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How to Avoid 2021 Holiday Shipping Delays

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How to Avoid 2021 Holiday Shipping Delays

The question of how to avoid the 2021 holiday shipping delays is hot right now. Both logistics companies and their clients want to get an answer — how can we make this work?

People got used to the fact that they can order anything they want online, and it’ll be on their doorstep in a day or two. They got fond of convenience, so the demand kept growing. However, during the last two years, we’ve seen a shift in the logistics challenges facing the industry. The waits are longer than before, and we can’t expect that they’ll get shorter during the holiday season.

Luckily, things are going fine for now. People are getting their packages, but the real rush is yet to start. So, let’s see how customers can help the retailers, and then we’ll talk about how to prepare for shipping out.

How to Get Your Packages In Time

It’s only natural that you want to surprise your friends and family during the holiday season. If some of them live abroad, you might want to send them a package to unwrap on Christmas morning and share your love that way. However, you’re not the only one thinking this way.

As we’re getting closer to the end of the year, more and more people are sending parcels. Shipping companies are busy, and you need to account for that. Let’s go over a few things you want to keep in mind if you didn’t do your Christmas shopping just yet.

First off, expect delays. We know it sounds contrary to what we’re trying to achieve, but you want to stay realistic.

Secondly, plan ahead. Of course, if there’s a chance that there will be a jam near the end of the month, send or request your packages early. If you can, there’s nothing wrong with doing it right away. You’re better off if they arrive at their destination early than late.

Finally, be prepared to pay the premium. Planning so much in advance is often tricky, especially if you have a lot on your mind. Thus, if you see that you’re already behind, pay the premium to ensure your parcel will arrive when it should.

What Can Businesses Do?

Both retailers and eCommerce companies want to boost their sales, and the end of the year is the best time to do it. If you want to bring your sales up and keep your customers happy, you’ll want to learn how to avoid the 2021 holiday shipping delays. Here’s what you need to do.

Prepare Your Inventory and Packing Supplies

Go over your books and your inventory, and think once again about what is likely to sell a lot at this time. Predict the number of orders you’ll get and make sure you have enough stock to go around.

On top of that, you mustn’t forget about the packing supplies either. No matter how many orders you get, they won’t be of much use if you can’t send the items people want to buy. And according to Murphy’s law, you’ll run out of them in the worst possible moment.

Don’t let this happen to you, and get yourself a bit more packing supplies than you think you’ll need. These aren’t that expensive – so you can afford them, and even if you end up with some leftovers, you’ll use them later.

Set Up Delivery and Return Strategies

If you want to be carefree this holiday season, you must sort out and fine-tune your shipping system. Get in touch with a reliable company and see if you can get a deal. They’ll be more than busy for sure, but if you have a few big shipments to send out, you might even get some kind of discount.

You also want to sort out your return strategy. Some people won’t like what they get, and they’ll want to return it. If you want to improve your eCommerce business and retain customers, your job is to go out of your way and make that possible.

Why Do Holiday Shipping Delays Happen?

If you did everything we talked about, you did everything you could. It’s not like you can take each package and take it where it needs to go by yourself. You’ll have to rely on transport companies to do it for you, and they’re under a lot of stress at the moment. Here are some of the factors that you can’t influence and that can make your shipment run late.

Bad weather. The weather can be unpredictable in the winter, and the shipping company can’t do anything about it. A significant snowfall certainly can push delivery dates a bit further.

A high number of shipments. As we mentioned, more and more people are ordering things online, and the higher the number of shipments is, the higher chances for delays are.

Traffic jams. They’re unpredictable and happen in a split second. So, even if delivery companies know about the existing jams, they can’t predict where the next one will happen.

And that’s all you need to know about how to avoid the 2021 holiday shipping delays. Be honest with your customers, encourage them to order early, and do your shopping as soon as possible.

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Tobi Hook is an experienced transport specialist and a freelance writer. At the moment, he’s working with City Movers on improving their processes and spreading the word about their company. He loves to spend his free time reading sci-fi novels and building model rockets with his son. 

christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS IN JULY, FROM SEKO LOGISTICS

SEKO Logistics, which began in 1976 as a single-office operation in Chicago and now has a global reputation for innovation and first-class logistics services, has a special season’s greetings for the supply-chain industry: Get your shipments in order now for the peak Christmas holiday shopping season.

