New Articles

5 Must-Have Features of Enterprise E-Commerce

e-commerce

5 Must-Have Features of Enterprise E-Commerce

E-commerce is everywhere — unless, of course, you look in the B2B space. Unfortunately, one segment lags behind all the rest when it comes to online sales: manufacturers. Just 38% of manufacturers have e-commerce websites, and only 6% of all manufacturer sales come through this particular channel. 

Part of the reason manufacturers are so slow to adopt e-commerce can be traced back to the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The traditional ways of doing business largely haven’t posed a problem yet, so many manufacturers don’t feel a real sense of urgency to explore the increasingly relevant direct-to-consumer model. 

It also has a lot to do with technical hurdles. For many manufacturers, moving to e-commerce involves taking on yet one more system to master — that or an expensive integration with their current enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. It’s nearly impossible to get an e-commerce platform to talk to an old “closed” mainframe, so plans to upgrade often involve a two-year timeframe or longer to get everything up and running. They might also involve a million-dollar price tag. Not surprisingly, this tends to put e-commerce on the back burner pretty quickly. 

And it’s important to note, too, that most manufacturers work through distributors and dealers, making e-commerce seem like nothing more than a mere alternative to their current traditional sales channels. 

A Missed Opportunity

What many manufacturers seem to be missing, though, is that B2B customers are also B2C customers. Chances are that they’re already shopping online for their personal needs, and not having a way to buy their business products and services online can have a hefty negative impact on the customer experience. If you’re manufacturing a commodity product and your sales process lacks the convenience of shopping for that product online, your customers might begin to look elsewhere. 

Remaining passive about e-commerce is simply the wrong approach, especially with B2B buyers moving more of their purchases online all the time. As it stands, nearly half of all companies utilize online channels for 50% to 74% of all their corporate purchases. Not being online just means you’ve missed out on an opportunity — not only to secure additional sales, but also to broaden your reach to a global level

Also, remember that it’s easier than ever for competition and new players in the market to get in front of your customers via Google, Facebook, and email. Not having an e-commerce site could easily cost you market share, even if the competition’s product isn’t as good as yours.

Beyond the Basics

Knowing that it isn’t enough to conduct all business offline, know, too, that it isn’t enough to just invest in getting an e-commerce platform, leave it there, and call it good. Your site has to offer the functionalities necessary to run an online business. If your system doesn’t support multiple pricing tiers, it probably also doesn’t mimic your current sales process. Clearly, that’s not a good thing. 

Your site needs to be able to support multiple buying options, such as “requests for quotes” as opposed to a shopping cart model. It can take time to arrive at a number in a complex B2B transaction, and the last thing you want is for a customer to have to take the interaction offline just to finalize scope and nail down specifics. 

This naturally leads to my next point. Assuming your e-commerce site comes equipped with all the basics like browse, add to cart, checkout, email confirmation, etc., there are a few features to look out for at the enterprise level. Those often include the following:

System integration options

In e-commerce, a certain amount of coordination is necessary between the website itself and your back-end system that you use for inventory and accounting purposes. Without proper integration, order fulfillment can easily get problematic. Focus on maintenance, data input, and offering a seamless user experience. Most of all, understand all the system integration options of your marketplace website before going with one provider over another.

Proper data to support search

Product information is important. It’s what consumers see prior to making a purchase decision. But it can sometimes pale in comparison to the product data used behind the scenes. A number of data fields and HTML tags enable your products and website to rank in both Google and on-site search results. Make sure your platform accommodates these options. Also, inquire about the tracking capabilities of your on-site search function. It can be useful to monitor what users found — and didn’t find — during a visit.

Customer tiers

At the enterprise level, you’ll likely run across different types of customers. Being able to segment these customers into various tiers can come in handy. Based on their purchase history, for example, you might determine that one tier would respond well to a certain promotion while another’s browsing behavior could inform subsequent product recommendations. In other words, segmenting tiers allows you to personalize your messaging, pricing, and other marketing efforts to fit the needs of your customers. So look into this functionality while reviewing your e-commerce options.

Analytics integration

Whether you’re looking at an off-the-shelf platform or a custom solution, reporting is very important. At a bare minimum, make sure a standard tool like Google Analytics can be integrated with your e-commerce system. You’ll also want to inquire about the setup of advanced features like e-commerce tracking.

Merchandising

Generally, any platform you go with will provide the functionality of assigning products to categories. This can help with on-site search and make it easier for visitors to browse your product line. Beyond that, you might wish to feature certain products. The question, then, is what ability do you have in the platform to create banner ads, highlight related products on a product page, create landing pages around a spotlight topic for the month, and feature products in other ways? 

