There is this magical point of contact — a perfect place and time and angle of impact — where just a little bit of force produces massive outcomes. Military types call this phenomenon a force multiplier:
A force multiplier is a factor or a combination of factors that gives personnel the ability to significantly increase their potential to complete a mission.
Engineers (and the OG engineer philosopher himself, The Great Archimedes) call it a fulcrum:
Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.
But setting aside the industrial military complex and toga-clad Ancient Greek philosophers, let’s talk about you. You have a lot of weight on your shoulders. Imagine your supply chain as a heavy weight of transportation processes that you somehow need to shape to produce an efficient outcome. What if someone placed in your hands the logistics equivalent of a lever and a fulcrum?
IL2000 can do that for you.
In this two-part series of blogs, we’ll show you how you can move mountains – with tools and guidance that equip your freight team to invest their energy at the perfect, place, time, and angle of impact.
Let us start with your (seemingly) immovable constants.
We don’t want to stress you out here, but at the same time, what’s the point of mincing words? Supply chain management is a difficult business. Even for experts in the supply chain consulting space who live and breathe this stuff, freight optimization sometimes seems to be full of near-insurmountable challenges — variables that you can only budge from that entropic baseline with lots (and lots and lots) of resources.
Let’s list ‘em — because those big, bad immovable constants seem just a little bit cuter and fluffier when you number them out. Right? Anyone?
- Time: It’s relentless. Customers expect your shipments to be on time. Resolving freight disputes takes time. Shepherding a shipment through from order to cash happens over time. For each of these (and countless other) timebound supply chain tasks, time’s wingèd chariot is just careening onward at breakneck speed. And your freight team either races to keep up or watches that chariot vanish over the horizon with your profits in tow.
- Weight (and its ill-tempered cousins: mass and density): Then you have the ineluctable inevitabilities of weight, mass, and density. Supply chains, at the end of the day, involve moving physical things: Things that occupy space inside freight containers and trucks; things that require packaging, loading, and unloading. Some kind of rubber, at some point, will need to hit some kind of road. And at that point, your product’s weight, mass, and density will cost you.
- Distance: Neither time nor volume happens in a vacuum. The further something has to go, the more fuel you’ll need, the more people you’ll require working shifts to keep the mile-chewing machinery of our global transportation network ticking over. The further your customer is from you, the more it’ll cost you to get it there.
- People: And — of course, you have your freight workforce — along with the workforce driving the various carriers and logistics providers with whom you work. There are only so many people you can call on to keep your supply chain running as it should. Your freight solutions will always be predicated on and capped by both the capabilities and availabilities of those around you.
See? Lists! Aren’t you already feeling a bit less stressed?
Here’s the thing about each of these variables, though. Yes, a conventional approach to supply chain management will treat each of these as constants. It’ll take X days to get there. You pay X amount per unit you ship. You pay X dollars for every mile it moves. You have X human hours with which to make all the above happen.
An intelligent approach, however, (and the one, predictably enough, that we jauntily champion here at IL2000) identifies that perfect fulcrum point of place, time, and impact and applies energy right there. And hey presto. Leverage happens. Your supply chain suddenly becomes significantly cheaper, faster, and more reliable.
Enough with the lists. Strap on these roller skates. In this first blog post, we’ll glide smoothly through how IL2000’s tools can bust your supply chain out of the limitations of time and weight.
(Oh, and watch this space for our follow-up blog on how we can help you crowbar your way past limitations imposed by distance and finite human resources.)
Time: Get more of it.
Of course, good productivity tools will help your freight team get stuff done faster — from organizing a shipment to squaring away an invoice. Provided your supply chain is straightforward, even a generic transportation management system will help your freight team shave minutes and hours off of their busy work.
And that’s great, but a generic TMS isn’t a force multiplier. It’s no productivity fulcrum. It’s just a tool that helps a few people move a bit faster.
To understand why our TMS is different, you first have to understand that it isn’t one single software package or platform. IL2000 TMS is a highly customizable ecosystem of tools that IL2000 designed, develops and maintains. No two clients of ours end up with the same implementation of our TMS. We customize the software to integrate seamlessly across your whole company, and that means everyone around you stands to save time and make smarter decisions.
- Customer service people use our TMS to accurately estimate shipping costs well in advance.
- Salespeople use our TMS to offer delivery times that are accurate and binding.
- Geographically dispersed shipping teams are using our TMS to efficiently move products across distribution facilities.
- Accounting teams are using our TMS to accelerate GL coding and speed up accurate financial reporting with automated audits and payment management.
- CEOs and C-suite managers use our TMS to conduct evidence-based cost-benefit analyses of their product line and product development strategies.
Now compound those many isolated time benefits with the gestalt impact of just one system handling daily supply chain decision-making in all its complexity. That’s why our TMS equips a typical client to leverage hundreds of extra meaningful hours into their working year.
Go here for the five reasons our TMS is best in class.
Weight: Tip the scales in your favor.
Whether you’re working with a 3PL or liaising direct with carriers, you’re probably all too familiar with the frustrating complexity of shipment rate calculation.
Nothing in isolation would challenge a patient mind with a trusty calculator. But add those variables up, watch how they twist and writhe when combined together, and you’ll soon realize that when it comes to the weight, volume, and density of your shipment, carriers are a bit like casinos. The house always wins.
You can immerse yourself in the complex game of 3D tetris (4D if you count time!) that is capacity calculation. You can get better at estimating shipment costs overall with one particular carrier for one particular product. But gaining such detailed and arcane knowledge takes an inordinate amount of time with only incremental financial gains on the other side. It’s for this reason that the majority of companies settle for a match-and-pay or gut-reaction approach to invoice auditing. These companies know they’re losing money to pervasive shipping inefficiencies, but lacking the bandwidth to perform full audits on every single shipment invoice, it’s simply impractical to do anything else.
The fulcrum we offer you here is that we actually can audit every single shipment your company carries out. We’ll find any discrepancies in gross charges, discounts, terms, fuel surcharges, accessorial fees, how the shipment was classified, and more. Moreover, working with IL2000 gives you access to carriers certified through our carrier compliance program. You’ll know who you’re working with and have access to dynamic pricing to ensure you’re always getting the most favorable rate, even for volume rates. Check out our new volume rater feature.
The pointy, titanium-reinforced tip of our logistics fulcrum, however, comes down to IL2000’s skilled people.
On top of full freight auditing, on top of our compliance program, a dedicated human being with years of experience will work with your freight team to find the most optimal ways to get your product moving. Shipping three times a week? Perhaps we can save you big money by consolidating. Relying on just a handful of shipping lanes? Hmm, could be that a more dynamic and shifting combo of transportation options will drastically boost your cost efficiency.
Long story short: Of course we can’t magically make your products weigh less or take up less space. We’re not wizards (unless we meet at a renaissance fair). But we can leverage efficiency coupled with deep expertise. And in that manner, we can make darned sure on your behalf that every last shipment is weighed, classified, and shipped on the most favorable scales available.
You can learn more about our unique approach to freight auditing here.
Ready to work smarter, not harder?
Pull this lever
If you’re faced with a seemingly immovable obstacle like impossible deadlines or oppressive freight fees, moving faster and working harder will only get you so far. The real trick is to find that fulcrum — that perfect place, moment, and intervention — that delivers significant and lasting results.
Ready to work smarter? Talk to IL2000.
We offer a no-obligation supply chain analysis that’ll show you — nay, prove to you! — How we have the right tools and people to get the job done.