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!
For successful companies, the primary differentiator from competitors may be the efficiency of their supply chain. An uninterrupted supply chain adds value to the company because it determines the pace at which other operations can press ahead. A bottleneck in the supply chain can have an adverse impact on the company’s brand, revenues, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
More small, mid-size and enterprise level companies are realizing the numerous benefits by outsourcing supply chain management and logistics to a 3PL provider. A 3PL partner has the logistics advantages, including expertise, technology and network connections, to ensure that the warehousing and transportation component of the operations moves in the right direction.
A 3PL provides businesses with reliable logistics solutions that include the following benefits:
Wide Network of Resources
By working with a 3PL provider, a business can take advantage of a vast network of resources and carriers. This enables providers to execute each step along the supply chain efficiently and cost-effectively through leveraging assets, relationships and industry knowledge and experience. It results in lower overhead and quick service delivery because of the international 3PL provider availability of resources that in-house operations cannot match.
Save Time and Money
More businesses find that they can save both time and money by outsourcing their logistics to third-party logistics providers. Generally, these companies provide warehousing, transportation (ground, air, rail and sea), proprietary technology and integrated operation services.
Business owners and executives can tailor the 3PL provider services to meet market demands and customer needs. The right logistics service provider has a global network in place to handle paperwork, customs documentation, billing, audits and staffing necessary to efficiently move goods where they need to go for the lowest cost.
Industry Expertise and Experience
3PLs should have knowledge of industry best practices when it comes to packaging, transporting and storing goods in an organized and cost-effective manner. Service providers stay up-to-date with the latest advances in technology, manufacturing and logistics. They have state-of-the-art applications, supply chain transparency, transportation management and inventory control.
Scalability and Flexibility
Three key benefits to outsourcing logistics has to do with the flexibility to scale space, transportation and labor, especially if you experience a sudden spike in demand. Firms that have seasonal variations in their business can plan their budgets accordingly and adjust inventory, space and other resources up or down when needed. Businesses looking to grow and expand into other markets have in place the logistic infrastructure to support their strategic initiatives with incurring increase in costs.
Best Practices and Optimization
Cloud computing, proprietary systems and other technology platforms make it easier to outsource logistics. Smart, transformed companies understand the value that a reliable, accurate and timely supply chain has on the business. Reliable third-party logistics companies have proven cost-effective systems geared to move a large volume of goods and ensure that they get to the location on time.
Economy of scale allows 3PLs to build a network and provide the resources businesses need to be flexible and scalable and ensure important needs are met. Third-party logistics providers have the latest technology, industry knowledge and systems to make sure that customer shipments arrive in top condition, at the right place, at the right quantity, and in the right time frame.
The third-party logistics firm should provide the customer with transparency, access and the ability to track everything the client needs to know through an interface, data warehousing, advanced reporting and customer-facing web portals.
Companies of all sizes can benefit from working with a 3PL provider. Choose a 3PL provider that has the system, financial capabilities and expertise to deliver the requisite services to make operations more effective and efficient.
STC Logistics offers international and domestic freight services. To learn more about our shipping options, click below!
Business changes can be intimidating and often costly—especially if these changes lack clear-cut numbers for your return on investment. Adopting more green, environmentally-friendly options for your supply chain does not sound like something that can quickly improve your business’ bottom line, but the eventual benefits can lead to quite a positive ROI.
Of course, significant supply chain changes should never be taken lightly, and it’s important to conduct thorough research on green business practices in advance. Consider these tips before you encourage your business to “go green”:
1) Establish a baseline: Like anything in business, it’s important to set up a plan before making any significant changes to your operating system. Creating a sustainability baseline is a great start. Analyze each department of staff and compile the operational statistics that will provide you with the data needed to determine your carbon footprint and value drivers.
2) Find your opportunities: Once you’ve determined your business’ carbon footprint and value drivers, start doing some research. Find the areas where making reductions will align with value drivers. This could include reducing excess waste or byproducts; reducing areas where there is a disconnect, such as the amount of fuel used for transport of goods, compared to the actual transit time taken for your business’ logistics needs. The more opportunities for your business to adjust, the better.
3) Invest in certifications: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created the SmartWay program, which is designed to improve fuel efficiency and environmental performance in transportation supply chains. The EPA works with small trucking companies, rail carriers, commercial manufacturers and retailers. Businesses and 3PL’s can partner with this organization to track fuel consumption and improve transportation performance, access freight supply chain best practices which reduce costs and emissions, and address carbon-risk throughout their supply chain by improving energy and environmental efficiency of freight operations. There is also the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, a green building certification that encourages the best and healthiest building strategies and practices. Each building needs to meet a certain number of prerequisites in order to qualify for certification in fields like construction, interior design and building operations.