Providing a good online experience naturally makes customers feel good about doing business with you. It also increases the likelihood of driving new customers to your business without needing to invest in additional resources. 

Ultimately, you can handle more transactions with an e-commerce site in your corner. Just make sure your site provides you with all of the functionalities you need to keep your business running smoothly and your customers happy. 

____________________________________________________________

Michael Bird is the CEO of Spindustry, a digital agency focused on e-commerce, SharePoint portals, and enterprise websites. He has almost 30 years of experience in interactive development, user behavior, and business solutions. His successful agency, Spindustry, puts these strategies into practice to help businesses grow.

logistics

6 Ways to Enhance Your Logistics Efficiency and Improve Customer Relations

For any business that relies on transferring physical goods and valuable data on a daily basis, perfecting logistics processes is an absolute must. Failing to address this important aspect can hurt both the other internal processes at a company and negatively affect the business’s relationships with customers.

When perceived from the position of a customer, this makes perfect sense. Everyone has probably had at least one bad shipping experience in their life. As it turns out that, poor shipping options and bad service can lead to alienating customers and even causing them to order goods from competitors’ websites instead.

So, what can companies do to improve their logistic efficiency and maintain the desired relationship with their customers, whether they’re loyal or new? Here are a few tested and proven ways to stay on top of the situation.

Begin with your logistics staff

Bruce Vaughn, a top paper writing services reviews contributor and a former logistics manager in a large food supply chain, testifies that many shipping mishaps and mistakes begin right at the very beginning of the route: Your own warehouse. 

It all begins and ends with your employees. You can have state-of-the-art software, best vehicles, and finest products on the market, but if you’re constantly understaffed or your employees in the logistics department aren’t properly trained, all other efforts can (and probably will) easily go to waste. Educate your staff and make sure there are always enough of them to handle the growing needs of your business.

Modernize the logistics processes

The times when inventory management and all other processes in your logistics department needed to be done by hand are long gone. Failing to modernize these procedures doesn’t only make your business appear outdated to the outside world: It also slows all shippings down, aggravating your customers as a result.

Business analysts from dissertation writing services advise investing in customizable information management systems that will allow you to handle inventory, statuses of all orders, shipping options, and all other related logistics aspects. This way, your staff will save valuable company’s time and money while also making fewer errors in the process.

Manage supply and demand

One of the most important lessons every retail business owner needs to learn is how to assess the inventory and keep everything neatly stored. This is especially challenging for small businesses, as lack of storage space often prevents them from keeping large amounts of goods close and ready to ship at any time.

Even if your business can’t afford to store thousands of items at the same time, nothing prevents you from educating your staff on how to make the best use of space you do have. Additionally, tracking and analyzing orders can give you a good overview of when your customers typically order more, so you can prepare adequately and in time.

Cut the costs by going green 

As consumers are becoming more aware of our impact on the environment, the time has come for retail and other businesses to start seriously considering going green to cut shipping costs and respond to the wishes of their customers. Thesis help and grademiners analysts assess that more than half of people ordering goods online care about social or environmental benefits, and the results of a study conducted by Cone in 2017 support these claims.

Reducing the consumption of fuel, streamlining driving routes, and investing in eco-friendly packaging are only some of the ways for your business to contribute to saving the planet and strengthen the bond between your brand and its customers.

Partner with reliable shippers

If your company doesn’t ship the goods but instead partners with other shipping services, make sure that your partners are professional and serious when it comes to their end of the business. Your customers expect the entire experience, from ordering to receiving, to be error-free, and if your shipping partners fail to do their job, it’s the image of your company that will suffer as a result.

One of the factors businesses often put in focus when choosing their shipping partners is the price, and this should come as no surprise. However, price should never be the only one, let alone the decisive aspect. Take time to inquire about your potential partner’s delivery and delay rates, insurance, and statistics about their customer support. 

Rethink your refund policy

Even when everything is done right, mistakes can happen. More often than not, however, errors will not affect your business’s reputation as much as your actions to take care of them and prevent similar mishaps in the future.

Remember that trust is what bonds you and your customers as much as the quality of your products. Uk-dissertation.com and essayshark reviews business expert Christina Green emphasizes that designing a respectful refund policy is one of the most important aspects of your retail business. 

Logistics management is one of the crucial components of business operations. Fixing mistakes and maintaining these processes always begins with creating a sustainable plan that should serve your company at the given moment and in the future.

