With U.S. corporations dramatically expanding their manufacturing facilities in Mexico to save on labor and transportation costs, smart CEOs are increasingly focused on keeping their reputations intact with quality controls in staffing, warehousing and distribution. Keeli Jernigan, CEO and President of Trans-Expedite Inc.
, a global freight and logistics company for Fortune 500 corporations, shares key strategies to use in end-to-end transportation and logistics solutions:
•Enlist local experts in global best practices. The efficiency and quality corporations pride themselves on in the manufacturing process can be lost if staffers in the warehousing and logistics management are not trained or managed to specification. “It pays to include expert staffing as part of the supply chain,” Jernigan says. In building warehouse facilities and transportation functions, she partners with U.S.-based bi-lingual staffing companies with a presence in Mexico to ensure accountability and maintain strong employee relations in the area. Likewise, include local employment attorneys and CPAs on the team, she says.
•Create a seamless strategy. Map out a transportation and logistics plan that ensures efficiencies in shipping but also tax considerations when crossing the border. “Operating on the border is completely different from operating solely in the U.S.,” she points out. “Be sure to hire a transportation expert who knows the dynamics of logistics and customs on both sides of the border. Additionally, exporters can lower or eliminate U.S. Federal taxes or duties if they go through a Foreign Trade Zone,” she adds. Insist also on key certifications like the ISO 28000 for the highest standard available for supply chain security, and Custom Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) to ensure security at the border.
•Leverage a high-tech, high-touch approach to oversight. Today’s technology allows companies to track a delivery or inventory in real time and make that information available on a client’s SmartPhone. “Companies need to know where their shipments are and what’s in their inventories in advance of a meeting or to meet a deadline. They should be able to get all that information from a single source,” she says. At the same time, executives like the reassurance to know that there is a person available to them on the phone anytime day or night who can address any service interruptions or shipping delays and implement Plan B, Jernigan says.
By Keeli Jernigan, CEO and President, Trans-Expedite, Inc.