Tag Archives: retail logistics

3 Benefits of Warehousing Services for Your Business

With the growth of the international trade and retail sector, the importance of warehousing services is increasing as well. Proper storage of goods has always been an essential asset of a smooth logistics strategy. In fact, warehousing services can greatly impact your supply chain efficiency.

It is crucial for the company to have enough space to store inbound shipments and consolidate outbound freight. Good warehouse management can provide substantial benefits to your order fulfillment, service, and customer satisfaction.

Here are 3 main benefits of good warehousing services for your business:

Better operational efficiency

Regardless if your warehouse is in-house or you are outsourcing warehouse management, it should result in better efficiency. When you have enough space and it’s being managed the right way, this can reduce costs and make processes run faster and smoother.

Inventory and stock management

A good warehousing service provider has advanced technology and tools to give you increased visibility into your product stock. Therefore, it lets you manage and track all the shipping processes and forecast the next steps according to the data analysis. With accurate inventory insights, you can see what operations require optimization or elimination, and where you have strategy gaps.

Customer satisfaction

In the retail business, the customer’s experience is the ultimate assessment of a company’s success. Customer service is often a weak link in the business strategy. Perhaps effective warehouse management can fix it in your case? It may seem like there’s barely any connection between purchasers and storage facilities. However, properly managed inventory and visibility into the stock can greatly affect the speed of order fulfillment and delivery. All of this results in fast shipping and increases your customer satisfaction within your company’s services.

Although warehousing and storage are often underestimated, they are major contributors to your businesses performance. Practicing an efficient warehouse and inventory management strategy can take your customer service and productivity to another level.

3 Reasons to Use a 3PL For Retail Supply Chain

With increasing competition in the retail market, it has become very challenging for retailers to efficiently manage their supply chains. Essentially, a smooth retail supply chain strategy is a fundamental part of a positive customer experience, and retail companies strive to reach the golden standard of order fulfillment and fast delivery.

The thing is, most of the retail companies are not experts at logistics and supply chain management, and they don’t have dedicated departments for this branch of business. So, to make their online and omnichannel strategy work, retailers turn to 3PL’s for help. According to Pinsent Masons study, 88% of retail companies that outsourced any type of operation to a 3PL were satisfied with the results.

When is the right time to use a 3PL for a retail supply chain?

Outsourcing logistics to a 3PL is a great step that can take a lot of responsibility off of your plate and let you focus on the main business goals. Apart from time and money savings, third-party logistics providers can offer many substantial benefits to your retail business.

Cost-efficiency

Many companies assume that outsourcing to a third party by default means spending more on service fees. However, all the efforts of a 3PL will eventually cost you less than an in-house supply chain management. Retail companies don’t have the negotiating power of a 3PL. Experienced providers work with thousands of carriers on special terms, and can offer you a much lower shipping price than the market average.

Additionally, a 3PL is a one-stop-shop for most of your supply chain needs. That means you don’t have to invest in warehousing, technology, and a logistics team. Ultimately, it’s cheaper to delegate logistics to the industry experts instead of learning every process from scratch and experiment on your own business.

Streamlined processes

Retailers have numerous distribution channels. Managing outbound shipments and consistently storing all of the data can be extremely challenging. 3PL’s take this burden away. Good logistics providers have special technology, like a transportation management system, where you can navigate any information on a certain shipment. In a dynamic world of retail, the ability to streamline transportation processes and track shipments is critical for a smooth business flow.

Flexibility

Another reason to outsource to a 3PL is their ability to adjust to your business needs. In most cases, 3PL’s provide an extremely wide span of services. You can outsource a single link, or an entire supply chain, and still be confident about the results. From transportation to inventory and returns management, you can always add up or take off operations from an outsourcing list.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, customer demands set the bar of performance level for retail companies. Those who strive to succeed in the competition constantly look for ways to improve their business flow and efficiency. Eventually, more and more retailers turn to 3PL’s to take care of their supply chains and get excellent results while focusing on their core competence.

