Get Control of Your Company’s Spending With Procurement Options

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Procurement |Get Control of Your Company's Spending With Procurement OptionsTaking control of the spending your company is doing may not be easy, but it’s extremely important. Companies that are spending too much often find that they’re not successful in keeping costs reasonable. That can lead to overruns that really cut into their bottom line. It may also lead them to charge more for their products, which could drive away customers. In more extreme cases, bad spending habits could even drive a company out of business. But you have the opportunity to avoid those kinds of issues. Here’s how.

Make Sure You’re Working With Quality Sources

The sources you’re getting your products from are important. Not every company has quality sources, and companies that aren’t getting the right sources may find that they’re not providing what they need to their employees or their customers. As your company focuses on its procurement needs, you can change that, and make your company more successful. Understanding what you really need to purchase, where to get it, when it’s needed, and other factors all go into procurement decisions.

These decisions shouldn’t be taken lightly, by any company. Making a bad decision can quickly end up costing your company more than you expect, even if the product or item doesn’t seem to be that central to your business. Small things like office supplies, for example, can really add up if the quality is bad, people keep taking them, or you’re paying too much for them because you’re buying for convenience and not value. Taking a look at all your company’s procurement decisions is the place to start.

Don’t Settle for Less Than the Best Terms

It’s not just about price when it comes to procurement. It’s also about the terms you’re getting. That can really affect the value, especially if you’re paying high rates of interest or the shipping costs are too expensive. There may be other ways to get what you need, so it’s vital to shop around for better terms. If you aren’t shopping around, you’re probably spending too much. Over time, even small amounts of extra expense can add up for a business and cause serious problems. Proper procurement helps to avoid those types of issues, but it may not be able to eliminate them completely.

Make Sure You Know What Customers Want

Understanding what your customers want is a big part of proper procurement. You could be getting the best deal on everything you’re buying, but if you’re not giving customers what they’re looking for, that really isn’t going to matter.

It’s unfortunate, but many companies ignore what customers really want, in favor of what the company thinks those customers want. Those two things are often not the same, and both the company and the customers lose out in these types of situations. Procurement solutions that help you work with customers and give them what they want are very important.

Look for Ways to Save Without Losing Value

Savings should be part of your procurement strategy and solution, but you also don’t want to get so focused on spending less money that you lose out on value. Getting good value matters, since your employees need it and so do your customers. Focusing on a strong level of value, and then finding solutions that are based on that value at the lowest total cost is one of the best ways to source items your company needs. It takes some time to research and do this, but it’s definitely worth the effort for your company.

Talk to Your Employees About the Products

Asking your employees about the products you have can really give you some insight into whether those products are good quality or not. Employees are the ones who work with these products all day, and they probably have a lot of insight. Especially for employees who’ve been there a long time, the knowledge of your products is probably pretty high. Rather than just hope those employees are happy, your procurement strategy may be improved by working with them and asking about issues and concerns. If there are significant problems, making procurement changes may help to solve them.

Choose a Solution to Keep You on Track

Because not every company understands how to handle procurement correctly, it may be important to find a solution that’s going to keep your company on track. There are options for help and support, including software that can guide you and help your company make the best decisions. While it may not be right for everyone, it’s a valuable way to help most companies continue to move forward. No matter what kind of solution you choose for procurement issues, making sure you’re giving customers what they want and need should be the main focus of anything your company has to offer.

Helpful Tips To Make Shipping Orders From Your at-Home Business Easier

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |At-Home Business|Helpful Tips To Make Shipping Orders From Your at-Home Business EasierRunning a home business is challenging enough as it is, but when you have to ship physical products around the world from your own home, it can further complicate things and create a surprising number of problems. So to give you a hand, we’ve put together some helpful tips that will assist you in shipping orders from your at-home business.

Stock up on wholesale mailing and packaging goods

First, make sure you stock up on different mailing and packaging goods at home. The last thing you want to do is buy single boxes or small quantities of packaging materials. It’s expensive and you’ll save a lot of money buying bulk bubble mailers and other mailing goods. This is a great way to cut costs, but it also means you’re less likely to run out at an inopportune time.

But try out different varieties before you buy in bulk

There are also lots of different mailing goods available, such as different kinds of boxes and packaging materials. If you want to protect the stuff you’re sending, make sure you try different kinds of packaging goods first before you commit to a bulk purchase.

Use the smallest packaging possible to save on costs

A little tip to help you save on packaging costs is to get the smallest boxes possible that can contain your items yet also offer enough protection to ensure they don’t get damaged in transit. The goal here is to go for a size that is small enough so that you don’t pay extra shipping costs on a large box. This can be difficult if you send a variety of products, so it’s not a tip that every business can use.

