Operations

ByJosh

Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Freight Forwarder

Freight forwarders act as an intermediary between shippers and carriers. The trucking companies handle all the frustrating management aspects of logistics so that you don’t have to worry about the details. Freight forwarders ensure that you receive quality and reliable freight services. Here are reasons why your business needs freight forwarders.

1. Manageability and organization

Businesses require a sense of control over their supply chain. Therefore, they require manageability and organization to enable them to recover goods quickly in the event of a loss. Some third-party logistics companies don’t offer transparency and personal touch required by international shippers. Freight forwarders will help you trace your lost shipment quickly because they utilize their networks to trace the problem and offer an immediate solution.

2. Versatility

Freight forwarders provide exceptional versatility, which is necessary for handling unforeseen obstacles or meeting tight deadlines. A Canadian trucking company has enough resources necessary to deal with unfortunate circumstances like delays at sea or rerouted shipments. The transportation companies deal with situations where goods being shipped divert from their preferred destination due to various reasons like stormy seas. Your business could not be prepared for such occurrences, but a freight forwarder is always prepared for such.

3. Cost savings

Freight forwarders can negotiate lower terms on your behalf with a transportation company if you have high volume containers. They have the skills and expertise in such matters; therefore, they are better placed to negotiate favorable terms for your business. Additionally, they provide superior customer service and advice that will help to grow your business.

4. Freedom from contracts

In the quest for reliability, businesses insist of signing contracts and binding documents. However, the shipping industry is filled with moving parts, and it could harm your company to stay bonded to one carrier for a year or even more. Freight forwarders give your business freedom. Since they know that you can change companies anytime, they strive to satisfy you so that they don’t lose clients. More information can be found at Fortigo Freight Services, which provides additional resources.

5. Simplicity

The shipping industry has so much volatility and variety than other sectors. However, freight forwarders offer your business simplicity by relieving you all the aggravating administrative decisions. When you hire a freight forwarder, you still have full control over your shipments. However, you won’t have to bother with tasks that consume your business time such as comparing prices, negotiating services, and vetting providers. Your business will have one provider, unlimited flexibility, and one point of contact.

Freight forwarders also come in handy for personal shipments. Any business that ships can benefit from freight services offered by freight forwarders regardless of the industry it operates in, or its size. Businesses just need to hire a reliable freight forwarder to enjoy the benefits and ensure its success, which means increased profitability.

ByJosh

Hiring Business Management Consultant Services

Although senior management in most companies may feel that business management consulting is a way of displaying inadequacies in the running of a business, such a step can boost sales growth. Most of the renowned brands in the world at some point invest in consultancy services so as to better productivity and introduce new ideas to their operations.

A consultant’s Perspective

Small and mid-sized companies have various teams of management that have limited time, resources, and energies that should be channeled towards the core aspects of the business at all times. Because of being so close and dear to the day-to-day running of their businesses, some management teams may become blind to some of the logistical issues such as workload analysis that are just happening right in front of their noses. As a good manager, you should consider business management consulting services so as to get an outsider’s perspective about business performance improvement. The consultant experts from an outside consultant firm may spot some of the problems that are holding your business back from performing optimally. This is a problem that often holds back family-held businesses because some family members may not be able to openly explore other ideas of boosting production, especially when the head of the family is the CEO. Sometimes, a consultant can help greatly in solving inter-familial wrangles that might be dragging your business through consultations because he or she is an outsider who doesn’t have any biased opinion. For instance, it’s not easy to dismiss a family member who is performing dismally or reckless due to tight family ties. A business management consultant will address various logistics about your business without fear of reprisals.

Addressing Short-term objectives

Most companies have major goals or objectives to achieve within stipulated timelines and all employees of the company are focused on achieving their various targets in their different departments. Rearranging such structures to execute certain short-term projects such as workload analysis and reviews on a periodic basis can hinder the overall performance of certain employees. You don’t have to reassign duties in order to achieve short-term utilization analysis projects in your business, when you have the option of hiring consultants. In fact, adding some tasks to your employees may be costly because some employees may lack the necessary skillset to execute those tasks or may simply get annoyed and perform poorly. Reorganizing, rescheduling, and retraining employees to perform certain tasks that they’re not used to doing is time-consuming and costly as compared to implementation consultant who are experts in those particular areas.