4) Learn the benefits and breaks: Depending on your location, there are a variety of tax breaks, credits and loan guarantees for any business that qualifies for environmental improvements through the state and/or federal government. The Recovery Act established in 2009 was designed to provide more benefits and incentives for businesses thinking about taking their supply chains green.
5) Get the word out: Once your green changes have been enacted, don’t forget to let your consumers know! Going green has become a positive buzzword in last two decades, and many Americans are fine with spending a little more if they know what they’re purchasing will have a positive effect on the environment.
While these are only a few tips regarding taking your logistics green, there are plenty of other options for you to consider when partnering with a 3PL provider. By utilizing the latest technology and most efficient logistics practices, 3pl providers can devise the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly logistics solution for your business—whether you’re shipping by air, land or sea.
STC Logistics is a certified SmartWay Transport Partner and has implemented ways to improve environmental performance and address carbon-risk throughout our supply chain. To learn more about our services, please click below.
Transporting a product to market is important in business, but in the pharmaceuticals industry, extra precautions are necessary. Logistics technology and the role in pharmaceutical shipping provide methods of getting products to destinations with proper temperature management and correct coding. Pricing may also allow a client to extend their share of the market with efficient delivery. The transportation of drugs requires constant monitoring and special handling. STC Logistics and ShipPharma work to provide an on-time delivery service with minimal product handling.
Latest Software and Technology
Efficient 3PL providers use the latest software and technology to control the movement of pharmaceutical merchandise between destinations. With such technology, special arrangements can be made, allowing clients to track their merchandise with complete visibility. Software acts as a window for customers to monitor products while in transport in real time. The need to constantly reenter data is removed with software use. Compliance requirements are automatically updated and contact with clients is more efficient. The process lets customers read all discussed information during shipping, avoiding anxieties concerning product quality on arrival. At least 36 points are registered for monitoring while products are in transit.
Most pharmaceutical companies are not in the business of shipping and logistics. They provide the development of drugs and need to get the product to medical facilities efficiently and safely. It is important that shipping facilities meet regulatory statues and security needs. STC Logistics and ShipPharma’s partner facilities are designed to accommodate large and secure pharmaceutical transport needs.
Care in Handling Pharmaceutical Cargo
STC Logistics and ShipPharma transport medical samples sent throughout the U.S. This delicate cargo is carefully handled by 3PL with a large connection network that guarantees delivery within a two-hour radius. The movement of merchandise is managed and transferred across the country at a cost-effective rate with the help of sound software management. Once information is placed into the system, it is automatically sent out to those in need of the information. This creates a more efficient shipping arrangement for customers and better internal operations for any business housing and shipping pharmaceutical products.
Advanced pharmaceutical logistics involve material handling, the management of packages, maintaining records throughout transport and using temperature-controlled environments to keep products in optimal conditions. The information flow between shipping points assures cargo safety. Our distribution management system uses airfreight and trucks to ship products. Once arrived, this sensitive freight is installed and assembled at delivery point, completing the delivery process.
Contact a 3PL Provider that Specializes in Pharmaceutical Logistics
The wide reach of logistics technology and the role in pharmaceutical shipping extends to intermodal, ocean transport and truckload shipping. Delicate management may require the 3PL to use floor delivery assuring the merchandise is placed in the hands of the designated recipient through product placement. High-quality product shipping requires a quality logistic distribution system to get the product to a delivery point. Top-notch logistics technology is necessary at every level of delivery.
STC Logistics and ShipPharma offer logistics solutions that boast the highest technology for clients for all pharmaceutical shipping needs. Click below to visit the ShipPharma website to learn more or call 1-800-547-4324 today!
Whether you run a new or established business, you know how important it is to have your goods carefully prepared, shipped and arrive at their destination on time. Failure to do so can have a negative impact on your customers—and even more so on your business—when issues like delivery delays, damaged items and cost overruns. Your reputation suffers and you can lose out on revenue, resulting in a black eye to your bottom line.
A New Advanced Logistics Technology
How do you choose the right 3PL provider for you? You can shop around for a logistics solution and review all of your options or quickly choose a 3PL provider and simply live with your choice, hoping your goods don’t get damaged by trial and error.
