New Articles

Five Important Ways to Negotiate Better Shipping Terms

Shipping

Five Important Ways to Negotiate Better Shipping Terms

The final price of your product or service depends on a wide range of factors. Shrewd people in business know there is more to making profits than keeping your buying price low and selling price high. Additional business expenses can reduce your final margin. These include shipping, marketing, storage, and a range of legal expenses.

Negotiating a low price from your manufacturers is just the beginning. Supply chain negotiation training seminars can teach you several ways to gain value before your products reach your customers.

The shipping industry can offer you notable savings opportunities. To identify these, you have to have a keen eye. In this article, we look at five ways you can apply negotiation training skills to obtain better shipping rates.

Understand the Shipping Terms

Global trade has thrived on the back of shipping and logistics companies for hundreds of years. As a result, the shipping industry has developed a unique culture and language. Whether you are dealing with local or multinational shipping companies, there is a range of terms that you should know.

Terms such as CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) and FOB (Free on Board) are used freely in the shipping industry. If you are new to the business, you can learn shipping terms by attending a seminar on the essentials. If you don’t understand the industry’s regular terms, you risk making a deal that can be negative for your business. 

Negotiation training seminars can teach you how to prepare before sitting down to make a deal. You can improve your position by researching the industry before meeting companies. Also, you can carry out mock discussions with shipping company agents. This can give you a feel of the language and questions that may come up during a real negotiation.

Research Possible Hidden Costs

One of the things that can diminish your profits is hidden logistics costs. The final price for your products should factor in all the costs you expect to incur before delivery. Talking to the different authorities that can come into contact with your products in transit can clarify your overall costs. Knowing the factors affecting your shipping rates can help you negotiate to reduce hidden costs.

By working closely with your shipping company, you can identify smart ways to cut down your costs. Many companies have different shipping rates based on weight as well as box dimensions. If you use the standard boxes the shipping company provides, you can save a few dollars on each load.

Develop Your Negotiation Strategy

Once you have understood the market and options available, negotiation training can help you plan your strategy. Writing down your strategy and goals can give you an overview of the entire process. The points listed below are some of the elements taught in negotiations seminars that can help to strengthen your strategy.

Budget

Based on your business model, you should have a price you are not willing to go above. Your strategy should include the ideal and maximum price you are willing to offer for the shipping service.

BATNA

A BATNA is your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. It refers to a set of alternative options you can take if you cannot reach a viable deal in your negotiations. A well-planned BATNA can help you to recognize a bad deal and give you the confidence to walk away.

Timelines

Time constraints can have a significant impact on your negotiations strategy. The earlier you start discussions with shipping companies, the less pressure you will have to close a deal. Beginning your negotiations early can give you more time to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

The Urgency of Delivery

Your strategy should state how fast you need the products to be delivered once ordered. Same day deliveries often cost more than two or three days of delivery. The delivery time constraints depend on the nature of your products and promises made to your customers.

Payment Terms

Although one-off payment offers come with attractive discounts, they can also be quite risky. Making payments in installments is safer and keeps the shipping company committed until the final payment. Offer well-balanced payment terms that enable your shipping company to deliver your products on time while limiting your financial risk.

Concessions

Well-trained negotiators plan the concessions they are willing to give before discussions begin. In your research, find concessions that can create value for the shipping company and present them in your meeting. The negotiation process can become very challenging if you are too rigid.

Use Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL)

According to the World Shipping Council, the intermodal shipping network plays a significant role in the cost and rate of service delivery. An intermodal network is made up of ships, airplanes, trucks, and trains. The connection points where cargo is transferred between modes of transport are also part of the network. Many companies depend on intermodal networks for the inland dispersal of cargo from harbors and airports.

Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL) provide a useful service by shipping your cargo via their own intermodal networks. A trusted 3PL provider can save you time and money while allowing you to focus on your core business.

3PLs allow you to negotiate with one service provider who can manage all the regulatory and intermodal networking issues you may face. Further, your 3PL can help you connect and share shipping costs with other dealers in your vicinity.