Don’t hesitate to invest time, money, and other resources to make logistics processes work optimally, and your business will soon experience the benefits. Customers will appreciate your efforts, rewarding you with their trust and recommendations, while many other internal processes in your organization will also take a turn for the better.

______________________________________________________________

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.

supply chains

Trade Wars and Warehousing: Repositioning Supply Chains for Success

It’s almost impossible to keep up with trade war news today – whether it’s U.S.-China, UK’s Brexit, EU vs Tech Giants, or anyone of the 101 international trade dispute cases filed with the WTO since 2015. The fact is, the news changes almost daily. What we do know is that the pace of change in tariffs, regulations, and subsidies has enormous impacts on global businesses and their supply chains, dramatically impacting sourcing decisions, market opportunities, competitiveness, and profitability. In the view of many analysts, this state of constant flux has become the new normal. It also means that businesses will need to find a way to cope.

Supply Chains in the Crosshairs

Trade disputes cause havoc with global supply networks, affecting both supply and demand, as well as logistics providers who move the goods. As we know, changes in tariffs and regulations can throw a wrench into even the best of supply chains. By quickly changing market signals, they can completely alter the economics of a business and leave companies struggling with sub-optimal networks and trading partners. It puts enormous pressure on margins and makes companies more vulnerable to disruptions, market fluctuations, and changes the competitive landscape at home and abroad.

Reconfiguring the links in the supply chain can be a monumental task. In fact, in this Wall Street Journal article Jacob Parker, vice president of China Operations for the U.S.-China Business Council, said, “Businesses are making arrangements to diversify their supply chain investments away from the China market and enacting other structural changes to account for that. It could take about three to five years to build up the supply chain elsewhere.”

While that may be true for some, for others changes in supply and manufacturing will occur much faster, and in many cases are already occurring. Whatever the timescale, in the near term these disputes can leave executives paralyzed by uncertainty and their businesses idling, hoping for global trade issues to subside. That may happen, but at this point, it looks just as likely for the uncertainty to continue. For many, waiting is not an option.

Pressures for Warehousing and Distribution

For warehouses and distribution networks, changes in cost signals brought about by tariffs manifest themselves on two timescales.

Near term: For an importing country facing higher tariffs on imported goods, the business response is as obvious as “Sale Ends Sunday” signage. Businesses will stockpile imports from their traditional suppliers to the greatest extent possible in the months and weeks prior to the imposition of tariffs – before prices go up. Ports and warehouses will operate at max capacity, and nimble businesses will look to move materials into their downstream warehouses and distribution network as quickly and efficiently as possible. For the supplier nation, manufacturers and logistics providers will be stretched in their supply chains as well, looking to match this spike in demand.

Longer term: Because of changing economics, importing businesses will ultimately look for new international sourcing options, new manufacturing capacity, overseas warehouse capacity and possibly new logistics providers. Here the advantage will go to those businesses that can adapt to change most quickly and bring new business partners into their supply network most efficiently. They will need to establish a trading collaboration with shared work processes, communication, business rules for exception handling, and master data management – so all parties are working from a single version of the truth in the trading relationship. Even the domestic supply chain structure may need to change in response to shifting entry points, volumes, and lead times.

A Fundamental Shift: Optimizing for Uncertainty

What businesses need to do is plan and prepare for uncertainty and constant change, which will make their business operations and network more resilient. To minimize the existing uncertainty in the supply chain, while increasing its agility, many are looking at their existing infrastructure and are seeking new ways to make them more adaptable to rapidly changing conditions in demand, supply and logistics.

Because most companies run their businesses and global supply chains with many different enterprise systems, they lack end-to-end connectivity and real-time visibility and collaboration capabilities. Traditional systems, such as ERP, MRP, WMS, and TMS, provide vital functionality, but it is primarily enterprise-focused. B2B networks often suffer from a similar problem, as they evolved from acquisitions and the integration of enterprise systems. While giving the illusion of a unified system, at the core they have multiple data models and databases that must be integrated and synchronized.

These systems introduce latency through batch processing to synchronize the various systems; both internal systems and those of trading partners. They contribute a huge amount of friction and uncertainty to the supply chain, increasing the variability and the need for safety stocks. They create rigid, hardwired connections between systems and trading partners, which make it difficult for companies to adapt systems to new partners, business opportunities, and workflows. They are costly to maintain, and an upgrade is virtually a new implementation, with all the cost, time and risk that that entails. The combination of poor visibility and collaboration, rigid architecture, and untrustworthy data makes it difficult to make effective decisions and identify opportunities and threats in a timely manner.