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A Closer Look At Small Business Shipping and Logistics

Shipping has become a crucial part of a business’s success, especially small businesses. With the competition among retailers constantly increasing, the demand for fast and affordable small business shipping grows as well. We know how shipping looks from a customer’s perspective, but how does it really work from the inside? What challenges do companies face to provide their customers with a smooth shipping experience?

The state of the market and the growing influence of customer’s needs put small businesses under pressure of managing excellent service, fast and free delivery, and high-end product quality. In some cases, to supply free, next-day shipping, companies have to make product quality a second priority. When you over-concentrate on the product itself, your customer service may suffer.

It is possible for your business to find an optimal shipping solution. Companies are seeking reliable, affordable solutions to continue to make their customers happy every day.

What challenges do companies face when arranging small business shipping and logistics?small business shipping

Essentially, setting up an efficient transportation strategy can be challenging for some companies. Here are some of the major obstacles businesses have to deal with:

Transportation costs

Price is the initial concern when picking a small business shipping option. Considering an extremely diverse nature of products, volumes and shipping frequency, it’s hard to find a one-stop-shop for all your transportation needs. Especially, when most of the options are quite costly. With the pressure of fast and free shipping, companies try to save wherever possible to afford such shipping characteristics. With that being said, the main challenge of small business transportation is finding an affordable, reliable and efficient shipping partner.

Organizing and operations

Another major undertaking of small business transportation is the lack of planning and organization. It is hard to manage everything from point A to B, and strategic planning is often an outsider in this game. It is common for small businesses to lack automation and professional software, however, tools like a transportation management system or even online shipping service can be extremely beneficial for process automation. Apart from that, you gain complete visibility into shipment spends, which lets you reduce extra costs.

In-house logistics department or outsourcing?

Many companies today decide to outsource their logistics and supply chain management to third-party providers. Despite some businesses considering it a risky decision, outsourcing can actually make your transportation much less painful. A 3PL can supply you with technology so that you don’t have to invest in your own software. Additionally, they can be your one point of contact and ‘shop’ through various carriers and negotiate exclusive freight rates for you. All of the processes are reported to you. On average, shippers admit from 10 to 30 percent of savings after using 3PL services.

Which option is better for small business shipping and logistics?

Ultimately, fast and cheap shipping is not as easy to provide as it seems. Small businesses face many challenges to supply their customers with good service and affordable shipping, however, there are many ways to save on transportation costs and increase shipping efficiency. One of the solutions for simplifying small business transportation is outsourcing, which can be very useful for companies.

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Competing with “The Amazon Effect”

There is no denying that Amazon is making its way to be a major competitor in today’s industry. Many companies, especially retail companies, feel pressure from Amazon to meet customers online and connect them with simple shipping solutions. The Amazon effect is a term used in the industry to explain how the company has changed the way consumers get goods and has introduced them to a seamless shopping process with almost immediate results.

It is important for businesses to try and stay ahead of companies like Amazon and work to counter the Amazon effect and improve overall shipping processes. Finding different ways to make shopping and shipping convenient for consumers is a great way to attract consumers attention and boost your business.

Take Advantage of Technology 

Companies can utilize new technology, such as mobile applications, to meet their customers’ needs to make shopping, ordering and shipping as easy as possible. Utilizing technology to meet customers’ needs not only gives them a better experience but can help the company track different customer behavior and trends to best attract their attention in the future.

Enhance your Shipping Strategy

Companies should have a shipping strategy in place that includes automation, a mix of carriers and a trusted shipping partner. Having this type of shipping strategy can help businesses stay ahead and compete in the age of Amazon. Amazon has recently made more of an effort to get involved in the shipping industry with the rise of its Amazon Logistics initiative that gives consumers faster delivery options.

Customer Service is Key

One of Amazon’s major focuses is quality customer service to keep customers coming back to their business. If you are a shipping or retail company that is competing with Amazon, make sure to give customers a positive experience with their shipments and use technology to keep them updated throughout the process. Utilizing resources like a third-party logistics provider is a great way to keep shipments organized and maintain visibility throughout your supply chain to satisfy your customers.

