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RSL AND THE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE OF ORDER FULFILLMENT

RSL AND THE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE OF ORDER FULFILLMENT

Order fulfillment can be labeled as the least appealing part of the e-commerce lifecycle. However, as unappealing as it is, order fulfillment is integral to the shopper and retailer. On its simplest level, an order that is placed must be shipped out. So, how can an order fulfillment 3PL be a competitive advantage for retailers?

Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) is a leading 3PL that operates a nationwide network of 12 order fulfillment facilities. With such an expansive network, RSL is uniquely positioned to provide the competitive advantage that many retailers need.  “The RSL network opens the marketplace to choice and flexibility,” says Michael Manzione, CEO of Rakuten Super Logistics. “Scaling up and down is invaluable and, depending on your size and need, you can utilize our two-day delivery network or drill down to further locate your product closer to the end consumer.”

While RSL is among the 3PLs with the most expansive U.S. networks, they are not stopping there. They recently announced plans to open an additional six U.S. facilities by the end of the year. Their expansion will include the major metropolitan cities of Houston and Los Angeles.

“Our continued expansion into major metropolitan markets is a commitment to our customers,” Manzione says. “Our larger footprint will facilitate our ability to deliver our clients product to their customers via next day ground and even same day in some cases.”

Meeting a client’s demand is always a priority. This is evident in RSL clients that practice Just In Time (JIT) inventory from overseas. When executed properly, JIT is a competitive advantage as the inventory system increases efficiency and decreases waste by receiving product as it is ordered, thereby reducing inventory costs.

Rakuten Super Logistics’ 12 facilities are all located near major shipping ports, which reduces the time from when a product enters the country to when it is received in the warehouse. That close proximity to major container ports allows RSL clients to keep lower inventory levels, thereby reducing their costs while leaving room for scalability.

Scalability is a huge advantage for retailers that have seasonal lifecycles. Take Black Friday as an example. In 2018, Black Friday e-commerce sales in the U.S. topped $6.2 billion, dwarfing the $5 billion in 2017 Black Friday sales.* The strain on 3PLs was enormous but managed through valuable resources. However, many retailers who managed order fulfillment in-house could not meet the increased customer demand.

Operating a vast network of facilities, RSL provides more than just the ability to scale. It provides significant cost savings to its clients. “Our approach to serving the small to middle-size e-commerce companies allows them to compete equally with their larger competitors at a competitive rate,” says Manzione.

Rakuten Super Logistics negotiates shipping rates with the major carriers based on their large-scale shipping volumes. This means that when an e-commerce retailer partners with RSL, they receive the reduced, negotiated shipping rates.

“With the USPS First Class Packages service structure change to zone-based pricing, all e-commerce retailers must consider how to locate their product closer to their customers,” Manzione notes. The zone-based pricing structure will leave many retailers sticker shocked–the cost to ship a one-pound package from LA to New York will be significantly higher.  Leveraging Rakuten Super Logistics’ shipping rates will help keep these costs more manageable.

The savings isn’t always bottom line either. “We have built a great two-day ground network and now want to offer additional choices for those seeking same day and next day delivery, while maintaining lower shipping costs,” Manzione says. “Technology is the key to our success. In 2018, we implemented ‘picker-robots’ developed by California-based inVia. The picker robots help increase production and order accuracy. Technology and innovation have been the backbone of Rakuten Super Logistics. We continue to implement the latest technology.”

Manzione continues: “The exponential growth in e-commerce couldn’t have been accomplished without significant changes to logistics. Rakuten Super Logistics has been on the forefront of 3PL innovation; from using robotics to zone skipping, Rakuten Super Logistics provides clients with a competitive advantage to succeed in the tough online space.”

Source: Statista

LET’S COUNT THE WAYS 3PLS ADD VALUE TO YOUR COMPANY’S WAREHOUSING AND DISTRIBUTION PROCESSES

Growing pains aren’t just for new businesses. As any experienced business leader will tell you, even a well-established business will run up against its share of challenges from time to time. One such challenge is often inventory management, or more specifically how to process that inventory in a timely and cost-effective manner. That’s where third-party-logistics, or 3PLs, come in.
Third-party logistics is the outsourcing of any logistics services, from shipping to warehousing and distribution. But how can outsourcing help your business? After all, it’s just going to cost more money, right? Not necessarily—and even when it does, that investment is usually money well spent.
If you’re curious about how 3PLs can add value to your company’s warehousing and distribution processes, here are some of the top reasons you should consider switching operations to one.