The Grinch causing this disruption: COVID-19, whose “lingering effects . . . meant that the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach were hugely congested earlier this year by the surge of importing, and it’s only going to get worse before it gets better,” according to a SEKO release. 

Compared to previous years, shipments need to be booked up to eight weeks earlier than usual, according to Akhil Nair, SEKO’s VP Global Carrier Management & Ocean Strategy APAC. “The current global ocean freight supply chain is facing huge issues, none of which seem to be going away any time soon, and definitely not before Christmas,” Nair maintains.

“Based on what we are seeing, the current port-to-port lead times are being impacted by two major factors. One, origin–shippers are unable to get equipment or space to get their cargo out in time. And two, destination–the port congestion is having a severe impact on schedule reliability. This is resulting in further delays–up to 20 days on major export trades from Asia.” 

Bah, humbug!

holiday season

The 2020 Holiday Season Logistics Guide

Ensuring that every item is in the right place at the right time can be quite difficult- there’s just so much work that needs to be done! If your business is middle-sized to big-sized, this task will be even harder.

But even if your company is small, you must still keep track of the planning process, including item movement and placement. If your cargo reaches its point of consumption in due time, and your point of origin equipment is ready to ship, your company’s logistics runs well. If not- time and money are quickly lost, and the company could take a hit.

You must therefore plan your resources well and learn how to move things around efficiently. Your warehouse facilities are important, but so are inventory planning, resource management, and supply coordination; not to mention transportation and customer response. These factors must be taken into account very carefully.

With the holidays knocking on our door, I can see why so many business managers are starting to freak out. The holiday season is hectic. A company’s resources can quickly change, so it’s time to develop a logistics guide and stick to it. Here’s how to prepare your supply chain for this season.

Help your customers buy early

This season is different from any other holiday season we’ve been through. That’s because the Coronavirus pandemic has changed things around for good. This year, we won’t see too many last-minute decisions among customers. Most clients already pre-ordered their Christmas gifts on Black Friday, while others did it all the way back in October. Since stores are not open to the public anymore (not everywhere in the world at least), and there’s a fear attached to in-shop purchasing, a higher number of customers decided to get their gifts online; and so, transportation can get messy if it doesn’t work right.

However, if your customers are not ordering online yet, here is what you can do to persuade them to buy now. The longer they wait, the messier your logistics process will get. Here’s what you can do.

-Present the product’s benefits in more detail. Don’t stop at only listing the product’s features. Get access to a Virtual Assistant Platform to automate your listing processes and get your personal tasks done in no time.

-Use vivid language, but don’t go overboard with it. Express what you mean in a simple yet motivating way. For example, instead of saying, This car protects people in case of an accident, you could say, If you’re driving this car, you’ll walk away unharmed in case of an accident.

-Do not use jargon, not everyone gets it, and you might lose clients because of this. I

-Customers don’t hold specific data in their minds for too long, so make it short. Present your product’s benefits in a concise way. You could even summarize your product’s strengths; for example, instead of saying, Here are 12 reasons to buy this product, change it to, Keep these two things in mind.

-Highlight your company’s benefits from a logistics perspective. If you collaborate with Amazon, for example, expose the transportation benefits that your company is offering. What differentiates you from your competition in terms of logistics?

Optimize your inventory accordingly

If you haven’t done this by now, get to work. This year, your inventory must be well-organized. So, start optimizing it.

-Measure your results by using the right KPIs such as stock rotations and customer availability rate.

-Use the classical ABC analysis to track your product quantity and measure quality- pair it with a PARETO analysis.

-Use chatbots to promote your content on social media and track those results as well.

-Make an inventory vs. sales cost analysis to examine if your products sell well, and which ones should be taken out of your inventory.

-Reduce the MOQ or the Minimum Order Quantity. Do not produce more than you can sell, this will add to your overstock. Instead, negotiate with the supplier or change it, if they don’t agree with your requirements and do not satisfy your needs.

-Develop a more centralized inventory, especially if you have more than one warehouse, store, or factory. Estimate your transportation costs accordingly and include specific analyses on financial, logistical, promotion, destruction, or productivity costs. Be sure to include everything in your inventory.

Be prepared for this year’s shipping costs

During the COVID-19 pandemic, things have changed for the worse. The transportation costs will most likely increase as the holiday season gets closer. Some transportation companies offer little to no help to small businesses; others are kind enough to work with the managers. Your best option would be to hire a mix of carriers and choose the one you like the best.