Negotiate with Other Shipping Companies

Before signing off on a deal, make sure you have exhausted your other options. If you only deal with one shipping company, you may miss a better option. In a comprehensive negotiation seminar, you can learn how to leverage competitive bids to secure better deals.

Additionally, training to negotiate with multiple companies feeds into your research. It teaches you more about the existing challenges in the shipping industry. The knowledge you acquire can help you create value as you deal with the shipping companies.

Round-Up

The shipping industry presents smart people in business with a wide array of chances to negotiate better deals. The techniques in this article are not exhaustive. However, they can set you on the right track and feed into your strategy.

Negotiation training seminars are designed to maximize your potential and spur you into action. However, there is no strict rule book that is applicable in every case. As you grow in business, you can develop your own strategies based on your training and personal preferences.

logistics strategy

10 Experts Share Tips on How to Develop a Winning Logistics Strategy

Effective transition of resources cuts production costs, which in turn gives you more maneuvering space to improve other aspects of your business. However, choosing the optimal strategy is demanding, especially for startups. Less experienced business owners can easily fall into a trap and focus their attention on expensive solutions that never show results and live to see their business crumble.

Therefore, we’ve decided to share some of the most constructive pieces of advice from people who mastered logistics strategy development.

Shawn Casemore

Founder and the president of Casemore & Co, Inc. wrote a book on operational management, focusing mainly on sales but most of his ideas are universally applicable. Shawn states that the distribution network holds significant savings potential if properly handled. Leveraging predicted sales volume to negotiate a lower price is one of the key components in logistics. 

Providing long-term cooperation to a courier service often leads to reduced freight costs, meaning more money stays in your pocket. It’s the same as it’s with professional writing services, the more work you need the better terms you get in return. 

Danny Yunes

Coyote Logistics’ Manager of Supply Chain Strategy is a veteran in the industry, with an immense experience that provided him with an important takeaway. Danny Yunes claims that logistics should be calibrated according to the needs of your customers. If your core consumers expect quality service rather than speed because their priority is to receive undamaged goods and according to specifications, your target strategy is clear.

Samuel Levin

SaaS transport management and outsourcing are what MavenWire‘s Managing Director has to say to startups that can’t afford substantial investments in logistics during the first few years. He argues that these options are affordable and easy to keep up with, allowing less experienced managers to stay on top of the process.

Steve Murray

Experienced Chief Researcher at Chain Supply Visions claims that implementation of Sales and Operation planning is the most effective way to build up the performance of each company department to its full potential. This strategy includes cooperation among departments, synchronization of each operational process to reduce loses, avoid penalties, keep data updated, and keeping this harmony in place through constant process auditing and dealing with every issue as a team.

Imagine running an assignment service and your writers sit idle because the orders are not coming through. The whole team should work on finding the solution that will allow seamless workflow and keep the customers happy with the turnaround time. 

Nick Martin

Founder of RiskLogic says that logistics strategy should be resilient. His thoughts are that Just-in-Time strategy seems perfect in the short run but it is fragile because minor setbacks can put your entire operation to a halt. A resilient strategy is one where you are prepared for every eventuality and there’s not much that can disrupt your flow.

Rick Blasgen

Council of Supply Chain Management President and CEO, Rick Blasgen, keeps it simple. His advice is to hire a logistics expert with a proven track record and let that person analyze your options and start working on your strategy. You could start your hunt on LinkedIn and carefully pick top candidates. You could also visit professional conferences for potential hires. Think of it like googling to decide would you hire AssignmentMasters, Assignment Geek, or Grademiners review service to develop marketing content for you.

Clay Gentry

Transportation Insight’s VP of Logistic Operations says that one should develop a strategy according to its impact on your business goals and customers’ operations. His advice is to focus on fulfilling service level goals while implementing the most cost-effective method of resource distribution. Moreover, Clay suggests that outsourcing is sometimes more effective than investing in the development of logistics infrastructure.