Rather than take a chance with just any 3PL provider, STC makes available a new technology for all of our clients. Electronic Logistics Format, also known as E.L.F., manages the logistics, shipping, and tracking of your freight, alongside our logistics team and allows for visibility and flexibility. This tool is a proprietary services logistics technology that supports traffic managers or anyone who handles major regional or nationwide distributions, pickup assembly services, and multi-location rollouts.
What the E.L.F. Logistics Technology Does
E.L.F. logistics technology helps you accomplish a number of tasks. First of all, this service coordinates every stage of your shipping order. You would send our logistics experts at STC a spreadsheet that contains your shipment’s information; we can receive information by EDI, Excel or any format you prefer to use. STC will then develop a customized rollout or a multi-destination distribution blueprint.
From there, STC Logistics uses the E.L.F. logistics technology to plan, organize, and arrange for the final delivery of your cargo. The shipment’s progress is also tracked and traced through its numerous steps, in conjunction with our expert customer service team; we will never lose sight of your goods.
Before your freight goes into transit, you will review and approve the logistics plan, pickup and delivery specifications, your pricing estimates, and the shipment’s delivery date. Everything is sorted out well before your shipment’s pickup is made. Preplanning is a key factor for a successful logistics design.
Your Own Mini-Website
After your shipment’s order is approved, STC’s IT department publishes your E.L.F. logistics technology design to a web-based viewing area. This is your very own “mini-website” for the distribution project. Your web portal is linked directly to STC’s internal operating system and is updated in real-time. You’ll be able to see the status of any of your shipments as they happen and delivery POD’s as they arrive.
Any relevant parties you choose will be granted access to the “mini-website” and allow them to follow the status of your shipment. This way, everyone who you’ve appointed will see that the shipment is picked up, shipped, and arrived on time to the correct recipient.
The Benefits of Proprietary Logistics
When you partner with a 3PL provider like STC Logistics, you can enjoy the logistics technology benefits that you wouldn’t necessarily see from other logistics technology products. Consider these perks:
- Eliminates the confusion experienced when random shippers pick up and deliver your items. Using STC Logistics as an extension of your team keeps everything under one roof.
- Improves pick up times, length time in transit, and the actual delivery date and time by providing a schedule in advance.
- Reliable nationwide affiliates allow for consolidation of goods, TSA certified access to all airports and strong networks to meet your deadlines. We are all linked together through the system.
- You receive an entirely coordinated effort from the team to ensure that your shipment arrives safely, undamaged, and on time. Adjustments are easily made and updates are in real-time.
STC Logistics uses the very latest in advanced technology with its specialized Electronic Logistics Format logistics technology. For more information or to obtain a quote for your next shipment, contact us 24/7 at 800-547-4324. To learn more about the industries we specialize in, click the button below.
Since logistics service provider environment has become highly competitive over the last few years, offering customers the services they expect while adding value to their organizations, is something that a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider must do to increase market share. Although it seems easy, changing demands, raised expectations and unforeseeable events can prevent 3PL providers from achieving their goals. Yet, most of these providers successfully manage different tasks, including product launch distributions for new store openings and large scale rollout distributions of procurement fixtures. How do they do it?
Using Technology to Deliver What Customers Expect
Product launch distribution defines a real challenge for all logistics providers. This is simply because product launches and rollout distribution imply fixed delivery dates that cannot be postponed. To help these providers manage such tasks, a series of logistics management software solutions have been developed. However, the real value of these solutions for 3PL providers can only be established by analyzing evaluating software products against logistics best practices, which have the obligation of helping companies in the industry meet customer requirements in addition to meeting the terms of international regulations.
- Avoiding Delays: Since ‘on-the–dot’ delivery is critical for product and procurement rollout distribution, most logistics management software systems provide an end-to-end infrastructure that allows users to plan shipping executions within a single interface. From simple domestic transportation tasks, to complex multimodal moves over different geographies, logistics software gives 3PL providers the ability to schedule, optimize and complete the movement of goods anywhere in the world. Further, it boosts operational efficiency while increasing the profitability of all those involved in the process.
- Gaining Visibility: Logistics software also provides in-depth visibility in supply chains, allowing logistics providers to identify process gaps that may cause supply chain disruptions. In addition, 3PL providers can use a logistics software solution to collect and process relevant, real-time data for advance planning. Cutting-edge transportation and logistics technologies also help users boost their supply chain operations and gain a competitive advantage by successfully meeting product launch distribution dates for new store openings.
