The manufacturing industry has been affected by some changes throughout the past year that ought to be prompting companies to take a look at their current logistics practices, searching for ways to improve.

In keeping up with these changes, we’ve noticed some main themes and trends. Today we’d like to share the following three logistics improvements, along with tips on how to meet the recent challenges presented.

1. Examine your shipping methods & partners.

Freight transportation costs have gone up, so it’s the right time to examine your current shipping methods and partners.

A recent report from A.T. Kearney, its “30th Annual State of Logistics Report,” explains that U.S. business logistics costs rose 11.45% in 2018. Author Michael Zimmerman contributes much of this to rising freight transportation costs, which hit more than $1 trillion last year, due to a convergence of factors in the trucking industry. 

“Tight capacity led to significant, and, in some cases, multiple rate increases in order to continue to secure capacity. Shippers struggled to control spend,” explains the A.T. Kearney report. Much of that tight capacity has to do with the continued issue of not enough truck drivers to meet employer demand.

These rate increases were passed on, of course, to the manufacturers and retailers that use trucking companies to transport their products. 

2. Meet the demands of consumers with high expectations.

The evolving expectations of consumers bring another opportunity for improvement: meeting the demands of the “omni-channel.” 

USC Marshall’s Center for Global Supply Chain Management brings us some insight into the omni-channel phenomenon and what it means for manufacturers in a recent article, “Six Factors Driving Logistics into 2020.” 

The omni-channel concept came about because today’s consumer often wants their shopping experience to be both digital and physical, i.e. with visits to both a website or app and a brick-and-mortar store. A good example of this is a busy mother who wants to order her groceries online and pick them up at the store (or fulfillment center) later that day on her way home from work. 

This means, explains the article, that retailers and manufacturers will need to start (or ramp up) using local stores as secondary fulfillment centers, so they can meet same-day — or even same-hour! — delivery expectations from the consumer. Plus, they’ll need shipping in place that’s ready to handle the increased turnaround demands.

3. Take advantage of new technologies.

Both of the articles mentioned above touch on recent developments from Silicon Valley as big logistical factors for manufacturers to consider — especially blockchain technology.

“Blockchain,” the record-keeping technology behind the digital currency bitcoin, is now beginning to catch on in the logistics world. The “blocks” of the chain are comprised of digital information, and the “chain” is a public database where the information is stored. 

The digital information stored on the blocks includes transaction information such as date and amount. It encrypts the information on who is involved in the transaction, rather than the customer’s real name.

So why should manufacturers start to care about blockchain? Because the companies you work with may already be caring about it.

Writes United World Transportation on their trucking blog: 

“Blockchain has the possibility to eliminate the need for paper in the supply chain via digital documentation. One of the biggest benefits of blockchain and its technology is that it gives visibility of data to all relevant parties in the supply chain. For 2020, look for more companies to adopt blockchain technologies to stay competitive.”

BR Williams can offer you solutions.

These are a lot of factors to consider, and they’re only the tip of the iceberg — but there’s no need to get overwhelmed. BR Williams offers third-party logistics (3PL) services that can help you identify the logistics options that are right for you, and be the presence that helps your supply chain become more streamlined and resourceful.

The tools we can offer you are often superior to our (much larger) competitors’, but we intentionally remain a small-to-medium-sized, family-owned company. 

In the words of one of our customers, a Fortune 300 shipper:

“We choose logistics companies like BRW because you are large enough to be sufficiently resourceful, and to have the tools that we require (EDI capable, GPS tracking, etc..), but not so large that we get lost in the shuffle or deprioritized when capacity tightens.” 

When you’re our customer, you matter to us — our success lodges on yours. We’d be happy to talk about how we can create a custom solution to your company’s ever-evolving logistical needs.

Request a FREE, no-obligation quote today to see how BR Williams can help improve your logistics process.

About BR Williams:

With humble beginnings back in 1958, BR Williams has grown into an award-winning supply chain management company servicing all 48 contiguous states and Canada. With facilities in Mobile ALPiedmont, ALTallahassee, FL; Anniston, AL (two facilities); Eastaboga, AL; and Oxford, AL, B.R. Williams’ distribution network supports over 50 customers and another 2,550 in the Trucking and Logistics divisions. Industries served include the following: automotive, defense, home improvement, education, food raw materials, textiles, chemical, industrial packaging, metals (finished goods), highway safety and more.

To discuss your Distribution, Logistics, or Transportation Services options, please contact us online or call (800) 523-7963