How to Keep Deliveries 99% On Time
In the best of times, the global shipping network is extraordinarily complex. Hundreds of ports in hundreds of countries serve tens of thousands of commercial vessels. Yet through capricious weather, political conflicts, multimodal transit delays, and more, the shipping fleet weaves the world together.
The past year has not been the best of times. The COVID-19 pandemic has closed borders, grounded planes, and sometimes overwhelmed the capacity of ports and commercial vessels. Yet the world relies on shipping more than ever to transport critical medical supplies, food, fuel, and all the equipment we need as we adapt to this new reality.
So much can go wrong, and, so often, so much does. Suppliers fail to deliver to one of our hubs on the promised date. Clearance and delivery issues in problem ports result in delays or lost freight. Direct service routes from origin to destination become unexpectedly unavailable.
In global marine logistics, we don’t hope that nothing will go wrong. We plan ahead for all that can go wrong, so we can still get deliveries wherever they’re needed, on time. We do it all while maintaining Horizon’s longstanding 99% on-time delivery rate.
As we enter the second year of this pandemic, with hopes that the end of it is now near, we’d like to share with you some of what we do to keep your deliveries on time, and some of what you can do to help us keep your fleet on schedule.
How We Keep Your Deliveries On Time
Assume Something Will Go Wrong, Then Prevent It
The name of the game is being proactive. We never assume any stage in a shipment will go as planned. In fact, we operate as if something WILL go wrong — after 50 years in the business, we can usually anticipate the problems — then we figure out how to keep the delivery on schedule.
For example, we contact suppliers a few days before an order is due to be ready. Can they confirm that the order will indeed be ready as promised? If not, we start making a back-up plan: a different supplier, an expedited route, a private charter… whatever it takes.
We stay in constant contact with airlines, ocean carriers, and trucking companies. Is high demand reducing their capacity? Are prices fluctuating? Are transit times slowing? We get the answers straight from the sources, all day, every day.
We pass this real-time intelligence along to you, so you can make well informed decisions. And we advise you on the best routings to get your deliveries where you need them, on budget and on time.
How You Can Keep Your Fleet On Schedule
We know that some emergency needs simply can’t be anticipated. But whenever it’s possible, book your deliveries as far in advance as possible, or even alert us that a booking is coming soon, so we can prepare. This puts some extra time in our pockets to solve whatever may go wrong along the way. With a tight deadline, even a few extra hours can make the difference between an on-time delivery and a critical delay.
Time is also often the difference between a cost-effective solution and blowing your budget. There’s not much we can’t rush around the world in a hurry, but chartered planes don’t come cheap.
Never Chase Your Vessels
If a deadline is too tight, it’s usually best to arrange delivery to the next port of call instead. Assume, as we always do, that something will go wrong. If the deadline is too tight, your delivery could easily end up one step behind your vessel, running up extra costs as we try to chase it down.
EDI System Integration
As you may already know, Horizon offers robust EDI integration with your procurement systems. Two-way transparency saves us time and gives you instant access to the real-time status of your deliveries. It allows Horizon to work as a fully integrated extension of your purchasing department.
Together, We’ll Keep Moving the World
This has been a challenging year for the shipping industry. We’ve been honored to partner with you during this crisis, supporting your vital operations as you move the world.
Like you, we’re not big on “can’t.” With the right expertise, determination, and hard work, every problem has a solution. That’s how we operate, and we know you do too. Whatever the challenges the future may bring, we’ll solve them together and keep your ships on schedule.
For more information about the EDI System contact Horizon.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.