Removing the Guesswork with Real Time Business Networks

Enterprise systems certainly have a role to play, but to effectively manage global supply chains, trading partners need to share data and work together in real-time, to resolve supply chain issues and exploit business opportunities in a rapidly changing trade environment. Multi-party supply chain networks connect all parties to a single network so they can share data in real-time. This provides a cohesive, connected and transparent supply network, that eliminates delays and minimizes uncertainty and variability. With a permissions framework to control who can see what, companies can quickly enable access for various supply chain roles at each trading partner. All relevant parties can have visibility to demand, inventory, orders, shipments, capacity, and constraints. They can plan collaboratively and work together to resolve issues as they arise during execution, eliminating huge amounts of uncertainty while enabling companies to reduce safety stocks and other buffers against variability.

Because all business partners are on the same network, with planning and execution on the same platform, processes like creating documentation for trade compliance can be automated, streamlining many labor-intensive import and export administrative tasks. These processes can also be preconfigured so that intelligent agents can monitor and alert users to missing customs documentation and other issues to ensure compliance.

With unified solutions like inventory management, warehouse management, yard management, and transportation management all running on the same network, businesses are better positioned to understand actual demand and their various supply and logistics options so they can meet the demand at the lowest costs. Companies can also leverage the network to make better decisions about where and when to move inventory. For example, they can choose to move their goods to new markets where demand is higher, rather than incur tariffs on products where demand is low. And if stockpiling is strategically necessary in order to take advantage of market fluctuations or impending changes to tariffs and regulations, companies can leverage the network for storage, distribution and logistics services.

Digital Transformation is Important and Urgent

Lower inventory levels are one of the major benefits of real-time business networks, with companies typically reducing inventory levels by 10 to 30 percent. This relieves pressure on warehouses, where inventory is frequently stockpiled to provide a buffer against variability and uncertainty. Inventory reduction frees up a lot of capital, reduces storage costs, and significantly reduces the risk of product going unsold or obsolete.

Having access to an unlimited number of potential partners is another powerful advantage of a multi-party network. Whether it’s the need to expand in new markets, or withdraw from others, find new suppliers or new logistics partners, a multi-party digital network also means you are already potentially connected to thousands of new customers and partners. Companies who are not already on the network need only onboard once, as connections are then made virtually as opposed to physically with clicks as opposed to point-to-point hardwired connections. This makes for extremely flexible and agile business ecosystems that are controlled by the business analysts charged with managing supply and demand rather than involving scarce IT resources.

Regardless of the changes imposed by political and regulatory agencies, a real-time business network mitigates risk. They are easy to configure, rapid to adapt, extensive and inclusive, rich with alternatives, and infused with intelligence. Although the financial costs can’t be eliminated entirely, much of the administrative overhead can be, and significant savings can be made through a frictionless transaction platform that removes uncertainty, provides transparency, reduces waste and optimizes the utilization of resources.

Most importantly, for businesses facing the uncertainty of ongoing trade wars and other factors that drive volatility, real-time, multi-party networks provide a digital platform for agile business that can respond to risk and quickly exploit new opportunities. They enable companies to leverage new markets, suppliers, logistics services and other trading partners, to respond to changing conditions and to innovate new business models that keep them profitable and competitive whatever the market throws at them.

_______________________________________________________________

Nigel Duckworth is a senior strategist at One Network Enterprises, provider of an AI-enabled business network platform that enables all trading partners to manage, optimize and automate complex business processes in real time. To learn more, visit www.onenetwork.com or follow ONE at https://twitter.com/onenetwork.

fruits nuts

U.S. – Fruits, Nuts And Peel (Sugar Preserved) – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. – Fruits, Nuts And Peel (Sugar Preserved) – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Exports from the U.S.

In 2018, the amount of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) exported from the U.S. stood at 5.2K tonnes, shrinking by -7.3% against the previous year. Overall, exports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) continue to indicate a slight reduction. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2009 with an increase of 42% y-o-y. Exports peaked at 9.3K tonnes in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, exports failed to regain their momentum.

In value terms, exports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) totaled $11M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Over the period under review, exports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) continue to indicate a slight contraction. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2009 with an increase of 76% against the previous year. In that year, exports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) reached their peak of $21M. From 2010 to 2018, the growth of exports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) failed to regain its momentum.

Exports by Country

Canada (1.8K tonnes) was the main destination for exports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) from the U.S., with a 35% share of total exports. Moreover, exports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) to Canada exceeded the volume sent to the second major destination, Saudi Arabia (385 tonnes), fivefold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by China (352 tonnes), with a 6.8% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual rate of growth in terms of volume to Canada stood at +16.1%. Exports to the other major destinations recorded the following average annual rates of exports growth: Saudi Arabia (+11.9% per year) and China (+9.2% per year).