They help alleviate those growing pains

Having a 3PL provider host your warehousing and distribution options allows businesses of all sizes to grow without worrying about one of the most crucial aspects of growth: inventory. By transporting inventory from ports or domestic manufacturers to the warehouse or straight to your business, 3PLs save you time, labor and even the ability to expand without physically expanding your site. On the flipside, are you ready to scale back on seasonal inventory? Warehousing with a 3PL will allow you to eliminate unneeded or unwanted space without having to pay for extra overhead you no longer need.
An added bonus? Working with a 3PL provider can help generate income, because thanks to an expanded delivery network, your products can reach more customers in more places, and at a faster speed than in-house logistics may be capable of.
This efficiency means that seasonal items arrive in season, trendy items arrive before the trend is over.

Less investment

Yes, 3PLs are an investment in your inventory management processes, but that investment is often significantly less costly than investing in your own logistics operations. When you outsource to a 3PL, you eliminate the need for manpower, vehicles, storage overhead, tracking and inventory software—and the list goes on.
For one generally-lower rate, you benefit from the expertise of 3PL professionals who know what they’re doing because it’s all they do. That’s at least five fewer headaches for you and your business.
But saving money isn’t the only major savings using a 3PL provider can afford you. It also saves your time—time you could be using to focus on running your business. Third-party logistics providers are more efficient at what they do, so you can be more efficient at what you do.

They offer value-added services

With many 3PLs, your warehousing doesn’t just end at shipping and storing. Third-party logistics providers often offer far more than just the basics and can customize the services to your individual business needs. Plus, with a recent push toward VIP and a la carte services, there has never been a better time to work with a 3PL provider.
These programs allow you to tailor your logistics package to your business’ individual needs—trimming unnecessary services and replacing them with services that can really benefit your business. Examples of VIP services include priority loading and unloading at the ports, rush delivery and more.

Less technology

Since when is less technology a good thing? When it costs your business tens of thousands of dollars to purchase additional logistics software to help with the logistics and inventory process. Why spend your own money when a 3PL provider already has cutting edge software that likely works more efficiently than any software your business would need to invest in?
But there’s more because once you get that brand-new logistics system, you must then train your workers to use it—another issue you won’t run into with a 3PL provider. Using a 3PL affords you the luxury of hitting the ground running with a business that lives and breathes exactly what you need. After all, what’s the point of operating your own logistics if it doesn’t make your business run more efficiently or even slows productivity?
Another perk to relying on your 3PL’s tracking software is better visibility for your customers, who can track their orders as those orders move along the supply chain.

Better transparency

Along with leaving the inventory management technology to the experts, switching to a 3PL usually offers you more accurate tracking information about the status of your inventory. This is because most 3PL operations have better shipment tracking software. This allows the business customer to access real-time information about the status of their product from ship to port to warehouse and on to the end user; all the tracking information you need is right at your fingertips, without having to check each stage with multiple providers or invest in costly logistics software.
It can be nerve-wracking to hand over the reins of your logistics operations to an outsourced, third-party provider, especially if you’ve been handling your logistics operations in-house. But when you’re doing business with experts in the industry, the cost of switching operations to a 3PL usually outweighs the risk.
All of this for less money than bringing your logistics in-house? It seems too good to be true, but the proof is in the numbers.
Think of it this way: Outsourcing your logistics operations to a third-party provider is a lot like those sale sites where the more people buy in, the lower the price goes. But instead of driving down the cost of a vacation, your money is pooled with other businesses who use the same 3PL, driving down the cost for everyone. All this for the expertise of professionals whose hands-on approach allows you to remain as hands-off as you want to be and focus on what’s really important: your business.

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Team Worldwide

Winnsboro, Texas-based Team Worldwide, which bills itself as “a global yet locally-minded freight forwarder and 3PL company,” in January proudly celebrated is its 40th anniversary in the biz.
Father and son Joe and Bobby Brunson established Team Worldwide in 1979 as a small, regional freight forwarder in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The company’s mission was “to develop a long-term relationship with each customer by providing a logistics network that offers a variety of innovative and reliable services now and for the future.” Under the third generation of family leadership, the company remains committed to the same principles.
Of course, from humble beginnings Team Worldwide built itself up to the point where its corporate headquarters in Winnsboro boasts of more than 100,000 square feet of office and warehouse space, on grounds that accommodate a state-of-the-art data and technology center that supports 40-plus locally owned branches in North America and a global customer base.
 “We appreciate this opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ as we celebrate 40 years of service,” says Team Worldwide. “We proudly remain large enough to serve you but small enough to know you!”

