The Impact of White Glove Service for Logistics Solutions

blog picThere are many different types of freight being shipped every day across land, air, and sea channels. Some items tend to be far more fragile than others,thus require specialized attention in order to prevent an imminent disaster. The most ideal logistics solutions needed for cargo of the most delicate nature will come from carriers who embrace the concepts behind white glove service and understand its overall importance. As a result of such diligence, any business can feel secure knowing that their logistics affiliates are willing to take the time to carefully secure, handle and transport their cargo based on the unique physical attributes each shipment possesses, as well as the price tag of the items themselves and the time-sensitivity they require.

Countering Potential Shipping Issues:

Just as different types of freight require different levels of hands on attention, each unique shipping method offers its own challenges regarding the way that freight must be handled. Fortunately, the use of white glove service presents a measurable counter for any potential threat that may or may not occur during all steps of the shipping process. Direct line-haul service can be used to minimize transfers, while special attention can be given to pick up and delivery methods. Transit times are reduced and your freight is tracked consistently to ensure on-time deliveries of your most time-sensitive cargo.

By Land:

When moving shipments by truck, some of the preventable dangers that can be experienced on the road include:

  • Jostling of freight that could easily cause it to crack, break, or otherwise be damaged – remedied by packaging and securing the freight with the proper equipment
  • The ever present threat of getting into an accident while on road – accidents occur, but timeliness in recovering from them is determinant in completing the job.
  • Problems that could develop based on the temperature of the cab depending on the type of freight that is being shipped – temperature controlled equipment and temp tabs can regulate and monitor these issues
  • Theft or vandalism that could easily happen while a truck is parked at any location – inventory tracking technology, secure cross-docking facilities, locked trucks and video monitored loading docks are some precautions taken to minimize theft

By Sea:

Problems that could be encountered by sea are somewhat similar and include:

  • Waves from bad weather conditions that could easily cause the freight to be bounced around – contracting the correct size equipment and securing cargo is important in preventing slippage
  • Long travel times that could cause time sensitive freight to expire – by knowing anticipated transit times and the nature of the product, your logistics company can lead you to choose the best service based on your type of freight.
  • Temperature issues, especially if freight is being kept below deck – remedied just as any temperature sensitive situation

By Air:

The issues for freight moving by air are less serious, even though this is considered to be the safest means of transport:

  • Jostling that could take place during take-off and landing – packaging practices are crucial
  • Turbulence in the air – D-containers may be implemented to prevent moving inside the cargo space

The Solution:

Any business will find that logistics companies who pride themselves in offering white glove service can effectively combat each and every one of these issues. In doing so, such companies will assess if all items are neatly packed and secured with proper materials, all boxes are sealed correctly, delicate items are wrapped in the proper way, everything is loaded in the neatest order possible, and the correct type of shipping method used for particular types of freight. Packaging assessments should be made and solutions offered to your shippers so they can reinforce products prior to shipping. Without this level of service, there are too many potential disasters that could befall the freight in question which ultimately means lost time, lost money and unhappy customers.

By employing proper white glove service, logistics companies like STC Logistics are ensuring that those they work with will never have to fret in regards to even the most expensive or delicate types of freight. Because the top logistics outfits take their time to develop a unique solution, born in practices of white glove service and then custom tailor it for each and every item, it makes their service standards worth looking into. Because freight must ultimately be shipped in one manner or another, choosing the safest and most secure methods simply makes sense, which of course is precisely the aim of white glove service overall. Any company bold enough to embrace white glove service standards will be rewarded with personalized service, fewer pieces of damaged freight, faster shipping times, and happier customers overall.

To learn more about how you can safety ship the most delicate and high importance items from a trusted logistics provider, please click here.

New 3PL Technology Services Establish Flexibility and Reliability

globearros-resized-600The biggest challenge with any 3PL provider is the ability to report up-to-date feedback on the status of a clients’ cargo. This challenge requires a strong element of control when dealing with time sensitive processes. It is crucial that a successful logistics plan is in place for any manufacturing or distribution establishment. According to a survey by Ernst and Young, more than 5% of all sales go to transportation. It is obvious that most organizations and businesses desire to have their customers served in the most efficient manner. This is where the latest technology practices come in to establish flexibility and reliability in logistics.

