When we first started our company we were like everyone else and didn’t know much about what was going on. Because we didn’t know what was going on, we were scared or and intimidated by both our suppliers and our customers.
We did our best to avoid looking and sounding ignorant so our plan was to always agree with what others suggested. Basically doing our best to not rock the boat. 😉
Last week’s post The Key to Success in Global Logistics explained how that was HUGE mistake. As I said, I never could have expected so many different challenges would lay before us.
The plan worked well for a year and then not so much, we ran into a recurring problem with our containers.
They were leaving Korea and arriving in Mexico but were damaged. The problem was we were shipping FOB and not CIF and so we suddenly had a “it’s not my fault” situation….The worst kind!
We said the containers left Korea without any problems, the shipping line and our customer said no they weren’t and it was our fault. Unlike a lot of distributors we chose to find a solution to this problem instead of continuing to fight it out with our customer.
How 4C uses pictures to improve our logistics
We asked our trucking company to take a picture of every container from all four sides. Years ago this could have been a hassle but with smart phones it requires minimal effort. We receive the pictures via text, how simple is that?
The pictures to improve our logistics worked so well we implemented it into our craft beer division too. Now all of our hops and other fining agents are photographed before being placed on the airplane to Korea.
Every product to enter our global supply chain is photographed before being loaded onto a vessel or airplane.
In today’s world there’s really no excuse to not take the thirty seconds it requires to take a picture of every box or container before it’s loaded.
Since we’ve started taking the pictures our damaged containers have dropped dramatically; it’s funny actually how a picture seems to make everyone be little extra careful. Of course things still happen and that’s part of the business but we’ve limited the amount of finger pointing.
Fixing problems is part of the job but finger pointing is a complete waste of time and energy. pictures to improve my logistics
There is one more step you can add to the process but it’s hard to get companies on board with it. I have heard of some companies demanding the trucking companies to not only take a picture but also sign a document stating the container was in good shape when they dropped it off. If you are a big company with a lot of power this is a viable option, but not for little players.
A small company doesn’t ship enough products to convince a trucking company to risk getting stuck with this kind of responsibility. It doesn’t hurt to ask for it but I wouldn’t expect a positive outcome.
It is important to push to the pictures though and if they aren’t willing to oblige you should consider looking for a new partner.