RAIL CYBER SECURITY SUMMIT

Global experts prepare to gather Feb. 19-20 in The Netherlands to discuss the threat of cyber security to rail and tips on managing and mitigating risks through two days of presentations and case study evaluations. This year’s Rail Cyber Summit will provide an array of opportunities to gain a competitive advantage in the rail industry along with education and networking options.

The fourth annual summit, which is being held this year at the Crowne-Plaza hotel in Amsterdam, features open discussions on managing threats and potential security solutions within the railway sector and rail 4.0 supply chain.

Topics to be addressed include: the integration and convergence of IT and OT; how to manage and mitigate the risk of cyber threat; managing supply chain and third-party risk; identifying and addressing blind spots; innovations in detection and mitigation; configuration management; incorporating resilience into information systems; and critical control system components.

“This event will give those working in and around the industry the knowledge they need to ensure they have the right tools to incorporate resilience into information systems, critical control system components and business processes throughout their organization,” says Cyber Senate founder James Nesbitt.

2019 GLOBAL LOGISTICS PLANNING GUIDE

At the core of every successful business is a well-oiled logistics machine ensuring operational efficiencies, product accuracy and maximizing business at every turn. It’s the blueprint of every business and its power should never be underestimated. Without logistics, there’s no foundation. But there is a catch that goes beyond logistics implementation for successful business initiatives, and that comes in the form of truly knowing the various types of industry-specific logistics needs, how they operate and, most importantly, how they ultimately tie together.

Carefully planned and thought out, this can be the determining factor between networking and business opportunities, navigating an evergreen market, and maintaining the steady flow of the supply chain in the midst of political changes that directly impact the products your business offers. The reputation of one’s business is found in the groundwork of operations. Industry competitors can gauge a company’s success miles away.

Think of logistics planning as you would a crisis plan–without it your business reputation is put at risk and the potential for losing solid customers is too high, and that’s the ultimate goal for our 2019 Logistics Planning Guide.

We gather the golden nuggets of logistics planning from industry leaders such as Pervinder Johar of Blume Global, Port of Rotterdam Business Consultant Vincent Campfens and CEO of A.P. Miller-Maersk Søren Skou. The key insights provided in this year’s planning guide will prepare your operations on a granular level, addressing every aspect while providing alternatives and key figures to consider as the global trade industry kicks off another year.

PORTS

Port trends for 2019 are already taking shape as the industry continues to see increased joint ventures and tandem efforts for mutual visions combined with record-breaking growth rates for 2018 from ports such as the South Carolina Ports Authority’s (which saw an impressive 15 percent growth for November 2018). The real question is how are they doing it from a logistics perspective amid the tariffs and market unpredictability? President and CEO Jim Newsome spelled it out: use timeliness and resource options to the advantage of operations. What might work one month might prove unsuccessful for the next. Keep options and eyes open for shifts and opportunities. Have a backup plan.

“While the U.S. economy remains strong, there is increasing evidence that U.S. beneficial cargo owners advanced shipments from Asia in an effort to avoid tariffs,” says Newsome, who carefully added, “The first calendar quarter of 2019, however, is much more uncertain in terms of outlook and considering strong volumes achieved in the same period in 2018.”

Port automation and the integration of technology solutions are trends that took charge in 2018 that show no sign of slowing down in 2019. The Port of Rotterdam cites proactive measures through technology solutions and gauging industry changes as key factors to success. Business Consultant Vincent Campfens puts it into perspective in the article, “42km of Connected Complexity: Operating in the Digital Future.”

Campfens comments:

“Being a smart port is much more than merely introducing awesome new technology into a port to make it safer, more efficient and more sustainable. It is also about looking further ahead in time, making strategic choices to ensure that the port still exists in the future, whilst responding to changes in climate, politics, technology, industries and cargo flows. One of our recent strategic choices is a targeted commitment to digital innovation.”

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSIONS

Global Economics Prospects predicts a two-year plateau in overall global growth starting in 2019. That doesn’t mean economic development opportunities are not still very much alive and can be leveraged through a realistic, holistically charged strategy. E-commerce alone is shifting big businesses and their customer relationships, increasing product demand and reaching consumers beyond company regions. Alibaba Group announced its initiatives with the government of Rwanda in November and claimed they will utilize the digital economy to support exporters and local producers and their relationship with Chinese consumers.

Global agreements spur economic development and e-commerce success.

“We have already seen tremendous attention from Chinese consumers on Alibaba’s platforms in high-quality Rwandan products such as our top-tier single estate coffee, and we are confident that local products and travel experiences will continue to receive interest and support from the more than half a billion consumers on Alibaba’s platforms,” states RDB Chief Executive Officer Clare Akamanzi. “Alibaba’s travel services platform, Fliggy, and the RDB will also work together to promote Rwanda as a tourist destination through a Rwanda Tourism Store for booking flights, hotels and travel experiences and a Destination Pavilion where Chinese consumers can learn about visiting the country.”