In value terms, Canada ($2.7M), China ($1.6M) and Turkey ($888K) constituted the largest markets for sweetened dried fruit and nut exported from the U.S. worldwide, together accounting for 46% of total exports.

Turkey recorded the highest growth rate of exports, among the main countries of destination over the last eleven-year period, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

The average export price for fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) stood at $2,198 per tonne in 2018, coming down by -1.5% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the export price for fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved), however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2009 an increase of 25% year-to-year. In that year, the average export prices for fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) attained their peak level of $2,776 per tonne. From 2010 to 2018, the growth in terms of the average export prices for fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) failed to regain its momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Turkey ($4,656 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Australia ($983 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to Taiwan, Chinese, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports into the U.S.

In 2018, the imports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) into the U.S. totaled 9.4K tonnes, picking up by 22% against the previous year. In general, imports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved), however, continue to indicate a slight downturn. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2018 with an increase of 22% y-o-y. Imports peaked at 12K tonnes in 2010; however, from 2011 to 2018, imports failed to regain their momentum.

In value terms, imports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) stood at $32M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total import value increased at an average annual rate of +2.3% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2010 with an increase of 18% year-to-year. Over the period under review, imports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) reached their peak figure in 2018 and are likely to continue its growth in the near future.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Thailand (4.5K tonnes) constituted the largest supplier of sweetened dried fruit and nut to the U.S., with a 48% share of total imports. Moreover, imports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) from Thailand exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest supplier, China (827 tonnes), fivefold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by Fiji (722 tonnes), with a 7.7% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of volume from Thailand totaled -1.1%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: China (-1.9% per year) and Fiji (+20.1% per year).

In value terms, Thailand ($14.2M) constituted the largest supplier of sweetened dried fruit and nut to the U.S., comprising 45% of total imports of fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved). The second position in the ranking was occupied by Fiji ($3.5M), with a 11% share of total imports. It was followed by China, with a 11% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of value from Thailand totaled +3.4%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: Fiji (+23.8% per year) and China (+0.5% per year).

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average import price for fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) amounted to $3,379 per tonne, falling by -9.4% against the previous year. Overall, the import price indicated a noticeable increase from 2007 to 2018: its price increased at an average annual rate of +3.5% over the last eleven-year period. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, import price for fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) increased by +54.7% against 2009 indices. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2013 an increase of 27% year-to-year. Over the period under review, the average import prices for fruits, nuts and peel (sugar preserved) reached their peak figure at $3,729 per tonne in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major supplying countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Fiji ($4,917 per tonne), while the price for India ($1,887 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Mexico, while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

USMCA

THESE COMPANIES KEEP CROSS-BORDER CARGO MOVING, EVEN WITH USMCA UP IN THE AIR

Our trilateral trade bloc is in a sort of limbo, stuck between the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that went into effect on Jan. 1, 1994, and the floundering United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), which the countries’ leaders signed on Nov. 30, 2018, but has only been ratified in Mexico.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has pushed for more ease of free trade among the three nations for years, about $1.7 billion worth of goods and services flow between the U.S. and Mexico borders every day. That’s about 2 percent of the GDP in America, where, according to the United Nations’ International Trade Center, Mexico and Canada are the two largest trading partners for U.S. manufacturers and shippers after China.

Despite these uncertain times, there are North American cross-border traders that continue to thrive. Consider the collection that follows. 

AVERITT EXPRESS

One of the nation’s leading freight transportation and supply chain management providers, Averitt is celebrating 50 years of service. The company cites customized, cross-border transportation solutions among its many, many specialties. Five years ago, Averitt slashed less-than-truckload (LTL) service times from the U.S. Midwest to Ontario, Canada, in recognition of the province’s rise as a manufacturing hub. Averitt’s strategically placed border service centers in Laredo, El Paso, Harlingen and Del Rio provide easy access to all points throughout Mexico, by rail, truck or expedited air. 

BNSF RAILWAY

One of North America’s leading freight transportation companies, BNSF boasts a.32,500 route-mile network covering 28 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. The railway utilizes multiple strategies to make international shipments easier for customers. These include market experience, customs clearance know-how and participation in special North American rail service alliances. The BNSF network also includes five U.S.-Mexico gateways (San Diego, El Paso, Eagle Pass, Laredo and Brownsville) and operations in Fort Worth, Texas, and Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, Mexico. Service options include carload, transload and intermodal (Mexi-Modal) that allow for shipments of all major commodities into and out of Mexico.  

