Blake Goodwin, director of operations, Artaic, of Boston
Founders Ryan Clark and Tim Andis of Liberty Bottleworks, Union Gap, Wash., which manufactures American-made, BPA-free reusable water bottles
Kathy Hartzell, logistics manager, C.F. Martin Guitar, a custom guitar maker in Nazareth, Pa., dating to 1800s
Tony December, general manager, Pro Marine, a manufacturer of aftermarket parts for inboard and outboard marine engines, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Ryan Novak, owner, Chocolate Pizza Company, Syracuse, N.Y.
Slide of

Entrepreneurs and shipping managers share their top logistics tips

Savvy business owners and their teams are adept at building a business. And the ones we've talked to tell us that shipping plays a key role in their success. So take a logistics tip or two from these five entrepreneurs or shipping managers and apply it to your business.

Find and eliminate bottlenecks

Mosaic manufacturer Artaic's shipping is complex. Raw materials – glass, stone and porcelain tiles – arrive from manufacturers in India, China and Turkey. Tile samples ship to sales representatives and designers in the United States and around the world. And the completed, ready-to-install mosaics need to get to far-flung hotels, restaurants and residences. The company turned to UPS for ways to improve supply chain processes throughout. One solution was apparent right away: Artaic's primary product line comes from overseas into Florida and then on to Artaic's headquarters in Boston. UPS was able to reroute the shipments directly to Boston, cutting transit times. "We've seen a 25 to 40 percent time-savings in the fulfillment of raw tile," Blake Goodwin says.

Build your brand

Liberty Bottleworks put its logo on each WorldShip® label. "It's an added level of sophistication that comes across to the consumer. The branded label brings in an additional two to three orders per week, or about $5,000 in additional revenue per year," co-founder Tim Andis says.

Know where inbound supplies are

With UPS, Martin Guitars knows which materials will arrive when, so the company can staff appropriately. "In a manufacturing environment, very early in the morning a couple hundred people show up ready to make guitars," Kathy Hartzell says. "We need to make sure that we have the materials available for them to get working. Logistics is an integral part of dovetailing the schedule and the craftsman with the raw materials. It takes more than wood and glue and finish and strings to make a guitar – it takes logistics."

Take control of how inbound shipments are shipped

"Until I came onboard, there was no effort to control how product was sent to us. That was left up to the manufacturers, who were all using different freight forwarders, who all took a percentage," Tony December says. By taking control of inbound deliveries, Pro Marine has saved an estimated 35 percent on its inbound shipping costs.

Staff up and get products and shipping materials in advance of your busiest seasons

"We plan for each selling season, so that all our boxes are made, our bubble pack is ripped and our paper and peanuts are ready to go," owner Ryan Novak says. "We have a small window to get product out to people before Christmas, so we don't want to waste time doing things that should have been done ahead of time."