Logistics, Shipping, and Warehousing
Key Factor for International Manufacturers: Logistics
Freight, shipping, and logistics are essential matters for international manufacturers when exporting into Europe. Handling, packaging, transport, and stock keeping demand intelligent solutions to deliver excellent customer service or else they will become costly problems.
Shipping, transports and logistic are competitive factors
In the past, efforts and costs related to logistics were traditionally viewed as costs added to the product. Suppliers needed to balance their costs and efforts against the quality of supply services they gave to their customers. However, modern sales organisations now recognize that mastering logistics can be a source of competitive advantage.
If you are an international manufacturer and sell to Europe, freight and logistics are a place where you can optimize and develop advantages over your competition.
Service Providers for the Logistic Value Chain
International exporters will typically work with an international logistics provider that has a subsidiary in the European destination harbour or with a European freight forwarder as soon as the delivery has arrived at its European destination.
A major challenge in developing a winning logistics model is to align shipments, stock keeping, and the distribution chain to satisfy these critical points:
Short delivery times for the customer
Seamless merging of supply chains
Balancing fluctuating demands of products
Keeping costs at appropriate levels
All of the above criteria can be exploited and optimised to give you a competitive advantage over other market players.
Today’s freight forwarder services include transportation, customs brokerage, and clearance. While in transit, your products will be properly insured and your sales organisation will be able to follow your products digitally with tracking and registration services.
Advanced sales organisations are able to predict the arrival of expected deliveries with little deviation, ensuring trusted delivery schedules. This increases customer satisfaction and opens the door to becoming a qualified supplier to major European companies.
These kinds of services distinguish top suppliers from second-rate manufacturers.
Top suppliers have an organisation or a logistic partner that can undertake the required steps to connect with the supply chain used in their industry. Different industries practise different models of integration for sub-suppliers.
Example: While retail businesses have almost no requirements for adapting to production chains or logistic pipelines, other industries—like the automotive industry—require greater efforts from their suppliers. Systems to control and maintain this integration need to be in place, either at the manufacturer’s European subsidiary or at an external service provider. Such providers are in all the major international logistics hubs in Europe, such as Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Antwerp.
Stock Keeping will be another Essential Part in Your Supply Strategy
For good customer service and fast availability of products, spare parts and accessories must be available to all your sales facilities in a timely manner. At first, it seems logical to call for decentralized storage locations to service the customer in the various countries of Europe. However, this leads to a large stock commitment and a need for sophisticated logistics planning. Working with a central warehouse for a large sales area—for example, several countries in Europe—leads to shorter delivery times and less capital tied up. But this requires a quick transport service provider and fast-reacting supply management to keep delivery times short.
Cosco Netherlands – Container Ship unloading in Hamburg
Connecting your sales channel directly to your supply chain and warehouse is another solution to improve the quality of your supply. ERP solutions from different software companies provide software modules to connect your sales administration system with your stock and cargo/freight service. Manufacturers from abroad (like China) gain access to stocks and inventories in Europe. This allows the manufacturer to develop updated and efficient production and supply strategies and minimize the number of obsolete products in the supply chain.
Are your products heavy, sensitive, and therefore expensive to transport? If so, your logistics plan should keep this in mind and optimise the distances from your factory to the clients’ destinations.
Will your products be unpacked, merged, and packed again before being delivered to the customer? Do you need to add country-specific elements to your products? Do you need to facilitate such tasks and do you need a partner to do this work for you? We are experienced in finding carriers who can configure, assemble, and ship single deliveries all over Europe on demand.
There is the additional possibility of working with a subcontractor and a bonded warehouse. In this case, the duties and taxes are to be paid when the product is taken from the “Zollfrei Lager” (a special storage area under customs supervision of goverment authorities) and delivered to customers in Europe. In all other cases, customs and taxes need to be paid before releasing your products to the European market. This may be an effective alternative for expensive spare parts, which may sit in a storage room for a long time before they are needed.
With today’s tools and infrastructure in Europe, international exporters no longer suffer from a disadvantage against local European manufacturers
At Cotanum, we know from experience that logistics, shipping, and stock keeping require individual customer-tailored solutions. Depending on your sales and distribution model, we can assist you in shaping the future of your European export business through logistics, freight, and warehousing.
We can support you in selecting an organisational logistics model and logistics supplier that best support your corporate strategy in the European market. Depending on your targeted customers’ demands, we can improve your competitive edge and assist you in forming a highly focused organization. Your distribution model will follow a well-defined sales and supply strategy, designed to deliver sustained growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction.