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Five Tips to Reduce Your Freighting Overheads

With the combined forces of Brexit and Covid-19, 2020 has been a difficult year for UK business. While in some sectors demand is high, supply, staffing and restrictions have placed a significant financial burden on many SMEs. There is a very real need to re-evaluate processes and procedures in order to get costs down. And while freighting is an essential part of your business, there are still ways to reduce your overheads.

Five Tips for Reducing Your Freighting Overheads

1. Reassess your packaging

Obviously, when you’re sending anything anywhere, from a letter to a two-tonne load, you want it to reach its destination in its intended condition. So, packaging is important. But that’s not to say that you don’t have any room for improvement. Space is usually the key factor when it comes to freight rates. If you’re looking to reduce your overheads, then see if there’s anything you can do to reduce this aspect of your shipments.

2. Explore economy freight options

Whether you’re looking at national, European or cross-trade shipping, there are always economy options available.  At Plexus Freight, we even often an express economy service, which means that your goods still move from A to B in the shortest amount of time possible. They’ll just not have a truck all to themselves. Because we make collections from all over Europe on a daily basis, we have the flexibility to offer these services 24/7, across the UK and Europe.

3. Reduce the frequency of your shipments

Your ability to reduce the frequency of your shipments will depend entirely upon the nature of the goods that you handle. But if you’re not working with perishables, increasing the size of your shipments and reducing their frequency can help to shrink your costs. While there will always be exceptions to this rule, you will usually find that shipping in bulk will be cheaper than sending the same amount of goods in multiple smaller consignments.

4. Arrange a regular freight contract

Like any business, most good freighters will offer a concession to regular customers. If you’re able to agree a fixed volume shipment on a fixed timetable, rather than ad hoc deliveries, you will typically receive concessionary prices.

5. Look at your shrinkage

Shrinkage is an inevitable part of any business. In the import/export sector, shrinkage can come from breakages, loss, theft and basic poor management. Working with a freighter with a strong reputation for security and safety can help with this. Inventory management programmes, attention to packaging and working with a freight forwarder can all also be beneficial. Reduce your losses and your margins will inevitably increase.

When you’re looking to reduce costs, it can be difficult to see how minor economies can change the bigger picture. But as the marketing guys at Tesco once said, ‘every little helps’. And you’ll be surprised at home quickly the little economies add up.

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Covid-19: Can I still Ship Freight Overseas

As the impact of Covid-19 continues to grow, the entire landscape of the UK – of the global – economy is changing. A huge number of restrictions are in place. And it can be difficult to keep track of what is and isn’t allowed. But while many businesses are strongly feeling the affects of the virus, one sector that is still operational is supply chain. However, there remain many challenges to overcome.

Here’s what you need to know about sending freight overseas during the Covid-19 crisis.

Can I still I Still Ship Freight Overseas in the Light of Covid-19?

Freight networks have been placed in the UK’s “key worker” category. This means that, ‘Those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass,’ are able to continue working. But what does this mean in reality?

Air freight

With the majority of passenger flights now halted, the capacity for air freight has been significantly reduced. So, although international air freight forwarding is still possible, connections are limited, and prices have been hiked. This isn’t so much profiteering, as covering essential costs. The knock-on affect for businesses is obvious.

Sea freight

At this time, most international ports remain open. With the world’s reliance on imported goods – from paracetamol to toilet paper – it is essential that they remain so. But there are challenges in this area too. With China out of action for more than a month, goods were not produced. And many cargo ships were held in limbo. Now, the majority of shipping lines are operational, but many are adding surcharges to their fees. And all are experiencing very high demand. Which means finding space for your imports/exports may become difficult if you do not plan ahead. Processing times are also increasing as customs authorities are struggling to meet the increased demand at a time of potentially reduced staffing due to the virus.

