Part II (Continued)
Choose your transloading providers carefully
If you decide to transload shipments, you will likely work with a 3PL, an intermodal marketing company, a drayage provider, and a carrier. Do your homework when screening providers. Consider their transloading experience and whether they have enough capacity to handle your throughput volumes. Examine the transloading center’s proximity to your entry port. Look closely at the level of integration the providers can achieve. Check out their technology and what kind of visibility they provide.
Invest in technology
Transloading improves the way you transfer goods—make sure your information transfer practices are equally agile. Create a web-based supply chain visibility platform where you can integrate electronic data interchange information and advanced shipment notices (ASNs) with your enterprise resource planning system. You may also want to consider UCC128-compliant label printing and carton-level bar-code scanning.
It’s never too late to begin transloading operations, but the longer you wait, the more likely you are to face stiff competition for the best transloading space and the most reliable carriers. When partnering with a single-source provider to coordinate and integrate your transloading needs, allow nine months to one year to prepare a request for proposal, sift through responses, and make your selection.
Include your transloading provider early on in the shipping process
Many companies assume transloading starts when a drayage operator drops a load off at the facility. Companies that allow their transloading provider to become involved earlier in the shipment process, however, often receive a higher level of service and reliability. If you let your transloading facility coordinate drayage, for example, it can prioritize which containers should leave ports first, and alert dray operators to the best time of day to make a delivery. Or, if you communicate with your provider by sending electronic ASNs while goods are in transit, the provider can plan accordingly and get goods out the door faster.
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