Mark Broussard 

CEO of SAMI emphasizes the importance to keep investments in logistics rational, especially in the early days of conducting business. His idea is to be clear that each action you take makes perfect sense for your business at the time that action is taken. Mr. Broussard thinks that every investment and step forward in the development of your strategy needs to support your entire process. 

Kenneth B. Ackerman

Mr. Ackerman devoted his entire professional life to logistics and warehousing management, eventually founding Warehousing Forum, a vault of industry wisdom. His advice is to follow the corporate strategy. Let’s say you decide to start a business and write custom papers for college students and your goal is to provide the fastest service on the internet to take over the market from bestessays.com.au and myassignmenthelp review because they are your main competitors. From the moment you pick up an order to the moment of delivery, the process efficiency depends on flawless logistics. 

Tim Garcia

As it’s to be expected from one of the leaders in the chain management software development industry, Mr. Garcia suggests you should invest in digital solutions to enhance your logistics. His arguments include commonly understaffed supply-chain which makes people work faster and make more mistakes, ability to keep track of each item and financial leverage against a team of experts that would do the same job for much more money.

Conclusion

Enhancing your logistics doesn’t necessarily mean you should pour money into expensive infrastructure or state of the art management software. In most cases, it’s all about organizing that which you already have to serve your purpose the best. However, working with limited resources makes planning and organizing the chain that binds the production somewhat of a challenge. We hope these words of wisdom will help you in achieving your goals.

____________________________________________________________

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 such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.

5 Tips on Obtaining the Right Logistics Company

In whatever industry you are in, whether you sell products in a brick and mortar shop or you deal in e-commerce, you do need a logistics company at some point.

Some logistics companies are not reliable at all times and may deceive you into a contract and not deliver afterward. How can you fork out the bad weeds and choose amongst the good logistics companies?

Logistics company capability

Check for the coverage of each freight company by going through each service area listed on their site or catalogs. If a logistics company has knowledge in your specific target area, you will get faster service and efficient transportation of goods.

Above a large service area, a freight company should be able to handle all your needs. You should set out all your requirements before you commit to a contract with any freight company no matter how reputable it is.

Confirm the maximum load capacity if you will be shipping and transporting heavy weighing goods and if there are any extra costs for that service.

Customer Service

The key to finding a reputable freight company is ensuring on how they treat their customers. Checking whether companies respond swiftly will help you know how fast your shipping related queries will be resolved.

Checking online for customer reviews and checking the estimated response time on Facebook, if the company has a Facebook page is a great start. Take for example, online writing service companies, when hiring a one you often read reviews about top companies like EssayGeeks, Rush-my-essay.com, https://www.ninjaessays.com or a-writer.com. You easily come to know about the quality of the services they offer.

Be careful when doing an online check, some companies may fake testimonials on their site, so try to delve deeper into that research. You can also tackle this problem by asking for references of companies that use that freight company.

If a company is clear and responds to your queries, that may be an indication of good customer service. If there is no good communication from the onset, you will likely face major problems in the future.

It doesn’t matter how affordable a company may seem because if that company compromises on customer service, you will face bigger financial woes in the future. Consider the money you will lose if your orders are late by weeks with no sound explanation and how much that will cost you.

Safety and protection offered

The safety and protection of your goods are paramount when it comes to choosing the perfect logistics company. The safety and protection of your goods include insurance that covers damage and theft of your goods even when caused by third parties.

Checking all the documentation of that insurance and doing your own background check of the underwriters will tell you a lot about that insurance company.

For example, it will tell you if a company will really pay out, how reliable it is and how long it usually takes for the cover to take care of all losses incurred. Read all the fine print and terms and conditions before you sign to avoid nasty surprises later on when you claim.

Make sure that the logistics company you choose has goods-in-transit insurance. Other added value services you should look out for are GPS trackers dashboard cameras and advanced driver assistance systems.

Check if the company is also registered with Truck Associations in your State to ensure its authenticity as there will be some level of accountability for that company.

