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Become an MVP shipping manager: Save money for your company

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Here's how other customers found significant savings.

As a shipping manager, you play an integral role – even if it is overlooked sometimes. Want to get some attention? There's no better way to perk up the powers that be than to give the bottom line a swift kick skyward.

Follow these tips to save your company money and time.

To do that, consider these tips – which apply to businesses of all sizes – for saving your company money. Who knows? Maybe you'll help boost your own bottom line!

1. Customize your boxes
North Carolina-based Save-a-Load manufactures hydraulic support bars that securely hold items in place in tractor-trailers, preventing damage and loss. The only problem: The support bars don't fit standard shipping boxes.

The answer: customized boxes. Cathy Littlejohn, Save-a-Load vice president, found a box manufacturer to mass-produce containers that snugly accommodate the bars. That immediately opened other cost-cutting avenues. The improved protection reduces returns due to damage and eliminates charges for shipping unboxed packages.

2. Bundle all shipping with one carrier
Ever heard the phrase "too many cooks spoil the broth"? The same rule can apply to logistics, as Monitor Technologies LLC can testify. The Elburn, Ill.-based manufacturer makes systems that monitor levels in silos and bins.

The company went international, but that came with a few headaches. Monitor Tech was using several carriers to manage its complex shipping operation, which includes small-package shipments and LTL (less-than-truckload) for both inbound and outbound needs. To make things easier on staff and resources, Monitor Tech sought a streamlined solution that not only made it easier to keep up with all these shipments, but would also cut costs: UPS.

"For the first year, we were hoping to save at least $10,000, but we ended up saving a bit over $13,000," says Heather Russell, Monitor Tech's office manager and training specialist.

Further advantages of using UPS as the only carrier include access to UPS's technology solutions. For example: Instead of having to fill in forms for international shipments, UPS Paperless® Invoice saved Monitor Tech both time and material costs. "Our documents are all online, so customs officials abroad get the documents before the boxes arrive," says Laura Smathers, Monitor Tech's production controller.

Save-a-Load also bundled all shipping with UPS, saving the company between 15 to 20 percent in transportation costs.

3. Use more efficient packaging
Packaging, of course, is needed for most shipments, with inflated cushioning being a big favorite for most. But is it the best?

"For us, it doesn't hold up," says Justin Pflanz, owner of Lincoln, Neb.-based TAB Performance, a worldwide supplier of Harley-Davidson accessories. "It takes up a lot of [floor] space, is expensive, and less effective than paper for preventing vibrations that can cause damage."

Pflanz has found paper more storage-efficient and better at cushioning – plus it's half the cost. Here's another gem: TAB Performance saved even more on packaging costs by buying blank newsprint end rolls from a local newspaper.

"We use about one hundred rolls of it a year and buy it for a dollar a roll," says Pflanz. That $100 wouldn't buy much inflated cushioning.

4. Try reusable boxes
Syracuse, N.Y.,-based Galson Laboratories monitors and tests industrial hygiene levels to protect people from hazardous exposure, a complex process that requires the capture and transportation of air samples from various sites.

"We receive samples from all over the world, including many emergencies or disasters like the 9/11 bombing, Gulf oil spill and Boston Marathon attack," says Gale Peterson, a Galson lab supervisor.

These samples require extra storage for security, which Galson formerly ensured by sending a box within a box to its customers. Although this took care of safety, it was expensive to buy and store so many boxes – particularly as the company sends between 50 and 150 shipments a day.

Research found that one box with heavier corrugated materials that reinforced siding could do the job of two boxes.

"It's more expensive per box, but we don't need to use two," says Peterson. "That's saved us an average of $50 per day."

5. Use WorldShip®
When Galson Laboratories adopted WorldShip as its shipping system, the company cut out the long process of manual entry, which annually saves an estimated 1,040 hours of the company's employees' time.

"Switching to WorldShip also cut down on errors and saved us the equivalent of a part-time employee," Galson says. "Instead of typing everything out, we just scan a bar code, and all the details are input automatically. Always finding better ways to ship packages, [ways] that increase efficiency and lower costs, is what we do every day."

Do you have any game-changing money savers? If so, please share them.  

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Anonymous
i save boxes and all packing material such as paper, air pillows, etc. from incoming shipments and reuse these when possible sending shipments back out. this saves our company from having to buy things like boxes, rolls of brown kraft paper, bubble wrap, etc.
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