Archive for ‘Logistics’

Setting the Standard at One Day Delivery

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Amazon One Day Standard

Recently Amazon announced they will move Prime’s standard 2-day shipping to 1-day shipping. The company has some infrastructure to work on before rolling out the faster ship times to the world, but the announcement raises the bar for retailers and logistics professionals alike.

The surge of online orders and the resulting “Amazon-effect” are driving the demand for faster and faster delivery. Last mile delivery is especially challenging. After arriving at a high-capacity freight station or port, goods must then be transported to their final destination – often a home. Individual package delivery is less efficient, and therefore more costly. Alternative delivery methods like pick-up lockers and drones are becoming more common place to fill the gap.

All retailers and shippers will need to take action to keep up with the standards being set from Amazon and the other retail giants chasing them. A well optimized omni-channel supply chain will keep retailers relevant and competitive.

One option for optimizing your supply chain and delivering better service to your customers is partnering with a 3PL. A third-party logistics service has operational expertise that will offer a broad view of your supply chain and help you resource the necessary partners to accomplish your shipping goals.

Use of distribution centers and services like cross-docking allow access to processes and tools not readily available when managing your own supply chain. Further, partnering with the best transportation partners through smart vendor management is a strategy being utilized by the likes of Target and Petco.

3PLs offer value-add services that help you deliver on-demand to your customers. We look forward to delivering that superior customer experience to yours. Contact us today to explore how we can help.


3PL: Your Logistics Navigator

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

Logistics Navigator

Times are a-changing. Gone are the days of excessive paperwork, tedious data entry, and an abundance of opportunity for human error. The rise of technology and ecommerce, as well as the challenges shippers face in the current environment, has led shippers to recognize they don’t necessarily have the knowledge or resources to optimize their supply chain.

There is no shortage of shortages for shippers and logistics service providers. Warehousing is stretched, trucks and drivers are harder to come by, the Chinese tariffs are tightening capacity and ecommerce is creating greater demand than ever. As the challenges mount, the need for well-connected partners increases.

Shippers recognize there are gains when working with third-party logistics (3PL) providers. To keep up with their client’s needs, 3PLs now offer expanded services beyond transportation and warehousing. Technology like warehouse management systems (WMS) are increasing accuracy and offering visibility into inventory like never before.

Managed service providers have found creative processes and tools to meet their client’s needs and achieve their goals. Offering services like LTL shipments, intermodal transportation, cross-docking, transloading, inventory tracking with a WMS, and fulfillment means they are a one-stop shop for logistics solutions.

By offering supply chain optimization and better use of data, more and more shippers have turned to 3PLs to solve their logistics challenges.

The global third-party (3PL) logistics market is estimated to have a compounded annual growth rate of about 9 percent through 2028. (Freight Waves)

The future is bright as new technology and creative transportation solutions emerge as answers to logistics’ toughest challenges. A third-party logistics (3PL) provider navigates you through the challenges and opportunities you currently face in your business – allowing you to reach new markets, gain visibility to your inventory and fully optimize your supply chain.

To learn more about how American Warehouse can help you navigate the logistics playing field, email us today!

Column: By offering supply chain optimization and better use of data, managed transportation providers continue growth trajectory. (2019, Feb 8). Retrieved March 2, 2019, from
https://www.freightwaves.com/news/trucking/shippers-turn-to-managed-transportation.


Distributing for a Cause

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Clean CAUSE

“I came to the point in my life where I was faced with a choice to choose life or death. If I was going to choose life, it had to be to do something that had purpose – gave me meaning for my life. CLEAN Cause was born.” – Wes, recovering drug addict and Founder of Clean Cause.

CLEAN Cause Yerba Mate energy beverages come in four refreshing flavors, are certified organic and full of natural caffeine. If that isn’t enough to make you want to pick one up, 50% of their profits support recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

The business was built on Wes’s journey to get clean and now they are supporting others like him with natural alternatives that anyone can enjoy.

Despite their explosive growth, CLEAN Cause still serves their hometown of Austin, TX by van delivery. However, they are quickly expanding along the west coast as well. Using distribution centers, they’re able to reach their wholesale accounts across the Pacific NW, with east coast expansion on the horizon as well.

“The company is growing a lot everyday! All the logistics processes need to adapt fast to the increasing change and it is always a challenge to give the best service to every customer as they deserve, but we are doing it!” says David Mera, Supply Chain Director at CLEAN Cause.

That need led David to discover American Warehouse. Attracted by their central location along the west coast, but won over by their service, he found their west coast partner. He’ll rely on an organized warehouse, top notch service, accurate on inventory and willingness to help in any emergency to ensure his customers get their orders accurately and on time.

Their path is clear for massive expansion. Keep checking the store locator to find CLEAN Cause in your neighborhood grocery or convenience store.

To learn more about how American Warehouse can help you expand your distribution, contact us today!


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.

Godspeed.

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


Navigating the Tariffs’ Effect on Logistics

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

logistics-profit-center

Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports has reached the $250 billion mark, nearly half of total imports. The impact of $121 billion dollars levied in retaliation by China, Mexico and Canada touches 6% of total exports and 650,000 people employed by the effected industries (NY Times). Unlike the initial $50 billion tariffs, the second round is expected to hit consumers in the wallet.

