How to Avoid Last-Minute Retail Logistics Mishaps
A misstep with your retail logistics can cause dramatic profit losses even when you see it coming from a mile away–when you’re blindsided by last-minute mishap, those losses become nearly inevitable. With that hard fact in mind, it behooves a retailer content to protect its profitability by working out flexible, reliable, trustworthy logistics solutions. For most businesses, there’s one simple way to manage this: the services of a reputable Third-Party Logistics (3PL) provider. Wondering how a 3PL can empower retail logistics, improve bottom lines, and insulate companies from last-minute mishaps? Read on.
What a 3PL Offers
At its core, what a 3PL offers is the experience and efficacy of an advanced in-house logistics team without the associated costs of hiring, training, outfitting, and maintaining such a team full time. By leveraging that level of experience and familiarity with retail logistics on a part-time basis, you can achieve much greater efficiency in every aspect of your supply chain—which means big savings and big profits, in the long term.
And unlike an in-house team, a 3PL has zero issues with scalability, myriad tools which may only see use in unusual circumstances, and many other advantages of adaptability which a savvy retailer can leverage to their benefit. Few retail logistics solutions offer as much.
Avoiding Retail Logistics Mishaps
By working together with a 3PL to develop flexible retail logistics strategies, you can minimize or even eliminate the opportunity for most mishaps to arise. When regulations change, or a particular shipping route becomes less effective and thus less profitable, a 3PL will be far more likely to spot that change and adapt accordingly—saving you from wasteful shipping, delays, and other retail logistics nightmares.
But even the greatest plan and greatest analysis can’t offer 100% coverage from all mistakes and unexpected occurrences. That’s where the other great strength of a 3PL comes to the rescue: the nature of a 3PL means a much greater agility in developing workaround solutions and last-minute logistical fixes than anything an in-house retail logistics team working with mainstream shipping services could provide.
Turn Logistical Traps into Opportunities
The savviest businesses will take their logistics one step further than safe, by turning the same events which become mishaps for their competitors into opportunities. By being the first business in your market to adapt to changing logistical situations, and thus maintaining lower prices or better offers than those competitors which took the shift’s full brunt, you can turn yesterday’s pitfalls into today’s grand opportunities. All it takes is flexibility and a willingness to act quickly to capitalize on such chances.
If you take the reliability of your logistics at all seriously, investing in the services of a 3PL provider may be the best option for your business—a cost-effective way to maximize the efficiency of your supply chains, avoid mishaps as they arise, and adapt to changes in the way you receive your retail goods. STC Logistics has several years of experience working in the retail procurement industry, providing reliable logistics solutions for new store openings, POP display campaigns, rollouts and distributions, and much more. Click below to learn more about our retail logistics services!
Retail Procurement: Preparing for the Holiday Season
As the holiday season approaches, gifts and displays have been pouring into retail distribution centers. To be well organized for each upcoming holiday season, retailers must implement smart planning throughout the entire year, usually beginning in August. This will allow retail procurement to find the correct balance for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping sprees, as well as the remainder of the holiday season.
The simple steps to the procurement lifecycle that most individuals generally agree upon are as follows.
1. Information gathering
2. Supplier contact
3. Background review
The most important aspect of smart planning in retail procurement is to order the correct quantities of products thus ensuring renewal demands are met. This includes contingency planning for natural disasters and consumer spending habits that can cause logistical disruptions. The goal of smart planning is to capture the greatest number of sales without being overburdened with excess stock.
In recent years, retail procurement has learned to balance merchandise by improving the overall supply chain. This accounts for improvements in the amount of products to purchase/manufacture, where to place them and how to get them to the stores. Two major contributors to these improvements are technology and flexible agreements with shipping lines.