Road freight

Despite experiencing the ongoing disruption relating to Covid-19 – reduced staffing, increased demand – road freight is probably the least affected area of supply chain at this stage. But that does not mean that it has gone untouched. Increased border control, sanitisation, lack of space on ferries and some route closures means that – some significant – delays to road freight are being experienced. And are totally unavoidable. But there has been a movement towards the creation of ‘green lanes’ for freight vehicles, which should help to remedy the situation.

At the moment, the main take home from all this is that freight is still moving. But it’s moving differently. And working to a different time frame. At Plexus Freight, we’re doing all we can to keep our fleet on the road and to get our goods from A to B as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible, without placing our drivers at risk. And we’d like to take this opportunity to thank our clients for their support and patience as we do our best to keep your businesses moving.

 

Contact us today if you would like to find out more about freight forwarding or international pallet delivery with Plexus Freight.  

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How is Coronavirus Affecting Logistics and Shipping?

Covid-19 has arguably been one of the most disruptive forces to have emerged for a long time. As if the hanging axe that the health threat poses isn’t bad enough for us all to deal with, it’s having a dramatic impact upon the economy and all forms of business. So, if your business relies upon international freight, how might coronavirus affect you?

Covid-19, Shipping and Logistics

How is coronavirus affecting the import/export business?

The virus has, so far, impacted upon the import/export industry in three main ways:

A reduction of goods

As first China, then Italy went into lockdown, the production of numerous goods has slowed and, in some cases, stopped. The disruption this has created is likely to grow as the virus spreads and more containment measures are put in place globally.

Restricted movement

The ports of China are currently being described as a ‘floating quarantine’. In tandem with the slowdown in manufacturing, this is seriously impacting upon the movement of goods globally, including produce coming into the UK.

While cargo is still moving in and out of locked down Italy, it is at a reduced level. And the virus has already brought trade between Italy and Turkey to a complete standstill. This could lead to further ramifications to the wider shipping industry. Particularly as more countries are affected by the virus.

Staffing

In the UK, so far, coronavirus has had minimal impact in terms of confirmed cases. However, as Government advice for self-isolation has been issued, this could well change. The impact of this could lead to delays in freight movement as warehouse staff numbers are reduced. Loading and logistics could take longer. And there may be a reduction in movement of goods if drivers become infected by the virus.

Advice for dealing with coronavirus

As of the time of writing (13/03/20), there are no major restrictions relating to coronavirus in the UK. However, the Government has issued advice on how to limit its spread in the workplace.

  1. Provide adequate sanitisation facilities for all colleagues. Either hand gel sanitiser or hot water and soap.
  2. Provide guidance on the correct method of hand washing. https://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU]
  3. Sanitise all communal areas regularly, maintaining a hygiene monitoring system to ensure that no areas are overlooked.
  4. If any member of staff presents any of the coronavirus symptoms – coughing, sneezing, fever – they should self-isolate and not return to work until the virus has either been ruled out, or symptoms have completely disappeared. This may take up to a fortnight.

At Plexus Freight, we’re doing everything we can to keep our team safe, well and on the road. And, importantly, to keep our client’s freight moving. But we do take our responsibilities as a business very seriously too. All of our team members have been made aware of the symptoms and provided with guidance on the NHS-recommended course of action should symptoms appear.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual. So, if you are looking for a company to take care of your freight forwarding needs across Europe, get in touch for a quote.

 

 

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How to Choose a Freight Forwarder to Get Your Goods to and from Germany

One of the most important aspects of running a successful import/export business between the UK and Germany is logistics. Yes, you need to find the right goods for your market. But if you can’t get them where they need to be, when they need to be there and in perfect condition, you’re going to struggle to maintain your customer base. Freight forwarding is one of the simplest options. The freight forwarder’s role is to manage all of the multiple processes involved in international shipping, streamlining the administration for their clients. So, whether you’re transporting goods between Germany and the UK or your business involves cross trade shipping, finding the right freight forwarder can relieve the burden of logistics.