CG RAILWAY

Picture in your head a railroad line extending from the American South to southern Mexico. You can imagine the track snaking along the contour of the Gulf of Mexico, extending west from Alabama through Mississippi and Louisiana before reaching Texas and turning due south through the border and beyond. What you did not picture was a shift from rail at Alabama’s Port of Mobile to an ocean ferry making a direct route over water to Puerto Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz, Mexico. That’s what CG Railway (CGR) has been doing since 2000: providing a faster, more cost-effective route between the eastern U.S. and Canada to central and southern Mexico. CGR offers C-TPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) certification, bilingual customer support, proactive port security, reduced mileage and wear and tear on equipment and direct interchanges with the CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National and Kansas City Southern railroads, the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway and Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks and their Mexican counterparts. 

CN NORTH AMERICA

Canadian National is based in Montreal, Quebec, and the Class I freight railway’s network is the largest in that country by physical size and revenue. Established in 1919 and formerly government-owned, Canada’s only transcontinental railway spans from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia to the Pacific coast in British Columbia, across about 20,400 route miles of track. But you’d be mistaken to think CN, as it has more commonly known since 1960, is strictly a Great White North concern. The railway also serves the U.S. South and Midwest and, having gone private in 1995, it now counts as its single largest shareholder Bill Gates. Through the ’90s and 2000s, CN North America has acquired multiple lines passing through several U.S. states.

CROWLEY

The private, Jacksonville, Florida-based corporation is the largest operator of tugboats and barges in the world. Crowley American Transport provides ocean liner cargo services between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. Its American Marine Transport unit delivers local, over-the-road, and commercial trucking services in the continental U.S. Crowley Marine Services provides worldwide contract and specialized marine transportation services, including petroleum product transportation and sales, tanker escort and ship assist, contract barge transportation and ocean towing, logistics and support services, marine salvage and emergency response services, spill-response services on the West Coast and all-terrain transportation services.

CSX TRANSPORTATION

The subsidiary of CSX Corp., a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, CSX Transportation is a Class I freight railroad operating in the eastern United States and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The railroad operates around 21,000 route miles of track. While its lines blanket the east coasts of Canada and the U.S., you don’t have to be located on railroad track for CSX to help you, as it has access to 70 ports and nationwide transloading and warehousing services.

DB SCHENKER 

The global logistics and supply chain management giant has 93 branches in every U.S. state, Mexico and Canada. Schenker of Canada Ltd. provides logistics services, airfreight, custom brokerage, custom consulting, sports events, land transport and courier services. DB Schenker Mexico celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017, having begun down there with a single location and 40 associates and now boasting of 500 employees in its corporate office in Mexico City as well as in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Queretaro, Puebla, Cancun, Ciudad Juarez and various other branches. DB Schenker Mexico offers air freight, ocean freight, land freight, customs brokerage, over-dimensioned projects, warehousing and contract logistics.

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN

The KCS North American rail holdings and strategic alliances are primary components of a NAFTA railway system linking the commercial and industrial centers of the U.S., Mexico and Canada. “KCS is just one interchange away from every major market in North America,” boasts the railroad. KC Southern de Mexico offers unique rail access to the Port of Lazaro Cardenas on Mexico’s Pacific coast, which is an ideal spot to avoid congestion in U.S. West Coast ports. KCS also has access to Gulf of Mexico ports, including Altamira, Tampico and Veracruz in Mexico and Brownsville, New Orleans, Corpus Christi, Houston, Gulfport, Lake Charles, Mobile and Port Arthur in the U.S. 

LIVINGSTON INTERNATIONAL

Billed as North America’s No. 1 company focused on customs brokerage and compliance, Livingston International also offers international trade consulting and freight forwarding across the continent and around the globe. Headquartered in Chicago, Livingston operates along the U.S.-Canada border, with regional air/sea hubs in Los Angeles, New York and Norfolk. Livingston employs more than 3,200 employees at more than 125 key border points, seaports, airports and other strategic locations in North America, Europe and the Far East. Livingston is a customs brokerage leader in Canada, and the company also promises to move goods seamlessly into Mexico.

