Aug. 13, 2020

Resource Round-Up: Tools to Help Simplify Supply Chain Management

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Logistics professionals juggle an extraordinary amount of detail. A day in the life can include managing inventory, forecasting supply and demand, staying on top of fluctuating duties, ensuring goods flow through customs, and meeting corporate sustainability goals.

With the right resources and information, businesses can save time and refine strategy and shipping operations. Following is a brief curation of logistics tools to use, most of which are available to anyone in the industry.

Calculating Duties

Factors like tariff wars or shifting trade agreements can impact duties. And, they’re typically not included in freight forwarding quotes. Flexport’s duty calculator, however, can take the guesswork out of the process for US customers.

The duty calculator can also be used to help determine the value of drawback as part of an export incentive program. Drawback requires rigorous record keeping, but some companies recover enough to reinvest in innovation, manufacturing, and job creation.

By using the calculator in conjunction with an analysis of exports and overall sales, businesses can see if drawback is worth pursuing.

Easy drop-down menus provide HTS codes and duty percentages. From there, shippers can multiply the duty rate by the total value of their imported products, found on commercial invoices.

In addition, the US International Trade Commission also offers a natural-language HTS Code search page, including a list of China tariffs.

Carbon Calculation

Shipping can be responsible for up to half of a company’s carbon footprint. Not only that, it’s hard to limit or improve emissions without a baseline.

One option for Flexport customers is right in the dashboard. From any page, click Insights; then click Analytics. Select Carbon Emissions or Carbon Emissions/Unit from the drop-down menu.

A second option, available to all businesses, is the new Carbon Calculator API functionality. Accredited by Smart Freight Centre and in conformance with the Global Logistics Emission Council Framework, the tool helps businesses easily assess up to 100% of their carbon footprint for shipments—whether or not they use Flexport for shipping.

Customers can submit third-party data for shipments handled outside of Flexport via the calculator API or by emailing an Excel spreadsheet or .CSV files to carbon@flexport.com.

Sharpening Forecasts

For many businesses, COVID-19 dramatically upset the balance of supply and demand. And while forecasting has always been an important practice, it’s more important now than ever—especially as past data becomes less applicable in the wake of the pandemic. To help with these efforts, download a copy of our quick guide, Sharpen Forecasting to Strengthen Your Supply Chain.

Managing RFPs

The RFP process has become more complex now, too. A combination of tariffs, trade shifts, and travel bans have tightened capacity and raised rates across all transport modes. In addition, ensuring timely delivery can sometimes be a challenge.

Mitigating the risks of volatile shipping trends in the next RFP season will require more attention to detail. And, understanding what to look for—and ask—can make all the difference. To help simplify the process, work with Flexport’s free RFP template.

Experts on Demand

For complex situations or when customers need to troubleshoot, Flexport experts can help bring clarity, uncover savings opportunities, or navigate exceptions. To take advantage of the expertise available, connect with a Customs professional. Or, reach out to Flexport to learn how to streamline and enhance your logistics processes.

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