Archive for ‘Inventory management’

Holiday Shipping Preparedness – Here We Go!

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

holiday preparedness

Black Friday weekend is over, and that means the shopping season is officially here. According to NRF, more than 164 million consumers were expected to shop over Thanksgiving weekend and spend 4.1% more than last year. Transportation and logistics companies have been preparing to support retailers during the peak shipping season for months.

For those retailers, getting products on shelves and to consumers is priority number one. Last year, even Walmart struggled with fulfillment. To combat the challenges, logistics professionals and retailers alike are using several strategies to improve efficiencies and save costs in 2018 so that consumers receive their purchases accurately and on-time.

One of those strategies is to fill warehouse space with back stock. Beyond the demands of the holiday season, concerns over the coming tariffs have incited some to stock up in preparation. This is a sharp turn away from just-in-time inventory management trends, which increase efficiencies by receiving goods only as needed. The additional costs associated with this tactic may very well be worth it come January 2019.

To support the increased movement, most shippers have hired additional workers. Flexible shift models have allowed recruitment of a larger workforce. By accommodating their employee’s family needs, bus schedules, second jobs and more, companies are seeing success in seasonal hiring!

Consumer expectations for on-demand delivery is never felt stronger than during the holiday season. Consumers shop across a variety of retail outlets, though 55% plan to buy online (NRF). The old faithfuls – FedEx, UPS and even DHL – are still responsible for getting most products safely to the consumer’s home. To combat the last-mile delivery challenges, logistics companies are adding more drivers or contracting with additional carriers. Some are taking advantage of alternatives like Deliv, UberRUSH and Task Rabbit. Tech is also playing a crucial role, such as with Amazon Key.

Hold on to your hats, holiday shipping is here – whether you’re a retailer, shipper or consumer – you’re in for a wild ride.


To learn more about how American Warehouse can help you solve your holiday logistics challenges, contact us today!

Amazon Re-shipper Services Give AU Shoppers More Access

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Amazon Re-Shipper Services

Australia may have just gotten Amazon Prime, but they’re now out of luck when it comes to shopping the global Amazon marketplace.

For Australia, buying foreign goods is often less expensive than buying from a domestic retailer. In an effort to level the playing field for Australian businesses, legislation was introduced to apply a 10% goods and services tax (GST) on overseas purchases.

While some are less worried than others over the new tax, Amazon has taken surprising measures in response. On May 31, 2018, Amazon announced their decision to disallow Amazon customers in Australia from purchasing through the US and other global versions of their ecommerce site. Citing the tax as the reason, Amazon determined the collection and payment of the tax to Australian Taxation Office was not worth the relatively small amount of revenue generated from the continent’s global online shopping.

For those looking to get around the block, Amazon buyers are using alternative methods like re-shipping services. Here’s how the package forwarding services work:

  • Shoppers outside of the US shop US-based ecommerce retailer sites
  • At checkout, the shopper enters a domestic address provided by the re-shipper
  • The re-shipper receives and forwards the package to the shopper’s international address

At American Warehouse, international shoppers shopping US sites can get the same service we offer our clients. We offer efficiency and cost-savings. We do this by minimizing dimensional weight through repackaging in more economical ways, as well as combining shipments for the shopper as requested.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. With 400+ million more products available on the US-version of Amazon, Australian and other international shoppers, are looking for ways around the new law. The Amazon re-shipper services offered by American Warehouse give AU shoppers access to more product options at lower prices.

eCommerce Fulfillment: Beyond the Garage

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

eCommerce Fulfillment

You’re up and running. You’re gaining some traction, and then suddenly you’re feeling like this:

overwhelmed by boxes

It may be time to outsource your logistics.

The ecommerce sales channel is growing at an unprecedented rate. According to the U.S. Commerce Department,

Consumers spent $453.46 billion on the web for retail purchases in 2017, a 16.0% increase compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. (Digital Commerce 360, 2018)

It’s no wonder that more and more entrepreneurs are trying their hand at online retail. The concept is simple: Choose a product that meets a need, build your ecommerce site, and market it with a compelling offer. The challenges come once you start seeing success:

  • Amazon Effect – Innovation is constantly changing the game
  • Warehousing – You’re running out of space
  • Inventory management – Receiving more orders than you have products
  • Picking and packing – The quality and accuracy of the fulfillment process
  • Shipping and/or Distribution – Carrier management and partnerships
  • Scaling – Your resources are limited and tied up

To ease your pain, there are several alternative choices for managing operations:

In the interests of control and simply misunderstanding what will be required, some will start their own warehouse operation. With this option, the business owner is now running two businesses, and not focusing on their revenue generating business.

Joining forces with another business allows you to share responsibilities and cost. These releases some of the burden of self-warehousing but misses the opportunity to partner with a professional.

