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!
Third Party Logistics (3PL) providers offer a wealth of benefits to the retail procurement industry. Given their extensive knowledge of supply chain management, these providers deliver a comprehensive solution for assembly, distribution, packaging and warehousing. When opening a new store, employing a 3PL gives companies reliable competitive advantages through advanced logistics solutions, in turn, amplifying profitability.
There are several reasons why a retail company could benefit from a partnership with a 3PL provider, including:
- Cost savings
- Extensive knowledge
- Resource network
When opening a new store, one of the greatest concerns is capital. However, by utilizing a 3PL provider, companies will save on time and money. A logistics provider will eliminate the need for staffing, technological tracking and upgrades, transportation and warehousing.
Instead, the store will systematically request new inventory by a specific date and the 3PL will deliver. This will eliminate costly mistakes, thus lowering risks and allowing the business to grow. Billing, distribution audits, optimization, paperwork, staffing and training to ensure the store’s products are shipped accordingly are all the responsibility of the logistics provider.
One of the primary reasons a company should work with a 3PL provider to open a new store is their extensive expertise with all aspects of the supply chain. 3PL’s are aware of all logistics best practices and remain up-to-date on the most recent technological developments. Their software can provide advanced reporting, automated inventory management and procedural visibility to ensure the store can track and report upon the movement of goods.
With the ability to scale labor, space and transportation based on inventory requirements, companies that function during seasonal time periods will enjoy minimal strain during this transition. This allows stores to consume more warehouse space and resources during the busy season and less during the off-season.
Moreover, a 3PL provider gives companies the opportunity to expand into different regions without any logistical barriers. Most logistics companies have strategically-located distribution centers to guarantee the quick shipping of goods. This decentralization strategy allows for lower costs and improved delivery times.
With the resources to adjust and improve all aspects of the supply chain, 3PL providers will utilize the quickest and most cost effective method to ensure their client’s needs are met. By implementing the resources to restructure the supply chain at any time, logistics providers can analyze and monitor practices which will eliminate inefficiencies thus streamlining the process. Although the store will only see the fruit of these labors through on-time, accurate deliveries, it is important to know that 3PL providers are working to deliver the best costs while keeping efficiency and optimization in mind.
Finally, with a vast network of resources at their fingertips (which provides a competitive advantage over internal supply chains) 3PL’s utilize a resource network ensuring every step along the supply chain is efficient and cost-effective. For instance, logistics providers can utilize relationships to acquire volume discounts which will lower overhead while maintaining fast service. Stores will benefit from the relationships their 3PL have built through an improvement in the bottom line.
About STC Logistics
Founded in 1992, STC Logistics specializes in retail procurement and new store opening logistics with a pledge to deliver superior and flexible solutions. We maintain a resolute commitment to offer the most valuable and resourceful technological solutions to its clients regardless of destination, size or weight. As a result, our company has become a trusted provider of logistics solutions for many industry partners, especially in the retail procurement industry.
To learn more about how our logistics specialists can help you open your new store, contact us by clicking here or call us at 800-547-4324.
For more information about selecting a Third Party Logistics (3PL) partner, download our free checklist by clicking below!
Timing is everything in the retail logistics and transportation industry. Many retail stores struggle to break even in down months and make the entirety of their annual profits in short, frenetic periods each year. Having the right products on the shelves when they are most valuable can mean life or death for any retailer, whether it’s the summer boom in lawn equipment and air conditioners at a hardware shop or having the newest titles on the shelves at a gaming outlet. Ordering too far ahead of schedule can mean as much of a loss as ordering too late—even in periods of low sales, wasted shelves equal lost profits.`
Logistics and transportation must be carefully handled at all stages for a store to achieve maximum profits. On the store’s end, this means careful pre-planning, beginning at least a few months in advance of hectic sales seasons. Important steps in retail planning include:
- Researching products
- Gauging potential sales
- Developing sales and advertising strategies
- Contacting suppliers
- Completing negotiations
- Arranging shipping
- Receiving products and advertising materials
- Shelving products and preparing displays
Several of these steps can be quite difficult without retail logistics and transportation support, but missing important products, over- or under-estimating interest in products or failing to complete negotiations and receive necessary items in a timely manner can all be devastating. Forgetting to order point-of-purchase displays for a major product until the week before the product goes on sale, for example, might make the difference between clear shelves and a full stockroom.