With Amazon-standard expectations, it’s imperative that during the development and planning periods companies incorporate logistics solutions that tie together all modes of the supply chain, eliminating the possibility of leaving out a vital piece to the supply-chain puzzle.

OCEAN CARRIERS

Quantity and quality are two characteristics we are taught to choose between, especially in business. Maersk, the world’s largest ocean carrier, proves that through strategic planning, looking ahead and considering environmental factors to foster growth and success that support both. Additionally, the company values the need to take a step back and confront the challenges while developing solutions that align with the vision and work with what’s anticipated in the next decade. At the end of the day, companies must keep the customer experience at the center of logistics efforts and consider integration efforts for resource utilization. Forward-focused logistics solutions are the name of the game.

Maersk confirmed the strategy of integration logistics to kickstart 2019. The company is leveraging the services from Damco’s Supply Chain and combining them for Mearsk-branded products.

“We are taking further steps in the transformation of our business on a structural level and how we go to market, enabling us to offer more solutions to our customers in a simpler way,” CEO of A.P. Miller-Maersk Søren Skou said. “Our employees play a key role in making this happen and therefore we are at the same time empowering our frontline organization who is closest to our customers.”

Taking it even further, the company recently announced its goal of net zero carbon shipping by 2050. But some wonder why focus on 2050 with 2019 right around the corner? Forward thinking. Quality. Proactive efforts that alert industry players they are ready for the anticipated increase in shipping volumes, without delay. By preparing their vessels in advance, they eliminate potential logistics hiccups.

“The next five to 10 years are going to be crucial,” Skou predicts. “We will invest significant resources for innovation and fleet technology to improve the technical and financial viability of de-carbonized solutions.”

Electric caravans, increased regulations and revolutionizing the air cargo industry as a whole are on the horizon for 2019. The air cargo industry kicked off the new year preparing for growth to be at a stand-still. Industry reports are predicting a reduction from 4.1 percent to 3.7 percent and a total of 65.9m tonnes for 2019–one of the slowest growth rates on record since 2016. Not all hope is lost, however. With carefully crafted logistics in place, industry players can weather the market shifts and still generate successful initiatives. It’s all about looking at the big picture and identifying what is working in your company’s favor during uncertain times.

“We had expected that rising costs would weaken profitability in 2019,” explains Alexandre de Juniac, the International Air Transportation Association director general and chief executive. “But the sharp fall in oil prices and solid GDP growth projections have provided a buffer. So, we are cautiously optimistic that the run of solid value creation for investors will continue for at least another year. But there are downside risks as the economic and political environments remain volatile.”

Resources for airlines to leverage do indeed exist, but they are found within the framework of technology innovations and the relationships sustained and strengthened with other industry leaders. A great example is the automation efforts implemented by Sabrewing Aircraft Co. in the Alaska market. With Anchorage leading as the busiest cargo hub, the company continues to weigh out options that provide solutions for increased efficiencies within a realistic goal. The theme of technology solutions and efforts toward automation makes yet another appearance.

“I thought, there needs to be another solution, a solution that’s much closer at hand and that’s how the thought of cargo came about,” says Sabrewing co-founder and CEO Ed De Reyes, “because cargo—there’s still a lot of requirements that are placed on air cargo carriers and air cargo manufacturers—but it’s a little bit lower hanging fruit, so to speak, from the fact that we’re not flying passengers. What is it that we can do now? What are we capable of doing now and let’s build on that instead of trying to build a system that’s going to rely on massive amounts of, at this time, nonexistent infrastructure.”

Keeping the books clean requires visibility and awareness of dollars coming and going out. Once again, in the theme of digital solutions, if you want that granular level of transparency, leveraging technology solutions in 2019 is imperative, especially for large-scale businesses. Supply-chain management and financing logistics are two of the most important factors when considering logistics planning.

“In 2019, the most agile and resilient supply chains are the ones that are going to be the most successful,” says Blume Global CEO Pervinder Johar. “Natural disasters, economic flux and rising tariffs are going to remain a concern for the supply chain industry and therefore the C-suite may reconsider its current manufacturing strategies and its global operations. To help inform these decisions, companies should combine external and internal data. Predictive analytics uses historical data and machine learning to identify and anticipate certain outcomes that become increasingly valuable as the volume of data increases. When properly analyzed, this data is helpful for identifying patterns and areas for optimization, to fuel better planning and resource utilization.”