You don’t have to be a big company to compete with major competitors like Amazon. Making sure that your company has the right resources available can help your business stay ahead and keep your customers or shippers happy.

 

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Trending Topic: Can Small Retailers Meet “Fast and Free” Shipping Demands?

Nowadays, we’re living in the age of the “spoiled consumer.” E-commerce shoppers have an undying demand for both fast and free shipping, one that has been perpetuated by benefits like Amazon’s Prime membership, a $99 per year membership that qualifies buyers for free two-day shipping on eligible products. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Prime member who will buy a product with no “Prime” logo without extensive searching for a substitute that comes with the free two-day shipping benefits first.

Consumer’s new definition of “fast” shipping extends no further than two-day delivery, and they don’t want to pay a lot for it.

According to Deloitte’s holiday shopping survey, the single most important e-tailing option that consumers were taking advantage of during the holiday shopping season was free shipping. 87% of respondents said that free shipping was more important than fast, as they would only pay an average of $2.40 in two-day shipping costs for a standard size package.

When Amazon began offering its Prime membership in 2005, the company was already big enough to absorb the shipping costs that weren’t covered by membership revenues. Even though most customers would opt for slightly-slower, but free, delivery, the fast and free demand is still a burden for small to medium-sized retailers who can’t afford to lose huge amounts of money in exchange for higher market share in the long run. Instead, these retailers are forced to set a considerably high minimum purchase price for orders to qualify for free shipping.

But, it’s not all bad news. There are some strategies that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can adapt to overcome the “spoiled consumer’s” fast and free shipping demand.

  1. Up The Analyzation and Calculate the True Cost of Shipping. Retail margins are shrinking, and SMB’s need to improve their analyzation of each item to calculate a realistic shipping cost.
  2. Adopt More Creative Large Order Incentives. Amine Khechfé makes a point that “shipping costs only rise incrementally with the addition of items that are grouped into a single delivery.”
  3. Consider Enrolling in Shipping Services Through Other Companies. Google Shopping can help offset SMB shipping costs by having merchants pay a listing fee that could be lower than the full cost of freight. Likewise, USPS offers an alternative that is more cost-efficient than FedEx and UPS, allowing SMBs to take advantage of three-day priority mail at the price similar to 4-6 day ground options.

When trying to compete with large retailers’ fast and free shipping offerings, SMBs should realize that they’re not going to get the same prices that these retailers get, but it will be beneficial to combine their own offerings with smart positioning to set customer expectations. This way, the customer won’t be disappointed or shy away from their company.

We’ve heard the “do’s” or large retailer shipping competition, but what are the “don’ts?”

  1. Negatively Surprising the Customer. SMBs need to state their shipping policies and options clearly and upfront. This way, they will avoid shopping cart abandonment.
  2. Inadequate Knowledge of Inventory. Knowing what’s on hand in the SMBs fulfillment center will allow them to apply optimal shipping policies for each item.

The bottom line: Amazon may be dominant, but SMB’s can survive in the e-commerce world as long as they offer attractive products and upfront shipping policies. Meeting and exceeding customer expectations should be the most important goal in retailer promises, and when that is the case, they have the tools they need to compete across the whole supply chain.

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Read More: 4 Challenges in Supplier-Retailer Collaboration on Transportation, Advice for Retail Shippers Struggling with Last Mile.Let the Experts Optimize Your LTL Contact Us Now

Here’s How Grocery Retailers Can Reel in Millennial Shoppers

Grocery retailers spend hours, days, and even months trying to differentiate their brand and make themselves the consumer’s go-to store. In an industry that touches almost every target market, this can be tough.

Nowadays, the largesOmni_Channel__Graphic.pngt group of grocery shoppers is no longer the baby boomer generation, but the millennials.

Millennials expect their groceries to be available in more places than just the store – instead, they want to order from their computers and mobile devices and expect their orders to be delivered or available for easy pickup, often within the same day.