Everything you need to know about choosing the right freight forwarder for your import/export business to Germany

What services do freight forwarders provide?

Different freight forwarders provide varying services. Some will offer value-added packages while others will stick to the basics. But you can largely expect the following services:

  • Export and import customs clearance logging
  • Transport options and container deliveries from port to door
  • Export documentation
  • Container weighing and certification
  • HS Code classification, import duties and taxes
  • International freight charges, port service handling charges and insurance coverage
  • Quarantine services
  • Cargo tracking
  • Specialised cargo movements
  • Related 3rd party services

In the current political climate, a good freight forwarder will also be the first to know how to deal with the changing requirements of international cargo movement in the light of Brexit. Ensuring that your business complies with changing legislation without service disruption.

What should you be asking freight forwarders before deciding who to give your business to?

When selecting a freight forwarder to ship your goods to or from Germany, you should treat it as any other business appointment. That means asking questions and not just going for the first or cheapest operator you find on Google.

So, get a quote. Then find out how the freighter can serve your business. Do they offer flexible or tailored services? Are same day or next day collections available? How much does express freight cost and can they offer economy express services? What do those services entail? What are their business hours? Is there someone available to answer queries and resolve problems at all times? Is there a digital tracking service to check shipment status? And will your company have a dedicated contact within the freight business?

Why the cheapest freight forwarder isn’t always the best option

If your company’s reputation relies on your being able to move your goods quickly and efficiently, you need a logistics company that you can trust. You need a service that not only gets your goods from A to B at the expected times, but in excellent condition. And you need a company that understands how your business works and what it needs. This means that while cost will – and should – always be a consideration, reliability and quality of service play equally significant roles. Really, you should be looking for a freight forwarder that you can build a long-term relationship with. That way, you’ll get the best services at the best prices.

It’s not the easiest time to be in the import/export business within Europe. Everything is in a state of flux as negotiations take place following the UK’s exit from Europe. And most people whose work revolves around the moving pf goods between the UK and Germany will be considering their options and waiting to see what comes next. The good thing about working with a trusted freight forwarder is that they should be able to take at least some of the burden of the new legislation and processes off your shoulders.

So, if you’re in the market for a new freight forwarder, take your time, search around, and select the right provider for your business.

Get a quote from Plexus Freight today.

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A UK Exporter’s Guide to Doing Business in Italy

Italy is one the UK’s top trading partners. Dealing with almost £11billion of British trade in 2018, it was our ninth largest export market. While figures for Italian-UK imports reached around £21billion. Although the unknown territory of ‘Brexit’ casts a shade of uncertainty over the logistics of future trade relations between the UK and the rest of the EU, the one thing that is certain is that trade of some kind will continue. Albeit with revised red tape. So, as a potential importer or exporter, what do you need to know about doing business in Italy?

Italy: A UK Importer/Exporter Guide

The basics

Setting up an import or export business between the UK and Italy requires groundwork. We’re not here to advise you on financials, but cash is key in any business. And it’s always a good idea to have a buffer. That way you can keep the business afloat even when there are delays in payments being cleared.

Once you have the bottom line of your business established your next steps are to research products and markets and to decide whether or not you wish to work with agents and distributors, or work directly with partners. Obviously, the more people involved in your sales pipeline, the smaller your overall return. However, without strong local knowledge and contacts, you may struggle to reach the audience you need to make your business a success. This largely depends upon the industry you’re working in, the products that you’re working with, and your existing knowledge base.

The things you need to consider

Trading with Italy is quite straightforward at the time of writing. Thanks, mainly, to the EU’s free trade agreement. But, as we all know, that will imminently change, with ‘Brexit’ scheduled to officially take place on January 31st, 2020. So, there are a number of things you need to consider.

Customs

Free trade or otherwise, customs rules have always been a consideration for importers and exporters. So, before you make any grand plans, it’s wise to familiarise yourself with the EU’s import regulations. Or, if you’re planning to import into the UK, read up on the British guidelines.