You could look at regional carriers first since their costs are usually lower. Check out their services, and if you’re not satisfied, change the company. Another important thing to look at is the last-mile delivery costs. Choosing a local or even a national company will help you out financially.

Get the necessary support

And here’s the last thing we’ll be discussing today- getting the necessary help. If you’re not doing well and don’t know where to start, seeking support should be something to prioritize. You could develop new partnerships and engage with new elements. Think about what changes you could benefit from.

Could you be working with superior technology? Could you offer your staff a more flexible schedule?  What other valuable assets could you be bringing to the company? How could you change it for the better? What part of your logistics process could actually improve?

Preparing your company for this holiday season will be nothing but ordinary. However, you must learn how to predict 2021 trends and bring your logistics process to a new level. Do not leave things for the last minute, start preparing now. If you realized that you need support, go get it. If you realized that you could change some things to save your business, go do them.

Conclusion

You could be needing eCommerce support or new delivery options. Maybe your KPIs aren’t functional. Maybe your customer’s orders are not in place at the right time. Maybe you are not working with a cost-effective delivery company that gets your goods safely from the warehouse to the customer. Maybe something must change- but you don’t know what.

If that is the case, follow the guideline above, and add whatever you see necessary to it. You will have a great holiday season from a logistics perspective if you can set everything up for success ahead of time. Prepare, work hard, and accomplish. Make this your 2021 goal.

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This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies, he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies Edu BirdieXpertWritersResumeWriterReviewsand uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.
electric trucks

DHL Goes Green with BYD Electric Trucks

Build-Your-Dreams continues to make headlines by adding more options in sustainable fleet solutions for the global and domestic transportation arenas. The world’s leading electric vehicle company announced this week that DHL added four of its Class 8 battery-electric trucks to support operations in Los Angeles.

The four trucks will undergo piloting in the Los Angeles region before hauling goods to and from the DHL LAX Gateway and other facilities. The BYD-manufactured transportation solutions are in addition to DHL’s robust order of 72 total all-electric battery-powered vans with other various vendors, according to information released.

“As a global leader in logistics and express services, DHL has proved that they’re serious about their commitment to transition to zero-emission trucking,” said John Gerra, Sr. Director of Business Development at BYD Motors. “DHL is doing more than just talking about it; they’re actually putting BYD electric trucks into commercial service, today.”

DHL currently utilizes environmentally-conscious fleet options including fully electric, hybrid-electric, and clean diesel, and low-power electric-assist e-Cargo Cycles. As part of the Strategy 2025 initiative, the Deutsche Post DHL Group continues making significant progress in sustainable operations after announcing the goal of net-zero logistics-related emissions by 2050.

“The introduction of these efficient electric trucks is a huge step forward, not only toward achieving our own clean transport goals, but also California’s ambitious goals on the adoption of zero-emission vehicles,” said Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL Express U.S. “By implementing these electric trucks, we will prevent more than 300 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere per year, as we continue to grow and enhance our clean pick-up and delivery solutions.”

holiday

Holiday Shipping Deadlines – Ensuring Your Goods Reach the Buyer in Time

The four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas represent the busiest retail days of the year. Online shopping experiences an even sharper increase in traffic during the holiday period and provides an important source of revenue for most eCommerce businesses. However, despite the enthusiasm for online retail, many customers are concerned about whether their goods will arrive in time to place under the Christmas tree.

Failure to deliver products on time and in perfect condition can harm brand trust, resulting in lost customers. To ensure a positive customer experience and maintain their customer base, online sellers need to prepare a solid shipping plan to put products in their customers’ hands by holiday deadlines.

For a smooth holiday season, you need to streamline order fulfillment, invest in protective shipping materials, including air pillow packaging, and develop positive relationships with your carriers. Here are a few tips for ensuring your goods reach your buyers in time for the holidays.

Develop a Shipping Plan

Developing a shipping plan is essential to a smooth holiday season. Customers have higher expectations about when and in what condition they receive their goods during the holidays. Supply chain scheduling with deadlines may seem challenging, but taking all factors into account can make your shipping process more efficient.

-Contact all the major carriers you use to determine their last-date shipping deadlines.

-Make sure you are familiar with your supplier chains’ shipping times and obtain estimated landed shipping costs for easier budgeting.

-Plan for delivery delays and communicate estimated shipping times to your customers to help you meet their expectations. This could include marketing emails or pop-ups on your site, indicating a countdown until the cut-off date. Effectively communicating the cut-off date can also create a sense of urgency for customers, prompting them to buy more products.