Research has also shown that 68% of millennials value and desire a cohesive, seamless experience, regardless of the purchasing channel. If a retailer can’t provide this, they’ll choose someone who can. While grocers spend so much time trying to differentiate their brand, they may be missing out on the most crucial differentiator of all: an omnichannel experience that provides customers with fast, convenient delivery, whether it’s through click-and-collect or doorstep delivery. (Read more: Omnichannel Takes on Food Industry, Gains Consumer Support)

So how can retailers change to meet the growing needs of the new shopping generation?

To start, they’ll need to overcome these tough logistics challenges:

  • Home delivery: In an industry that relies on the freshness of its products, an optimal journey from the distribution center (DC) to shopper and store to the shopper is critical. Without this, the business plan will often deviate on the day of execution, leaving retailers pressed to respond quickly and adequately. Leveraging demand-based pricing with efficient same-day delivery is another challenge that goes hand-in-hand with this one.
  • Store replenishment: An optimal route for the movement of SKUs from DC to store is also crucial in maintaining item freshness. Identification of opportunities for backhaul pairing to reduce empty miles and smart planning are needed to overcome this challenge.
  • Network consolidation: Retailers need to analyze and choose the best DC locations based on store and shopper proximity, as well as ruling out a process for using Direct Store Delivery for certain transactions. (Read more: Consider This When Choosing Your Next DC Location)

Though challenging, the change in business plan will cause grocers to experience:

  • Zero redundancy in infrastructure.
  • Lower third-party costs.
  • Reduced empty miles.
  • Higher capacity.

In order to reel in the millennial shopper and make them a loyal one, grocers should implement their omnichannel and refine their delivery processes sooner rather than later.

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Same-Day Delivery: 3 Logistics Questions Shippers Need to Answer

Who is the Same-Day Delivery Consumer?

Consumer expectations are growing. Why? Since companies have tested the same-day delivery option, consumers expect it as the standard. Coldwell Banker says about 53% of US customers are more likely to make an online purchase if they are offered same-day delivery. 

According to a 2016 Deloitte survey, millennial shoppers are willing to pay an average of $5.50 per order to get same-day service, compared with $3.80 for all others. Business Insider defines the same-day delivery demographic as a millennial, urban male. 98% of millennials consider same-day delivery to be fast shipping, but the response rate drops to 88% when it comes to two-day delivery.

By 2045, freight volume will increase by 45%. This puts a lot of pressure on carriers, drivers, logistics professionals, warehouse management, and technology to move goods to the right place and quickly. A Forbes article said FedEx confirmed most of the company’s nearly $5B in increased capital is going to the ground division, driven by the demand of e-commerce customers.

Read: Logistics Challenges of Same-Day Delivery

Is Amazon a 3PL and What Can I Learn from Prime?

Amazon created services and offers that consumers didn’t even know they wanted – and now, they’re the expectation. Amazon offers free same-day delivery on some items to Prime members and also provides one-hour delivery for $7.99 on thousands of products in 29 US cities. 1 in 6 Americans, about 50 million, are Amazon Prime members. Amazon does not release its Prime membership numbers, so independent research was done by Cowen & Co., says SupplyChainBrain. Their latest research found that membership had risen by 23% YoY.

Amazon has definitely disrupted the logistics industry, and many 3PLs consider the company a competitor. 20 out of 25 CEOs surveyed by Supply Chain Quarterly think that Amazon has had a significant effect on supply chain management; mostly because of Amazon’s role in high-speed delivery programs. Respondents noted that Amazon’s delivery programs have impacted traditional logistics processes since their quick fulfillment and delivery process reduce the need for expedited transportation.

FreeShipping.jpgAccording to Business Insider, 4 in 10 US shoppers say they would use same-day delivery if they didn’t have time to go to the store, and 1 in 4 shoppers said they would consider abandoning their online cart if same-day delivery wasn’t an option. PetSmart, Bloomingdales, Deliv, Foot Locker, Instacart, and The Container Store have added their names to the long list of companies now providing same-day delivery to select consumers.