Tariffs and duties

This is a difficult area to factor in right now. New guidelines will be released as new trade agreements are finalised. For the time being, it makes sense to overestimate the potential monetary drain to ensure that your business is not left unexpectedly out of pocket.

Transportation

Italy is one of our nearer neighbours. This means that you have a good choice of freighting options: road, rail, sea, and air. With every option a next day service is available. It is the type of goods and your freighting budget that will dictate the service you choose. Prices vary, but as a general rule, air freight will typically be the most expensive option. While road freight will be the most budget-friendly and the most flexible. Express road freight options can see your goods collected the same day and delivered the following day. While a value-added freight forwarding service can help remove the stress from transportation by taking the red tape out of your hands.

Communication

Being only one hour ahead of the UK, Italy is one of the easier countries to work with because our business hours are roughly the same. Although language barriers can cause problems if you are not prepared. It’s a good idea to plan for this.

The challenges

Because Italy’s infrastructure and trade system are very similar to the UK’s, challenges are limited when dealing with imports and exports. However, there are a few areas that may cause problems.

  • Payment terms. Italy’s payment terms are considerably longer than the UKs. In fact, the average payment time is about 80 days. This can be difficult to deal with when, as a British business, your suppliers will generally be working on a 30-day payment system.
  • Legal considerations. As well as tax and customs, there are wide-ranging legal considerations to deal with before embarking on an import or export business between the UK and Italy. In addition to this, it’s good to keep in mind that a slow judicial system can mean that disputes take a long time to be resolved.
  • Complex regulations mean that bribery and corruption is relatively commonplace in Italy. The UK Government have put together a helpful guide so you know what is expected of you and how to protect your business.

There are a huge number of opportunities for trade between UK and Italian businesses. It’s not an easy course. But importing and exporting never is to begin with. And the Department for International Trade is a fantastic resource for those looking for a way in. But if you’re prepared, do the necessary groundwork and find a good logistics company able to provide the flexible service you need, Brexit or no Brexit, you have every chance of success.

 

If you would like more information about sending freight to or from Italy, please contact Plexus Freight today.

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Portugal’s Top Seven Most Valuable Exports

One of the most interesting things about working in the import/export business is that you’ve always got new markets to explore and new products to find. If you’re planning on expanding your business with imports from a new territory next year, it can be helpful to know what other people are doing.  Despite its relatively small size, Portugal is one of the UK’s biggest trade partners. The UK is Portugal’s sixth biggest supplier. And the amount of goods imported to the UK from Portugal has almost doubled in the last decade.

So, what is the world buying from Portugal? And how can you use it to enhance your business?

Portugal’s 7 Biggest Exports

1. Vehicles.

Portugal isn’t necessarily known for its cars. But there are four major manufacturers currently producing vehicles there. These are: Toyota/Salvador Caetano, PSA Peugeot/Citroën, Mitsubishi FUSO Trucks and Volkswagen AutoEuropa. But perhaps more surprisingly, a report released in early 2019 revealed that 98% of all cars made in Europe contain parts manufactured in Portugal.

2. Electrical machinery

Portugal produces a wide range of electrical equipment. Ranging from amplifiers and air conditioning systems to thermo-mechanical engineering machinery. If you can find a niche market to export to, you could be on to something big.

3. Mineral fuels

7.1% of Portugal’s exports, totalling $4.9 billion, are made up of mineral fuels. Including crude oil. Trade in copper ore generates an average of $288 million annually. However, this isn’t a market that you can simply walk into.

4. Plastics

Plastic, plastic articles and rubber make up 5.2% of Portugal’s exports. This area is coming under scrutiny at the moment with the global waste plastic problem. But plastic is still widely needed, so it’s not time to pull away from investment just yet.

