Warehouses are commonly used by retail businesses to store items that have been shipped to them but have not yet been moved into stores. In addition to retailers, transport businesses, manufacturers, customs, importers and exporters use warehouses as well. They may be designed to house goods of a certain type; perishable goods, for instance, are stored in refrigerated warehouses. They may be used to assemble containers for export or prepare consolidated shipments for distributions.
Despite the tremendous value warehouses provide for companies, some issues cannot be avoided altogether. In this article, we will look at some of the most pressing retail warehousing issues and how they may be solved, avoided or minimized.
Top Retail Warehousing Issues
1) Not having enough space
The amount of storage space needed for a company depends on the size and quantity of goods to be stored and length of time which storage is required. Companies aim to rent or purchase warehouses that have enough space to meet their needs, but sometimes end up ordering more merchandise than their space can accommodate or under estimating the length of time necessary. More often, the issue of space occurs as a consequence of inadequate organizational practices, such as not making efficient use of the available space or experiencing delays in implementation of goods at final destinations. Such poor organization leads to time and money being wasted on unnecessary labor and square footage.
To ensure adequate warehouse organization, a company should contract with warehouses and 3pl companies that understand the parameters of retail warehousing requirements. This way, less time will be spent locating items and in turn expedite the actual shipping process, such as using expedited logistics services. The machines used in loading and unloading should also be taken into consideration since they, too, are typically stored on-site. Counter balance machines are not very good for retail warehousing and should be rejected in favor of narrow aisle reach trucks and multi-directional forklifts, which can increase storage space by thirty and forty percent respectively.
Another important element of space management in retail warehousing is to have the place thoroughly evaluated by a professional forklift business. This can further maximize storage space. It is essential to have a facility that understands retail needs and can provide flexibility.
When looking for slots to store items that have just arrived, forklift trucks often make one trip after another while scouring for space around the warehouse, wasting gas or electricity. As a result, they often end up putting their loads into the first empty slot across which they come, again resulting in disorganization. The last thing that any retail business needs or wants is disorder; they need to know exactly where something is so their customers will not have to wait for inventories to be replenished or for new products to launch.
There are numerous types of storage racks, and good retail warehouse practices involve knowing what they are and the purposes for which they may be used; these include:
- double deep
- powered mobile
Companies can also plan the use of slots, taking into account special needs for certain items as well as supply needs.
3) Discrepancies in inventory, not picking fast enough
Another common warehousing problem occurs when too much time is spent on each item because of poor management practices. When scanned mechanically, barcodes can reduce handling time for merchandise, providing order and ease of access. For larger items and fixture or displays, pallets can be color coded in order to group together specific store configurations or marketing campaigns, thus allowing design teams to have easy access.
In conclusion, retail freight logistics and retail warehousing depends, more than anything else, on organization. With everything in its proper place and employing proper accounting and moving machines, retail warehousing can be vastly simplified, to everyone’s great satisfaction.
STC Logistics specializes in nationwide retail logistics solutions and warehousing services. We ensure not only that your items arrive on time and undamaged with our expedited logistics services, but are stored safely and scheduled with cost-efficiency and reliability. To learn more about our retail freight logistics solutions, click below.
Busy retailers need to consider a multitude of details when planning for a holiday season. In order to meet the needs of customers during a rush such as Black Friday or Christmas, retailers must always be logistically proactive in making sure seasonal displays and products get delivered on time and in ideal condition to attract customers. Even for day-to-day operation or a brand new rollout plan, having an excellent third party logistics provider will guarantee that all customers are satisfied while business runs smoothly.
Proactive Preplanning of Holiday POP Displays
Planning to setup successful POP displays means the displays and products must arrive on schedule and organized in order to maximize efficiency. Working with a 3PL provider can take care of the many details of preplanning an upcoming holiday season, ensuring sales will go smoothly. Using technology that helps scan for and manage issues, a great 3PL provider will assess and correct any potential problems before they have a chance to occur. Your 3PL can also handle all of the logistic planning needed to execute a flawless holiday season, alleviating some of the stress that retailers experience during busy seasons.
