Auto Mobility Solutions: Integrated LCL Consolidation

Written by Karen Kinsella
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Automotive parts using LCL ocean services are highly complex and inconsistent by nature due to many handling points and a lack of visibility. As the automotive industry moves toward connected mobility services, traditional LCL services add to the increased risk of delay and require close management. This can be attributed to undefined routing, networks, and movements that run through a lengthy chain of agents or loosely related freight associations, all with disconnected networks.

We understand, LCL shipments can be overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. Properly utilizing LCL shipments can ensure that you don’t have to worry about holding inventory longer than necessary or over-buying to stay at FCL volumes.

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How Does Automotive LCL Consolidation Work?

An intricate automotive supply chain involves orchestration of both manufacturing and delivery of up to 30,000 different parts for a single vehicle, spread across 250-450 multi-tier global suppliers. The accuracy of managing the complex arrival of small volume, yet high priority parts from numerous origin suppliers is often overlooked.

While controlling the on-time supplier release, several variables are involved. It is paramount to any manufacturer to have scheduled pick up from various countries delivered via a consolidation center equipped with the latest technology to track the receiving, loading, and dispatch at part-level while providing real-time status.

The secure loading of cargo to meet the production demand can combine sequence loading and rigorous part HTS classification checks. This ensures that LCL cargo is not delayed on arrival to any plant due to compliance issues.

What exactly are LCL shipments? Take a look at our video >>

When looking for an integrated LCL consolidation service, here are a few things you should look for:


1) Seamless Management – “End-to-End”

For manufacturers in the automotive sector, the production planning necessitates a continued adjustment of the supply chain that requires close attention to the shift in manufacturing demand. It is not simply moving parts between ocean ports.

Manufacturers need 100% control of the inbound flows from part suppliers to the final production plant. The ability to manage the supply chain through visibility and real-time decision-making is vital to a streamlined manufacturing process.

Critical factors:

  • Visibility in a single global platform, integrating part-level data for easy tracking
  • Consistent and reliable operations to maintain efficient demand planning
  • Coverage and infrastructure to support global sourcing and manufacturing
  • End-to-end transportation solutions as a single point of communication

2) Integration is Key

Ease of use, enabled by integrating data and parts from suppliers in multiple origin locations, allows the effective consolidation of LCL cargo. Information contained in the Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) is the valuable link for accurate production planning.

Without this integration, the supply chain is missing a link, which could result in a shipment delay, causing disruption and an increased non-budgeted cost.

3) Optimization Enabled by Technology

Managing an integrated supply chain using real-time part-level data avoids the pitfalls faced by automotive companies by providing:

  • Time commitment:  LCL networks with multiple origins or destination points to consider, multiple hubs, and inconsistent routing can be difficult and time-consuming to navigate. As a result, it is necessary to have enhanced visibility at each stage to better consolidate cargo at greater efficiency.
    • Imperative to maintaining sensitive production schedules
    • Streamlines the inbound flow of parts
    • Eliminates the need to involve manual management
    • Enables stakeholders to be involved only when exceptions arise
    • Resources can be used toward improving efficiencies elsewhere
  • Consistency: Changes in schedules, variations in service levels, and shifts in strategy often bear a toll on automotive companies with delayed shipments and service disruptions, causing planning imbalance and inefficient production output. To mitigate these risks, it is important to define a strategy with integrated consistency that aims to deliver the same quality product on all trade lanes, at all times.
    • Allows for all partners in the supply chain to be interconnected
    • Avoids any manual intervention or communication delays
    • Ensures the continuous flow of integrated data moves seamlessly with the transportation of parts
    • Delivers the same quality product on all trade lanes, at all times

  • Certainty: To avoid any major disruption in your supply chain, it is vital to have a global reach and scheduled sailings, which includes dedicated automotive lanes. With 300+ weekly scheduled sailings on 40,000 individual lanes, Expeditors has the capacity to execute consistent planning throughout.
    • Execute consistent planning 
    • Avoids major supply chain disruption  

  • Simplicity: LCL is complex due to countless touchpoints as well as too many service providers: forwarder, consolidator, CFS, steamship line, de-consolidator, destination agent, broker, and a delivery agent. Simplify the process by finding a carrier that minimizes cargo touchpoints, offers global visibility, and acts as a single logistics integrator for door-to-door LCL services.
    • The right part is delivered on-time and in-full for every delivery 
    • Avoids emergency transport costs when parts are late or incomplete 

  • Security and compliance: There are many valid concerns when choosing an LCL service provider. Are the warehouses secure? Is the carrier C-TPAT approved? Who is touching my cargo? Be sure to select a carrier partner you can entrust with your LCL containers based on their service, reliability, and viability. Utilize a compliance program that takes the right steps to preempt changes in market conditions while making it a priority to minimize impacts on your business.
    • A proactive approach minimizes the impact on your supply chain 

Steer your Auto LCL Consolidation program in the right direction. Reach out to our Automotive experts today. 

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Blog was originally posted on November 18, 2019 5 AM

Topics: Automotive & Mobility

Karen Kinsella

Written by Karen Kinsella

Karen is the Global Director, Automotive Vertical at Expeditors. She has an extensive and wide-ranging career within all sectors of the automotive logistics business for over 23 years. Karen has worked in all aspects of supply chain logistics, incorporating both inbound and outbound flows. Karen’s roles have encompassed responsibility for the commercial development of inbound parts flows, including logistics warehousing, linefeed sequencing, assembly, decanting operations, and inventory management. She also specializes in parts distribution throughout dealer networks, as well as the specialist sector of outbound distribution, finished vehicle distribution, and pre-dealer inspection processes. All activities extended to include multi-modal services, including road freight, air and sea freight, and rail solutions. Karen has a specialist knowledge of returnable packaging solutions, including pooled container management, supporting the areas of sustainability and environmental issues demanded by the marketplace.

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