5. Knit or crochet clothing.

A few years ago, you’d look at the label inside your clothing, and it would invariably say ‘made in Bangladesh/India/China’. Today, an increasingly large amount of knitwear is coming from Portugal. The standards are high and workers rights are on a par with the UK, making a far better option for ethical importation.

6. Paper and paper items

Portugal has been one of the world’s largest paper exporters for some time now. Partly as a result of this, the country’s forests have grown by 60% in the last 100 years. Which actually makes exporting paper goods from Portugal a pretty good thing. Both economically and environmentally.

7. Shoes

You probably don’t associate shoes with Portugal, but if you look at the labels inside yours, you’ll probably find that you own at least one pair made there. The Portuguese were among the first to refine the techniques involved in the production of leather-look vegan footwear. It’s partly due to this that in the course of the last decade the country’s shoe exports have skyrocketed.

Regardless of what you’re transporting, a reliable freight forwarder is essentially for getting your goods from A to B. At Plexus Freight we’ve had years to refine our services. We pay attention to want our customers want and do everything we can to deliver it. That, combined with the fact that we already have an established depot in Portugal and can often make collections within an hour of booking, has made us one of the most popular Portugal-UK logistics operators.

If you have plans to extend your import or export business to include Portugal in the coming year, contact Plexus Freight today to see how we can help.

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What Freight Does the UK Ship to Spain?

The speculation over what will happen with the UK’s European imports and exports post-Brexit when – if? – it happens is beginning to feel pretty interminable. Every time an end appears to be in sight, the goalposts are shifted again. And we find ourselves with no clearer idea of the future than we had in June 2016 when the referendum took place. With another election to get through before any hope of a decision being made, we thought we’d look at the reality minus the propaganda.

So, if Brexit does take place and there is a glitch in sending freight between Britain and the EU, what will it actually mean for UK traders? What areas of commerce will be most affected, and how can you limit the impact upon your freight business? Let’s start with Spain.

The UK’s relationship with Spain

Spain is the UK’s 7th largest trading partner. We export around £16.1 million of goods to Spanish businesses every year. But as Spain exports almost double that amount (around £31.3 million) to the UK annually, the general consensus is that the Spanish Government will be at pains to procure a favourable trade agreement with the UK should Brexit finally happen. That’s not to say that there won’t be any short-term disruption as those negotiations take place.

So, what are the areas most likely to feel the pinch?

What does the UK sell to Spain?

There are three core UK sectors of industry that export to Spain. They account for almost 40% of UK-Spanish exports. These are:

  • Vehicles other than railways – 17%
  • Machinery – 13%
  • Pharmaceutical products – 9.6%

While other areas will be affected –UK electrical goods, iron, steel, mineral oil, optical/photo, medical equipment and plastics each have a steady market in Spain – the brunt of any trade disruption is likely to be felt in these sectors.

The question is, is there anything that you can do to cushion the blow?

How to protect your UK-Spain export business in the run up to Brexit?

Until we know the full details of Brexit – deal or no deal – it’s difficult to prepare for all eventualities. But one of the best ways to minimise disruption to your export business is to work with a freighter with multiple depots.

Plexus Freight is very much a UK-based business. But in striving to provide the very best service to our customers, we have opened offices in a number of our most popular European destinations. This allows us to provide rapid collection and delivery right across Europe at very little notice. Whether basic pallet delivery or express freight. And Spain is where this part of our venture started out.

Having built very strong business relationships within the Spanish ceramics industry, furthering our activity in Spain seemed a natural step. And while having a Spanish base will not inure us to any upheaval relating to policy and customs during the Brexit negotiations, it does give us a firmer footing. As well as the logistics solutions to pick up the slack the second trade reconvenes.

And until that happens, it’s business as normal. Which means polite, professional and friendly drivers and office team. A selection of delivery services to suit your needs and your budget. And a range of value-added options for anyone who wants a little more from their freighters.

Brexit or no Brexit, Plexus Freight is here to deliver outstanding service every time.