-Assess the 4 KPIs for packaging and label issues; this can help you evaluate your business strategies to keep your shipping operation running smoothly.

-Consider outsourcing to a third-party logistics (3PL) company to manage warehousing, picking and fulfillment and liaising with carriers. Outsourcing these logistical aspects to your business frees up resources to divert into customer service.

Planning helps you gain insight into projected shipping delays and estimated deadlines, enabling you to notify your customers about the final day to order goods so they can receive them by Christmas.

Offer Expedited Shipping Options

You also need to consider the shipping times you offer to your customers. Online retail giants like Amazon and eBay offer expedited and same-day shipping, changing the expectations of online shoppers worldwide. Major companies who ship billions of dollars of merchandise annually have much greater flexibility of funds when it comes to waiving consumers’ shipping, so consumers have become accustomed to free shipping.

Large companies that offer fast shipping options force small businesses to do the same to remain competitive and ensure their customers receive their goods promptly and in good condition. But, during the holiday rush, small businesses may feel like offering fast shipping is cost-prohibitive. Here are a few ways you can offer expedited shipping without breaking your budget.

Be Selective with Your Shipping Providers

The most effective shipping method for your goods depends on the types of products you sell. For small packages, parcels and gift cards, UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Service are the best choices, as they can provide the fastest shipping times at a more affordable rate. However, for large shipments, fragile items, artwork, furniture, appliances, and bulky or oddly shaped items, the right option is consolidated freight or white glove carriers.

Set a Minimum Purchase Threshold

One way to meet this demand is by having a set order amount that meets your free shipping threshold. This also works to your advantage—the consumer who wants to buy your product may purchase more items to meet your free shipping threshold.

Consider Free Shipping

A recent study by global tech company Pitney Bowes showed that up to 75 percent of online consumers preferred free shipping with a slightly longer delivery time.

To make this a viable option for your business, consider incorporating some freight cost into the product’s price and adjusting your estimated purchase cut-off deadlines to allow for additional delivery time.

Assess Your Inventory

Determine how many products you currently have, how long it typically takes for products to get to customers and your company’s past sales history, especially around the holidays. These factors will tell you what your inventory should look like for the current holiday season and, ultimately, determine the number of supplies you will need to ship your packages.

Stock Up on Essential Shipping Supplies

The shipping supplies you need will depend on the sizes, weights and fragility of your products. Be sure to get a good selection of boxes for the types of products being shipped. Determine the sizes and amount of boxes you’ll use, depending on your inventory and your sales forecast.

Consider the types of products you’re shipping to determine what kind of packaging material to use. If you are shipping fragile products, you’ll need a large supply of protective packaging, such as air pillows, to safeguard the products during shipping. Customers prefer environmentally conscious business practices, so finding air pillow packaging that is compostable or biodegradable is an appealing bonus to many consumers.

The tape to seal the packages is essential for sealing your packaging to prevent spillage, tampering, or theft. Brown shipping tape is activated with water, and it is company logo-printable and tamper-evident. It’s a little more expensive than the more commonly used heavy-duty plastic tape, but anything imprinted with your company’s name can make an impression on consumers and build your brand.

The Takeaway

Christmas is the busiest time of the year, and customers expect their products to be delivered in time to put under the tree. Small businesses can stand out from the competition by ensuring they meet holiday shipping deadlines, but in order to do so, they need a strong fulfillment and shipping plan to help streamline their operation through the festive season.

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Cory Levins is the Director of Business Development for Air Sea Containers

ship

Protecting Your Product: 10 Necessary Shipping Steps for Your Business

Packaging is essential when it comes to your product, for both protection and presentation. Consumers expect to receive a certain quality of packaging with their product, especially as the popularity of social media reviews and unboxing videos continues to rise. Not only does the packaging need to keep your product intact throughout the shipping process, but it needs to be easy to reuse if a customer wants to return the purchase and must safely ship it back.

To protect your deliveries, you need to utilize high-efficiency shipping materials customized to the product size.

1. Pack Efficiently

The efficiency of your packing determines the state of your product when it arrives at its destination. There are important questions to consider when selecting the box size. How fragile is the product? Does it have sharp edges? The product should fit in the box easily without leaving much airspace around it. Consider air pillow packaging to secure the product snuggly and limit excess space in the box. At the same time, you must avoid over-packing the box or container with too much cushioning. Cushioning can include:

-Airbags

-Bubble wrap

-Packing peanuts

-Foam or cardboard inserts

Avoiding wasted space in the box enhances efficiency and helps customers receive their purchases in good condition.

