Archive for ‘Warehousing’

Logistics Profit Center: When Cost Savings Isn’t Enough

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

logistics-profit-center

Supply chain, warehousing and transportation have long been considered cost centers – 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.


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/


Partner Spotlight: Knickerbockers American Manufacturing

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!


The Perfect Storm in Global Shipping

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Transportation Perfect Storm

The global logistics shipping industry, from domestic trucking to international air and ocean transportation, is experiencing a whirlwind of upheaval and change. Driven by the political climate, changing consumer demands and labor shortages, manufacturers and shippers are being called on to solve unprecedented challenges all while rates are down and service demands are increasing. With global shipping becoming increasingly difficult to navigate, logistics professionals will have mountains to overcome in the coming years.

While NAFTA negotiations continue to loom over our heads, people in and outside of the transportation industry are fearful of the impact. The loss of trade benefits could be devastating, should the United States pull out of the deal. It’s a similar situation with potential trade tariffs for China and Brexit in the works. It’s yet unclear how the shifts in trade agreements will affect the global economy and shipping industry.

Already affecting the industry: ecommerce. Merchants selling online are generating more sales, but increased business creates challenges in consumer demands and logistics. Ecomm shoppers want faster and cheaper – if not free – delivery. And they expect it to be an experience. Further, the state of the global shipping industry will greatly impact our ability to trade and ship from manufacturers outside of the United States.

On the national front, the United States is experiencing a trucking crisis with a driver shortage. The effects are already being felt, with delivery delays and higher costs to transport. Driverless cars and trucks are on their way but technologists don’t agree on how quickly that day will come.

Commerce flowing in and out of our homebase in Portland has also been impacted by the struggles experienced at the Port of Portland. With the existence of 2000 TEU carriers, and a number of other factors, the Port of has been unsuccessful in attracting ocean freight carriers. The port has shifted its focus to a mixed-use model in order to serve a more diversified client base. To move products overseas, the Port has partnered with BNSF Railway to transport goods north to Seattle-Tacoma to be shipped overseas.

By air, water or land, the transport of goods is crucial to our economy and way of life. Transporters are being challenged in the current environment and where it will turn is yet to be seen. Despite the mounting challenges in the transportation industry, there’s enormous opportunity for innovation and growth. Those who adapt to the changes will come out on top.

American Warehouse can help navigate your logistics, contact us today to learn more!


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 >>


FLEXE Space for Modern Logistics

Friday, July 21st, 2017

FLEXE Warehouse Partners

An emerging market is growing quicker than expected. You’re out of warehouse storage. Your customer needs the product now. Enter FLEXE, the marketplace for warehouse space. FLEXE aims to solve the problems of warehouse overflow and fulfillment demands by connecting brands directly to a warehouse provider.

Called the AirBNB of warehousing, FLEXE helps retailers fill an immediate need while driving business to warehousers. They act as a middle-man, managing the customer’s inventory through their own WMS and providing centralized visibility and communication.

Additionally, FLEXE announced earlier this summer that they were expanding into fulfillment services, offering nation-wide next day shipping for their clients. Retailers are thrilled to have Amazon-fast shipments without the associated price tag.

Prime for innovation, FLEXE utilized the on-demand business model to build a service that filled a need – one that’s great for the shipper and great for the warehouse. Like a 3PL, FLEXE’s service reduces overhead and risk while increasing profit. We’re huge fans of the FLEXE team and fellow partners, though the FLEXE model somewhat depersonalizes the process. Our business was built on the commitment to customer partnering, and we’ll continue to value the relationships we build with our customers. That stands true for our FLEXE customers as well.

We’re honored to have been selected as a FLEXE premiere partner and look forward to continuing our commitment to provide top-notch service to all of our logistics customers.


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.


3PL & You: Supply Chain Heroics

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

 

3PL-relationship

You’re the master of your supply chain. Therefore, the decision to work with a 3PL provider cannot be made lightly. Whatever led you to outsource your logistics — perhaps you’re scaling too quickly or you simply want to mitigate risks — there are many benefits of doing so. Hiring a 3PL provides you with an expert partner, transfers liabilities, and reduces equipment and administrative costs. It can free up your time and resources while ultimately saving you money.

Many manufacturers and SMBs value cost savings when procuring service vendors. However, your relationship with a third party logistics provider can and should be more than transactional. When you work with a 3PL you’re entrusting your product, finances and customer’s satisfaction to an outside group. Your 3PL should be an extension of your supply chain team that works with your best interests in mind and creates a seamless logistic network.

But it’s not just about you. A strong logistic partnership is a service to your customers, stakeholders and employees. It’s the logistics managers’ duty to deliver on-time and optimize operations while maintaining a budget. A great 3PL doesn’t just serve you, they partner with you to orchestrate a successful supply chain and distribution plan that sets you up to win the day.