3PL Technology Removes Complexity

In order to instill the right confidence in a transportation transaction, 3PL providers integrate new technology for capturing and analyzing data points along the supply chain. These data points include updates on preparation and planning, cargo dimensions, customer-specific instructions, packaging/handling, restrictions and destinations. All this information needs to be coordinated in order to track, trace and control the movement of cargo within a specified time frame. Without using new technology, this can be challenging to manage, especially since each cargo requirement is unique.

3PL Technology Integrates with Customer Processes

The value of the new technology that 3PL’s provide is very useful to the customer when they can relate it to their priorities. Many customers desire having the option to check up on cargo status as well as being able to specify times and dates for collection, storage and delivery. Most cargo deliveries are quite sensitive to the degree of where specific ambient conditions are specified and bound within a specific delivery time. Advanced 3PL companies present an integrated way of interacting with a system. Many allow their customers to interact with their orders in a real-time fashion which offers control over the period, the condition and the handling requirements for their cargo. This integrated approach presents the 3PL company as a reliable service that is respondent to a customer’s specific needs on demand. In turn this allows the 3PL to understand the dynamic needs of each client to ensure quality, service satisfaction and efficiency.

Value Added Features

It is reassuring when customers know the status of the cargo. In terms of location, expected time of arrival, status and condition, it is crucial for business to run smoothly. This information gives clients a confidence of service reliability since the 3PL company is committing to the customer service process. From the 3PL perspective, things might look a little hectic in meeting this requirement, but the best companies have adopted the following accurate practices:

  • Monitoring the cargo through time-stamped status updates which reflect the condition and location of the cargo. Tracking information is relayed directly to the customer portal where it is reflected as real-time information.
  • Tracing the whereabouts of cargo in the event that the delivery instructions change or there are unavoidable circumstances that would prevent timely delivery of the cargo. This is typically monitored internally and serves as a tool to pin-point cargo.
  • Implementing a logistics plan allows for management and structure of the cargo. This ensures that odd-sized or delicate goods get specialized attention, that handling precaution has been made and that the cargo is moving by means of adequate transportation services.

Determining and Managing Transportation Methods

Premier 3PL companies use many methods of transportation; whether by sea, rail, road or air, their clients’ products, priorities and constraints are central to accomplishing a common goal. These methods allow 3PL’s the flexibility to respond quickly to time or budget critical orders. In order to serve all customers with integrated equal maintenance, accessibility to new technology practices is essential in allowing customers to plan effectively. The use of advanced technology allows all transportation schedules and parameters to be joined into one common operating system.

STC Logistics utilizes and offers to their clients, the most up-to-date technology programs and practices. Learn more about our shipping process by clicking here.

Retail Display Environments: The Role Logistics Play

warehouse-resized-600.jpgAchieving success in retail display environments depends on various factors. Every retailer must have an exceptional logistics system in order to offer the best quality service to their customers. Logistics play a major role in sourcing and inventory management, among other key activities in the overall supply chain. A retailer should provide customers with products they desire at the correct quantities, the correct time, and the correct place. In order for a retailer to successfully carry out these activities they require a logistics provider who demonstrates sufficient experience and one that is staffed with experts who can solve any complex transportation issues as they arise. Along with offering the best competitive prices, maintaining standards of service are important when implementing the correct mode of transportation and are a key focus of a knowledgeable logistics team. Here are some of the reasons why logistics are important to every retail display environment.

Logistics allows the retailer to concentrate on other core activities

For a retail business to produce successful results, the company must be able to spend a substantial amount of time focusing on the management of their company. Too much time spent on dealing with their logistics efforts denies their staff the ample time they need to concentrate on other key activities; such as marketing, administration, customer care or inventory management. It is important that a retailer chooses a reliable logistics provider that is experienced and cohesive. This way, it is possible for management to give attention to other activities that are core to the retail environment.