If you need any help organising the shipment of your freight to Spain, please contact the Plexus Freight team today.

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What Do You Need to Know About Sending Freight to Germany?

Until very recently, Germany was the UK’s greatest trading partner. With the upheaval surrounding Brexit, America now holds that position. But trade with Germany remains extremely important to the UK. Partly because Germany has the largest economy in Europe.  And partly because it is one of the busiest trading hubs within the EU. That makes it a very receptive market.

So, that’s why you might want to send freight to or from Germany. But what do you need to know about the process?

3 Things You Need to Know About Transporting Freight to or From Germany

1. Transportation

There are a number of different ways that you can transport goods between the UK and Germany. They include rail, air, sea and road freight. For smaller goods, a courier might do. If you’re dealing with pallets, then a road haulier will be the most economic option. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to compromise with a slow delivery speed. Express freight can see your goods move between the UK and Germany in less than 24 hours. Depending on the part of the country your destination lies in, you may even make it from A to B in 16 hours.

2. Restricted Goods

When transporting goods to or from Germany you need to use your common sense when it comes to restricted goods. If you’re working within the EU, most customs restrictions are the same. But every country has its own requirements. So, it’s best to check the German customs portal before you arrange the purchase/sale and movement of goods. This applies whether you’re organising a straight movement of freight or cross-trade shipping.

3. VAT and Taxes

Wherever you send goods between countries you will encounter VAT and taxes. At the moment, pre-Brexit, freedom of movement means that you should not have to pay any taxes or duties on exports between the UK and Germany. However, that may well change come October 31st, 2019 – so watch this space.

And regardless of Brexit, there is still the matter of VAT to be negotiated. If you are sending goods to Germany, it is the recipient who needs to pay the VAT – as long as they are VAT registered. BUT, you – the sender – do need to be VAT registered too, and record the export details on your VAT return in order to avoid any later penalties. If the recipient is not VAT registered, then you will generally have to cover the fees.

And that’s really all you need to know. Sending freight can seem fraught with difficulties when you’re first starting out. But once you’ve worked out how to pack and store your goods, and found a reliable freight forwarder, like Plexus, it becomes the easiest part of the process.

If you would like more information on how Plexus Freight can take care of sending your freight to Germany, please just get in touch.

 

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Pallet Delivery: What Do You Need to Know?

From individuals moving belongings to companies fulfilling regular business contracts, people need to ship pallets for a variety of reasons. But regardless of why the goods are being moved, if you’re looking for a pallet delivery service, there is a core set of objectives involved.

  • That the goods are delivered to their intended destination.
  • That they are collected and delivered at the times expected.
  • And that they reach their destination in perfect condition.

It doesn’t seem all that much to ask. But it’s not always that easy to achieve. So, what do you need to know to make sure that your goods get to where they need to go, when and how they need to get there?

Tips for Preparing Goods for Pallet Delivery

Find a freight expert

The easiest way to ensure that your goods are shipped safely and on time is to find a reputable freight company. Look for a brand that offers a variety of services – express, economy, cross trade  – and serves the areas that you’re working in (obviously!). Check out their credentials and reviews/testimonials. Then, ask for a quote. If everything adds up, you’re off to a great start.

Package your goods carefully

Even the best couriers and freighters will struggle to deliver an intact pallet if the goods have not been packaged correctly. So:

  • Place any loose goods into strong boxes.
  • For stability, stack the boxes in low columns with the heaviest goods at the bottom of the pile.
  • Place the boxes as close to each other as possible. The more gaps you leave on the pallet, the more likely the boxes are to move around, increasing the chance of damaging the goods.
  • Make sure that no goods overhang the sides of the pallet.
  • Finally, cover the whole lot with industrial shrink wrap, covering both the goods and the pallet base to keep everything together.