Consider implementing a seamless management system that your business can rely on to eliminate risks, such as invoice and vendor fraud, inventory stockpiling and increased inefficiencies. In doing so, companies can track products, customer purchases and deliveries all while monitoring and maintaining their supply chain.

“Predictive analytics will become highly useful to optimize resources within the supply chain in 2019,” Johar predicts. “In late 2018, Gartner identified eight strategic technology trends for the supply chain and how they can provide a competitive advantage. Combined with AI and machine learning, data is the driver for predictive capabilities—with it, future performance can be optimized based on historical results. This data is powerful and has the potential to positively impact every aspect of the supply chain, from sourcing and compliance to production and quality control. Embracing the value of technologies such as predictive analytics is essential for a strong foundation, upon which to build a digital supply chain.”

3PLs

Infosys Consulting released the 22nd annual Third-Party Logistics Study this year, proving key insights and trends to keep a watch for in 2019. Of the insights, the study revealed that maintaining balance and consistency in an ever changing market is one of the biggest challenges for the logistics industry, pertaining to 3PLs specifically. The study revealed that 91 percent of providers cite 3PLs as a resource for improved operations and logistics.

Examples of this include Seacoast Capital and its $10 million investment in Deliver-It for their consumer base, and Volvo announcing that it will own and operate, in addition to providing, the first commercial use for its automated trucks for a mining company. More big name companies are considering 3PLs as solid logistics solutions for commercial expansions.

Other leading 3PLs, such as global freight forwarder Team Worldwide, utilized global expansion efforts and strategy as a means to improve customer relationships in 2018. General Manager Brian Purugganan explained that implementing such strategies allows his company to invest in supply chain management solutions for customers, providing a way to meet individual expectations. Team Worldwide expanded the company to a new Seattle-based branch for increased customer reach that was set to open in December 2018, laying the foundation for success in 2019.

“The opening of Team Seattle is a strategic part of our domestic and global expansion,” says Team Worldwide CEO Jason Brunson. “Seattle is an important ocean gateway to and from the U.S. It will allow us to better support the needs of our customers in the Northwest and will also help expand our cross-border services with Team Worldwide, Ltd. in Canada.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSESSING YOUR WAREHOUSE LOGISTICS NEEDS

As 2019 planning takes shape, consider your company warehousing needs beyond the numbers and take a hard look at the logistics structure from the last year. This begins with an honest assessment of what is and what isn’t working from an operations standpoint as well as employee satisfaction and culture, digital optimizations, labor and productivity, and risk management.

Such companies as Datex Corp., a leading solutions provider, spotlight the importance and top priorities that should be considered the most important for implementation and success initiatives. It goes without saying that technology innovations are among the most important logistics solutions to secure the best outcomes for the company and its customers.

Integrating technology is great, but it must be the right technology to work for your business. Datex states that to maximize profitability, companies need a warehouse management system specifically developed for 3PL operations that provides: real-time visibility; a full spectrum of 3PL billing capabilities; visibility into your inventory status, orders and shipments; and a streamlined process from start to finish. Out of the six solutions provided for warehousing logistics, the common theme surrounds risk prevention, eliminating inefficiencies, capturing business and leveraging technology innovation options.

Take into consideration a dedicated warehousing solution for your company if you’re new to the sector. Why does this matter? By investing in professional management and logistics solutions providers, the company is set up for success without risking initiatives and business deals that could produce disappointing results. Additionally, these providers can assist with creating networking and 3PL relationship opportunities, expanding your business goals and overall vision. Not only do these providers help lay the groundwork for operations, they are the middle man in communicating and assessing 3PL operations.

Another option is where a single distribution center cost is split among several clients. The resources at hand are consistently available among the shared warehouse space that all clients can leverage, as seen with the ODW Logistics solutions model.

Warehouse innovation is on the 2019 horizon and will make a significant mark in the warehousing logistics sector. In an article titled, “Taking a Look into Supply Chain’s Crystal Ball,” drones take the spotlight for warehouse solutions because “50 percent or more of the total cost of the logistics journey is from last-mile delivery” while drones provide a solution from added flexibility.

In 2019, warehousing companies might want to consider the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as an option for delivery. The top two of key differentiators companies consider drivers for change in warehouse usage was the need for lowered transportation costs (at 42.7 percent) while others cited the need for shortened delivery times and (40.5 percent), according to a Zebra Technology survey.

Looking ahead at the changes to come in 2020, Zebra also shows that in 2015, only 55.1 percent of companies were leveraging load optimization and performance monitoring and anticipating its integration by 2020. This number will jump to 61.6 percent, according to the global survey results.

