BLAINE, Minn. — When it comes to acquiring parts required to keep machinery in operation, one of the factors is the shipping expense and time in transit. Whether you are shipping across the state line or to the other side of the globe, your parts distributor may be able to help you navigate the available options to save your company money and meet your delivery requirements.
SPEED VS. COST
In general, if a domestic UPS ground shipment will take three to four days in transit to you and cost $25, moving to the least expensive air method, 2nd Day Air, will double the price to $50 and moving to the fastest method offered, Next Day Air, will double the price again to about $100.
International shipping can be extremely expensive since almost all shipments are done by air. The shipping options vary much less than with domestic shipments but other factors can affect the total cost such as consolidation.
While time in transit is an important part of the transportation of goods, it doesn’t make sense to pay a premium for faster transport if the company you are buying from does not have the item you need in stock and will have to wait days or weeks for the item to arrive. Look for a distributor that has a large inventory allowing it to frequently ship the same day you place your order. If it does not have the item in stock, there could be multiple suppliers for any particular item that could offer expedited inbound service to help reduce the lead time.
Working with a distributor can help to minimize shipping costs by allowing parts from multiple manufacturers to be shipped in one shipment directly from their stock. If the items required are not in the distributor’s stock, it can act as a hub bringing in products from multiple suppliers and consolidating them into one shipment destined for a single address anywhere in the world. Having one shipment from one U.S.-based supplier can save thousands of dollars when compared to using multiple suppliers.
Your distributor could also act as the “Small Package Forwarder” with the added benefit of managing the inbound product shipments and relationships with multiple suppliers. It can mix different types of products into one shipment combining OEM parts, generic parts, supply items and parts sourced from the suppliers to the machinery manufacturers, expanding the savings potential. See if your distributor can manage all of the import/export documents, eliminating the delays that are often caused by missing documents during the customs clearance process in the destination country.
INTERNATIONAL FREIGHT FORWARDING
Freight forwarding companies provide a variety of supply chain services, offering air and sea freight options at discounted prices. They often have regularly scheduled containers of goods shipped from one of many port cities like Miami to destination countries all over the world. They contract with carriers to get special pricing that can be passed on to customers.
Normally, a small package shipment cannot take advantage of reduced rates for sea freight due to size requirements for such shipments. Freight forwarders consolidate multiple shipments from different customers going to the same destination country and consolidate them to allow them to meet the minimum size requirements of ocean transport.
Freight forwarders typically offer delivery to the destination address of the customer. If your distributor knows how to work with freight forwarding companies, you will be able to take advantage of this service and save thousands of dollars in transport costs yearly. Inquire to see if your distributor has expertise in the regulations of each country they ship to and if they can provide all of the necessary documents including commercial invoice, shipper’s export declaration, and bill of lading to assure compliance with the regulations of the destination country.
Small Package Forwarders — There are a number of companies in the U.S. that offer services comparable to forwarders for small packages such as Shipito, Stackry, Reship, OPAS and MyUS.com. These companies have warehouses in many U.S. cities and offer a host of services such as consolidation from multiple U.S.-based suppliers, repackaging, volume discounts, storage, photos and online shipment management. Small package forwarders normally work with smaller shipments and ship by air services so they cannot offer the same sea freight discounts offered by the larger freight forwarders.
Check back Tuesday for the conclusion!
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].