Select the correct service for your goods

Most companies will provide a variety of pallet delivery services. If you are dealing with large pallets it’s important to book a large item delivery service. This ensures that the freighter arrives with both the equipment to load the goods (Plexus Freight can provide a forklift truck and a double-man service where required) and the correct vehicle to accommodate the load.

Arrange the paperwork

Depending on your destination and your goods, you may be required to complete a range of declaration forms and other paperwork. This may include:

  • Bill of Entry
  • Commercial invoice
  • Bill of Lading
  • Import License
  • Insurance certificate
  • Purchase order
  • Technical information

If you book a value added service, such as those on offer from Plexus, your freighter should be able to help you with some of this. Otherwise, it is down to you to ensure that your goods have all the documentation necessary to adhere to any legal requirements and prevent customs seizure.

Reliable pallet delivery is an integral part of a huge range of businesses. It can make or break you in terms of customer service. So, if it plays a part in your business, it is worth taking the time to get it right.

The good news is, with depots in the UK and right across Europe, Plexus Freight is always here to help you.

 

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Five Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Company’s International Freight Processes

In 2017, the UK transported £620 billion of goods and services globally. We’re the world’s sixth largest exporter. And while that does take into account intangible assets too, it still means that Britain’s freighters are kept extremely busy. It also means that how you get your goods to and from international buyers and sellers can be vitally important to the health of your company.

So, to keep your associates happy, it’s worth taking the pulse of your international freight processes from time to time. Here’s five tips to have keep your distribution right on track.

Five Steps to Improve Your Company’s International Freight Process

1. Simplify internal processes

If you’re anything like the majority of businesses, you’ll have onboarded endless apps, programmes and systems as they’ve come along, with the intention of improving your inhouse processes. From opening documentation to order fulfilment, you’re likely to access numerous different systems. In theory, this means that you have the best tool for every job. In reality, it means that you’re over complicating a fairly straightforward process, often duplicating tasks, or spending resources dealing with the unnecessary. Taking an audit of your internal shipping processes can help remove unnecessary actions from the equation.

2. Adopt Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

The adoption of EDI is probably the easiest way that you can streamline your order processing system. It replaces paperwork with electronic data. This can save time and money, as well as removing a sizable margin of error from practically any business. In essence, computers automate systems that would ordinarily be handled by multiple humans in multiple processes. The benefits are obvious.

3. Choose the right freighter for your needs

Fairly obviously, the company that handles the physical transportation of your goods can have an enormous impact on your business. Not just whether the goods get there in time and in good condition. But how the freighter’s behaviour reflects back on your company. And how amenable they are to both you and your customers – do they offer any additional services: cross-trade; warehousing; double-man delivery; forklift service? Like Plexus Freight, do they have depots in multiple locations, so local knowledge can be brought to bear to expedite collection and delivery? You need to consider:

  • Service types – express, economy, cross-trade
  • Security – what measures are in place?
  • Reliability
  • Speed – of collection and delivery
  • Ease of working – how simple is it to book a collection?
  • Professionalism
  • Special services

 

4. Prepare for customs

Regardless of where you’re shipping to or from, if it’s outside your nation’s borders you will encounter customs. Poor preparation for customs clearance – failure to complete paperwork, or a lack of research – can lead to significant delays. It might even mean that your goods are confiscated. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, it’s worth handing this problem over to a freight forwarder with value-added services. That way, you’re guaranteed that everything that needs doing is done. And unnecessary delays are avoided.

5. Communicate

One of the most frustrating aspects of ordering goods from overseas is not knowing what’s happening with your order. And that applies whether it’s a single item or a full pallet load. Has it been received? Are the goods in stock? Has it been dispatched, and if not when is it likely to be? Who’s it being shipped by? And when can it be expected? Generate a reputation for clear, open business.  You’ll already be ahead of most of your competitors.

 

If international trade is at the heart of your business, it only makes sense that your shipping processes should be too. Regular systems audits and taking steps to improve the way you work are important if you want your business to grow.

 

 

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