The report goes on to explain that explicit costs and benefits should not be the total focus and only make up a part of the bigger picture. It states that, “Not only do we need to improve the technological advancement of our warehouse, but we need to update our thought process also. When considering RoI on implementing technology, don’t only look at the investment as cost and recovery of cost, but think of how this creates value for your customers, how you improve the productivity of your employees, what impact does it have on your culture and public image, will embracing technology give an advantage over competitors, and so on.”

Zebra’s survey also revealed some interesting insight into the level of difficulty experienced by companies seeking to change the supply-chain process. A total of 32.2 percent noted that it is “somewhat difficult” to introduce changes in 2015. That number is predicted to drop down to 22.1 percent in 2020.

Refreshing your operational approach to warehousing operations should be handled with caution and care. Don’t rush trying to integrate a new technology solution without checking the other boxes first. UPS cautions this practice for next steps and transforming your current business model.

“Most operations were designed based on what worked in the past, and, of course, that can’t necessarily deliver what customers expect today,” says Simon Bhadra, senior manager for the UPS Industrial Distribution customer segment. “There are valid business reasons that customers demand changes from their intermediaries or are bypassing them altogether. Pressure to cut costs, reduce turn times, for example. It’s difficult to make meaningful changes and still be productive and keep customers happy. People say it’s like trying to build an airplane while it’s in the air, and that’s pretty accurate.”

UPS offers three strategic tips to remember when re-evaluating changes and improvements needed for warehouse and distribution efforts. The first is to “Break the Inertia” through an open-minded look into the current state of operations. Just because operations are running up to par does not mean there isn’t room for improvement and efficiencies. Again, they warn to proceed with caution. It’s a fine balance between evaluating what’s not working and applying a new strategy and not going idle.

“Very often we see companies overhaul their operations in response to some kind of catalyst,” says Nancy Pagely, UPS development director. “But making changes without a clear strategy increases the chances of taking a costly wrong turn.”

The second strategy offered focuses on the importance of the customer and providing a sense of “ease, convenience and flexibility.” Bhadra states that, “It’s really critical that operators set aside the knowledge they’ve amassed on customers in order to get a fresh look at what’s going on out there. It takes unconventional thinking and a broader set of collaborators to make smart changes.”

The final piece of advice is taking an honest assessment of your company and don’t let the fear of failure determine your company’s next steps.

“Understanding where you want to be can reduce the number of doors to look behind before making decisions and investments,” explains UPS Customer Solutions consultant Mark Modesti. “As long as you plant a flag and build a dynamic roadmap that lets you adapt as needed, you’ll be ahead of the game.”

Third Party Logistics: An Inside look at Operational Strategies

Infosys Consulting released the 22nd Annual Third-Party Logistics Study this year, proving key insights and trends to keep a watch for in 2019. Of the insights, the study revealed that maintaining balance and consistency in an ever changing market is one of the biggest challenges for the logistics industry, pertaining to 3PL logistics specifically.

The study revealed that 91 percent of providers cite 3PLs as a resource for improved operations and logistics. Examples of this include Seacoast Capital and their $10 million investment in Deliver-It for their consumer base, and Volvo announcing that it will own and operate in addition to providing the first commercial use for their automated trucks for a mining company. More big name companies are considering 3PLs as solid logistics solutions for commercial expansions.

Other leading 3PL companies such as Team Worldwide, a global freight forwarder, utilized global expansion efforts and strategy as a means to improve customer relationships in 2018. General Manager Brian Purugganan explained that implementing such strategies allows them to invest in Supply Chain Management solutions for customers, providing a way to meet individual expectations. Team Worldwide expanded the company to a new Seattle-based branch for increased customer reach and is expected to open in December 2018, laying the foundation for success in 2019.

“The opening of Team Seattle is a strategic part of our domestic and global expansion. Seattle is an important ocean gateway to and from the US. It will allow us to better support the needs of our customers in the Northwest and will also help expand our cross border services with Team Worldwide, Ltd. in Canada,” Team Worldwide CEO Jason Brunson said.

Third Party Logistics To Improve Supply Chain Management

One of the oldest heritage brands and a leader in the lawn and garden category, The Jobe’s Company, has officially partnered with third party logistics provider Transplace to support efforts in logistics optimization and operations. The focus for improvements involves reducing costs, creating greater visibility while creating and supporting efficient operational practices, according to an announcement this week.

Transplace mentioned some of the elements to leverage include the use of the TMS for all incoming and outbound shipments as well as providing digital solutions for all processing, payments and reporting.