For brick-and-mortar stores, the key to a perfect holiday season is for retail procurement to predict the number of each product the company requires at each retailer. Although there is an arbitrary calculation, the correct answer varies greatly per location. The greatest challenges for retail procurement to calculate the correct quantities include:
- Short timeframe
- No selling activity to indicate buyer behavior
Point-of-Purchase (POP) Displays
In addition to smart planning by retail procurement for products, companies must also create a strategy for POP displays which help drive costs from the supply chain. As a mechanism for advertising, POP displays create value in the retail stores with low labor cost. Therefore, these displays must arrive at the stores concurrent with the products to ensure a timely advertising campaign during the holidays. Therefore, it is critical that upstream logistics is involved in POP display design timelines as assembly and shipping is a major aspect of the process; not just design.
Consumer package goods companies want the POP display to differentiate from the competition through vivid colors and sharp graphics. In many instances, design creates the POP displays to be so complicated to assemble that it adds considerable labor costs, as well as time. In an effort to ship on-time, in some cases, logistics must use expensive transportation methods like air shipping.
Nevertheless, by including logistics and retail procurement in the design and production timeline, POP displays could be scheduled more efficiently to accommodate more cost efficient delivery avenues. By allowing 3PL’s to assist in mapping out the most advantageous transit schedules, improvements will allow for the most intricate displays to still have adequate assembly times.
Shipping POP Displays
Like any other product, there are certain precautions that must be taken when shipping POP displays which should be built into a contingency plan. During transit, shock and vibration can jostle and even damage the display, dirt and dust can collect, corrosion can occur (depending on the material) and exposure to a variety of temperatures can affect the overall appearance or functionality. Therefore, correct testing, proper protection and evaluation of the shipping routes will assist in ensuring safe transportation of the POP displays to their required destinations.
STC Logistics specializes in shipping retail procurement items like POP displays. We pride ourselves on the principal that when we ship your product, it is delivered on-time, 99% of the time. We are a trusted logistics provider for the retail industry and have a successful track record for reliable and flexible logistics solutions. Contact us for all of your holiday shipping needs here or click on the button below!
Shipping Medical Equipment with a Reliable Logistics Provider
For those who are in the medical industry, the partnership created with logistics professionals can impact the way that life and death decisions are made. This could involve moving new medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, biological samples heading off for lab analysis or life-saving artificial organs. While saving lives is always the top priority, there are many risks involved in the transport process that can affect the reliability of those goods.
While there is a lot at stake in regards to the life saving capabilities of doctors by transporting artificial organs or medicines efficiently, there is no greater risk during the supply chain process than when medical equipment is being moved. In fact, just one piece of medical equipment can cost millions of dollars. Fortunately, the best and most reliable logistics companies know how to deal with such matters accordingly.
With the integrity of expensive pieces of medical equipment being at stake, a company’s ability to transport such equipment safely begins with better organizational practices. Technology plays a huge role in this through the deployment of cloud-based enterprise solutions that make the organization of medical equipment inventory simple while creating a lightning-fast internal communication stream to forward concepts such as:
- Stocking locations
- Special packaging and handling instructions
- Temperature control instructions (when applicable)
- Real-time tracking information
- Delivery confirmation electronically of all medical equipment
Being able to provide detailed reports about how a shipment is being organized from beginning to end will not just lend credence to the abilities of the logistics company, but will also help them to save time and money for their customers.
Creating an Air of Complete Transparency
It is important that the customer is able to see the nature in which their medical equipment is being shipped just as much as it is for different parts of the supply chain to be on the same page. Fortunately, the same cloud-based systems used internally can be made accessible to customers as well. From any internet capable device, the customer could look up information about their shipment including but not limited to, tracking status, the scheduled delivery time and who signed for delivery. With the right digital solutions, logistics outfits make it easy for their clientele to feel completely comfortable with how their situation is being handled.
