Businesses who source freight offshore are wondering how things are going to change as politics respond to concerns that too much of our supply chains are overseas in the wake of COVID.
Time will tell how things will pan out, with both Republicans and Democrats considering various initiatives to encourage businesses to bring manufacturing back to the US. Interesting research from the University of Sheffield indicates that a lack of supply chain visibility and traceability were critical issues that plagued shippers during the pandemic.
The university determined that "The prime last decades' profit argument for relocating manufacturing activities to low-wage countries, is countered by the increased offshore cost of labor, logistics, and higher coordination efforts. Inadequate quality and flexibility in terms of shorter lead times, effective response to demand volatility and supply chain resilience are driving back shoring from Asian countries."
If businesses who ship prepare now, they can set themselves up to best take advantage of a potential influx of domestic shipping. The issues of visibility and traceability on international shipments comes down to a lack of information from freight forwarders and extended supply networks. Shippers miss a lot of valuable insight throughout the journey of their shipments.
Without access to crucial data points, shippers experience:
- Lag times with shipments due to unknown circumstances
- Custom clearance issues
- Delay costs and unforeseen importing penalties
- Being left at the mercy of Freight Forwarders for information (and paying many high costs!)
- Unforeseen closures due to political unrest, severe weather, or pandemics, with little to no control to reroute shipments
Shippers lack visibility on their overseas shipments as they do not have access to inventory levels, shortages, production forecasts, on route data, Customs hold-ups, etc. They have no control when things go wrong. It can be hard to learn what to do differently without all the facts. And there can be things going wrong, costing a shipper unnecessary money that they do not even realize.
Not having real-time visibility limits shippers.
If the bulk of shipments shifts to domestic shipping, shippers can reign in control. They can do this by integrating warehouse and ordering systems with shipping software, or APIs, that give them full insight and allow them to automate many processes.
Additionally, a robust TMS system allows shippers to provide their own shipping account numbers to domestic suppliers to ship on, giving them complete visibility into those shipments as if they themselves had organized the shipment.
Traceability refers to "the ability to trace and verify the path of materials as well as the chronology of occurred events upstream the supply chain. Complete information over these aspects is vital...to trace the causes of failures, hence leading to the development of resilience to future disruptions."
Traceable insight into supply chains allows shippers to:
- Make informed business decisions
- Identify inefficiencies and cost savings opportunities
- Troubleshoot inbound and outbound shipping and routing issues
- Resolve customer queries faster
- Learn more about how shipping spend is distributed across carriers and suppliers
- Evaluate data from modes and lanes
- Break down information on shipments and compare it against historical data.
- Analyze carrier performance - rates & delivery analysis
- Analyze individual staff/team performance
Reshoring Parcel & Freight
We can get shippers ready now for increased domestic shipping!
You can better manage your complex supply chain that extends into domestic supplier networks. You can better map your supply chain and access powerful trace and track technology.
Key features to consider:
- We have a system in place that gives full visibility into domestic supply chains
- Almost 100% of paperwork for domestic shipments are right inside our shipping software, with auto-population from orders
- We offer the capability to use your own shipping account numbers that suppliers can ship on - always know where your shipments are!
- We enable shippers to avoid markup costs from vendors & suppliers
- Shippers have ready access to marketplace rates, contract rates, and FreightPOP partner rates through an Expedia-like rate shopping experience
This pandemic may see a lot of changes for American supply chains over the next year. This can be an opportunity for businesses who ship to redesign how flexible and manageable their domestic supply chains are.