“As transportation costs continue to rise, we recognized the need to partner with a logistics provider that would improve our processes and give us greater supply chain visibility,” said Chris Allen, CEO, The Jobe’s Company. 3PL“Transplace brings extensive experience along with robust logistics technology and capabilities that give us greater control over our transportation operations and help us to improve customer service. From the beginning, the Transplace team worked diligently to understand our business and customers, and develop a solution customized to meet our unique needs as well as the business requirements of our retail partners.”

About The Jobe’s Company
Headquartered in Waco, Texas with additional manufacturing facilities in Paris, Kentucky, The Jobe’s Company specializes in home and garden products with a commitment to giving consumers better products that deliver better results. The company is the nation’s #1 organics fertilizer brand and produces over 1 billion square feet of consumer and commercial-grade landscaping fabrics, annually. Additional innovative products include plant spikes, soils & potting mixes, fencing & netting, as well as sun shades and accessories. The Company is represented by a robust portfolio of brands including Jobe’s Organics, Ross, WeedBlock, PowerGrid, Sun Sail, and others. With over 200 products at retail, Jobe’s brands are available online and at leading home improvement, garden, hardware and discount stores across North America and Mexico. For more information and to view the entire line-up of products, please visit http://www.jobescompany.com/.

 

About Transplace
Transplace is the leading provider of transportation management services and logistics technology, helping manufacturers, retailers and distributors optimize supply chain operations and increase financial performance. Offering a complete suite of transportation management, strategic capacity, and cross-border & global trade services, Transplace’s customizable logistics solutions and best-in-class technology gives businesses greater control of their transportation operations and enhanced visibility of shipments and overall supply chain performance.

With deep expertise in key vertical markets, including consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, retail and chemicals, Transplace works to strategically design and manage customer networks in the most efficient, cost-effective manner. As North America’s largest transportation management provider, Transplace leverages its entire network to solve large-scale, complex supply chain problems for its customers. From small-to-medium businesses to global brands, Transplace delivers the optimal blend of actionable business intelligence and operational excellence you need to manage your supply chain with certainty. Learn more at www.transplace.com.

Source: Outlook Marketing Services

AFTER NAFTA

There was some uncertainty over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ever since President Donald Trump took office. The president repeatedly threatened to pull the U.S. out of the agreement, and then claimed he would pursue a pact with Mexico and leave Canada out.

Those fears were allayed in early October when the three NAFTA partners announced the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The deal still must be signed by the parties and ratified by their legislatures, but all indications point to a continuing North American trade agreement going forward.

That’s important for companies that benefited from the integrated North American supply chains that NAFTA galvanized. The automobile manufacturing industry is a prime example of how NAFTA contributed to the development of truly North American products.

Trucks carry 63 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Rail is the second largest mode by value, moving 15.5 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.4 percent; pipeline, 5.7 percent; and air, 3.7 percent.

Trade among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico would no doubt have continued without a new trade agreement or any trade agreement, but the advent of USMCA means that supply chains will be able to operate much as they did before. With that established, manufacturers want to know, “Which transportation and logistics providers are best to get products and components crossborder?” Here is a selection assembled by Global Trade.

 

BNSF Logistics

BNSF Logistics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC, has been beefing up its North American capabilities in recent years, on both sides of the border. The multi-modal 3PL recently announced the formation of a new subsidiary in Mexico, BNSF Railway Servicios de Logistica, a move which further strengthens BNSF Logistics’ service offering across North America. The creation of Logistica, based in Monterrey, Mexico’s third largest city, will provide BNSF Logistics with additional local resources to support Mexico-based customers.

“The Monterrey region is strategically important to our growth plans in Mexico,” says Ray Greer, president of BNSF Logistics, “and having a local presence is key to developing vendor and client relationships.”

BNSF Logistics in recent years has acquired Albacor Shipping., Inc., a Toronto-based company, and the Texas-based EP Team, an air cargo specialist, providing the company with project cargo expertise.

“Industrial and project cargo is playing an important and growing role internationally,” notes Greer.

Much of BNSF Logistics’ industrial products business has been in moving equipment for the oil and gas and wind energy industries.

Landstar

Landstar System, Inc., a worldwide, asset-light provider of integrated transportation management solutions, has provided Mexico crossborder services out of Laredo since 1999, and has moved its operations to a new expanded logistics center. The 31,000-square-foot facility, located on a 50-acre site, accommodates 450 trailers and provides room for future expansion.

The Landstar U.S./Mexico Logistics Service Center features a highly secured C-TPAT certified site, including a 30-bay cross-dock and transload facility, along with a dedicated platform and heavy/specialized freight area with a custom 120-ton, stand-alone bridge crane. The logistics center is one of the largest facilities of its kind in Laredo.