Outsource to a 3PL
Bringing in a professional with the right tools and connections allows you to focus on your strengths while assured that your distribution is handled with efficiency in time and cost.

The options span the gambit, but please don’t try to build a warehouse for your fulfillment needs. The costs associated with rent, equipment, staff and the mistakes you’ll inevitably make far outreach the costs of hiring a professional that already has these in place. A 3PL will handle all your logistical challenges so you can focus on your core competencies:

  • Manages warehousing and distribution channels
  • Has the processes and systems in place to manage your inventory and orders with accuracy
  • Reduces costs associated with running a warehouse and distribution center
  • Provide a personal touch to optimizing your business logistics and supply chain

A 3PL solves your warehouse and fulfillment challenges so you can get back to focusing what you’re good at – driving ecommerce sales through your business.

Column: U.S. e-commerce sales grow 16.0% in 2017. (2018, February 16). Retrieved June 2, 2018, from

Cross-docking: In One Door and Out the Other

Saturday, April 28th, 2018


If you’re not cross-docking, you’re missing an opportunity to gain a fully optimized supply chain. Cross-docking services streamline your distribution process, reduce risk in inventory handling and lower your costs. It works by skipping the warehouse to unload products from inbound shipments and reload directly onto another outbound shipment. Utilizing this distribution method, a third-party logistics provider (3PL) can streamline your distribution process and limit the need for contracting with multiple vendors to move your goods.

Commonly confused with cross-docking, transloading is a similar service that shippers utilize. With transloading, your distribution center transfers your product from one mode of transportation to another. Though the service is different than transloading, cross-docking accomplishes the same the goal – to improve efficiencies in your supply chain.

Like a synchronized orchestra, the cross-docking process relies on flawless execution to move products in and out of the dock. As there is little to no time where your inventory is warehoused, your products keep moving and shipping times are greatly reduced.

Inventory management
Cross-docking facilitates the growing need to limit manufacturing yet be quick to ship in order to meet customer demands. Plus, inventory is less at risk for damage when it see minimal storage and handling. When you’re in control of your inventory, yet agile in your manufacturing, that’s a win for your business.

Financial impact
The deep efficiencies innate in the system, as well as the savings from bypassing the warehouse, reduce overall costs of moving your goods from manufacturer to consumer.

Cross-docking is an effective logistics strategy because it relies on precise planning and execution. Quality control and inventory tracking are all the more crucial to ensure the benefits of the service are being fully realized. With conflicting demands to navigate through, cross-docking offers manufacturers and shippers a valuable tool in solving the supply chain optimization challenge.

Partner Spotlight: Knickerbockers American Manufacturer

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Knickerbocker Bed FramesKnickerbocker, an American manufacturer of high-quality bed frames and bedding support systems, has been family-owned and operated for 100 years. Brothers Jacob and Lazar are 4th generation operators of the family business. They accredit their success to innovative, patented products, quality of craftsmanship and customer service. They are also the only bed frame manufacturer that still manufacturers all their products here in the USA.

When it comes a bed frame, Jacob recognizes that it’s not an item that people think about too often; “it’s usually when they stub their toe, or it breaks.” Few realize the importance of how a foundation affects the quality and performance of their mattress set. By providing innovative bedding support products, Knickerbocker has redefined the category to provide their customers with the lasting support they need.

Knickerbocker manufacturers all of their products in their New Jersey facility, but sells to mattress and furniture stores throughout the United States. Their products travel by rail freight to various distribution centers across the country.

Their supply chain network spans far and wide, but reaching some of their customers proved a challenge. In particular, the distance from their Texas distribution center to their Pacific Northwest customers put them at a disadvantage to serve retailers in Oregon and Washington. After hearing from their customers along the west coast that they required next-day service, Knickerbocker sought out a west coast logistics partner.

When Knickerbocker met with American Warehouse, it was an instant connection. According to Jacob, he found an organized and diligent staff at American Warehouse. With accurate inbound and outbound tracking, they felt assured their deliveries would be accurate and on-time. American Warehouse understood Knickerbocker’s business needs and quickly became a valuable extension of the team. As a result of the partnership and their presence in the northwest, orders in Oregon, Washington and Idaho are up 100%. Expanding their network of logistics support with another regional warehouse allowed Knickerbocker to better serve its customers, and with it generated a significant increase in orders.

Wishing to respond to customer demands, Knickerbocker set out to find a warehousing and distribution partner in the Pacific Northwest. Finding the right solution in American Warehouse, has allowed them to better serve retailers while reducing the worry associated with expanding the supply chain, and growing their business as a result.

To learn more about how American Warehouse can help you solve your logistical challenges, contact us today!

Choosing the Optimal Outbound Logistics Solution

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Outbound logistics

Outbound logistics is the process of storing inventory and transporting the merchandise to the customer. There are process efficiencies at each end of the equation that when optimized, enhance your processes and service to the customer. Improving your outbound logistics strategy will increase your profitability and help you grow your business.