Many retailers can make the mistake of using logistics providers that are behind the times. Oftentimes these dated methods are far from the most efficient way to order and transport displays and products. These inefficiencies slow business and create lags in schedules, leading to extra costs and exceeded budgets. By handling all details of the ordering process, 3PL providers cut out many of the “middle men” which may cause confusion and slow the process for retailers. Retail-specialized providers will ensure the most efficient method for ordering, transporting, and delivering all POP displays so retailers can spend their time focusing on the daily needs of the store, rather than the transport of materials.
Safe Handling and Delivery of POP Displays
A number of risks are involved with the transport and delivery of holiday POP displays, including the collection of dust or dirt, corrosion of materials or exposure to the elements. These hazards, combined with the risk of damage due to jostling during transport, can weaken the overall effect of these displays and therefore must be avoided. An experienced and professional 3PL provider will guarantee that all POP displays will arrive safely and in the condition they are meant to be. Searching for the safest and quickest route ensures that POP displays are minimally handled and protected through their delivery.
One of the most important steps to a successful holiday season is ensuring all products and POP displays arrive on time so that merchandise can hit shelves as soon as customers demand. During the busiest seasons of the year, retail employees may become disorganized and struggle to order deliveries properly—resulting in product campaign delays and lost profit. By allowing a qualified 3PL provider to handle the details, retailers can focus on running day to day business rather than worrying about the timing of deliveries. 3PL providers specialize in delivering freight on time, whether it’s for a holiday rush, restock, or rollout operation. STC Logistics ensures timely and safe deliveries for any season with a 99% on-time delivery of undamaged goods for the last 15 years.
As a retailer, there’s no reason to stress over the details of making sure POP displays are handled and delivered correctly when dedicated, professional 3PL providers are willing to make sure each step in the process is controlled perfectly. Making sure each display is ordered in a timely fashion, transported carefully, delivered on time and in great condition, STC Logistics manages any potential issue that could interfere with an entirely successful holiday rush or rollout. An experienced 3PL provider ensures a seamless delivery service, helping any retail establishment avoid challenges during the most demanding time of the year.
Retail planning for the holiday season can be a daunting task. Having the right decorations and an accurate inventory full of all the new specialty products for the season is essential for business success. To meet these retail planning challenges, many savvy retailers turn to 3PL providers to make sure their logistics needs are managed properly. Here’s why:
3PL Providers Meet Deadlines
In retail planning, it’s critical to have freight shipments arrive on time. 3PL providers like STC Logistics utilize an infrastructure based on state-of-the-art technology which recognizes an impeccable route for each specific shipment. The needs of freight shipments are handled and processed by high speed machines, ensuring superlative delivery times. Experienced 3PL providers communicate with affiliates from all over the world in order to consider each possible mode of transportation before deciding on the quickest freight shipment route. Utilizing a retail-specialized provider during holiday freight campaigns begins with computerized recognition of efficient routes with economical rates and ends with precise timing for delivery arrival before the holidays.
3PL Providers Save Time and Money
Distance, equipment, handlers, consolidation and deadlines factor into freight shipment prices. Retail-specialized 3PL providers analyze each freight shipment with a customized rate program to ensure that the most amicable and economical rates available are offered. Optimal logistical efficiency means money is saved in every possible way while the fastest freight shipment routes are taken. Freight may be combined in order to provide additional saving opportunities during the process of transportation for retail planning. Individualized electronic rate quote numbers are created when a freight shipment is rated and this number is used to reference pricing when freight is booked and tracking numbers are generated. This enables the rates and routing to be exact.