How can you secure trust and rapport between yourself and a potential vendor? We recommend starting with the RFP or quote request. Use the first touch point to discover a possible partnership. The right partner will demonstrate that they are invested in the success of your business and supply chain. Clearly state your business needs and discuss whether your goals are aligned. Here’s what you should expect from your provider:

  • Puts people first
  • Delivers personalized service
  • Demonstrates honesty and transparency
  • Enacts problem solving that ensures you come out on top

 
When you’re operating in an evolving and demanding business climate, it’s crucial to optimize your logistics. With the right partner in place, you’ll be able to deliver on commitments to your customers, making you the hero of your company’s logistics story.

American Warehouse’s philosophy was founded on the principle of customer partnering. To learn more about how we can serve your west coast logistics needs, contact us at sales@americanwhse.com.


ABBLighting Expands To Second Warehouse Location

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

 

Above All Lighting

ABBLighting, manufacturer of indoor and outdoor LED lighting products, has recently expanded to include a new warehouse location on the West Coast. Just a few miles south of Portland, the second ABBLighting warehouse is based in Milwaukie, Oregon and will allow for shorter lead times for customers locally as well as west of Mississippi. ABBLighting’s western warehouse will be stocking a growing number of products, beginning with their “A” items. ABBLighting’s product line will be fully represented in the West by the end of the year. Along with shipping, will-call is also available for local ABBLighting customers during regular business hours.

“The addition of a new ABBLighting warehouse in the West will allow us to better serve all of our western customers.”

– Bob Kilburn, Western Regional Sales Manager

ABBLighting’s main distribution warehouse, sales office and showroom is located in Toms River, New Jersey. With a warehouse location on each coast, ABBLighting can continue to give the highest-quality service for which ABBLighting has become known. By utilizing dual warehouses, ABBLighting’s supply chain in its entirety will be shortened. While outbound product going to the West will have noticeably shorter freight times, the western warehouse will also have an impact on inbound freight with shorter lead times on containers shipping to their Oregon warehouse.


Portland 3PLs Hope This Ends Soon

Monday, February 9th, 2015

 

Negotiation

Logistics Management Magazine
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor

The before and after at the LA Port of the negotiations with PMA and ILWU

The before and after at the LA Port of the negotiations with PMA and ILWU

February 04, 2015

Seeking to break the deadlock in stalled West Coast longshore negotiations, the Pacific Maritime Association has made an “all-in” contract offer that would significantly increase compensation to members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

The two factions – both based in San Francisco – appear to be ramping up the rhetoric in public forums and the trade press.

Full-time ILWU workers already earn an average of $147,000 per year, and would see their wages rise roughly 3 percent per year, along with fully paid health care that costs employers $35,000 per worker per year. The maximum ILWU pension would rise to $88,800 per year as part of the proposed five-year contract.

PMA’s offer is designed to bring contract negotiations to a close after nearly nine months, and follows three months of severe ILWU slowdowns that have crippled productivity at major West Coast ports.

“Our members have shown tremendous restraint in the face of ILWU slowdowns that have cut productivity by as much as 30, 40, even 50 percent,” said PMA President Jim McKenna. “This offer puts us all-in as we seek to wrap up these contract talks and return our ports to normal operations.”

PMA’s offer also meets the ILWU’s two biggest demands: maintenance of their “Cadillac” health benefits – which feature no worker premiums, no co-pays and no deductibles for in-network benefits – as well as jurisdiction over maintenance and repair of truck chassis. Those two issues consumed months of contract talks, and in both cases PMA has offered significant concessions to the ILWU.

The resulting contract offer calls for a cost increase of roughly five percent each year over the life of the five-year contract.

ILWU slowdowns – which are prohibited by contract – are now in their 14th week, severely impacting operations at major West Coast ports including Tacoma, Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles and Long Beach. PMA has requested a contract extension, which would prohibit slowdowns, but the ILWU has refused.

Despite four weeks of participation by a federal mediator, the parties have not yet been able to bridge the considerable gaps between them.

According to the PMA, the Union has recently made significant new demands, and is also insisting on changes to the decades-long process for selecting arbitrators – trying to change the rules on the waterfront in their favor, giving them the ability to unilaterally remove arbitrators who rule against them.

“The deteriorating situation on the docks is in nobody’s long-term interest,” McKenna said. “I hope the ILWU leadership will give very serious consideration to this contract offer, which I believe respects their members and gives us a clear path to conclude these talks. We owe it to workers and businesses across the nation to resolve our differences and get our ports moving again.”

The Port of Oakland was quick to follow up on this development, noting that local Importers and exporters are suffering significant cargo delays.

“Central Valley farmers can’t ship their produce,” said port spokesmen. “Small business owners can’t get goods to put on the shelf. Harbor truckers can’t do their jobs. Everyone is suffering. If the situation, worsens….if West Coast ports shut down, the U.S. economy and the global supply chain will be jeopardized.”

Category Warehousing