Leveraging on new skill sets

Most quality management consultants have worked in various environments and dealt with a wide range of people in their practice. In other words, they have a better understanding of the dynamics in business trends, strategies, and methodologies. They understand the ever-changing environments in their various areas of specialization, and leveraging on that skill sets will dramatically boost your productivity. Learn more information at the Carpedia website.

ByJosh

Business Shipping: Arrive On Time With Customs Brokers

The Government of Canada recently designated the Niagara Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Point. This serves 12 municipalities east of Hamilton to the US border. To continue developing the business climate nation-wide, it’s important to drive innovation and investment by opening up to international markets. Importers traditionally rely on customs brokers to document and clear their goods through customs.

Import process

Nearly 230,000 importers deal with the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) annually. Given the volume of shipments, most of these rely on the services of a licensed customs broker to get shipments cleared. For every transaction, critical business information such as country of origin, destination, tariff class, routing, and intended use must be provided.

Big data

For many importers that’s only part of the story. Customs brokers are now helping businesses to incorporate this data into business intelligence that can be used to help companies develop new product lines, new markets and global trends, as well as reduce costs.

Automation

There’s also been improvement in the integration of automated shipping and processing services that let brokers handle shipments 24/7 at key channels along the US-Canadian border. Automation allows licensed and experienced brokers to minimize release waits, secure paperwork, and determine the proper tariffs and weights to expedite processing. Automation also helps the flow of information regarding Canadian customs guidelines. It’s crucial to keep up with changing regulatory and security requirements to keep shipments moving.

The PARS system

The PARS (Pre-arrival Review System) allows brokers to request customs clearance to Canada with minimum information before their goods even arrive. This process speeds up releases and inspection referrals through the use of a PARS tracking number. A computerized PARS checker can be used to reference status on each shipment. Often a package that meets all the requisite guidelines can be released within minutes.

Brokers and importers using PARS must attach a label to a bill of lading or invoice with the bar-coded PARS information, which include the word “PARS”, the alpha-numeric carrier code assigned by the CBSA, and a sequential tracking number. The CBSA agents use hand-held scanners to scan the label into the system at the point of entry. If the shipment has been pre-approved, it’s quickly released for entry into Canada; otherwise further inspection – and delays – are necessary before the shipment is released.

Using a licensed customs broker is a highly recommended practice for any business importing product or raw materials. An experienced and properly equipped broker can use their resources to meet regulations and dramatically improve and shorten the process – saving money and headaches.

ByJosh

Shipping Time: How to Save On Your Shipping Costs

Whether you’re trying to make a little bit of extra money on eBay or you’re running your own full-time business, shipping costs can eat into your profits. Even people who just want to ship Mother’s day presents in other provinces can find themselves frustrated over how much the process costs. Shipping company doesn’t have to be this monster that eats away your budget, however. With some smart shopping and a little preparation, you can bring your shipping costs down.

Know Your Options

Too many people, including business owners, let the post office decide how they will ship their packages. The USPS exists in a funny sort of purgatory between government agency and private business. While they are supposed to be run on a revenue-neutral basis, they are still more interested in upselling consumers than finding them the best possible price. Do your own research. For some, UPS may be cheaper under certain circumstances. For others, FedEx shipping  may provide the perfect balance of cost and efficiency. And for many, the U.S. Postal Service will be just fine. Find the shipping company that matches your needs and then find the services they offer that will keep your shipping costs low.

Avoid Professional Labels

Unless you’re a business that depends on making the most professional impression possible, there’s little need to spend extra money on those sticky address labels. You can make your own with a printer and a computer, saving quite a bit of money in the process. Just tape each label to the box and you’ll be fine. If you’re returning online purchases or shipping through eBay, you can often print a label online and use that.
Give Yourself Some Time

This is a good tip both for people who want to save on their own shipping costs and those who want to reduce the costs of their online purchases. Don’t procrastinate. The sooner you order something, the more you can save on shipping. Think about it. How many times have you been forced to buy expensive shipping for Christmas presents? You know when the holiday is, so don’t wait until the last minute to get your stuff in the mail. By mailing early, you’ll also avoid the crush of holiday shipping traffic, making it much more likely that your shipment will find its destination in time.