- Managing Warehouses: Unlike manual inventory systems, logistics technologies propose flexible, advanced, feature-rich applications that assist logistics providers in managing warehouses and monitoring inventory precisely, even in the most complex distribution and storage schemes. As a result, the entire supply chain can be designed more efficiently, which will turn even the most difficult rollout and distribution tasks into simple endeavors.
- Forecasting Demand: Developing a functional logistics strategy is impossible without forecasting demand. Knowing exactly what is needed, when it is needed is critical for a 3PL provider to succeed in logistics and supply chain industry. Logistics software products include a series of demand forecasting functions, which permit users to anticipate future needs. This is especially useful when dealing with product launches and rollout distribution, which typically requires strategic Distribution Requirements Planning (DRP).
- Cutting Costs: Logistics management software solutions not only deliver appropriate tools for effective product launch distribution and large scale procurement rollouts, but also include features that monitor the performance and profitability of logistics providers along with trends and seasonality within this industry. These features are very important since cutting costs represents one of the most important goals of an organization.
In conclusion, logistics software helps 3PL providers centralize control, cut costs, accomplish timelines, eliminate inefficiencies, increase productivity and streamline shipping processes for successful product rollout distribution.
Having a market-leading transportation and logistics software management solution on its side, STC Logistics specializes in logistics solutions for new store openings, small or large rollout distribution programs, pharmaceuticals, marketing/advertising campaigns, critical product launch introductions and much more. We are able to propose a comprehensive list of technologies and services for new store openings and rollout distribution management for all industries. Unlike other 3PL providers, we take the extra step and quickly provide a pre-scheduled rollout distribution plan to efficiently provide client solutions. Our efficient practices help clients take advantage of reduced costs, increased profits and excellent service.
Click here to learn more about our logistics specialties.
In our day and age, there are countless supply chain management firms in the logistics industry, and it can become very difficult for retailers to choose a perfect logistics provider. There are numerous things to be considered—especially when new store openings are on the line—and retailers are not in a position to take any risks.
Choosing a Reliable Logistics Service is the Key to a Successful Launch
There is a large list of things that need to get done when a new store is opened. It is almost impossible for one person to take care of everything, from planning to purchase and transport of the goods. Logistics providers can greatly reduce the work burden of store staff at such a crucial time and can drastically speed up the opening of a new store if their company practices the right policies and procedures for success.
The ideal way to manage retail logistics for success is to find an efficient retail procurement expert. Here are a few key factors that need to be considered before a retailer makes the final decision of what logistics provider they will work with:
- The logistics provider needs to understand the task and has to have the proper expertise and tools to complete the task in a timely manner. Are they experienced in high-volume new store openings? Are they capable of fulfilling both small and very demanding retail logistics needs? Look into the experience that each logistics provider has and see if they specialize in retail.
- How strong is the infrastructure of a specific logistics provider? Among others, it must include proper warehouse facilities and shipping services, on top of permissions of shipment, in case of transporting the goods for a new store from a far-off location?
- Will there be consensus on the ethics and other crucial principles between both the parties? The provider needs to respect all the environment policies and abide by them as well as have good risk management policies in place.
- Were the previous customers satisfied with the service offered? The logistics provider must be offering the best services at the best price.
Logistics Providers Make or Break New Store Openings
A new store is just like a new inning in a retailer’s life; thus, no negligence should be made.
A good logistics provider must have its expertise in shipping through air, sea, rail, and ground. The logistics provider must also empathize with the work and needs of the retailers, therefore, should be accountable to deliver the retail procurement items on time. It is essential for all the items like POP, display shelves and other furniture and fixtures to be delivered on time with no damage. Also, all diligent logistics providers make sure that the material required for a new store not only arrives on time, but also schedule it with the purpose of cost-efficiency.
In the complex operation of supply chain management, an effective logistics provider can efficiently make the work of a retail chain or its staff much easier. If a shipment is late or the items are damaged, new store openings can be delayed or even, in worst case, canceled.
Due Care to POP Displays
POP advertising is the most sought after mode of advertising for the immediate purchasing action and is even more vital for new store openings. Professional logistics providers make a commitment to deliver all the POP material on time with all safety measures taken. After all, advertising on time does pay in the long run. It is advised that POP material should be delivered on the venue at least a few days before the opening, to avoid any delays due to assembly and to allow time to repair any potentially damaged items.
STC Logistics specializes in retail new store openings across the country. Whether you are opening one new store or 100, we make sure that all retail cargo items are packed while considering all the factors, including temperature-sensitivity, transit bumps/jolts and the best shipping routes available. We also take full responsibility of transporting retail products with all safety measures in place. Our retail logistics solutions ensure that we make new store opening deliveries on time, every time. Click here to get your quote today!