Inventory Management

Supply chain trends are forcing manufacturers to adjust to the changing demands of consumers. The need to control inventory levels and distribution is at an all-time high. Logistics professionals are responding by utilizing new processes and technology to increase inventory visibility, allowing for data-driven decision making.

At American Warehouse, we use 3PL Central‘s warehouse management system (WMS) to store and track your assets from the time they reach our dock, to the time they ship out. This value-added service streamlines the inventory management process for you. With cloud-based access you can always get accurate, real-time visibility to your products.

With the right inventory management software and strategy in place, you have the data you need for accurate forecasting and inventory planning. When combined with frequent cycle counting, you can eliminate the need for fiscal year end inventory counts. Plus, when you use a WMS, you can invoice customers immediately – saving you administrative costs. The commitment to forecasting and supply chain planning ensures you can deliver on your promises.


Moving your goods from manufacturing to the hands of the customer is one of the most complicated logistical challenges. Your options are limitless. Some manufacturers may operate their own fleet, some work with a 3PL, while others may work through a broker. Each approach has unique benefits and risks.

For a lot of manufacturers, maintaining their own transportation fleet isn’t feasible or cost effective. Instead they turn to outside professionals to move their product. On the other end of the spectrum, some hire a broker to manage the supply chain process. Your broker will charge a premium, but you’ll only have to make one hire. They take care of the vendor management.

At American Warehouse, we use the hybrid approach that works best for our customers. While we focus on what we do best – warehousing and distribution – we hire through a trusted network of providers for our customers’ transportation needs. By partnering with transportation providers, we can decrease your freight expenses and give your product a safe and comfortable ride to its final destination.

When considering the optimal solution for your business, also keep in mind the reputation of the company, the level of service you will receive and any regional transportation needs. Choosing the right solution and support can make all the difference in the success of your outbound logistics planning.

American Warehouse is your outbound logistics service provider, contact us today!

Partner Spotlight: Samuel Strapping Expands West

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Case study - Samuel Strapping

Samuel Strapping Systems is a single source supplier for packaging and unitizing products and machinery operating in the eastern US and Canada. Their systems and equipment have applications across a broad spectrum of industries, including lumber, brick, cotton and fibre, steel, can and bottle, corrugated, newsprint, and more.

As their customer base in the Pacific NW grew, so did the need to house their products in a regional warehouse. Shipping their commercial strapping products directly to consumers from manufacturing facilities located in Ohio and South Carolina was inefficient and costly. To cut down on freight costs and lead times, Samuel Strapping made the decision to send truckloads to be housed at American Warehouse, located in Portland, OR.

Samuel Strapping got in touch with American Warehouse to test the west coast market for the lumber division specifically. Due to the central location, the warehouse gave many of Samuel Strapping’s customers the ability to pick up their order instead of having a carrier deliver it to them, saving additional freight costs. Further, it’s proximity to their large customer base in Washington means delivery times are reduced to a day or less.

“We cut our freight cost by sending truckloads of products out west versus multiple LTL shipments.”
– Art Pledger, Warehouse Manager – PSG

After choosing American Warehouse as their west coast logistics partner, they had some additional decisions to make. While moving products to a regional warehouse allowed for efficiency and cost savings, it also required advanced planning. They faced the challenge of determining the correct product mix and inventory levels to keep on-hand to satisfy customer demand while also ensuring they had the products needed for new customers.

Fortunately, American Warehouse’s add-on services solved the additional challenge. Utilizing their web-based Warehouse Management System (WMS) allows Samuel Strapping to view all inbound and outbound movements of their products. Art Pledger, Warehouse Manager, says, “We can view our on-hand inventory in their system and compare to our ERP system for accuracy and investigate should there be any discrepancies. Having the ability to do this allows us to service our customers in a timely manner because we know immediately if we have the products they need.” They’ve also found that when their customers have visibility and have trust in the low lead times, they tend to order more often.

Samuel Strapping recognized a business need and in working with a valued partner, they were able to solve a logistics challenge for their organization. Their move out west has allowed them to better serve the lumber market by lowering lead times, reducing costs and ensuring product availability. With that proven success, Samuel Strapping is looking to make the move with additional divisions to further increase their west coast footprint. Together with American Warehouse, Samuel Strapping has benefitted their business and increased value for their customers.

To learn more about how American Warehouse can help you solve your logistical challenges, contact us today!

Pricing a Third Party Logistics Provider

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Pricing a 3PL

Hiring an outside vendor for transportation management is an exercise in trust and is an important business decision. A great 3PL acts as an extension of your supply chain team. The procurement process can feel daunting. Ensure that you’re in control of the process by educating yourself on standard practices of 3PL pricing.

