22 Mar 2023

Effective Modes of Transport in Supply Chain Management

Choosing the suitable mode of transportation in logistics and supply chain management can make a business more cost-effective, collaborative & scalable to varying demands.

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A supply chain is nothing without its transit. For all the efforts stand still if a product doesn’t get delivered to its intended recipient – and, for such a titular mechanism to work, an organization finalizes various modes of transportation in supply chain management to ensure that they maintain the key performance metrics which actively drive its revenue. For an enterprise to choose one or multiple modes of logistics options, its key parameters should cover efficiency, scalability, robustness, visibility & innate quality to work seamlessly, even in the face of contingencies.

In this write-up, we’ll cover the key modes of transportation in logistics and supply chain management, helping a business cover substantial freight volume at an even better economical rate.

Table of Contents

What Are the Different Modes of Transportation Used in Supply Chain Management?

So, here’s us laying down the tracks for which option works best for an enterprise.

Different Modes of Transportation in Supply Chain Management
  1. Road Transportation

    The most common mode of all, road transportation, from yesteryear to modernize society of today, has been the ‘it’ way of getting things from point A to point B. From bull carts in remote areas to trucks on highways – road carriage is the most utilized logistics way known to mankind. In the context of a business, its impact is decided by whether the infrastructure of a geographical area supports the freight transfer in context. Finance, too, is a deciding factor. From the usual taxes & tolls, maintenance of the wheels employed has to be taken into consideration to ensure that the working cost doesn’t eat into profit margins.

    Though, one biggest virtue that favors scale for road transportation is its USP of ensuring delivery of consignment directly at the door – something that different modes of transportation in supply chain management don’t have the means for. Also, road freight can easily sync up with other transshipment ways to ensure timely OTIF metrics.

    Here are the key takeaways of road transportation.

    • Easier tracking compared to air & sea freight.
    • An economical option
    • Works for almost every geographical area.
    • Door-to-Door delivery.
    • Easier packing, docking, & offloading process.
    • Better management in case of contingency.
    • Directly influenced by the weather. Can take longer in case of road obstruction & closures.
    • Size & weight limitation.
    • Higher rate of breakdown compared to other modes.
    • Needs more bandwidth for delivery.
  2. Sea Transportation

    One of the most prominent modes of shipping, sea transportation accounts for more than 90% of goods transit. The key driving factor behind the stat is the ship’s ability to carry higher loads than any other mode, and that too, at a fraction of the cost. With such load capacity handled daily, maritime transportation is considered the backbone of the industrial trade. With its inter-continental shipment advantage, conglomerates prefer waterway shipping as it can seamlessly carry more bulk cargo per transit compared to other means.

    Here are the key pointers for sea transportation.

    • More scalable owing to space & max weight capacity.
    • Economical than air transit due to lower fuel costs.
    • Environmentally friendly.
    • Gets rarely impacted due to weather.
    • Slow movement guarantees better package handling.
    • Needs a longer timeline due to its speed.
    • Requires other modes of transportation to complete the logistics process.
    • Runs on a fixed routine. Can’t speed up the timeline.
    • Might be a challenge to track in case of bad weather.
  3. Rail Transportation

    Fast forwarding the perks of land transportation on scales of capacity & finance – rail transit easily carries heavier payloads across its network as & when required by an organization. With its multiple freight system, a rail network can carry diverse shipments from densely populated areas to quaint ones, tracks permitting. The biggest advantage that a rail network has that’s it devoid of the usual bottlenecks faced by a road shipment from traffic to diversion and can carry heavy loads (such as iron, coal, ore), which are straightforward uneconomical when considering road network movement.

    Listing out the pros & cons of Rail transit.

    • More capacity than road transportation.
    • Fewer chances of delays.
    • Less environmental impact.
    • Cost-effective for longer transit
    • Better regulation & compliance framework.
    • Requires road transportation to complete the chain.
    • Needs proper infrastructure. Tracks required for proper transit.
    • Slower than the road as it is dependent on other modes.
    • Slightly uneconomical for small transit.
  4. Air Transportation

    The fastest movement across various modes of transportation in supply chain management is via Air. An increasingly popular choice for domestic & international trade, the air route bolsters the possibilities of time-efficient shipping from an organization’s perspective, giving them an edge over competitors. If an enterprise can keep up with the expenses of the transport mode in debate, then the logistics of a company over long distances (across continents) will see excellent performance-oriented results.

    Here’s how air transportation shapes out with its pros & cons.

  5. Benefits
    • Speed.
    • Follows strict scheduling. Good on-time reliability.
    • Stricter security norms.
    • Suited for long-distance transit.
    • Cost. Most expensive owing to fuel price.
    • Not suited for larger volumes.
    • Security compliance filters out certain cargo which cannot be shipped, like oil freight.
  6. Multimodal Transportation

    Often, with large-scale industries, companies prefer a mix of two or more modes to achieve their logistical goals. This is termed multimodal transportation, in which large steel containers get transferred through the different modes of transportation in supply chain management.

    Here’s how multimodal transportation will fit into your supply chain framework.

    • Safety of consignment because of containers.
    • Reduced cost as the expenses can be strategically shaped with optimization of transport options.
    • Handling expenses are limited to container movement until proper unloading at the destination.
    • Needs time for movement because of the multiple transportations involved.
    • Extensive document work is required.
    • Needs initial setup cost with containers.

With such transportation scales to manage, companies employ transport management systems to have complete visibility of their end-to-end logistic process. Aiding your organization with planning, execution, collaboration & tracking of your freight, transport management software provides utmost transparency with the latest tech simplifying the complexities of your transport network. With 3SC’s TMS, you get streamlined singular dashboard visibility of your entire shipping operations. Enabling collaboration amongst stakeholders with proactivity against real-time contingencies, you get a comprehensive overview of modes of transportation in supply chain management. So, if you’re looking for an exhaustive platform that takes care of your entire transport operation, contact us.

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