U.S./Mexico Shipping Series Part 1: Door to Door Service Providers.Transportfolio
This is the first post in a series about U.S./Mexico cross-border shipping. Over the next several months, I’ll share what best in class customers look for in a U.S./Mexico cross-border logistics provider. International business comes with many complications: differing currencies, variable exchange rates, languages, times zones, governing laws, and even different business objectives. Top tier international organizations understand the value of reducing unnecessary complexity—something a door to door provider can help with.
When shipping across the U.S./Mexico border you need a carrier in Mexico, and a Mexico customs broker, a drayman, a U.S. customs broker, a carrier in the U.S., and potentially a crossdock or warehouse. Before you realize it, you’re managing five or six different vendors for every shipment across the border. There are hard and soft costs associated with such complexity, not to mention the increased likelihood of a missed handoff resulting in a service failure.
If you are managing six vendors at the border, it’s probably a headache. After all, many of those vendors are competitors. What’s their incentive to “play nice” with one another? The short answer is that there isn’t one, which is why you get stuck in the middle, managing their interactions—even paying demurrage and overtime when those interactions fail. A door to door service provider may be the solution you’ve been looking for.
A new kind of provider
A decade ago, finding a single logistics provider who could provide everything you need for U.S./Mexico cross-border service was challenging. Few providers could provide adequate quality across all services and in multiple geographies.
In recent years, the growing presence of global third party logistics providers (3PLs) with a wide range of services, locations, and technology options makes a door to door provider more feasible, and in many cases, a true marketplace advantage.
Is your current mix of service providers a holdover from the days when you didn’t have any better option than a medley of different, possibly competing, providers? It doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
Changing vendor standards
Always hold your internal organization and your external providers to ever-increasing standards. That’s the basic principle of continuous improvement. For example, when you started, all you looked for was a customs broker who could get your products across the border, or one who would finance your duty payments. But after an audit, you realize your broker truly needs to be an expert on the laws governing your customs transactions. You reevaluate.
Reevaluate your relationships
Take the time to think about why you maintain relationships that have been in place for years. You might start to realize that the original reason for developing a relationship doesn’t even exist anymore. More and more shippers are making the commitment to long-term success by transitioning to vendors that are truly beneficial to their current or future goals, not their past needs.
Why a door to door logistics provider is worth it
Change can be hard. Successfully changing logistics providers requires a well thought out change management strategy. While this may seem like a hassle, in the long term, it could set your business apart. The process of changing providers is a great time to ask, “Why do we do this step?” and “Is there a better way to do this?” Many shippers that consolidate transportation, customs brokerage, bridge drayage, and warehousing to a single, door to door provider, start to see immediate differences:
- Communication is faster and more efficient inside a single organization than across multiple competitors
- Different teams are motivated to work together, not point fingers at each other
- There is more time for you to focus on business goals rather than coordinating vendors
- Fewer invoices reduces the cost (and time) of vendor management
When it comes to cross-border shipping, you measure success as compliant and timely completion of shipments across your entire supply chain. Having great execution in one part, only to be tripped up with delays in a subsequent portion of the journey, is a failure. Why should any of your providers see it differently? Whether you work with one door to door provider or are still using five or six, be sure to align your vendors’ key performance indicators with your own.
Coming up next
Now that I’ve covered the basics of a door to door provider, my next post will discuss why customers prefer cross-border providers with boots on the ground in both countries.
To learn more about the steps involved in crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, download our whitepaper, U.S.-Mexico Shipping Options.