The new yard has a custom-designed 120-ton stand-alone bridge crane to accommodate the ability to transload many of the largest super loads.

“The crane is used to transfer oversize, heavy and specialized loads between various types of platform equipment coming to and from Mexico,” explains Steve Wisnieski, vice president of Mexico Operations at Landstar Transportation Logistics.

Schneider National

Schneider was one of the first U.S. asset-based carriers to expand to both Mexico and Canada, boasting substantial presences in both countries since the early 1990s. Last year, the company announced it obtained the OK for streamlined customs clearance moving to Kansas City Southern Railway’s intermodal terminal near Mexico City. Schneider has also introduced intermodal service between the Southeast and Montreal on a route that bypasses the Great Lakes states.

Intermodal’s traditional selling point has been the trade-off between slower transit times and lower costs, but that analysis doesn’t always hold water when it comes to North American crossborder trade.

“In some cases, the costs of intermodal are the same as over-the-road if you are going to or from a location with constrained capacity,” says Jim Filter, Schneider National’s senior vice president and general manager for Intermodal.

The trade imbalance between Mexico and the U.S. means there is cost to relocating capacity to Mexico for northbound shipments. That’s why Filter has found that intermodal shipping rates northbound from Mexico to the U.S. are comparable to trucks. The same analysis doesn’t  apply to the U.S.-Canada intermodal lane, according to Filter, because of the greater relative balance in trade between those two countries.

Werner

Werner Global Logistics is an asset-based logistics services provider and a division of the well-known trucking company. The company recently added Werner Final Mile services that accommodates deliveries for eCommerce customers throughout North America. Werner provides trucking services from the U.S. to Mexico with its own assets, from loading to crossing border to delivery into the interior of Mexico.

“Technology is a huge part of the services we provide our customers,” says Craig Stoffel, a company vice president. “We are able to provide visibility right down to the individual item level. Today we can execute much of the supply chain hands-free.”

CSX Transportation

The railway’s Valleyfield terminal, 40 miles outside of Montreal, provides shippers additional capacity when shipping freight between the U.S. and Eastern Canada. Opened in late 2014, Valleyfield delivers intermodal access to Canadian distribution and consumption markets. Valleyfield provides on-site border clearance capabilities, facilitated by a 10,000-square-foot, secure container processing facility and access to the Canadian government’s VACIS truck scanning system. This machine is brought on site as required and is capable of more than 25 scans per hour of an entire vehicle to clear freight into Canada.

“The Valleyfield intermodal terminal provides shippers an alternative capacity solution when shipping freight between the U.S. and Eastern Canada,” says a CSX Transportation official. “Shippers converting freight from the highway to intermodal rail are able to secure additional capacity and lower transportation costs thanks to the expansive market reach of the CSXT Intermodal network.”

CSXT Intermodal service between the eastern United States and Mexico is available via a service called Streamline Passport, a door-to-door solution for shippers to more than 100 Mexican locations. Passport rates include all border fees, fuel surcharge and container per diem charges in Mexico. CSXT Intermodal ensures that all customs requirements are met when shipping cross-border freight.

Kansas City Southern 

KCS is the primary rail carrier handling rail shipments to and from the U.S. and Mexico, and its investments in recent years have gone a long way to make U.S.-Mexico cross-border rail quite seamless. Shippers on the KCS enjoy customs pre-clearance—which means that shipments are delivered directly to their destinations without a stop at the border—for faster service than trucks can offer.

The railway’s Mexican arm, Kansas City Southern de Mexico (KCSM), in partnership with Canadian National Railway, provides trans-border services that allow intermodal shipments to cross into Mexico prior to being inspected. The new inspection points are located in Mexico City at KCSM’s Puerta Mexico Intermodal Terminal and Terminal Ferroviaria de Valle de Mexico’s (TFVM) Pantaco Intermodal Terminal.

Last year, Kansas City Southern CEO Patrick Ottensmeyer joined U.S. and Mexican customs officials in the dedication of a new Unified Cargo Processing facility at the Laredo, Texas, railroad border crossing. In addition to sharing security technology and processes between U.S. and Mexico officials, the new facility streamlines the documentation review of northbound trains and conducts Mexico export processing at the U.S. railhead.

“Demand for rail shipments across this busiest international rail gateway in both directions will continue to increase in the future, particularly with growth in U.S. agricultural and future energy exports to Mexico,” Ottensmeyer points out. “New and innovative ways to keep this trade moving securely and efficiently over the border will be needed in the future to expand trade between the U.S. and Mexico and make North America even more competitive.”