There are three main services provided by a 3PL, including inbound processing, warehousing and outbound processing. It is essential to understand how your 3PL partner quotes their services and where any hidden fees or charges may threaten your budget. Acquiring accurate and comparative quotes will ensure you’re getting the right partner to fit your budget.

American Warehouse is here to help – no matter who you choose to partner with. This pricing guide will give you the knowledge and tools to attain an accurate and consistent quote from any third party logistics provider – allowing you to make a sound business decision on who to partner with on your logistics needs.

Understand 3PL pricing >>

Inventory Management: Cycle Counting Improves Product Visibility

Thursday, June 29th, 2017


Inventory Management Cycle Counting

It’s end of month. Do you know where your inventory is? Your WMS provides you data but unless your logistics provider has touched your products recently, you may not have the most accurate inventory counts. As a result, your revenue and loss reports as well as manufacturing recommendations may be inaccurate.

A regular audit of your units ensures the business decisions you make in regards to your inventory are being made with accurate information. Your logistics partners combat discrepancies in your warehoused inventory by cycle counting in one of two ways – passively or proactively.

Passive cycle counting-as you might expect-is done infrequently. Perhaps only at year end. If you’ve had little to no visibility into actual stock levels, your end of year write-off numbers might come as a shock.

By contrast, a proactive approach increases inventory accuracy, providing you visibility and flexibility in your supply chain. When your warehousing partner engages in frequent cycle counting, they can uncover inconsistencies in inventory levels much sooner, allowing for flexible problem solving, money savings and the chance to improve operations.

When discrepancies are discovered, your warehouser can trigger an investigation. With shorter cycles, errors can be quickly identified and corrected. Additionally, more frequent counts set benchmarks and inform metrics standards for inventory accuracy. When your warehouse partner improves their operational processes, you win too. Here’s a few other ways you can partner with your 3PL to increase inventory accuracy:

1. Make product identification numbers highly visible
2. Use barcode labeling
3. Make labels visible and easily scannable (bigger is better). As a bonus, label units on all four sides
4. High quality packaging can improve handling and reduce damage

Don’t wait until it’s too late to gain visibility into your warehousing operations. Ask your logistics partner how they dedicate resources to ensuring you have full visibility into your supply chain. If we at American Warehouse can help in anyway, please let us know.

Why 3PL – Market Penetration, Profits, Customer Satisfaction

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017


3PL the Right Logistics Move

One of the biggest headaches for companies that sell physical products to consumers is logistics. In the beginning, it can be easy to fill, ship and track shipments. However, as businesses grow, they will often discover that keeping accurate inventory of all of their merchandise becomes a time-consuming process. Outsourcing to a third-party logistics (3PL) company is a great way for manufacturers, retailers, startups and SMB’s to focus less on logistics and more on core business functions that contribute to growing their profits. Using a 3PL delivers a range of benefits including saving time and labor costs, reduced capital expense, increased flexibility and access to the latest supply chain technologies.

Many businesses benefit by outsourcing their logistics to a 3PL. Are you a small to medium business that is looking to expand to a new market? Maybe you’re a startup and might have limited resources after product development and marketing. Do you have multiple locations and need to move products in an omni-channel environment? If you answered yes to any of these, outsourcing to a 3PL is a great solution.

Outsourcing to a 3rd party logistics company allows you to expand to new markets without making commitments for warehousing costs. If the budget is tied up in product development, freight, sales and IT, it can be difficult to pay for warehousing technologies such as warehouse management systems (WMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, radio frequency identification (RFID) and more. Using a 3PL will allow you access to the latest warehouse technologies and provide updates on resource supplies, product locations and real-time inventory stock levels.

Partnering with a 3PL will lower your costs, allow one to purchase supplies in bulk and distribute products across multiple locations or omni-channel environments. Are you a multiple location business? Perhaps you’re thinking about opening up your business in multiple markets. Do you sell your products online? Outsourcing allows you to centralize the supply chain and keep track of merchandise so you can focus time on product development and reaching your sales goals. A 3PL will also allow you to perform your business operations in a smaller footprint allowing the allocation of rent money for other investments.

3PL services are great for start-ups. Streamlining logistics lets you to channel expenditures and resources to business development, sales and marketing. Let the 3PL focus on getting your products to the consumer allowing you to focus on getting the word out and delivering exceptional service — ensuring a great customer experience.

The decision to build a partnership with a local 3PL gives your business protection against seasonal spikes. Is your business affected by seasonal trends? Partnering with a 3PL will allow you to stock and purchase materials in bulk or store product until it is needed. Using a local 3PL will ensure that products are always ready to ship giving your consumer shorter lead times and edge over the competition.

Of course, every business has unique needs. For more information, contact American Warehouse to see if partnering with a 3PL is the right move for your logistics needs.