Know Your Postage

For people or businesses that ship in high quantities, a postage meter may make sense. You’re not going to make back your investment if you’re only shipping a few packages a year, but high-volume shippers can really save on postage if they have one handy. This is especially true if you’re not keen on heading to your shipping provider in person every time you want to send a package. Pitney Bowes estimates small business owners can save as much as 20 percent every year on postage with one of these meters. While this piece of advice could be approached skeptically considering the source, business owners who tend to over-stamp their packages to avoid inconvenience can undoubtedly save some money.

ByJosh

No Businesses Are Too Small for Data Security

Small businesses play an important role in the chain of economic relationships involving public and private companies. Bigger and more established corporations have seen fit to outsource key components of their operations to smaller and more nimble businesses to increase operational efficiencies. As players in a vast commercial market, small companies have to follow the same guidelines as the big players when it comes to critical aspects such as information security.

Before electronic storage became the industry standard, security shredding of records containing classified information was sufficient to minimize the risk of information falling in the wrong hands. Mobile communication and wireless technology are game changers because they complicated the task of securing data exchanged and stored electronically.

 

Why Small Businesses Should Care About Data Security

As a crucial cog in the economic machinery, small businesses need to pay close attention to securing information, especially high-value data that may impact competitive edge and reduce profitability. Businesses that depend on each other to fulfill certain parts of their operations will have to share confidential information. Big corporations, because of the extent of their exposure and liability, are at the forefront of efforts to improve security protocols through advanced encryption software and use of holographic passcodes, to mention a few proactive measures.

However, some small businesses have taken a more casual approach to data security, believing that they are too small to be targets of hackers and fraudsters. This is not a constructive attitude for small businesses who are partnering with the big boys, no matter how small their roles are in the flow chart.

In a world that runs on information, data protection is as much an operational strategy as it is a fiduciary obligation. Once a business becomes privy to information shared by another in the course of their dealings, it is understood, if not mandated, that both entities observe confidentiality of information. This includes any type of unauthorized disclosure and preventing access by any parties not authorized to do so.

Hackers have realized that a convenient back door to a company’s secure operations reside in third party links. These links may include suppliers, outsourced contractors and other service providers. Hackers have targeted small businesses in increasing numbers to access information related to their big clients. Failure to implement effective security protocols are exploited by savvy cyber crooks to gain information that can be turned into profits.

 

Consequences of a Security Breach

Failure to implement data security measures will compromise information and business relationships. Consequences may include termination of lucrative contracts, loss of potential business due to credibility issues and public relations headaches. A data breach can also lead to lawsuits by affected parties, investigations by government agencies and substantial fines.

For small companies who partner with big business clients, a security breach will have far-reaching effects that may affect their viability and business reputation.

In a competitive environment, access to high-value data can mean getting an edge on the competition. For this reason, hackers are constantly trying to exploit security loopholes to give themselves a backdoor access to a treasure trove of confidential data.

 

Information Security for Small Businesses

The first line of defense for small businesses would be adequate password protection for data-rich files. New applications have made it possible to use biometric devices including fingerprint scanners and retina readers. Touch screen interfaces allow for picture passwords requiring pre-set gestures to unlock a file or application software.

Internet-based transactions necessitate several levels of security. A system of verification should be in place so that only qualified transactions are fulfilled. Cloud computing has expanded the possibilities for web-based operations, but it has also added another area of vulnerability that can be mitigated with the use of

Additionally, small businesses need to establish a secure workflow so that only authorized personnel can have access to sensitive information. Encryption should be used for digital data exchanges.

The other side of the data security equation is proper disposal of unnecessary files. Best practices call for on-site security shredding of hard copies, DVDs, flash drives and other storage devices containing restricted information. Where on-site shredding is not feasible, radio-tagging files slated for destruction will add some measure of security to the process.

 

Information Security is a Mandate

When it comes to data security, small businesses need to do their part to make sure that sensitive data collected from customers and clients are managed properly to prevent a security breach. Malicious intrusion into secure files will compromise the information, expose clients to fraud and affect operations and profitability.