Logistics increase retail efficiency

The most critical requirement of every retailer is having the ability to offer products at the right place and at the right time. With a good logistics provider, an eye-catching flow of goods will be displayed in and out of the store. Having a reliable relationship with your chosen 3PL will allow for last minute changes and a working relationship that allows you to be confident in your transportation decisions. This means that your company rarely suffers from unexpected damages or delays that can cause negative impact on both the business and the customers. However, it is important that you implement good store management techniques to avoid losses associated with poor stock management. Make sure that the various stock levels are communicated to your supply at the right times. If last minute rush orders are necessary, have a logistics team behind you to accommodate those requests.  This will not only strengthen your total supply chain, but may go a long way in helping to avoid losing potential customers.

Transport expenses are passed to a third party

There are many overhead expenses that are included in the transportation of products. In addition to clearing and forwarding in the case of imported products being moved, you may have extra expenses that you haven’t budgeted for. This could become very expensive for a retail business.  Teaming up with a dependable logistics provider who offers insight and risk assessment will allow you to minimize these expenses as well as other transport risks. Pre-planning is key in maintaining your budgets.

Goods in transit are stored goods

When goods are being transported from one location to the other, there are considered to be stored goods. A good logistics provider will allow your company to avoid extra storage costs until the goods arrive safely at the retailer of choice. Make certain to negotiate storage fees upfront and get to know you 3PL’s policies on timeframes.

Using a trustworthy logistics provider is influential on the amount of success resonated in retail display environments. Your 3PL should be aware that the primary role of the retailer is to offer products to customers on-time and undamaged and at reasonable prices. A reliable logistics provider like STC Logistics can help customers have more time to focus on proper retail management of their company by managing the behind-the-scenes transportation effort that goes into a successful retail campaign. In turn this will help increase the amount of retail efficiency within the company. STC Logistics can also assist in pre-planning your shipping schedules and accommodating budgets, while maintaining the highest level of service. They will work to cover extra storage expenses that typically aren’t covered by other logistics providers and give you a clear picture, upfront, of what costs may be incurred through different modes of transportation.  Learn more about our adding STC to your team at:  https://shipstc.com/services-how-we-ship.asp

4 Ways to Strengthen Your Supply Chain

clipboard-and-handtruckCompanies strive to minimize transport costs and maximize the ability to meet the needs of their clients to achieve success in their business. The most crucial step in this process is to execute an effective supply chain management system. This involves managing products to be transported, ensuring the correct method of transportation is used and establishing the most cost-effective route between the origin and the destination. These factors determine your capacity to derive value from using a supply chain management system.

In any good system, you ought to be able to measure performance and execution; otherwise you will not be able to assess whether value has increased or decreased in your company. Benchmarks are set to determine the acceptable limits of performance pertaining to different business environments. Try to follow these four guidelines to ensure your supply chain is operating smoothly:

Don’t Delay Your Delivery

Any company that implements supply chain management typically guarantees reliable delivery of raw materials and finished goods through use of a bid, which outlines job parameters and expectations upfront. This involves a close working relationship with suppliers, customers, shippers and warehouses. If any of these parties fail to perform their role on time, it is likely that the entire process will be delayed, resulting in direct consequences on all the parties involved. Establish your deadlines early on and monitor production schedules to ensure a reduction in delays.

Keep Strong Relationships

Another fundamental component in having an effective supply chain is to have lasting relations with suppliers and customers. This means you should have stable prices available. The inability to guarantee stable prices for a final product is typically associated with an increased cost of doing business, increased material costs and the transportation necessity. This can make it impossible to maintain product prices. You should detail the factors that cause such internal and external price fluctuations. Include these factors before a final price is set and take them into account when developing ideas and negotiating deals.

Break Down Your Information

In an effort to guarantee a seamless supply of raw materials and finished goods, companies enter into agreements with stakeholders to deliver different types of cargo on specified dates or at certain inventory levels. This eliminates the need to recurrently place orders for such goods, which also removes incidents of stock-outs and subsequent lost sales. However, there are times when the suppliers may deliver goods at the wrong time or place, or deliver entirely the wrong goods. This is a failure of coordination in the supply chain and can have devastating effects. Pre-planning schedules and offering verification checks can help to diminish stock-outs or production of poor quality goods due to use of improper inputs.