Responding With Adaptability
Just as there are certain precautions that must be taken when handling hazardous chemicals or other temperature sensitive goods, the same meticulousness must be applied to the handling of medical equipment. There are some pieces of medical equipment such as x-ray machines or MRI devices that are extremely sensitive to problems such as:
- Vibrations or jostling during transit
- Dirt and dust
- Corrosion or oxidation
Since even the smallest transit issues can lead to medical equipment needing to be recalibrated or becoming unusable, logistics companies respond by offering packaging assessments. Suggestions for the use of foam packaging, including bumpers and floating bases, both of which can effectively cushion equipment properly, adequate crating, and weight distribution. This, combined with accurate dimensions and weights, valuations and pictures will allow even the most sensitive pieces of equipment to be handled properly.
A Complete Solution:
The most reliable logistics companies know how to handle all aspects of medical equipment shipping. This means that their customers can count on complete service solutions. Thanks to concepts like proper packaging, real-time tracking, and white glove service, these delicate yet expensive shipments will always be handled with grace. STC Logistics is a trusted provider of logistics solutions for the medical industry. Call us at 1-800-547-4324 or click here to learn more.
The Importance of Reliable Pharmaceutical Logistics Practices
While logistics is a most crucial matter to companies in any industry, getting pharmaceutical logistics solutions right can be a matter of life and death, depending on the situation. Hospitals, primary care physicians, urgent care facilities, pharmacies, and a number of other establishments need to have medicines readily available in order to care for their patients; sometimes for life threatening situations. Fortunately, the top pharmaceutical logistics companies have specific services tailored to the unique demands of this industry.
Shipping Checks and Balances:
Whether pharmaceutical logistics solutions involve goods that are being shipped by air, land or sea, the most reliable companies will take measures to ensure that cargo arrives promptly and in one piece by performing the following procedures:
- Creating temperature controlled environments
- Utilizing the correct padding, boxing and stacking methods to prevent jostling or breakage
- Taking extra security measures to ensure the correct parties are handling and receiving the goods from when the cargo is picked up until it is delivered
- Offering several transport methods to offer rush delivery if necessary
By offering such a broad range of shipping services, the most elite pharmaceutical logistics companies can help customers with even the most specific needs. This allows their patients to receive the medicine they will ultimately need for recovery. Even under strained circumstances, there are always pharmaceutical logistics choices that top providers can decide on to ease stress of those who need the product the most.
Companies that offer all of the most reliable and trusted pharmaceutical logistics solutions are also experts at knowing how to manage even the most complicated of orders. These notions go far beyond getting the timing, packing and shipping methods correct. Customers in the pharmaceutical industry have specific demands that need to be met in a timely manner, and pharmaceutical logistics companies can respond successfully by offering the following:
- Specialized freight management solutions to prioritize each shipment based on customer needs
- Tracking with technology that allows up to the minute real-time reporting so that customers always know where their shipment is
- Vast and far reaching distribution services to ship any freight just about anywhere in a specific time frame
- White glove services that compliment courier, fulfillment, delivery and customer service solutions so that both the merchandise and customer are treated with respect
Pharmaceutical logistics companies are aware that there are not just lives, but a tremendous amount of money at stake with each shipment. One false move can cause a shipment of medicine to break, expire or end up lost and can result in a loss of tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. This is why the nature of the pharmaceutical logistics solutions that specialized companies offer is so vast.
The Importance of Building Trust with Your Logistics Provider:
When handling incredibly sensitive materials, there is nothing more important than facilitating an air of truth between customer and pharmaceutical logistics providers. While the act of trust may begin with promises, it always ends in the deeds of both parties involved in each transaction. This is why top pharmaceutical logistics companies go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure long and lasting relationships. Successful logistics companies dealing with the pharmaceutical industry pride themselves on building a series of connections with lifelong customers who trust many of the lives of their patients to the overall performance of the logistics company itself.
STC Logistics strives to continue to be a trusted partner for pharmaceutical logistics solutions, including air shipping and ground shipping. Contact us today to learn about all of the logistics solutions that we can provide for your pharmaceutical shipping needs.
The Impact of White Glove Service for Logistics Solutions
There 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.
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
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
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
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.