Why Don’t More Companies Add Same-Day Service?

Recent surveys show more companies in all verticals are migrating to the internet and channel boundaries are blurred. Only 9% of North American retailers offer same-day delivery and feel it is working well, while 13% who offer same-day delivery thinks the program needs to be improved. For online
businesses, same-day delivery makes sense and over 50% plan on providing same-day delivery services in the next 3-5 years, according to Bringg.

Logistically, same-day delivery isn’t a current reality for many organizations. But, technology is changing that. With 61% of consumers willing to pay more for same-day delivery, companies can no longer avoid the challenge. But, even with all the customer demand (and satisfaction) with companies offering same-day delivery, almost half (49%) of retailers have no plans to offer same-day delivery soon. Most organizations haven’t set up the supply chain to efficiently meet customer demand – DCs aren’t located in the most optimal locations for at home, same-day delivery promises. Supply chains have traditionally been optimized to feed merchandise into specific brick-and-mortar locations without crossing any channels. So, the first step to getting faster delivery options are to build up warehouse management systems and create an efficient and effective fulfillment and supply chain process.

What to Read Next: What Your Inventory Reveals about Your Reverse Logistics

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Omnichannel Takes on Food Industry, Gains Consumer Support

There is a shift in how consumers are approaching grocery shopping, using more channels than ever before. Grocery is an $800 billion market – online grocery sales are expected to grow, becoming a $24 billion industry in 2017.

“Retailers are grappling to not only understand consumers varied shopping patterns, but also capture shares of their increasingly fragmented shopping trips,” says Susan Viaman of IRI.

Although the food supply chain infrastructure is efficient, consumers are seeking home delivery and click-and-collect options, and grocery stores have to adjust, overhauling their fulfillment system to serve the omnichannel market.

According to Food Logistics, demand for food retail will be amplified by disruptive supply chain innovations designed to offer fast, exact fulfillment of customized orders. The ability to deliver original transportation solutions in on-time delivery, scheduling, and visibility and utilize technologies in the warehouse will become a strategic differentiator for companies that want to remain competitive and gain market share.

Omnichannel Environment

“The conventional supermarket is a dinosaur,” says Phil Lempert, in an NRF article. “It doesn’t serve the needs of today’s shopper who is looking for more exciting offerings.”

The food industry has invested less than other sectors in understanding the consumer through e-commerce interactions. Consumers don’t cling to any one channel for buying; we know that they want to buy the product they want, when they want it, from whatever channel is most convenient. And, today’s consumers are demanding local, fresh, organic, and sustainable products and expect food companies to follow these demands, so the omnichannel landscape can’t be dismissed by grocers any longer.

96% of Americans have made an online purchase at some point in their lives, and four in five have done so in the last month alone, according to BigCommerce. Online shopping is extremely popular; Americans cite it as their preferred way to shop. One-third of US consumers are online grocery shopping. In 2016, grocery e-retail sales will hit double digits (17%), where only 8% of consumers bought groceries online in 2015.

“The reinvention happening in this space is being driven by the consumer. They’ve pushed the traditional supermarket operators to ask themselves, “How can I be different?’” says Farla Efros, HRC Advisory. “Consumers are time-starved, they like online ordering.”

Many grocers feel pressure from e-commerce, but the ability to interact with customers through multiple channels promises benefits, says Kevin Reader, KNAPP Logistics Automation, Inc. “An omnichannel customer is worth more than a single channel customer.”

Food Logistics cites 7 elements for a successful omnichannel retail supply chain:

  • Real-time visibility into inventory to reduce safety stock and inventory carrying costs.
  • Active control over access and allocation of inventory in real-time.
  • Processing and shipping of individual orders at the lowest cost, either direct-to-consumer or direct-to-store or for click and collect.
  • Fully automated distribution processes that will increase productivity and fulfillment rates using material handling equipment.
  • Flexible fulfillment paths to meet demand, regardless of which channel it comes from.
  • Maximized efficiency in every part of the supply chain to meet customer expectations.
  • Minimum cost to serve.