Streamline Your Technology

Any manufacturing company that desires to have an efficient supply chain must monitor various production costs to guarantee that they remain within manageable limits. This can involve integrating systems, with your chosen 3PL.  Doing so can provide for optimal inventory levels, ensure orders are processed quickly and accurately, tracking is internally transparent, and back office accounting is streamlined. A reliable logistics service provider can help to minimize delays and damages, which are other key outlays in supply chain. Switching transport responsibilities between providers often involves a change in processes, therefore integrating with a technology driven partner can save time and money year over year.  By streamlining your supply chain management through the help of a dependable shipping partner and cohesive technology, you can stay one step ahead of the competition.

Every company should strive to take these tips into consideration to demonstrate a reliable supply chain that integrates various stakeholders and resources to guarantee the quality, price and reliability of the entire system. If a firm overlooks negative signs that show inefficiencies in such systems, there is high likelihood that these systems may fail in the long run. Automation paired with having a fully-fledged supply chain department can help manage the supply chain effectively, and in turn, success should shine through in your business.

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Top Four Reasons to Partner with a 3PL

A third party logistics provider (3PL) offers outsourced or third party logistics services for part of or all necessary supply chain management operations. 3PL’s typically specialize in warehousing and transportation needs that can be customized to a customer’s requirements. As a business decision maker, there are many benefits to partnering with a 3PL.

supply chain

Did you know that over 82% of Fortune 500 companies partner with at least one 3PL? Here are the top four reasons why:

  1. Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have a professional partner on your side to manage the transportation of your goods will allow you to focus on other operations. Look for a 3PL with years of experience, professional service and the resources to get your items from point A to point B  on time and undamaged.
  2. Risk Reduction: If you choose transportation carriers on your own, it can be easy to overlook important factors such as operating authorities, insurance information and safety ratings. Utilizing a 3PL ensures that you won’t put your freight in the hands of an incompetent carrier. STC standards of excellence and rating systems are imposed to safeguard against ineffectiveness.
  3. Time is Money: Do you really have the time to route, track and manage day-to-day issues that arise from your freight? Many little issues can arise in logistics and 3PL providers have dealt with it all. Electronic transfers of data can minimize inaccuracies and provide real-time updates throughout the duration of your shipment.
  4. Speaking of Money… 3PL providers have an eye for logistics. They can arrange your freight, consolidate LTL shipments and recommend unique solutions that you may not have thought of before. Having the ability to find a different, yet better way to ship your products is a valuable asset that a 3PL can offer. Look for a provider that can provide assistance for your unique freight shipments.

STC Logistics has industry expertise and a reputation for quality. We provide expert consultation and have relationships with a vast network of nationwide secure cross-docking facilities. If you are considering hiring a 3PL company, you should analyze some key areas of your shipment needs to determine what your logistics partner should provide. Download the free resource, “Hiring a Third Party Logistics Company,” by clicking here.

Ocean Freight Service To Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico

STC Ocean FreightSTC Logistics offers Ocean service to Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico via all major U.S. Ports.  In addition, as a licensed NVOCC, STC Logistics provides shipping capabilities to and from all international ports.

In conjunction with our excellent Air and Truck domestic services, our experts will create the most cost-effective route to ship your products by sea. We provide both LCL (less than container load) and FCL (full container load) ocean services.

There are many benefits for shipping your products by water:

•    Ideal for transporting heavy and bulky freight
•    Great option for products with long lead times
•    Volume advantages to pricing
•    Seasonal advantages to pricing

Click here for more information about our ocean services to Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico or click here to contact us!

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Hire Top Talent for your Supply Chain Management

If your business heavily relies on your supply chain and logistics, recruiting and managing top talent is critical. As we head into 2013, having talented logistics professionals on-hand as a resource is crucial to growth.

supply chain

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently projected an increase in the need for transportation and logistics management workers. This is mainly attributed to the number of individuals in the industry who are retiring or transitioning into new fields.  Overall, high-level logistics management employment will grow by seven percent within the next seven years. This growth will result in the need for programs that educate potential employees; a skilled workforce will be required to fill these open positions.