LOGISTICS PLUS

Whether it is working as a 3PL or 4PL partner, the Erie, Pennsylvania-based company specializes in total logistics management, LTL and truckload transportation, rail and intermodal services, project cargo and project management, import/export services, air and ocean freight forwarding, warehousing and distribution, global trade compliance services and logistics and technology solutions. Logistics Plus serves small and large businesses throughout the Greater Toronto Area, with an office in the zone that has access to the Port of Toronto and expertise in shipping in and out of Canada though the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Bilingual logistics experts help customers with intra-Mexico, cross-border, or international shipping using air, ocean, ground or rail transportation. 

LYNDEN

Seattle-based Lynden not only delivers to, from and within Canada, the company does business there. Its long-established Canadian presence allows it to provide complete coverage for any transportation need. They can help with warehousing and distribution or 3PL in Canada, where Lynden boasts of knowing “the ins and outs of customs brokerage, duties and taxes, imports and exports.” From its offices in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Lynden offers scheduled less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload (TL) service to points in Alaska and the Lower 48.

LYNNCO

The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company optimizes customers’ supply chains coast-to-coast in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. LynnCo manages businesses and determines how and when ground, international air/ocean, spot/capacity, procurement and expedited services are the best options. For instance, LynnCo helped a U.S. manufacturer determine if shifting units to Mexico was profitable. The answer was no after factoring in the risks of moving, poor facilities, added shipping costs and product quality. 

POLARIS TRANSPORTATION GROUP

Billing itself as “an American company headquartered in Toronto,” Polaris has a quarter century of experience in scheduled LTL service between the U.S. and Canada. The company knows both countries’ customs rules and participates in every border security program, including C-TPAT, PIP (Partners in Protection), CSA (Customs Self- Assessment) and FAST (Free and Secure Trade). The company’s scheduled service connects Ontario and Quebec markets with the U.S. through a combination of its fleet and facilities along with those of its long-established partner carriers.

PUROLATOR INTERNATIONAL

The U.S. subsidiary of Canada’s leading provider of integrated freight and parcel delivery services, Jericho, New York-based Purolator International seamlessly transports shipments between the U.S. and Canada and manages the respective countries’ customs processes with aplomb. They pick up/drop off at every point in the U.S. and boast of a distribution network that extends to every Canadian province and territory. What truly takes Purolator International over the top is a commitment to continue improving, as evidenced by a recent $1 billion growth investment that includes two new hubs that will allow for faster fulfillment for both courier and e-commerce shipments from the U.S. throughout Canada, where consumers also will be seeing more access points, including upgraded retail pickup locations.

R+L GLOBAL

“Shipping to Mexico is facil,” according to Ocala, Florida-based R+L Global Logistics. Its qualified network of premium carriers in Mexico provide secure door-to-door Less than Truckload (LTL) and Full Truckload (FTL) services. They cover the entire Mexican territory and move cargo across all major U.S./Mexico border gateways. They also move intra-Mexico shipments. 

SCHNEIDER

The Green Bay, Wisconsin-based giant specializes in regional trucking, long-haul, bulk, intermodal, supply chain management, brokerage, warehousing, port logistics and transloading. Decades of cross-border freight experience means customer cargo moves without question or delay. Once goods move across the border, Schneider has the assets and personnel in place to deliver it safely and securely. “Here’s the simple fact: No one makes shipping to Canada and Mexico easier or more efficient than Schneider,” the company boasts. “By road or by rail, your freight is in the best hands possible.”

SENKO 

The Japanese logistics giant has offices in the U.S., where their own trucks and warehouses work with a network of vendors. The 3PL/4PL supply chain solutions provider uses its own IT technology developed in Japan to help arrange liquid tank transportation, flatbed, drayage, refrigerated, dry, expedited shipping and freight broker services. Senko Logistics Mexico is the company unit south of the border.

SUNSET TRANSPORTATION

The St. Louis-based company has offices and agents across the country, and customers whose shipments are moved around the globe. Sunset arranges freight for a wide range of industries, from wholesale food distribution to specialized construction equipment. “Cross-border solutions” include customs clearance for land, rail, air and ocean, LTL, TL, intermodal, rail, air, expedited and specialized freight, contracted lane and spot market, C-TPAT compliance, multimodal programs, a Laredo, Texas, warehouse and distribution facility and 24/7 bilingual, bicultural support.

SURGERE 

Headquartered in North Canton, Ohio, Surgere is a leader in linking OEMs, tier suppliers and logistics providers through an automotive data system that provides visibility on returnable containers at every stage of their movement between supplier and vehicle maker. The supply chain innovators, whose clients include Nissan and CEVA Logistics, recently opened Technologias Avanzadas Surgere de Mexico in Aguascalientes, Mexico, which has more than 1,300 suppliers and automotive plants within 200 kilometers of the location. “Central Mexico is the automotive hub for Latin America—making it a natural progression—and a welcomed challenge for us,” explained David Hampton, Surgere’s vice president for International Operations, in announcing the move. Surgere hopes to have the Mexico office fully staffed before the end of this year.