Leading the Way: Amazon Fresh

Amazon is notorious for reinventing itself and finding new ways to create value for its consumers and now it’s challenging grocery stores by breaking into the online food order and delivery business. By 2018, Amazon Fresh will have 20 locations. It grabs 84% of online grocery visits and 59% of online grocery spending. It’s developing new technology like license plate scanners and in-store kiosks to meet consumer demand. Amazon is constantly working on making shopping and buying easier, and grocery stores need to respond. Besides Amazon, Kroger and Wal-Mart are threats to supermarkets, based on their national footprints and the investments they have made in omnichannel fulfillment.

Logistics and Omnichannel

  • Distribution: The direct-to-consumer fulfillment method is creating a need for specifically built distribution centers. Direct-to-consumer forces more outbound, direct, fulfillment responsibilities.
  • Transportation: The expansion of e-commerce in the food industry has increased the volume of orders, which means utilizing more carriers to fulfill orders for shippers.
  • Technology, Visibility and Analytics: A transportation management system can handle the outbound and inbound operations, route modeling, dock scheduling, invoicing, and mode selection. When you’re monitoring your TMS, it’s simple to track your KPIs and determine new solutions to benefit your business. When you’re shipping from one DC to another, or from a brick-and-mortar location to the end user, it helps to know where the truck is and when it’s expected to arrive, which a TMS can help configure. Customers want visibility, too – they should be made aware of any disruptions during the product’s journey.

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Advice for Retail Shippers Struggling with Last Mile

Understanding Last Mile Logistics

Last mile logistics refers to the outbound transportation from a fulfillment or distribution center to the final delivery at the customer’s door. The last mile is the top priority for retail brands but is also the most expensive, least efficient and most challenging part of the delivery process.

Read 6 Signs it’s Time to Outsource Transportation Management

The e-commerce consumer market is growing; eMarketer forecasts that global B2C e-commerce will reach $2.3 trillion by 2017. With more shoppers comes increased need for quick fulfillment, generating further attention to the last mile.

With last-mile logistics, retailers have the opportunity to obtain loyal, lifelong customers or risk dissatisfying them and damaging its reputation. 62% of consumers are less likely to shop with a retailer if an item wasn’t delivered within the two days of the promised delivery date. According to Todd Everett, it’s also critical to pay attention to the last mile’s return process. Return policies can drive more business. He says, “If the consumer doesn’t have a convenient and enjoyable returns experience, they probably aren’t going to buy from that retailer again.”

Read Reverse Logistics: Everything You Need to Know

Retailers are under pressure to manage inventory and provide structured delivery in terms of speed, rate, service, and quality.

Technology is shaping retail’s supply chain world. Only 21% of retailers said they are more confident than one year ago in their ability to delivery omnichannel experiences. Zappos and Amazon lead the way in terms of consumer expectations on delivery and return policies. Amazon, for example, controls its last mile logistics by operating out of massive distribution centers, with robotic technology, and owns a private fleet for deliveries. This strategy permits Amazon to be flexible to consumer needs and reduce costs.

Why Are Retailers Struggling with the Last Mile?

The last mile is a fundamental logistics step and is exceedingly difficult to manage. For success in the last mile, retail shippers should evaluate their fulfillment rules and distribution processes. The last mile is typically the least effective piece of the transportation process and contributes as much as 28% of the total transportation cost. The last mile is expensive because:

  • It can be difficult to reach the customer
  • Consumers aren’t home when the delivery arrives
  • The likelihood of returns
  • High costs associated with driving around.

Read: E-Commerce Changes Traditional Retail Shipping Strategies

How to Master Last Mile Logistics

Retailers have to find the right mix to master their last mile, omnichannel approach. The secret behind successful strategies is delivering to the customer what they want. Visibility, control, flexibility, and collaboration are the key qualities for a successful last mile logistics strategy.

