With the rapid growth of E-commerce over the past decade, air freight has become an essential link in the logistics supply chain for a lot of companies and organisations. But this link will only run smoothly and reward you if you are fully informed about events and circumstances that can affect your regular schedule. This means keeping yourself informed of local holidays and celebrations for the regions you ship to and from.
Doing your research is all well and good, but you have to know how to use the information if you are to avoid those extra costs or delays. Luckily, that is easier than it sounds. Once you know the dates of your planned air freight shipments, simply check these against your research and then readjust your schedule to allow for any possible delays.
It’s generally a good idea to book air freight shipments at least two weeks in advance. And, because of the increased demand around certain dates, shipping rates may go up. Bear in mind that you may have to pay extra if you want a guaranteed space on a specific date.
At Greencarrier, we’re constantly analysing market developments so we can help our customers plan their shipping schedule. In my experience, this makes it much easier to prevent bottlenecks and unforeseen expenses.
One of Greencarrier’s main logistics hubs is located in China, and it is the home market for many of our clients. Although we are in contact with China on a daily basis, it is easy to forget exactly when each cultural celebration or peak logistics season begins and ends. Which is why we’ve drawn up a handy list of Chinese holidays and celebrations – located at the end of this article. But it is a good idea to stay on top of this type of information for all of your logistics markets.
Regular communication usually leads to fewer misunderstandings and oversights. This is particularly true when it comes to logistics. Maintaining a close dialogue with your supplier or manufacturer reduces the risk of last minute surprises. It also enables you to provide your freight forwarder with updates to your anticipated air freight volumes and/or dates.
When your logistics provider is kept informed of any potential changes, this enables them to plan your shipments more precisely. Which means a smoother goods flow for everyone involved and, at the end of the day, fewer delays and a much more predictable budget.
It is the last step in the supply chain but likely the most important: last-mile delivery. Delivery from the transport hub to the shipment’s final destination has become one of the major focus points for logistics companies as more and more people head online to buy their goods. In fact, e-commerce is expected to hit $1.35 billion in sales by 2018, an increase of 28.8 percent from 2013. Quick delivery direct to door is no longer something that is “nice to have”, it is a customer expectation from the online shopping. But meeting such expectations has become an expensive operation with last-mile delivery comprising more than 50 percent of total shipping costs. People want their goods and they want them now.
Thankfully, there are many logistics companies worldwide who are working to streamline this process using the latest tech and methodology. Forget about the postman coming to your door, these last-mile delivery startups are rethinking the last step in the supply chain to include drones, electric vehicles, robots, driverless cars and more. Smart solutions are the way forward.
It was only a matter of time: delivery robots. One of the last-mile delivery startups, launched by Skype co-founders in London and headquartered in San Francisco, is one of the better-known delivery robot companies out there hoping to revolutionize last-mile deliveries. The company has custom-built their own delivery robots, and while they might look more like ice-coolers than human-like androids, are changing the way goods come to your door.
The concept is simple: customers order through an app before the little robot makes its way through urban streets. Customers can then live track the six-wheeled droids, with their range of two miles and ability to deliver within 30 minutes, as they make their way for drop-off.
This solution has a potential to introduce a great last-mile delivery option for small areas, removing some of the traffic from the roads at the same time. The startup has already partnered with such companies as Swiss Post, Domino’s and Postmates and claims to have driven 100,000+ km on public sidewalks.
Agriculture equipment maker Deere & Company is producing protective face shields for healthcare workers in Moline, Illinois, in collaboration with the United Auto Workers, Iowa Department of Homeland Security, and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. Deere expects to produce 25,000 face shields initially, and ordered supplies to provide an additional 200,000.
Food distribution center McFoods partnered with LogistiCare, a nonemergency medical transportation company and transportation vendor for New Jersey Medicaid participants, to create a home delivery program that serves local food pantries, community members, and those who previously relied on public transportation to buy food.
The Port of Seattle plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 per a contract with U.S. Gain for Renewable Natural Gas, a natural gas alternative that recycles existing carbon. The port can purchase enough fuel to heat 55% of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport terminal and power its entire bus fleet.
FourKites launched new sustainability dashboards to provide customers with visibility into the environmental impact of their supply chain operations. The dashboard identifies specific areas contributing high levels of greenhouse gas emissions so companies can develop effective sustainability strategies.
Domino’s is constructing a 59,000-square-foot supply chain center in Katy, Texas. The building will produce fresh pizza dough for more than 300 Domino’s stores in the region. The space incorporates automated technology, including ingredient batching, mixing and portioning, weight adjustment, and tray stacking.
Fundamentally different from previous generations, 5G, the next generation wireless network technology, is engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. It promises data rates 100x those of 4G, with network latency around 1 millisecond, support for 1 million devices/sq. km., and 99.999 percent availability of the network. A connected world enabled by 5G is expected to generate data at unprecedented velocity and volume. This “fast data” will fuel a wide range of data-driven services and digital business models.
5G will drastically affect many industries, but the sector that stands to benefit most from the increased connectivity and speed is the logistics industry. With the lower frequency band providing wider coverage in suburban and rural areas, and the higher frequency band providing better coverage in high density urban areas, the logistics and supply chain industry will finally be able to provide end-to-end continuous coverage for monitoring, tracking and theft detection. Historically, a plethora of challenges around lost signals and insufficient coverage in rural areas have plagued the industry, leading to revenue leakage and bottlenecks for re-establishing inventory checks. 5G will solve many of these problems, positively impacting logistics and supply chain management for freight solutions buyers, cargo owners, and others in various ways, including:
5G will enable organizations to track their valuable cargo across all regions by optimizing coverage in areas that were previously far reaching and considered “dead-zones.” Improved geo-location technology will allow for better visibility into delays and unforeseen travel circumstances, ultimately enhancing location intelligence and mitigating resulting problems. 5G will allow organizations to optimize their routes through improved visibility, and avoid unnecessary trips and inefficiencies. In addition to better tracking in large rural areas, highly trafficked areas will also see benefits from the implementation of 5G networks. As shipments traverse through highly populated metropolitan areas, tracking abilities won’t be slowed down by a strained network. Ultimately, 5G facilitates the ability for logistics managers to account for cargo from end-to-end, during all points of its trip.
According to a survey from Moor Insights & Strategy, 90% of logistics and shipping providers believe the lack of supply chain visibility is one of the biggest challenges in the industry today. With 5G, the implementation of cheaper sensors will allow better single item tagging and tracking, and near edge computing on small footprint infrastructure will allow faster inventory checking. 5G will help provide end-to-end visibility, not just at an aggregate level, but into every product, helping avoid revenue leakage via theft and loss. 5G will improve traceability by providing the ability to track and gather data at every step of the way, including if a truck changes weight (indicating a potential problem). This advancement will allow cargo owners to have high amounts of visibility into the shipping process that were previously difficult to access or nonexistent.