2. Choose the Right Packaging Materials

For products that require cushioning, it’s critical to choose packaging materials that are specialized for protecting your specific product. Styrofoam peanuts might work for most shipments, but more fragile materials might need to be bubble wrapped or supported through air cushions.

If the product needs to be kept cold, gel packs are an affordable and effective alternative to dry ice. It’s also essential to choose a high-quality tape to seal the box. You need industrial-strength, water-activated and pressure-sensitive tape, so your parcel doesn’t split open during shipment.

3. Select the Right Box

The box you use for shipping goods is directly responsible for how protected and well-presented the product is on arrival. A new or gently used box is essential for maximum security, and it needs to be structurally designed for the specifications of your product.

Customized boxes specific to your product are a worthwhile investment for secure shipping and intact delivery. Consult experienced shipping and packaging experts to determine the cardboard grade and fluting that best protects your products.

4. Add More Wrapping for Longer Distances

Generally, the farther your package is traveling, the more protection it needs. If you’re shipping internationally or to a far-off domestic location, there are more opportunities for your package to be dropped or mishandled. Adding an additional layer of wrapping, ensuring the product is secure in the box and using extra tape can make sure the product arrives safely.

5. Don’t Wrap Items Too Tightly

While a secure fit is critical to keeping your product safe in the box, it’s vital to avoid packaging items too tightly. Avoiding tight packing is especially important if the items are fragile glass or soft and impressionable. Too much pressure on the product can cause the product to break, crack or alter its shape. Items should be secure but devoid of tension.

6. Wrap All Items Separately

If the package you’re shipping contains multiple products, you’ll need to wrap them separately to avoid their shifting within the box during transit. Individual wrapping and cushioning should result in your products being gently secured within the box so they can’t move around or hit each other with any force.

If any items in the package contain liquid, provide a layer of plastic packaging around all items to avoid moisture damage if anything leaks or breaks.

7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Using packaging that is eco-friendly and made from recycled materials or can be reused in the future for your shipments has various benefits for the company and the customer.

Consumers are likely to support and shop again at businesses taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. As a company, there can be an initial cost to change your packaging habits. But using recyclable packaging reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves on raw materials and manufacturing energy expenditure.

8. Design Packaging for Returns

Occasionally, customers may be dissatisfied with a product and need to ship it back to your business as a return. Creating packaging that can be unpacked and repacked enhances the consumer experience and ensures the product will still be intact when the product returns to you.

9. Label Your Package Clearly

Successful shipping requires a successful delivery. No matter how well you pack your product, if the labeling isn’t clear, then it might not arrive at the desired destination in one piece or at all.

If the package’s contents are delicate, mark them as fragile on all sides so the parcel will be handled with extra care. For big or small businesses who ship many fragile items, investing in a stamp to mark all boxes going out of the facility as fragile is good practice.

10. Parcel Insurance Coverage

No matter how well you package and protect your products before shipping, things are ultimately out of your control once it’s out of your facility. Consider insurance if you are frequently shipping fragile items or products that are not easy to replace. There is always a possibility of goods getting lost or damaged in transit, so having a financial security net can benefit your business.

In addition to adequate insurance coverage, consider implementing package tracking. Understanding tracking software and how technology is improving last-mile logistics gives you an element of control over the transport of your products and helps you ensure your goods are being delivered on time.

Final Thoughts

Human error is a significant factor when considering safety in shipping. There is no way to eliminate the risk involved as long as people are handling the packages. That’s why mitigating the amount of damage done to a product is necessary to consider before shipping.

As a business owner, you must decide how to package goods with these various elements in mind. Online consumers have high expectations regarding the condition of the product on arrival and the expediency of its delivery. The right packaging materials and custom cardboard boxes can mitigate many risks involved with domestic and international shipping to improve customer satisfaction and retention.

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Cory Levins is the Director of Business Development for Air Sea Containers

supply chain

How to Best Prepare for Current (and upcoming) Supply Chain Disruptions

Weekly meal planning is a recurring event in our household. Although this activity is not particularly exciting, every Saturday my wife and I sit down to plan out our family meals. This process helps us avoid the mid-week supermarket scramble, as well as sidestep overspending on items we don’t actually need. Sound familiar? Supply chain planning is no different when it comes to yielding efficient results, especially this year.