Many are concerned the levys will stifle economic growth in the United States. Some manufacturers have announced potential closures while others expect to freeze or slow down on hiring and investments until the situation and its impact become more clear.

Still, others hope the rising costs of imported goods will give US-made products an advantage. The American Iron and Steel Institute and the Aluminum Association have both backed Trump’s plan for that reason.

As the trade war escalates, businesses and manufacturers are making moves to protect their profits. As tariffs are set to rise from 10% to 25% on January 1, some importers are stocking up – increasing their inbound shipments before the tariffs hit home.

For an already strained industry, logistics services are becoming tighter and tighter. Warehouse space is filling up and across all intermodal transportation, the resources are sure to raise costs and become increasingly scarce.

How long the tariffs will remain in place is uncertain, but rising import costs will continue to stretch the logistics industry and most certainly be passed onto the consumer eventually. Maybe just in time for the holidays.

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

Column: Firing Back at Trump in the Trade War With Tariffs Aimed at His Base. (2018, Oct 3). Retrieved October 7, 2018, from
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/03/business/economy/china-tariff-retaliation.html

Category Business, Logistics


Logistics Profit Center: Cost Savings Isn’t Enough

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

logistics-profit-center

Supply chain, warehousing and transportation have long been considered cost centers in logistics – necessary services to move the business forward. As support resources, they were accountable to achieving certain metrics that did not necessarily contribute to the top-line growth. Consistent with the industry shifts, that is no longer the case. Logistics professionals are instead finding themselves running profit-centers. Is your department functioning as a revenue-generating business center or continuing to operate as a service center? If it’s the latter or you aren’t quite sure, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Cost center: the way of the past

Running the logistics department as a cost center means you are not directly adding to the profits of the business, but still cost the organization money to operate. While the services you provide are necessary to the organization, you do not directly generate revenue. There is another way.

Profit center: the here and now

Effectively running as a profit center, you’re generating your own results and earnings. You may already be accountable to a revenue or profit metric that contributes to the business.

If you aren’t quite there, you’re not alone. So how do you get a seat at the profit-center table? The key lies in efficiencies, agility, and technology. Utilizing a third-party logistics (3PL) company gives you instant access to the necessary tools – warehouse management system (WMS), skilled workforce, and a transportation network. With heightened demand and shortages amassing, a well-connected partner will offer you the cost-savings that actively contributes to the profitability of the company.

With a proactive approach to logistics challenges and results that positively effect organizational profitability, you’ll be ready to take a seat at the table.


Transporters are Diversifying Their Talent Pools

Friday, August 17th, 2018

talent in transportation

No one in the transportation industry is left unaffected by the shifts in logistics caused by a strong economy, increasing customer demands and phenomenoms like the rise of ecommerce. Arguably one of the most pressing challenges on the supply chain manager’s mind is the talent shortage.

“Employment in the transportation and warehousing industries fell 1,300 from June to July, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” (BLS)

With the trucking industry stretched in both drivers and truck availability, railways are taking the opportunity to claim some of the transportation business. However the tight labor marketing is stretching their resources as well. While not every sub-sector is experiencing shortages, there are crucial transportation jobs in need of qualified talent.

Some are turning to tech to solve the problem while others believe the shortage is a farce and blame the predicament on a faulty recruitment process. To combat the challenges, top recruiters are paying more, turning to freelancers, committing to training, and recruiting across generations. Recruiters are using a full tool belt to build a workforce that will best serve their customers.

There are companies finding ways outside of monetary compensation to attract and retain employees. Others, like BNSF Railway who is offering a $25k bonus in certain markets to attract new talent, are showing a willingness to beat out the competition with financial incentives. Offering benefits – financial or otherwise – is only one peice of the recruitment puzzle.

With people opting to work for themselves, the gig economy, freelancing and consulting are on the rise. Employers who recognize this shift are diversifying their support systems while continuing to work with the top talent.

Some employers are looking outside of the industry for talent. Inexperienced doesn’t translate to unqualified. Through training programs they are building their own talent pool. Employers can thus offer more competitive value to desirable prospective employees.

Recruiting the next generation is a top priority, and not just for the transportation industry. Building a multi-generational workforce creates a distinct advantage for your company. Leveraging strengths from a diverse group of people will make your business stronger.

We have been blessed with talented and dedicated employees, including the likes of Jeffery. That doesn’t mean we here at American Warehouse haven’t been affected. The challenges across the industry make us even more grateful for our partners. The relationships with have cultivated with committed logistics professionals allow us to continue offering competitive prices at the highest level of service to our customers.

To learn how American Warehouse can help you fill the gaps in your supply chain, contact us today!

Column: Transportation and Warehousing: NAICS 48-49. (2018, August 17). Retrieved August 17, 2018, from https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag48-49.htm#iag48-49emp1.f.p

Column: Aligning People, Processes, and Technology for the New Future World of Work in the “Gig Economy”. (2018, July 26). Retrieved August 18, 2018, from http://www.supplychain247.com/article/the_new_future_world_of_work_in_the_gig_economy/apics


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:

Self-warehousing
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.

Co-habitation
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 https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/us-ecommerce-sales/


Cross-docking: In One Door and Out the Other

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

Cross-docking

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.

Efficiency
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.