Suiting your needs

This is again something similar to hiring an online writing service. You first check which one will be good for college essays and which one will more be suited for dissertation or thesis. It is then that you decide from services like EssaysOnTime.com, edugeeksclub.com, bestessays.com or Australianwritings.

If you have large shipment requirements, you need to look for freight companies that have warehouses and storage facilities in the areas you wish to ship to. It should also be able to suit your needs of any transportation mode you will require to ship to your destination.

At this point, you also should not compromise your quality of service with affordability because low-cost companies are not always reliable and offer less visibility, which are two factors that are an enemy of progress. However, you also should not pay exorbitant prices, so try to balance out the services offered and the pricing.

If you have a smaller company that needs fast courier services, you can opt for express courier services offered by various companies. Some courier companies offer next day delivery services and these are great because of several reasons.

Some of those reasons are that even if your delivery does fall short, it won’t be delayed for long. Another reason is that your package stays for only a short while at the hands of the courier company, which minimizes the risk of theft and damage.

Real-time data and tracking

Hiring a freight company that offers real-time data and live tracking services for your goods is a valuable factor in your decision-making process. You should go for a courier company that will let you know where you package in real time and get an accurate estimated time of arrival.

Many companies claim to have this feature only to find out later that they actually don’t, so ask for each company to subject you to a sample. Automated systems are taking this industry to higher levels and if a company is not willing to change, it may be an indicator unreliable service.

The importance of this feature is seen when your freight company has unavoidable delays. With that feature, you can tell your customers exactly where their products are and when they can expect them. So, another feature that is important in your decision-making is the accuracy of the data you receive.

Choosing the best logistics company is a hard and tedious task to do but with these points outlined above, you can make the best use of your resources. Saving your time and costs is always good for business.

To save your time in businesses reliant on logistical support, you should aim at getting swift delivery services. Keep a close eye on the customer service you receive and if it starts to change, consider converting to another company before it starts crippling your business. Lastly, always ensure the safety and security of your goods as the damage might prove to more than a monetary loss.

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 such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.comon various academic and business topics. 

3PL

IN-HOUSE VS. 3PL: WHAT TO CONSIDER

Otherwise known as a third-party logistics provider, a 3PL is utilized by a range of businesses to support logistics and supply-chain management specifically as it applies to distribution and fulfillment services. Pre-1970s transportation contracts were comprised of the shipper (the giant retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers) and the shipping carrier. This all changed however with the introduction of an increased number of “sellers” to the market. These sellers didn’t count on logistics as part of their core competencies, and that produced what economists refer to as a “gap” (in the market). The 3PL jumped in to occupy said gap and the rest is history.

Major legislation passed in 2008 legally held 3PLs as responsible for the inventory they receive/hold/transport as the actual owner said inventory. Roughly 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies and nearly all (96 percent to be exact) of Fortune 100 companies use 3PLs today. 

Despite the high uptake of 3PLs, like most industries there are detractors when it comes to outsourcing order fulfillment. Some of the pros listed for keeping things in-house are:

-You understand your business at a level no third party could.

-Issues are easier to resolve.

-Change and/or minute-by-minute adjustments are more flexible and manageable.

Along the same lines, there are experiences with 3PLs that have left sour tastes because:

-Once a relationship is established and a contract signed with a 3PL, it can be difficult to exit.

-Relinquished control can be complex when it comes to deliveries and client relations.

-It can be difficult to communicate with external drivers/shippers or similar transport personnel in the field.

Of the above, the last point, communication with field personnel, is the principal sticking point. If order fulfillment is linked closely with 3PL transportation personnel, which in most cases it is, having a clear understanding of supervisory roles and what to do in the event of delays or poor communication is vital. Notwithstanding for the most part, the pros to working with a 3PL in a smart and effective manner far outweigh the cons.

For example, concentrating order fulfillment and similar tasks in-house takes up a tremendous amount of resources, which equates to more work and a larger staff. Many relationships, with the carriers most notably, are characterized by a disproportionate number of problems due to the complexity of the job, and it is also equally difficult to know if the rates one is paying in-house are truly competitive with what a 3PL can provide.