Education for the logistics workforce goes beyond entry-level workers. C-level executives should have specialized knowledge. It’s important for logistics professionals to be knowledgeable in tactical, strategic and operational areas. Simply having a basic knowledge of supply chain and logistics may not be enough.

Recruiting and managing internal logistics and supply chain management workers may not be the most cost-effective option for your company. Instead, consider hiring a third party logistics provider. These companies specialize in transportation and are able to deliver superior, flexible solutions for an organization’s transportation requirements.

Third party logistics providers have extensive networks of resources and a total dedication to your supply chain. They are able to keep a watchful eye and manage your freight shipments while you focus on running your business.

The right logistics provider acts as a valuable extension to your business.  This will allow you to focus on your core competency.

If you are interested in hiring a third party logistics company but are unsure of where to start, click here for a free checklist. This free download will allow you to analyze the key areas that a logistics partner should provide.

Logistics Faceoff: Which Delivery Method is Better – Rail or Truck?

If you are planning on shipping your freight via ground shipping, you are probably choosing between rail or truckload shipping. There is no “wrong choice” per say, but there may be a more ideal choice for you depending on your company’s goals. Conserving energy, time and resources is no doubt important for your business and supply chain, so it’s important to weigh your delivery method options. Consider the pros and cons of both rail and truck shipping methods.

railRail
Pros: 

  • Very secure
  • Fuel efficient
  • Shipment size
    • Intermodal sizes and weight (including Tare)–
      • 20’ –    52,900 lbs max
      • 40’ –  67,200 lbs max
      • 45’ –   67,200 lbs. max
      • 40’ –    67,200 lbs max
      • 53’ –    67,200 lbs max

Cons: 

  • Transit time is longer
    • Average shipment time from California to New York is 8-10 days

Trains are superior in the realm of energy efficiency for shipments over land. A train’s steel wheels produce very little kinetic friction. On the other hand, a truck’s thick tires create heavy static friction. This means that a truck’s engine consumes more fuel. Trains also move at a slower pace, which greatly improves fuel consumption. The aerodynamic drag caused by moving a heavy freight at fast speeds is diminished via rail. Therefore, if your concerns for supply chain management heavily rely on the energy efficiency of your vehicles, and if your shipment is a medium to long distance route, rail shipments may be more ideal.
truckingTrucking
Pros: 

  • Quick transit time
    • Approximately 4-5 Days shipping time from California to New York.
  • Quicker availability

Cons: 

  • Higher fuel charges
  • Limited size,
    • 53’ FTL Van
      • 26 standard 48×40 pallets
      • max 45,000lbs
    • 48’ FTL Van
      • 24 standard 48×40
      • Max 45,000lbs

On the other hand, time is money. If your company is fast-paced, a train’s lag in time can make all the difference. Because trains move slower than trucks, those who rely on quicker delivery times may choose the faster truck. Trucks are also more flexible, because they are not reliant on railways. They can operate on any roadway throughout the continent.

In short, the answer to the question posed in the title of this article is: it depends.

Both shipment options have pros and cons. STC Logistics’ Intermodal Service combines Ocean, Rail and Truck to offer door-to-door transport in North America. If you choose Rail shipping, keep in mind that you will most likely implement Intermodal Shipping in order to transport your items to and from the rail yard. Weight plays a major factor in transporting goods. By utilizing more than one mode of transportation, you can experience the benefits of both modes of logistics. The team at STC Logistics can handle the drayage, rail negotiation and transport of your intermodal shipment.
For more information on Select Transportation Logistics’ Intermodal Service or to request a quote, contact us today at ratequote@shipstc.com

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Preparing Your Freight Shipment for Delivery

If you are shipping freight, you need to keep several factors in mind when taking the time to prepare your shipment. Freight shipments can include large boxes or palletized items, usually with a minimum weight.  Depending on the packaging, you will have to prepare them in different ways.

To determine if you should palletize your freight, keep in mind that minimum billable charges can impact the billing of your shipment. Palletized freight keeps a multi-piece shipment together and protected from damage. Each pallet is considered one piece. However, non-palletized freight is categorized by boxes or containers, which aren’t secured. Each box or container is considered one piece.

