific safety protocols for freight that needs additional security, such as tobacco or bank servers. Forwarders and 3PLS benefit from using a provider that has a defined procedure and trusted, highly trained partner carriers to provide constant surveillance, sealed loads, and carefully defined routes.
S-2international is available 24/7, so we can be there for customers around the clock. Our team is committed to responding to all inquiries and issues within 15 minutes, meaning we're fast, responsive, and, above all, reliable. Communication is one of the most important factors in mitigating supply chain issues and shipment protection, which is why we pride ourselves on open communication channels with our partners, with a focus on integrity and clarity. At S-2, we actively invest in business continuity and redundancy within our operations, making us all the more trustworthy as a premier transportation management partner.
Protect Your Reputation as a Forwarder or 3PL
S-2international’s services empower you to deliver excellence to your customers protecting your reputation as a quality provider and maximizing future opportunities.
Using a transportation management team that delivers on-time, damage-free service at a fair market price means you can offer the best value to your clients — it’s not about finding the lowest price but ensuring the right service is provided at a price that works for everyone.
Plus, S-2’s comprehensive insurance includes contingent cargo (with options for primary coverage), contingent auto liability, all-risk cargo, errors and omissions, general liability, umbrella, and even workers’ comp. There’s no need to risk leaving yourself exposed when you work with the right partner.
For more information on taking advantage of those benefits for better shipment protection, reach out to S-2international and speak to a member of our friendly and professional team. Bookmark our blog, so you don’t miss our sixth and final article in the series, where we'll explore the top five considerations for freight forwarders looking to partner with a premium transportation management provider.