Frequently Asked Questions

SME helps clients who are high-volume shippers optimize transportation, distribution and fulfillment spend across their entire supply chain. A vendor-neutral partner, SME provides the consulting and technology services that help companies identify hidden costs and save 20% or more on these costs.

High-volume shippers in manufacturing, distribution, e-commerce, mail-order catalog and brick & mortar retail organizations in virtually every industry stand to gain the most benefit from our services. SME works across all shipping modes for clients spending > $ 1million per mode.

Executives and supply chain managers have always faced the challenge of rising transportation costs and the complexities of efficiently moving products through your supply chain. But, in the last 24 months, the suppliers of shipping services have changed the game.

Larger shippers are no longer faced with simply negotiating a supplier contract every two or three years and dealing with the predictable annual rate hikes within the term of those contracts. In the past 24 months SME has identified and tracked over 20 rate hikes, policy changes and new surcharges from providers. In fact, we now evaluate over 250 different carrier contract variables across all modes. In this environment, it’s virtually impossible for even the largest shippers to have the depth, expertise and technology needed to optimize your transportation investments.

 

The preliminary step is a non-intrusive, zero cost analysis of your shipping spend and with no obligation to engage. Typically, we start with a mode or modes that are most critical to your current transportation mix. Our analysis will provide a line item savings forecast. Once engaged, and after we have successfully achieved our savings targets, SME provides a monthly report down to the individual shipment level. The reporting detail is based on the actual shipment costs. SME never estimates savings.

SME provides a variety of fee structures, but, our most popular with clients is our risk free pay-for-performance fee model. This “gain share” approach requires no upfront fees or retainers and SME is only paid as a percentage of real and measurable savings. Consequently, under this fee structure, SME is 100% self-funded.

Traditional price benchmarking has been the industry standard for measuring transportation, distribution and fulfillment competitiveness. Auditors and consultants compare your pricing to others in their portfolio. When there is a price variance, a renegotiation is recommended.

 

The problem? The conversation is based on price. The most effective conversation should be centered on cost. What should it cost the provider to deliver the service levels you require for your unique shipping profile? Service levels should never be sacrificed for price.

 

SME has taken the lead. We have developed proprietary cost modeling tools that are adaptable to specific client profiles. This cost-to-serve approach enables SME to bring total transparency to transportation spend and carrier profitability. SME knows first-hand how carriers achieve margin and when margin is out of line. Our analysts have decades of profit analysis experience at leading carriers and they know what’s driving your costs. We build strong business cases, specific to your shipping profile, to lower your costs.

 

SME understands the carrier/shipper relationship is critical to the success of your company.  We are carrier agnostic and 80% of the time our clients keep the same carrier. Only when the client is seeking a change do we recommend and manage RFP’s for our clients.

SME’s core competency is transportation, distribution and fulfilment optimization.  We provide these services as a stand-alone or a complement to any audit services or vendors.