It’s no secret the way companies ship their freight has shifted due to COVID-19. C.H. Robinson is great at helping customers secure capacity and optimize their global freight across our suite of service offerings as their needs evolve. Due to COVID-19 market changes, our global team of supply chain experts has spent extra time securing expedited less than container load (LCL) capacity for companies that can work with extra lead time. Another big change is how many ghost or charter flights are used to make up for lost capacity from the mass decline in global passenger travel.

However, COVID-19 is not the only event putting pressure on the freight market now. And with passenger travel not expected to recover until 2024, proactive solutions are needed to avoid current and upcoming disruptions.

Prepping for peak shipping season and new tech launches

When it comes to maximizing your global freight, it’s important to take seasonality into consideration. Peak shipping season for global air freight historically begins in October, and we’re already anticipating a busy peak season due to the unbalanced relationship between supply and demand. Even if air freight volumes were consistent or less than previous years, there is a lot less capacity to work with. Additionally, ocean shipping is experiencing a busy peak season now as companies prepare for the holiday shopping surge.

Consumers are also eagerly awaiting new technology releases—including the iPhone 12, Sony PS5, Xbox, and more. High priced commodities, like consumer electronics, primarily ship via air. And while consumer tech launches are not uncommon during the holiday season, the lack of passenger planes aren’t helping the situation this year. This, combined with the volume surge in other commodities related to peak shipping season and continued demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) creates a tighter market.

What can global shippers do to combat tight capacity?

The key is to remain flexible and remember it’s never too late to start planning. Although some items, such as technology, tend to move by air, global shippers can consider shifting other commodities to expedited LCL or expedited full container load (FCL) service to mitigate disruption and stay agile in a tight global freight market.

However, for those shippers that truly depend on air capacity, shifting modes isn’t always an option. So, while ghost flights were a reactive solution for many this past spring, C.H. Robinson took our own planning advice and proactively chartered weekly 747 cargo flights from China to the U.S. from October to November, as well as Europe to the U.S. until the end of the year. Capacity on a 747 cargo aircraft can hold up to five times more freight than an average ghost flight. And our global network of experts knew proactively purchasing that space was necessary as global shippers face peak season, PPE from Asia, and a recovering economy out of Europe. We’re already seeing this approach drive solutions for our customers.

Looking forward to COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon. Once one or more is available for global circulation, it will likely create a significant ripple effect throughout supply chains. Even if your company is not directly connected to distributing or manufacturing a vaccine, the time to start planning alternative modes or routes is now.

Like technology, vaccines primarily ship via air to monitor the temperature and deliver them to market quickly. According to IATA, 8,000 747 flights would be needed to distribute a single dose of the vaccine to 7.8 billion people around the world. Although a vaccine with this large of a global magnitude is new, we can get a sense of the supply chain reaction by looking back at the height of global demand for PPE. Throughout the spring we saw airlines, 3PLs, carriers, companies, and government agencies go above and beyond, working extra hours and expediting products in order to create and deliver PPE around the globe quickly. It’s likely we’ll see the same comradery with the vaccine—pulling manpower and capacity away from other shipping needs.

Although we know air freight will play a vital role in distributing vaccines, last -mile is also an important area companies and logistic professionals are planning for. Last-mile planning will be especially important in countries where road or manufacturing infrastructure may be underdeveloped. However, keep in mind whether your company is involved in vaccine distribution or not, it’s still likely your supply chain will be impacted by higher transportation rates or additional capacity constraints across modes.

Final thoughts

As the pandemic spread across the globe, we saw air cargo rates rise to unprecedented levels. Airlines and cargo operators continue to adapt quickly to this dynamic market. Now it’s time for companies to evolve, too. Never before has a balance between proactive planning and flexibility been so important.

Planning ahead and using forecast data can be the difference needed to turn a dysfunctional supply chain into a strong, agile one that is ready to face this volatile market. We know logistics can’t exist in a world of absolutes. This makes it difficult to prepare for today’s (and tomorrow’s) disruptions—or even to know where to begin. That’s where C.H. Robinson comes in. Utilizing our information advantage, you can rely on our people to bring you smarter solutions across your global supply chain. Reach out to one of our experts today to start the conversation.

holiday

UPS: “This Holiday Season, We’ve Prepared Like Never Before.”