Packaging

Preparing a Palletized Shipment

  1.  Select a pallet. Pallets should be large enough that they can accommodate your freight without any part hanging over. If any piece hangs over the edge of the pallet, your shipment will be susceptible to damage.  Consider a pallet with four-way forklift entry. They are the preferred pallet because they improve handling.
  2. Stack your packages on the pallet. Put a label with complete address information, on each box or container. Align the boxes in columns for greatest stability when stacking. Keep the top layer flat and avoid a pyramid shape.
  3. Secure your shipment to the pallet. Use banding or strapping in order to secure your boxes to the pallet. Use stretch wrap to prevent the pieces from getting separated from the load.
  4. Label your shipment. Your pallet should have the address information on it, including shipper postal code and the consignee’s information.

Preparing a Non-Palletized Shipment

  1. Ship your items in corrugated boxes, crates or containers. Consider double boxing your items if they are heavy.
  2. Remove all labels, tags and markings from boxes that are being reused.
  3. Protect your items. Use at least 2 inches or more of cushioning material to protect the items from each other and the edges of the container.
  4. Securely seal the boxes with reinforced tape.
  5. Label each piece with complete address information, postal code of the shipper and the consigner’s information.

Whether you are sending a freight shipment near or far, STC Logistics is here to help the process go as smoothly as possible. Our 24/7-customer service and 36 status checkpoint system monitors your freight every step of the way. Contact us today with further questions or to request a quote.

Which Mode of Transport is Right For Your Freight Shipment?

The goal for business owners is to minimize transportation costs and meet customer demands demand for their products. Transportation costs are dependent on the distance between the source and the destination, the selected method of transport and both the quantity and size of the shipped product.

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The U.S. boasts four million miles of roads and a railroad network that could circle the globe several times. Our country’s complex transportation systems allows decision makers several options when shipping products. Choosing the best one requires knowing the pros and cons of them all:

Ground

The infrastructure of the roads in the US plays a major role in handling cargo across the nation. Shipping products via truck is the most common mode used in logistics in the US today.

Pros

  • Cost effective
  • Fast delivery
  • Great for short distances
  • Ideal for transporting temperature-controlled products like perishables or pharmaceuticals

Cons

  • Shipment subject to traffic delays
  • Trucks susceptible to bad weather and delays

 Ocean

Large volumes of trade can be imported/exported through ships on ocean vessels. Through waterways, ships transport cargo from one country to another. STC offers LCL (less than container load) and FCL (full container load) via ocean.

Pros

  • Ideal for transporting heavy and bulky freight
  • Great option for products with long lead times
  • Volume advantages to pricing
  • Seasonal advantages to pricing

Cons

  • Extended transport schedules
  • Difficult to monitor location of goods in transit
  • Shipments susceptible to Customs restrictions

Rail

Through rail shipping, large volumes of freight can be moved in a short period of time. Intermodal shipping is becoming a very popular service in recent years. Freight shipping is carried out on trains and then transferred to trucks and/or planes.

Pros

  • Only 1-3 additional transit days compared to truck service
  • Cost effective alternative to ground services
  • Safe and reliable

Cons

  • Suppliers and customers not always located near a freight rail depot
  • Intermodal shipment may be needed to accommodate the final delivery
  • Extended transit times when compared to truck schedules

Air

Flying your product to its destination provides a swift solution for your company. This method is commonly used by businesses with time sensitive shipping needs, and air is one of STC Logistics’ signature services.

Pros

  • Fast delivery, usually between 24 and 48 hours
  • Reduces lead time
  • Immediate recovery from airport for swift delivery

Cons –

  • Higher cost
  • Flight shipments susceptible to Customs restrictions

No matter which transportation method you choose for your company, STC Logistics’ extensive network ensures that your goods arrive promptly and safely, every time. If you still aren’t sure how you should ship your products, we can help. Our experts at STC Logistics are industry leading Commercial Freight Specialist and can help you decide the best shipping methods for your company. Contact us today for more information or to request a quote.

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