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International Logistics and Your Supply Chain

Are You Beating the Challenges, or Barely Meeting Them?

Is yours one of the many enterprises that sources products from overseas for sale in domestic, or even international markets? Are you importing merchandise from Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, or Africa, or manufacturing and warehousing in China for low-cost supplies to home consumer markets?

If international logistics is an element of your supply chain operation, you’ll know that getting your products from the source countries into your sales markets is an activity fraught with challenges.

Moving your freight economically and efficiently is paramount to profitability, but especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has become increasingly difficult to do.

Freight forwarding, sourcing air and ocean carriers, managing complex documentation requirements including bills of lading, customs forms, and cargo insurance, and interpreting the many fees and charges applied to freight quotes are all activities that suck time and resources from your business. Amid all that, cost escalation continues to break records due to reduced air freight capacity and massive issues container availability for ocean shipping.

International Logistics: A Maze of Decisions to Navigate

Logistics expenses represent a significant proportion of overall operating costs for product or service providers—and if your business utilises international logistics services, that proportion is even larger.

There are challenges aplenty to overcome, and if getting your goods from manufacture to market is tricky, doing so at maximum efficiency and with the best possible economy is akin to the finding the proverbial holy grail.

And what happens if you need to change from one source country to another? A strategy that was optimal for your previous offshore source might be completely impractical for the new one.

There can be so many decisions to navigate, especially when you’re:

  • Experiencing air freight or ocean freight capacity issues
  • Searching for suitable pricing among carriers and freight forwarders
  • Battling against continual escalation of costs
  • Trying to choose between air and ocean freight, and balancing use of the two options
  • Determining where best to manage inventory (at origin versus destination)
  • Assessing the value of offshore consolidation
  • Evaluating strategies such as indent versus resupply

After these decisions are made, they must be implemented, and that takes time, money and resources too. It’s little wonder that you might find yourself second-guessing and delaying while suboptimal international logistics processes and carrier arrangements continue to drive unnecessary costs.

So How Can You Lift Your International Logistics Performance?

Despite the challenges of cross-border air and ocean shipping, proactive measures are possible, and achievable, to strengthen your international supply chain, improve resilience, and gain the advantage over your competitors.

You could consider questions such as the following, for example, because the answers will help you direct your logistics team’s efforts to where they can make the most notable difference:

  • Do you have direct relationships with carriers, and if not, should you develop them?
  • Do you procure cargo space through a freight forwarder, and is that the optimal approach?
  • Do you have the visibility of your freight operations to deliver the outcomes you want?
  • Are you able to procure capacity well in advance of when you need it?
  • Are you releasing products to market in time to secure space on a vessel (for ocean freight)?
  • Should you increase, or reduce, your use of air freight?
  • Are you using appropriate port pairs to minimise domestic logistics at source and destination?
  • What are the comparative costs of local versus offshore operations?
  • Do your incoterms balance benefits appropriately for consignor and consignee?

Of course, having the answers to these questions is only one small step toward improvement. Mobilising the resources necessary to bring about change is a challenge that can be both daunting, and disruptive to your business routines.

That’s why so many organisations prefer to get our team involved in identifying, analysing, and resolving international logistics issues.

We’ll Help You Build a Better International Supply Chain

Our international logistics consultants have helped hundreds of companies, all around the globe, to improve the economy and efficiency of international supply chains.

We can help you to complete your improvement projects more quickly and with less business disruption than you might manage using internal resources alone.

Furthermore, we guarantee the outcomes of any project that we run or in which we participate, so you can engage us with total confidence.

We can assist you in any aspect of international logistics improvement, but many of our clients’ projects involve the following initiatives:

  • International logistics network design/redesign.
  • Establishing optimal strategies for use of air freight and ocean freight.
  • Pre-storage of inventory at country of origin.
  • Cost reduction by shifting value-added activities (such as kitting/bundling) upstream in the supply chain.
  • RFT processes to help you acquire services more aligned with your supply chain goals.
  • Strategic in-house versus outsourcing decisions.
  • Developing awareness of market options, to improve visibility and decision-making.
  • Transitioning from arrangements with freight forwarders to direct contracts with carriers—using forwarders purely to manage the contracts.
  • Port-pair optimisation, use of offshore consolidation, and similar measures to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Companies that Trust Us

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International Logistics Case Studies

Improving International Supply Chain Resilience

A fashion retail chain was in a long-term relationship with a service provider, but due to global expansion plans and disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, the client was seeking to develop a more resilient international supply chain.

Logistics Bureau conducted market research to identify suitable service providers and an analysis of potential operational models. We conducted a collaborative tender process and redefined service protocols to match the client’s new requirements. We also aligned the consolidation and pick/pack potential at origin with the customer store network and appropriate service providers.