A 3PL can compare and select the most competitive rates due to a very wide supply of carriers. They, of course, have lower overhead costs and less staff overall is needed. Then there is perhaps the most compelling argument in 2019 for a 3PL relationship: the latest technology is always up-to-date.

With regards to order fulfillment, a 3PL provides an array of functions, but two areas stand out:

Warehousing

Many 3PLs maintain extensive warehousing facilities and especially when confronting the decision to invest and open a warehouse in a foreign company, a 3PL might make better sense. Granted, one does lose a bit of control not being able to oversee warehouse management processes, but it is likely that a 3PL with warehouse management experience in said foreign country would encounter fewer costly surprises than a new company in a given territory.

At a warehouse level most 3PLs run a warehouse management system (WMS). There is no “one size fits all” solution here as a WMS can be highly complex or as simplistic per firm needs. The value added with a WMS is shippers can access reports, track inventory and easily monitor progress. This is done remotely, of course, and most 3PLs that have an advanced WMS can seamlessly integrate it with enterprise accounting software or enterprise resource planning solutions.

Picking, Packing & Shipping

Once an order is placed or something needs to be retrieved or moved, picking, packing and shipping take place. This is where coordination meets timing meets client expectations. A wrong move will cost money and potentially a client’s contract. One of the more common mistakes that occur when trying to run a warehouse (in-house as opposed to using a 3PL) is if packing and shipping procedures are not clearly understood and/or if the company has little experience in this area, generating the appropriate labeling and being able to negotiate favorable rates with carriers such as UPS, USPS and DHL cannot be leveraged. An experienced 3PL in this instance is an invaluable resource to count on.   

Prior to transitioning into “things to consider” before choosing a 3PL, perhaps the best argument for their existence is technology related. A tech-enabled 3PL leverages the latest fulfillment software to streamline the flow of information, which saves time and automates nearly everything along the supply chain. Second, being able to split inventory across fulfillment centers via software integration and advanced analytics drives effective chains and reduces errors over the long term. No one firm can be an expert in everything and successful 3PLs invest in technology knowing that their clients simply do not have the time nor resources to do the same. They are rightly betting the 3PL will do that for them.

Things to Consider

Prior to embarking on a relationship with a 3PL in the order fulfillment arena, there are several issues that should be addressed:

-Can the 3PL commit to ongoing and irregular investments that will always be needed to keep up with augmenting capacity?

-Is it beneficial to commit to these investments on an ongoing basis?

-With seasonal drops or sales spikes, unplanned expenses generally come together: A good 3PL provider can manage these market fluctuations and protect businesses accordingly.

-Regarding handling, the amount of time spent handling special packing materials can be onerous: a 3PL provider can maintain consistency and decrease costs.

Specific Questions for the 3PL Provider

-How do you administer your accounts?

-Will I have access to your reporting data?

-Does the firm count on personnel with regulatory experience?

These issue areas and questions will help in the initial vetting process. Regardless of whether the firm chooses to stay in-house or contract a 3PL for order fulfillment duties, knowing what the other scenario that has not been selected will cost and look like is vital to any intelligent decision.

Global Trade Magazine Opens Nominations for the 7th Annual “Americas 50 Leading 3PLs”

Global Trade Magazine has officially kicked-off its seventh annual “America’s Top 50 Leading 3PLs” nominations process, with the 2019 list scheduled to go live in the September/October issue. This year will feature the most competitive movers and shakers transforming domestic and international logistics by raising the bar higher while exceeding client expectations and maintaining an exemplary company profile and reputation.

Companies leading initiatives in specific industries will have the opportunity to showcase their expertise among a variety of categories including E-commerce/Omni-Channel, Temperature-Controlled, Innovation, Hazmat, Retail, and much more. Following last year’s focus on “needs-based” categories, the 2019 feature will spotlight specialty industries with the highest demand.