Creating visibility permits retailers to fulfill, forecast and trace product shipments proficiently and in real-time.  Formulating shipping options enables customers to choose the selection that fits their need in that exact moment. When customers decide where to shop, shipping flexibility is an essential feature.

A responsive last mile strategy enables retailers to meet demand, efficiently manage shipping options and maintain inventory. Technology creates efficiency – automating processes and rules like carrier selection, track and trace features, and lane analysis – save time and money. Streamlining transportation initiatives with a TMS is the best way to overcome the challenge of last mile logistics.

More consumers are moving online to get their shopping done. For retailers, optimizing the supply chain, specifically the last mile logistics, will provide opportunities to increase business revenue and bring customers back.

Read: Keys to Omni-Channel Success

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5 Tips for Small Businesses to Ship On-Time, Every-Time

Delivering products on time is crucial in any industry. With businesses and consumers alike, this final touchpoint in the supply chain represents your ability to fulfill their needs competently. It is especially important for small businesses to deliver products on-time, as a poor reputation can be detrimental to the bottom-line. 

Whether you are shipping to consumers or businesses, delayed shipments should be taken seriously. Late deliveries slow down the entire supply chain and hurt customer relationships, which can have serious consequences for your bottom line: 70% of consumers may not shop with a retailer again after receiving a late shipment, and 86% of consumers say their expectation for on-time delivery increases in peak seasons like the holiday shopping season.

A transportation management system (TMS) is a great tool for small businesses to improve shipping performance. TMS software helps you find the lowest linehaul rates on the market, choosing from a network of carriers pre-qualified for safety and service. Freight billing and audit is automated, and all data is collected in one system, enabling freight reports for visibility into your transportation processes.

A TMS provides the foundation for freight optimization. It gives you the visibility to discover flaws in your distribution network. If you couldn’t see what’s wrong with your transportation, how would you fix it?

To ship on-time, every-time, follow these 5 tips:

Analyze Performance Data for Supply Chain Partners

Are some of your inbound materials consistently delivered late or damaged? Are you delivering late to one of your customers more often than the others? Sometimes, suppliers, customers, and freight carriers cause late deliveries. With the visibility you gain from a TMS, you can pinpoint which partners in your supply chain are causing trouble and work with them to fix it.

Assess Dwell Time at Your Facility

The way you ship items may be slowing down the transportation process and causing late deliveries. Dwell time, or how long a driver has to wait at your facility or location, is very important. If dwell time is too long, it may force the driver, due to hours of service rules, to take an extra day to arrive at the destination. Long dwell time will decrease a driver’s willingness to haul your freight, leaving you to work with carriers that have a bad history of truck and driver out of service rates.

Create Visibility into Freight Movement

Although LTL shipping is convenient and fast, you are particularly susceptible to delays. LTL trailers are filled with multiple loads from different companies, so the route is longer, and more freight handling is required, which leads to a higher chance for  damage.,  When you ship LTL, avoid delays and damage by ensuring there is a track and trace feature available, so you can keep an eye on your freight.

Lean on 3PL Expertise

3PLs have proprietary technology and a large carrier capacity to put to work for you. This enables visibility into transportation and some of the lowest linehaul rates on the market. These carriers are pre-qualified for safety and security, so you’ll experience less frequent disruptions. A 3PLs expertise will help you increase shipment speed, reliability and reduce costs. A 3PL will take care of transporting your goods while you focus on core competencies.

Additional tip: always inform customers of late delivery. While warning customers of an anticipated disruption won’t stop the shipment being delayed, it can mitigate the negative impact on reputation and perceived service. Having track and trace features from a TMS will enable you to warn customers of late delivery. When your customers are made aware of a delay in shipping, they can make plans to notify their customers and/or prepare to receive the shipment at a different date, reducing the inefficiencies on their end.

There are many practical TMS solutions for small businesses – especially TMS software hosted on the cloud, where you only pay for what you use. Typically, the cost savings from lower linehaul rates and better routing offsets the cost of using a TMS. TMS software allows small businesses to spend less time on transportation and more time on core competencies.

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