Project Results

  • A single service provider was selected and engaged
  • The impact of cost escalation was reduced by 26%
  • The company secured the capacity guarantees necessary to support expansion and improve the robustness of its supply chain

Network Optimisation/Service Provider Rationalisation

A home-appliance retailer with a complex network of distribution centres located across the Asia Pacific Region, was experiencing high logistics costs driven primarily by excessive secondary freight movements across state and country borders.

The optimisation effort faced several challenges, including:

  • A substantial range of SKUs for finished goods and for parts/components
  • A low level of logistics expertise across the markets that it serviced
  • High volume of inter-store transfers
  • A home delivery operation with demanding time-window requirements
  • Handling of fragile, high-value goods

Our consulting team researched the market for appropriate service providers and analysed potential operating models to suit the company’s new requirements. We took the client through our collaborative tender process and redefined the documented service protocols. We also aligned the potential for consolidation with the client’s service providers.

Project Results

  • The client’s service provider base was consolidated
  • Service levels improved
  • The client’s cost reductions arising from the project exceeded initial targets

Raising Customer Service Standards Through Logistics Improvement

A Hi-Fi retail chain with more than 170 stores sought to reduce logistics complexity arising from use of many service providers. Primary objectives were to rationalise the service provider base and tender only to carriers capable of supporting the client’s aspirations of exemplary customer service.

Challenges included a lack of logistics expertise at store level, a large number of stores managing the service selection, and a complex set of customer service requirements.

Upon our engagement, we undertook an analysis of potential operating models, redefined and documented the client’s service protocols, and identified a selection of service providers with potential for consolidation.

Project Results

  • The client’s service provider base was consolidated and simplified
  • Service providers were able to closely support the clients customer service standards
  • Costs reductions exceeded initial targets
  • Customer service improved in line with the client’s expectations

Resolving Incoterm, Risk, and FOREX Issues

An Australian health food company found itself in a position of increasing risk arising from the weakening of the Australian dollar against USD. Supplies of critical ingredients were rapidly increasing in cost and it was not possible for the client to switch to an alternative vendor.

The client called on Logistics Bureau to conduct futures studies to provide objective FOREX guidance, to provide advice on incoterms and risk transfer, and establish a USD hedge fund to offset some risk.

Project Results

  • USD hedge fund was established successfully
  • We renegotiated commercial terms to net the client a 7% reduction in cost at the current exchange rate

Borderless Wisdom in International Logistics

So perhaps you’re wondering what makes Logistics Bureau a logical choice of partner for international logistics improvement. Well, aside from offering a unique 180 day, 100%, money-back guarantee on all our client assignments, the following credentials, we think you’ll agree, place us firmly in the frame:

  • Since our establishment in 1997, our consultants have completed over 1,700 projects, in more than 25 countries around the world. Many of those projects either directly targeted international logistics issues or involved the complexities of global supply chain operations.
  • With hundreds of years of combined supply chain and logistics experience, our team comprises experts with operational experience across a broad spectrum of industries and commercial sectors. Many of our consultants previously worked for major multinational enterprises in senior roles.
  • In total, our projects and assignments have netted some $7 billion in cost savings for our clients.
  • Payback on solutions we recommend or implement is typically realised within six months.
  • Many of our clients are among the 500 largest enterprises, and regularly ask us to work with them on international supply chain projects.

Let’s Talk International Logistics

In a mere 15 minutes, we can start you on your way to a more economical and efficient international supply chain. In that same 15 minute call, you’ll learn precisely how Logistics Bureau can help you if you choose to work with us.

Best of all, that 15 minutes of dialogue between your team and ours will cost nothing more than the time, as our FREE initial consultation comes with no obligation, and includes genuine advice and guidance that you can implement internally if you wish, with no further need of our involvement.

Of course, our aim is to take a more hands-on role in your international logistics improvement, and following the call, we’ll have a clear picture of our potential role and the opportunities we can unlock—and so will you. Here are the five steps that the call will entail:

  1. A brief review of your international logistics issues.
  2. Isolate of the primary issue(s) to address.
  3. Development of a basic action plan that you can put into effect.
  4. An exploration of the ways in which Logistics Bureau can assist.
  5. Some practical tips and guidance to help you implement your plan.

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We’re Your Key to International Logistics Improvement

Why waste another day before starting to address those efficiency and cost issues in your international supply chain? Our team is ready to help, and one quick call is all it takes to get things moving.

To request a call from one of our international logistics specialists, complete the form below and we’ll get right back to you or, if you prefer, email [email protected] or call us directly at +61 (2) 8212 9775.

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