Transportation or shipment is necessary for an uninterrupted and seamless supply. The factors that have an impact on shipment are economic uncertainty and instability, varying fuel prices, customers’ expectations, globalisation, improvised technologies, changing transportation industry and labour laws.
The major elements that influence transportation should be considered, as it is completely dependent on these factors for order completion as well as for ensuring that all the flows work properly. The major factors are:
Transportation managers should acknowledge the supply freight flow and accordingly design the network layout. Now, when we say long term decision, we mean that the transportation manager has to select what should be the primary mode of transportation.
The manager has to understand the product flows, volume, frequency, seasonality, physical features of products and special handlings necessities, if any. In addition to this, the manager has to make decisions as to the extent of outsourcing to be done for each
and every product. While considering all these factors, he should carefully consider the fact that the networks need not be constant.
For example, in order to transport stock to regional cross-dock facilities for sorting, packaging and brokering small loads to individual customers, stock destinations can be assembled through contract transportation providers.
Lane Operation Decisions
These functional decisions stress on daily freight operations. Here, the transportation managers work on real-time information on products’ requirements at different system nodes and must collaborate every move of the product that is both inbound and outbound shipping lanes so as to satisfy their services demands at the minimal possible cost.
Managers who make good decisions easily handle information and utilise the opportunities for their own profit and assure that the product is moved to them immediately, whenever it is demanded, that too in the right quantity. At the same time, they are saving cost on transportation also.
For example, a shipment has landed from a supplier who is based in New Jersey and in the same week, a product needs to be dispatched to New York as it becomes available for movement. If the manager is aware of this information in advance, he would prepare everything as per the demand and the products could be shipped out immediately.
Choice and Mode of Carrier
A very important decision to be made is to choose the mode of transportation. With the improvement in the means of transportation, modes of transport that were not available in the traditional transportation modes in the past can now be a preferred choice.
For example, rail container service may offer a package that is cost-efficient and effective as compared to a motor transport. While making a decision, the manager has to consider the service criteria that need to be met, like the delivery time, date special handling requirements, while also taking into consideration the element of cost, which would be an important factor.
Dock Level Operations
This involves the last level of decision-making. This comprises planning, routeing and scheduling. For example, if a carriage is being loaded with different customers’ orders, the function of the dock-level managers is to assure that the driver is informed of the most efficient route and that loads are placed in the order of the planned stops.