Ensure your items are packed safely with plenty of protection

We’ve briefly mentioned protective materials already but we believe that it deserves a more detailed description. Packaging materials come in many different shapes, sizes and materials. The key here is to ensure that it’s economical, not troublesome for the buyer (such as loose foam or packaging that makes a mess), and can potentially be reused if the buyer was to send their own items in the future.

Find the cheapest and most reliable postage services

A great way to trim shipping costs is to look for cheap and reliable postage services. Yes, they do exist, and it’s important that you get a quote from a variety of different shipping companies to see who you can work with. This isn’t an easy or short process, but the idea is to find a reliable shipping company that you can create a working relationship with so you can start doing bulk deliveries which cut down the cost of shipping.

Decide what extras you’re going to include

Lastly, decide beforehand what kind of extras you’ll include with each order. Just sending your customer’s items is fine, but adding a flyer, business card, or even little goodies such as stickers can be a great personalized addition that sets you apart from the competition.

What is Multimodal Shipping?

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article |Multimodal Shipping|What is Multimodal Shipping?When you ship items from your warehouse, you likely place them on a truck and send them on their way. Not all shipments stay on the ground the whole time, though. An increasing number of transportation providers are implementing multimodal transport to improve the efficiency of their operations and get shipments to their destinations at a lower cost.

In the simplest terms, multimodal transport or multimodal shipping means that a single carrier uses a combination of round, air, sea, or rail transportation to move goods from one location to another. Opting for this type of shipping offers a variety of benefits to both the shipper and their clients alike, and preserves the supply chain in the face of challenges brought on by major businesses like Walmart and Amazon, as well as disruptions like those created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Multimodal vs. Intermodal Transport

Before getting into the benefits of multimodal transport, it’s worth discussing the difference between multimodal and intermodal transport.

Although both types of shipping use at least two forms of transport (for example, land and air), the primary difference is that intermodal shipping uses multiple carriers. In other words, one carrier manages the ground portion of the shipment, and then hands off the shipment to another carrier for the air transport, or vice versa. The shipper pays each carrier separately, and your reports, receipts, and tracking details will come from each carrier individually, and only deal with their portion of the journey.

Intermodal can help speed up shipments, but it can be complex to manage. That’s why many shippers are turning to multimodal shipments instead.

How Multimodal Shipping Benefits Businesses

Opting for multimodal shipping can benefit your business in a number of ways.

Reduced Costs

Although you may receive competitive rates from an intermodal shipping company, opting for multimodal can be a more cost-effective option. Transport providers often provide more competitive rates when you allow them to handle the entire shipment, and offer priority status. Multimodal shipping can also result in tax incentives for shippers. Because these arrangements typically involve making infrastructure investments, companies that opt for multimodal transport enjoy certain incentives that would not otherwise be available. Multimodal transport also reduces carbon offset costs, further reducing expenditures.

Improved Communication

In contrast to intermodal shipping, multimodal shipping only requires communicating with a single operator. The central provider manages all of the communication with the actual transportation providers, ensuring you have a single point of contact in the event there is an issue. For instance, if you receive data from an impact recorder indicating rough handling or excessive vibration, you can work with the multimodal provider to solve the problem.

Faster Delivery Times

There are times when intermodal transport may be the faster option, but multimodal transport is often the faster option. Federal regulations govern how long a single carrier can move freight in one trip under the Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) Mandate. Essentially, this only allows freight to be in motion for a certain amount of time before the operator must rest. It’s mostly applicable to trucking, but it does add time to truck transport.

When a driver can transfer a load to another form of transport, like a train, though, the shipment is able to keep moving despite those limitations. Instead of sitting idle for 24 hours or more while the truck driver rests, the shipment reaches its destination more quickly. Using multiple modes of transportation can also cut shipping time for shipments traveling long distance. For example, shipping partially by air cuts a significant amount of time, even when the last leg is handled by truck or train.

Getting the Most from Multimodal Shipping

Using multimodal shipping can be beneficial to your company, but it does require proper management. That begins with evaluating all of the modes before selecting one for your shipments. Not all shipments are well suited for all modes, and what works for other companies may not be ideal for yours.

It’s also important to connect your transportation management system with the carrier, so you can effectively monitor your shipments at every stage. All of your freight processes should be data-driven and based on real-time, contextual data collected at every step of the shipment process. Armed with this information, you can implement efficient, cost-effective shipping policies and procedures that align with your company’s strategic goals and budget.