“It’s a measure of the quickly growing/changing/evolving global marketplace that arguably the most critical industry serving it, Third Party Logistic Providers (3PLs), continues to grow, change and evolve at a dizzying pace,” explained former senior editor Steve Lowery in the issue’s introduction.

“That evolution has been chronicled over the years in this, our annual Top 3PL issue, as we have written about such things as an increasing emphasis and reliance on technology, the constant march toward transparency and, most recently, the increasing pace of acquisitions and consolidations.”

Global Trade Magazine will determine the final 50 nominations based on industry reputation, outstanding operational excellence, game-changing initiatives, disruptive technology, and unmatched levels of innovation. This list not only showcases leading players, but also serves as a comprehensive list for manufacturers seeking new partnerships and opportunities.

“It is easy to say that one must move faster, deliver services quicker, be more innovative and have an organizational agility to flex with the world, but it takes something quite different to lead the cultural transformation that is required to make these goals a reality,” said Rich Bolte, CEO of BDP.

“Leadership will have to change as well. Leaders will be measured by their ability to innovate and create potential disruptions. The old paradigm of measuring only performance and execution has changed.”

Nominations are currently open and will be accepted through August 15 at 5 p.m. CST.

To see a complete list of recipients, please visit www.globaltrademag.com and view the current issue.         

Understanding Fulfillment By Amazon in Canada

The ubiquity of Amazon.com and its various international marketplaces is undeniable.

The online retail giant now represents half of all e-commerce in the United States. Last year, Amazon’s product sales amounted to just shy of US$142 billion. But what’s often missed in discussions about the growth trajectory of Amazon is the contribution of third-party sellers to Amazon’s overall sales figures.

In 2018, third-party sellers generated US$42.75 billion, representing 52% of paid units in Q4. That’s almost double the percentage of 2007 when third-party sellers represented only 26% of paid units.

The reason for the sharp upward trajectory in the participation of third-party vendors is simple – Amazon provides unparalleled access to a massive marketplace of consumers. Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), which is the process through which third-party vendors reach consumers, has seen particularly acute growth amongst smaller vendors looking to leverage Amazon’s reach and exposure.

More recently, U.S. businesses have been looking beyond America’s borders, with hopes of taking advantage of Amazon’s international marketplaces, which offer attractive growth potential for those willing to take the plunge into global commerce.

Perhaps one of the most sought-after Amazon marketplaces is Canada’s Amazon.ca. America’s northern neighbor offers a range of opportunities and benefits for third-party sellers looking to enhance their sales potential. There is, of course, geographic proximity, but Canada also boasts one of the highest e-commerce adoption rates globally. In fact, by 2020 e-commerce sales in Canada are expected to reach C$55.78 billion. By 2021, there will be an estimated 23.7 million e-commerce users in Canada, representing two-thirds of Canada’s total population.

Canadians’ attraction to e-commerce is clearly evident in 2018 Amazon Prime sales, which more than doubled in volume from the previous year, demonstrating a growing appetite for the e-commerce giant’s member-based, expedited delivery service.

Still, many U.S.-based third-party Amazon sellers tend to shy away from international markets, fearing the complexity of going global will be overwhelming and/or eat into their profitability.

While it’s true that selling into Canada through Amazon does come with additional layers of complexity, most international-trade considerations can be easily overcome with careful planning and attention.

Tax Implications

U.S. businesses shipping into Amazon’s Canadian fulfillment centers to sell to Canadian consumers are considered Non-Resident Importers (NRIs). By virtue of holding inventory in Canada (through Amazon) a third-party Amazon vendor and Canadian NRI must register and file federal taxes with the Canada Revenue Agency, but does not have to file taxes to the province in which Amazon’s fulfillment center is located.

Customs Documentation

These businesses will also have to ensure they obtain the necessary permits, as well as complete and provide the required customs documentation. Canada’s customs agency carefully scrutinizes products coming into Canada to ensure compliance with regulatory standards and trade agreements, but also for duties or tariffs that may need to be paid.