Today marked the first day of the peak holiday season for 2019 and the beginning of increased holiday shipments and deliveries. UPS confirmed a 5 percent increase in package shipments from 2018 record is expected in addition to an estimated 32 million packages and documents per day during peak season, primarily stemming from UPS’s retailer and B2B-focused customers. This anticipated chaos doesn’t seem to be a problem for UPS, however.

“This holiday season, we’ve prepared like never before,” said UPS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David Abney. “UPS has invested billions in our facilities, our air fleet and our workforce.  We have the capacity for, and are committed to, serving the unique needs of all our customers. To our customers, I simply say: We’re ready, Let’s go! You can count on us to help you make the holiday season successful.”

UPS has prepared resources in the form of added space (five million square feet of highly automated facilities, to be precise), automated superhubs, 11 newly added aircraft (increasing payload by 2.5 million pounds), optimization technologies, and a robust employee network close to 100,000 seasonal workers.

“More than ever, the 2019 holiday season proves UPS puts customers’ needs first,” said UPS Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren. “That starts with eliminating residential peak season surcharges, and extends into a wide range of new services that complement our industry-leading portfolio of offerings.”

Additional service enhancements have also been added to further support the growing demand, including the fastest ground-service offerings to-date, commercial/residential weekend services for pickup and delivery for customers in the top metro areas, late-night pickups via UPS Extended Hours® to qualifying customers, and more.

“We have the right strategies in place to help our customers make the most of the holiday season, with extensive forecasting, expanded ground and air capacity, effective onboarding to bring an army of seasonal employees up to speed, and the products and services that help all our customers meet high expectations this time of year,” Abney said.  “We look forward to another successful peak season.”

rewards

UPS Launches Access Point Rewards Program for Increased Holiday Support

UPS customers gearing up for the upcoming holiday season are being encouraged to keep things simple in terms of shipping through the utilization of the UPS Access Point® network through the UPS My Choice® service.  By doing so, consumers can expect up to $35 in value rewards back from the shipping company from Target eGift cards to upgraded deliveries via a free UPS My Choice Premium membership.

UPS understands that busy consumers increasingly need choice, control and convenience in the delivery process, especially during the holiday season,” said Kevin Warren, UPS’s chief marketing officer. “With the expanded UPS Access Point network, they get that, as well as the added bonus of not having to worry about package security, missed deliveries or hiding presents until the right time.”

The added rewards in conjunction with the Access Point network are direct initiatives supporting the needs of UPS consumers. Customers are currently offered more than 15,000 convenient pick-up destinations through the Access Point network. A survey conducted earlier this year revealed 20 percent of global shoppers expressed alternate delivery location preferences to home delivery. The Access Point network and now rewards program are direct responses to fulfill consumer demands.

To take advantage of the rewards program, consumers are encouraged to enroll (for free) in the  UPS My Choice® service for global delivery options access. An email will be sent to eligible rewards members in January 2020 with information on redeeming their rewards. To learn more about the holiday program, please visit: ups.com

seasonal

UPS Beefs Up Seasonal Employees for Holiday Preparations

With the holidays quickly approaching, UPS begins preparations for the inevitable increase in demand by recruiting an estimated 100,000 full and parttime seasonal workers. The positions available include package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers offering competitive incentives to qualified seasonal workers. Among benefits highlighted include the company’s Earn and Learn program which offers students up to $1,300 towards college expenses, healthcare, and retirement benefits.

“We expect another record Peak season this year, with daily package deliveries nearly doubling compared to our average of 20 million per day,” said Jim Barber, chief operating officer.  “In order to make that happen, once again we’re recruiting about 100,000 people for some of the country’s best seasonal jobs.”

UPS reports that about 35 percent of their seasonal packaging handler employees were eventually recognized and named permanent staff members. Other seasonal employees, such as Mercy Alvarado, benefit from the UPS-employee relationship years following the initial hire.

“I started my UPS career as a seasonal driver helper in part because the company’s tuition reimbursement program offered an opportunity to continue my education,” Alvarado said. “Since then I’ve not only completed my associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, I’ve been promoted twice and am now a full-time supervisor. UPS is the place where I plan to retire someday, and I’ll always be thankful for this amazing job and opportunity.”

Other seasonal employees hired by UPS support operations at temporary facilities designated specifically for demanding shipping waves reported during the holidays and other peak seasons.