Having the right fixtures in the right place at the right time can make or break a retail operation. Timing is especially important when considering the fact that most retail stores make their annual profits in small, high-traffic windows throughout the year. The logistics of retail procurement, fixtures and displays plays a pivotal role in determining the success of your business or retail campaign. This blog explains what to consider when approaching retail procurement logistics and choosing a third party logistics provider to ship your procurement cargo.
Nothing matters more in retail than timing. Timing must be positioned properly to take advantage of holidays, tax-free weekends, new product releases and other narrow timeframes. Effective logistics make sure you receive the products, fixtures and other materials you need, right when you need them… not early, when they might waste valuable warehouse or floor space, or late, when the window of opportunity has already shut. Such strict timing requirements may not matter as much when you’re upgrading your standard displays, but seasonal or event-specific displays need to be ready on time, all the time.
The only thing worse than receiving materials too late or too soon in retail procurement logistics is receiving materials that are damaged or not receiving them at all. Even minor damages can ruin a fixture. Scuffed or scratched displays do not impress customers and less obvious structural damage might result in a display piece breaking while in use. This could cause a safety hazard for shopping customers in busy shopping malls. There is little to be done once you’ve received damaged goods, as even a claim against the shipping firm for the value of the fixture won’t recoup lost potential retail sales in the window of opportunity or time wasted trying to cover for the problem.
Third Party Logistics
With so many factors to consider, in-house logistics personnel can be ineffective or impossible to maintain without compromising profit margins. Specialized retail procurement agencies have specialized knowledge and connections which are invaluable when moving materials around the world or across the nation. Leaving the management of logistic details to individuals whose job it is to know when local shipping laws have changed or what ports will be unusually slow or have a tendency to lose shipments will, in most cases, be superior to training an individual or team in-house to handle the same duties.
Providing the Best Solutions for Retail Procurement Logistics
If you have questions about retail procurement logistics or would like to know how a full-service logistics firm can help your business operate more efficiently and effectively, contact us at STC Logistics by clicking here. We are a trusted provider of retail procurement logistics solutions including new store openings and remodels and marketing campaigns. Thanks to our expert team and our state-of-the-art technology systems and nationwide network of ground, air, rail and ocean transportation, we maintain a 99% on-time delivery rate for businesses across the United States. Learn more about our specialty logistics solutions by clicking here.
Information is key in maintaining a smooth logistics chain. The more information every individual supplier and manufacturer in a given supply chain has access to regarding the status of materials, the more effectively and efficiently those individual companies can manage their own part of that chain. In our modern era, quality logistics and shipment tracking software is a key part of any track and trace logistics solution, and utilization of the superior software to superior effect often marks key differences between two logistics companies.
There are many factors to consider when evaluating shipment tracking software. A software suite that excels in pinpointing shipments en route and stays up-to-date on changes in local shipping conditions may lack equally robust inventory tracking tools, may not output adequate analytics, or may fail and numerous other ways. Here are just a few factors logistics companies should consider when selecting software:
Identification of Points
Before a piece of shipment tracking software can offer anything else, it must be able to accurately map the key points of your supply chain:
- Data Collection: How much information does the shipment tracking software collect at each data point? How accurately and easily does it do so? Using software that allows you to quickly access requested information tremendously speeds up the logistics process.
- Data Assessment: While raw data has its value, smarter shipment tracking software offers more in the way of analytics. Can the software give you full analytics on any possible damage rate or accurate delivery times and updates?
- Integration: Good software ‘plays well with others’. The information produced should be readily available to share across programs or between suppliers, manufacturers, and transporters on the supply chain.
Identification of Goals
A good logistics firm also keeps in mind three end goals in all its evaluations of shipment tracking software:
- Will the software improve supply chain speed?
- Will it improve supply chain reliability?
- Will it create a leaner supply chain?
With those goals and the above factors in mind, it becomes simple to decide which software program to use on a regular basis.
STC Logistics uses the most advanced track and trace shipment tracking software on the market to support its clientele. Under the guidance of logistics experts across the nation and using a massive network of transportation affiliates in hubs across the nation, STC Logistics maintains a 99% on-time delivery rate—better than any of the major shipping companies. Whether your chain needs air, rail, sea, or road travel with large shipments to distributed locations or small shipments to a single location, STC Logistics can provide unmatched precision and reliability. Contact us today for a service quote!