Customs documentation that is incomplete can result in the import being refused into the Commerce of Canada, leading to delays at the border and, in turn, delays in arrival at Amazon’s fulfillment centre.

Most U.S. businesses use a Canadian customs broker to facilitate the customs transaction with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and to ensure the documentation is complete and sent to the CBSA in advance for seamless clearance at the border.

Customs Classification

As part of the customs process, products will also need to be properly classified. Canada uses different classification codes than the U.S. and ensuring the right codes are being applied to products being sent to Canada is critical to avoid potential customs infractions. Misclassified goods could lead to expensive and time-consuming audits. Should those audits reveal chronic misclassification, businesses may be required to pay retroactive duties, taxes and interest, and possibly significant penalties.

Labelling Requirements

Canada is an officially bilingual nation. That means certain products must be labelled in both English and French to comply with Canada’s language laws, while others may not require bilingual labelling. This is true for every province, not just in Quebec. Failing to comply with language laws could result in significant penalties and potential loss of distribution rights.

These requirements may seem daunting at first, but most of them are easily addressed and over time will become a natural and integral part of the business process. For most businesses, understanding the requirements in advance and putting in place the information and processes necessary to fulfill them will usually result in a seamless import process and minimal burden over the long term.

Danny Cipollone is vice president of strategic alliances and e-commerce at Livingston International, a customs broker and trade services firm specializing in freight forwarding, global trade management and trade consulting.

Gartner Positions DHL as Leader in 2019 Magic Quadrant list for 3PL

Global logistics contract provider, DHL joins many of its own customers on the 2019 Magic Quadrant list. The company’s impressive scale and seamless solutions integration for global clients contributed to earning the “Leader” title in the 2019 list.

“Predictability is critical in this business, and our customers count on us to maintain a level of unmatched operational excellence in everything we do,” said Scott Sureddin, Chief Executive Officer, DHL Supply Chain North America. “We believe that being named a Leader in the Magic Quadrant again this year is a testament to our ability to think strategically and operate exceptionally to drive continuous efficiency improvements for our customers across verticals.”

DHL Supply Chain was 1 of 19 companies surveyed for Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute. DHL maintained the furthest position in Completeness of Vision, representing some of the most prominent North American 3PL experts. Roughly 70 percent of DHL Supply Chain clients were named in the 2018 list (Gartner, The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2018, Stan Aronow et al., 16 May 2018).

“These providers enable customers to outsource, either completely or partially, their logistics operations to external specialists. Many companies view logistics outsourcing as an effective strategy primarily to reduce costs, but more and more customers are seeking innovative solutions that can improve process and service as well.”

Source: DHL

GlobalTranz Boasts Ninth Acquisition in Two Years

Circle 8 Logistics is the latest company to be added to the list of acquisitions for leading third-party logistics solutions provider, GlobalTranz. The company confirmed the acquisition this week, confirming added support for expansion efforts specifically in the Chicago region while adding value to 3PL initiatives.

“Circle 8 has a strong history of providing its customers with superior services and logistics solutions,” said Renee Krug, CEO of GlobalTranz.  “Circle 8 has combined a focus on people, processes and technology to drive growth via unique solutions for its customers and strong carrier partnerships. The combination will further accelerate our growth and market leadership in the 3PL industry,” she added.

Circle 8 is a third-party multimodal transportation and logistics services provider with a reputation of ethical business practices combined with its extensive history of satisfied customers represented in its 98 percent customer retention rate.

“Since the founding of our business in 2001, Circle 8 has provided innovative solutions with honesty and integrity,” said Mike Lewis, co-founder and co-CEO of Circle 8.

The Lombard-based company represents the ninth acquisition for GlobalTranz since January 2017.

“GlobalTranz is clearly executing on its strategy of driving growth both organically and via complementary, accretive acquisitions,” said Bob Farrell, executive chairman of GlobalTranz. “Our unique hybrid combination of the best independent freight agents in the industry with our strong direct channels is a clear differentiator. Circle 8 will further enhance our channels to market.”

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.