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Inbound Transportation Solutions for the Ecommerce Industry

by Mike DeFabis on 2015-01-07 14:32:00

Ecommerce companies are often told to focus on and optimize their transportation costs. After all, that is generally the biggest expense for companies shipping direct to consumer.  If you are like many of these companies, your mind immediately moves to focus on your outbound parcel transportation spend, but once you have your outbound parcel optimized you cannot forget to look at your inbound transportation.  Inbound transportation is one of the most overlooked aspects of an ecommerce supply chain, but there can be significant cost savings found if optimized appropriately. Whether you ship one container a month or multiple containers a week, this blog will give ecommerce companies ideas on how to optimize their inbound freight to most effectively bring their product from its point of origin in to your fulfillment center.transportation

Work with a Specialist

If you outsource your fulfillment, it is possible that your fulfillment provider has a transportation team that can help you with your freight moves.  This makes it much easier for them to be able to consolidate loads with other customers and schedule dock times with the warehouse.  Typically, your fulfillment company will be bringing in multiple inbound trucks to the fulfillment warehouse a day and by utilizing their services they might have multiple customers that they could consolidate your product with to bring you a much cheaper rate.  If you are not outsourcing your fulfillment, then working with someone who specializes in moving freight in your area can bring you the same benefits.  This can be extremely beneficial if you are moving 20’ containers or less than full containers.

Avoid Spot Quoting

Spot Quoting is essentially buying the freight when you need it.  Imagine going into the grocery store and needing milk for a recipe that you are right in the middle of cooking.   Of course you are going to pay anything for the milk, but if you didn’t need the milk and you were just shopping you could afford to look around and find the best price.  The best way to do this with freight is when you are getting your inbound freight quotes wrap all of your freight needs into one.  Get your pricing quoted for all of your moves whether that be 2 containers a month or 2 containers a week.  As long as you have some sort of consistency to your inbound freight moves you can typically get much better rates.

Know all Your Options

Intermodal has become a growing sector of the transportation market.  The days of slow moving trains and unloading delays are over.  With driver shortages and restrictions, moving freight via rail has become an extremely cost effective and efficient way to move freight.  For freight that is being moved more than 700 miles, intermodal should be a viable option to explore. 

The most important thing to remember is not to overlook your inbound freight.  While the outbound side of freight is the biggest cost, optimizing your inbound freight can result in significant savings as well. 

For more information on how IDS Fulfillment can help with your inbound transportation, Contact Us Today!

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