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In search of the best answers to logistics network velocity

TORONTO, Ont. - Couriers can answer the call to provide highly agile logistics networks built for speed by getting into the Customs fast lane and simplifying supply chains, Glenn Rice, president of UP...


TORONTO, Ont. – Couriers can answer the call to provide highly agile logistics networks built for speed by getting into the Customs fast lane and simplifying supply chains, Glenn Rice, president of UPS Canada told the Canadian Courier and Messenger Association Conference recently.

To get into the Customs fast lane, couriers must ensure they integrate with the electronic platforms of Customs agencies; get certified as low-risk shippers; and help customs agencies on real risks, Rice said.

UPS was one of the first carriers to deploy the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) for its trucks entering the U.S. from Canada and Mexico.

“Helping Customs and security agencies focus in on real risks can also put shipments in the fast lane. At UPS’s WorldPort air hub in Louisville, for example, UPS provides customs inspectors an online search tool called Target Search which allows inspectors to electronically search through shipping manifests using any search criterion they choose,” Rice said. “This automation gives inspectors more time to target what they consider higher risk packages.”

The second major step for high-speed commerce, according to Rice, is to simplify supply chains.

“Complexity is the enemy of speed,” he said adding there are several ways to simplify supply chains, starting with automation of paperwork and compliance.

“No way around it: shipping across borders requires a lot of documentation, including detailed commercial invoices, Shippers Export Declarations, certificates of origin, export licences and insurance certificates.

Many companies just don’t have the time, expertise or manpower to prepare documentation and stay in compliance with thousands of tariff codes and changing regulations. But they can automate all this complexity with automated shipping software from their couriers and logistics providers,” Rice said.

Another way to simplify a supply chain is to shorten it.

“Being smarter at origin on the ultimate flow of shipments makes a significant impact on speed to market,” Rice said. “For example, shippers can by-pass distribution centres altogether and keep orders moving from sellers to buyers. You can get even more creative by combining DC bypass with consolidated shipping across borders.”

A final, critical, element of supply chain simplicity is visibility, Rice said.

Knowing exactly where a shipment is, where it’s heading and what’s in it, is not only crucial for speedy fulfillment, it can also supply information that Customs and other regulatory agencies demand, he said.

Visibility platforms that allow shippers and consignees to track the movement of shipments across parties and across borders down to the SKU level allow shippers and receivers to reroute or put other contingency plans into action should there be an unexpected delay, he pointed out.


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