Holidays are of particular concern for any retailer, because as the most vital season for financial success they are also the most likely place for problems to crop up in your logistics and transportation. Perfect preparations store-side can fall apart completely if the chaos of the season overwhelms suppliers, transporters or other parts of your logistics chain. Major logistics and transportation firms fail to deliver express packages on time roughly 10% of the time and lose between 0.5% and 1% of packages every year. Those numbers become even worse during intense seasons.
Having specialists manage your logistics and transportation chain can greatly reduce the odds of delayed order completions and missing shipments. STC Logistics maintains a better than 99% on-time delivery rate to customers in locations across the nation. We offer shipping by air, sea, rail and road and can handle complex large-scale distribution and small daily shipments with equal ease. By working with over 700 logistics and transportation affiliates in and around transportation hubs across the United States, STC Logistics can manage time-sensitive shipments with high precision and reliability. To learn more about our logistics services, click the button below or contact us today for your rate quote!
There are many things to consider when hiring a third party logistics company today. While the basics involve utilizing air, land, or sea transportation to move goods from one point to another, there are many intricacies that are added to the process in order to increase efficiency—both for the customer and the logistics company itself. With shifting trends and the notion of new logistics technologies being ever present, there are many concepts that are improving the way freight gets moved.
Overall, the most revolutionary changes that are happening in logistics technologies today are widely due to advances in mobile logistics technologies. In the past, there were only primitive ruggedized devices that were specifically put into use for supply chain environments. Now, the lines between consumer and commercial grade equipment are becoming blurred because of new logistics technologies. This provides customers, as well as professionals, with crucial solutions to improve processes in every step of the supply chain.
Technology and Logistics in the Warehouse
The utilization of mobile logistics technologies in the warehouse has completely changed the way that companies think about setting up, as well as sorting and segregating inventory. With a single smart phone, warehouse employees are now able to:
- View inventory counts remotely
- Scan inventory both short and long range
- Use voice activated commands to conduct operations hands free
- Send information through the cloud for instant results
- Track and trace transportation itineraries and transit times
Another warehouse trend that cloud-based logistics technologies have set is the use of complete mobile solutions. Because logistics technologies have spider-webbed into so many devices, warehouse teams can now use smart phones and tablets in combination with mobile printers. These scanning devices enable the warehouse workers to reduce the need to move back and forth to different stations in the warehouse. This eliminates issues with sorting, segregating, picking and packing, setting up RFID solutions, scanning barcodes and printing.
For the Customer
Mobile logistics technologies have made the customer end of logistics more productive than ever before. With app development at an all time high, the customer now has more information at their fingertips than ever before. These logistics technologies allow the customer to forgo contacting 3PLs directly in regards to queries such as:
- Inventory quantities
- Price quotes
- Real-time transit status updates
- Delivery times
- Confirmation of POD
Tracking has always been a huge issue for customers until recently because there was little information available without making hard inquiries by phone. But now, trucks, trains, ships, and planes can be outfitted with GPS trackers that the customer can dial into from their smart phone to see exactly where their freight is. This allows them to not only satisfy their curiosity, but plan accordingly based on suggested arrival times.
For the Driver
Utilizing the same type of logistics technologies, truck drivers can now perform many functions with far greater efficiency. Smart phones allow drivers to accurately capture customer signatures upon delivery, track their hours, and even examine statistics about their driving performance. GPS systems can also provide real time data about traffic situations so that they know about areas that should be avoided to achieve shorter transit times.
The Wave of the Future
The smart phone based logistics technologies available today are completely changing the way that everyone thinks about logistics. It is even paving the way for other advances in the future such as 3D printing and greater use of green solutions. For now, 3PLs and customers alike can enjoy the way that mobile logistics technologies has helped to improve the process overall.
Photo credit: manufacturingdigital.com
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.