The Benefits of Electronic Logistics Format
Multiple rollouts, destinations or assembly services are no issue with STC’s Electronic Logistics Format (ELF). It is a proprietary service which STC Logistics utilizes in order to give clients the advantage. It has been specifically designed to provide an awareness of information between all involved parties during the distribution process. Customized rollouts are drafted, many containing multiple destinations for distribution, along with pieces, sizes and weights and then the spreadsheet for a freight shipment will be received by means of EDI transfer. Updates and changes are simply made and reviewing an entire program now becomes straightforward.
Before the very first pickup is made, outlined instructions that detail requirements for pickup and delivery will already have been prepared and awaiting client approval. Once approved, the ELF will be published to a custom mini-website accessible to clients through the STC Logistics client portal. Status updates are easily viewed, tracking is in real time and reports are easily manufactured. Receiving holiday freight shipments this season in a timely and cost-efficient manner by utilizing STC Logistics enables distribution that is stress-free.
3PL Providers Use Efficient Freight Shipment Methods
Retail planning requires research when partnering with a logistics provider in order to grant an overall flawless process in retail planning. Having a 3PL provider facilitate freight shipments guarantees an enhanced and well-researched process for finding available logistics. Placing an emphasis on the process of retail planning before the transportation plan occurs enables retailers to confidently be assured of the quality they are receiving during a freight shipment. Providing easily accessible status updates and paying sufficient attention to concerns with detailed instructions ensures optimal efficiency during the shipping process.
STC Logistics has established an impeccable reputation throughout its 45 years of experience as a 3PL provider. We offer unbeatable freight shipment delivery times on land, air, and sea—all while enhancing a client’s retail planning process. Our unrivaled technology and catered retail planning programs ensure time and money are saved during the transportation process. Additionally, with a damage rate of less than 1%, our customers can feel confident their shipments will arrive in pristine condition ready to be stocked for the holiday season.
Pop-up stores are a fairly new concept used by retailers.These trendy stores pop-up for a short period of time and close once their stock is sold out. For example, they can open their doors over a seasonal period of time, like Halloween costume stores or other holiday shops. They stock their stores with a large selection of goods and use effective brand marketing to sell out their stock over the course of the season. Then, the store can close and open elsewhere with new and different stock.
Pop-up shops serve a niche market, so they are typically open for about 3-6 months; sometimes for a shorter or longer period of time. Hiring managers must plan carefully to successfully set up the store, hire adequate staff, sell out the stock and close down the store in a timely fashion while still making a profit.
So what makes these specialty shops profitable? The key to pop-up store success is making sure store fixtures, displays and stock are all set up properly in time for opening. For this to happen, retailers must work with a reliable logistics company. A store owner that is let down with late or missing stock delivery can end up seeing his or her pop-up store open without sufficient stock to sell.
Late stock arrival means that stock is left over at the end of the season, defeating the objective of such a store. While considering many other details, the owner and supporting staff cannot spend countless hours tracking stock and worrying about lost shipments. When launching a pop-up store and choosing a reliable logistics company, retailers need to consider the following:
• Does the logistics company specialize in retail procurement?
• Does the company possess the infrastructure to deliver shipments of all sizes?
• If needed, can the company offer same-day or white glove service?
• Can the company offer free nationwide warehousing and storage facilities?
• Has the company received positive feedback from present or former customers?
• Do they offer high technology cargo tracking capabilities for complete visibility of freight?
• Do they care about the customer enough to ensure their success?
• Are their trucks equipped with lift gates?
• Does the company offer cross-docking services?
Imagine that you have invested money in opening a pop-up store, only to discover your POP advertising materials have been damaged or delayed. Retail procurement professionals must work with a trusted logistics company to ensure that all materials are delivered to one store or hundreds, on time—every time.
STC Logistics specializes in logistics solutions for new retail store openings. We have incorporated numerous checkpoints into our freight monitoring services to ensure flawless and timely delivery of goods. With our 3PL technology, we are able to efficiently track, trace and control each shipment and can serve as a one-stop solution for retailers.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
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!
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!
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!