Winter Woes Won’t Keep Your Business Down, If You Do This

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Winter Business|Winter Woes Won't Keep Your Business Down, If You Do ThisYes, winter is going to threaten every business regardless of whether or not there is a pandemic. It’s always been like this and may always be like this. Winter presents unique challenges that businesses have to prepare for every year. Not only is there a lot of snow and ice to contend with, but you have to deal with colder operating temperatures, less daylight time, more morale-boosting ideas to think of, and trying to beat your competitors during the seasonal rush. Not to mention, the challenge of meeting export and import needs too. But, winter woes won’t get your business down if you do these things.

Get shoveling, or not

Commercial snow removal is very popular for businesses and if you are interested in this, then we recommend you read this. Not only do they use professional heavy-duty equipment, but that will also mean that snow is carefully removed and safely taken away. But it also means that if you have a complex area such as a car park, you won’t be in any danger of doing unwarranted damage to your foliage, lighting, wiring, machines or curbs. And of course, you lessen your liability to injuries. Employees that have an unsafe car park or exterior to the business could slip, fall and get seriously injured. Not only will they need to get sick pay but they could sue you. So commercial removal is quick, easy and very effective when you have suffered a heavy snowfall.

Protect logistics chains

The number one challenge of winter is the travel. The highways and train lines are covered in snow and ice, making them a hazard. It draws logistics to a crawl and can harm your bottom line because you’re not getting supplies and inventory when you need it. So prepare beforehand and ready your logistical chains. But how?

  • Increase your fleet number temporarily. If you have a fleet of delivery trucks, you should seek to increase the number by 10-20%. So if you have 20 trucks, increase the number to 22 or 24. If one or two trucks break down, another is involved in an accident, another gets trapped, you at least have a technically, full strength fleet.
  • Export markets need some love too. Just because it’s slow and challenging in your local or national marketplace, doesn’t mean it’s the same on the other side of the world. You should seek to increase your export customers during this time, as you try to compete with your rivals.
  • Hire more. If you cannot handle your logistical challenges, hire those that can. Hire more drivers, more warehouse managers and employees to make sure you can meet the higher demand and keep things ticking over.

Keep morale high

Make sure the ambient room temperature is nice and toasty in the office. Keeping morale high with surprise hot meals for lunches, extra time for completing projects and providing mental health care for the holiday season, is so crucial.

It’s easy for businesses to suffer from winter woes as they battle the weather and the seasonal rush. But these things will keep your employees happy, your business open at all times and ahead of the competition.

Where Professionalism Is Important In Running A Business

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Professionalism in Business|Where Professionalism Is Important In Running A BusinessSure, you can be as free and liberal with your brand as you want; you can present a silly and non serious front, or you can present a laid back and easy going front. Branding is all about what you want it to be, and who you want to attract!

But even with this in mind, even with the kind of customers you’re pulling in, when it comes to certain areas of running your company, there are quite a few factors in which you’re going to have to be professional. Here are three key components of business that require you to be skilled, experienced, and professional in your manner.

In Customer Security

Your customers need to feel secure when they’re shopping with you. They need to know their payment details are safe and will never fall into the wrong hands. And seeing as you’re the retail portal they’re relying on, this is up to you.

Both online and offline, you need to be professional about security. Sure, you lock up your shop and make sure there’s no cash in the till at the end of the day, but what about your website? Is it even encrypted, when the time comes to put in card details to pay for items? It’s time to check on that.

In Shipping and Delivery

You need to be very professional about the way you pack, ship, and deliver any and all products and services. You need to have a safe and secure way to get your packages from point A to point B, and without professionalism to guide your way, there’s a good chance your delivery options will be subpar for the time being.

It’s why you might want to look into courier services; this will allow you to have more control over the process, be able to bundle your shipping needs, and with a handy Transport Marketplace to make use of, you’ll have a surefire way to chop and change your delivery services as you need to. There’s nothing quite like speed to show off your professionalism!

In Running Your Sales

And finally, you need to be very professional about the amount of sales you’re bringing in. After all, when it comes to building a customer base, and then ensuring you’ve got plenty of return sales to make profit off of, you need to cast a sure and professional eye over your books.

And being able to balance your books is another area that requires professionalism; if you can’t do it yourself, be sure to outsource your issues here to a trained and experienced accountant. Bring in the skills you need to ensure there’s plenty of professional talent behind the scenes, and your business will steadily climb up the profit margins.

Professionalism is something every single business needs. If you’re not sure about what you can manage in terms of bringing the right experience to your customers, make sure you’re working behind the scenes first, and then brand yourself second.