TQL

Cincinnati, Ohio-based Total Quality Logistics (TQL) was founded in 1997 and is now the second-largest freight brokerage firm in the nation, with more than 5,500 employees in 57 offices across the county. Known for combining industry-leading technology and unmatched customer service, TQL boasts of providing competitive pricing, continuous communication and “a commitment to do it right every time.” They move more than 1.6 million loads across the U.S., Canada and Mexico annually through a broad portfolio of logistics services and a network of more than 75,000 carriers.

USA TRUCK

The Van Buren, Arkansas-based company provides customized truckload, dedicated contract carriage, intermodal and third-party logistics freight management services throughout North America. USA Truck has nearly two decades of experience servicing Mexico, which has allowed the company to expand its presence south of the border and partner with many Mexican carriers. USA Truck’s Capacity Solutions coordinates transportation into and out of Mexico with a vast carrier network, and they service most major Mexican markets and consistently maintain C-TPAT certification. USA Truck also has a select fleet of third-party carriers providing service into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

UTXL

Launched in 1997 by four founders with more than 100 years of combined asset-based trucking experience, UTXL started with this goal: to be the safest, most reliable and cost effective niche capacity resource to customers in support of their core carrier programs. UTXL has served thousands of shippers across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, including some of the largest shippers in the world. One of their mottos is: “Any point in the U.S., Canada or Mexico … any length of haul.”

WERNER ENTERPRISES

“We keep America moving” is the motto of this Omaha, Nebraska-based company that has one of the largest transportation services to and from Mexico and is a premiere long-haul carrier to and from Canada and throughout North America. Werner has offices in Mexico and Canada as well as experienced and knowledgeable staff engineer solutions. PAR documentation allows for quicker access through customs into Canada, and their network of alliance carriers can manage entire supply chains within Canada and Mexico regardless of equipment needs.

WW SOLUTIONS

The unit of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics participates in Mexico’s automotive industry not only as a carrier and logistics provider. WW Solutions specializes in processing solutions at ports and at OEM plants, providing services that include pre-delivery inspections, accessory fittings, repairs, storage, washing, vehicle preparation, quality control, inventory management and the procurement of technical services.

YRC FREIGHT

Yellow Transportation (founded in 1924 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) merged with Roadway (founded in 1930 in Akron, Ohio) to create YRC Freight, which is the largest subsidiary of YRC Worldwide Inc. based in Overland Park, Kansas. A leading transporter of industrial, commercial and retail goods, YRC Freight offers solutions for businesses across North America and is the only carrier with on-site, bilingual representatives at border crossing points in Mexico to expedite customs clearance.

two-day shipping

Two-Day Shipping or One-Day Order Processing: What Wins?

Your average customer doesn’t know much about logistics, so every e-commerce company faces a unique concern for giving customers what they want. Do you offer two-day shipping for when an order is processed, or speed up your processing, all in order to meet their demands for quick products?

From the customer perspective, two-day shipping obviously sounds fantastic. However, it stops being so great when things take far longer than two days. Imagine if your order processing takes a week — how would customers feel?

In the same light, if an order is processed in a few hours, but shipping takes weeks, people might not even click “buy” if you’re upfront about how long it’ll take to get to their door. Google will lead you to many people who are disappointed with shipping times, regardless of the promise they were made.

So, what’s an e-commerce business to do?

Two-Day Shipping Changes

Adding two-day shipping is all about speed in your warehouse. As soon as this team receives an order, they get to work picking, packing, and sending it off to the customer. Buyers have a clear understanding of when things will arrive after the order is shipped and they’ll hold you to it.

To achieve this, you’ll need a streamlined warehouse with quality technology and practices, optimized to move orders as fast as possible. You also need enough people to prevent a backlog. Warehouse management tools are a tremendous help for this labor planning, plus they can ensure you’ve got the inventory of products as well as boxes and packaging materials to keep you ready.

The good news for a business is that you can keep your shipping promises even when inventory runs low because you’re guaranteeing delivery after order processing. 

Making the most out of two-day shipping requires you to be transparent. Customers need to know that the two days are when the product leaves your warehouse and arrives at their door, not when they click “buy.” Companies often address this by providing an estimated arrival date and then following up with an email once the product is shipped.

Thoughts on One-Day Order Processing

Order processing, simply put, is your ability to verify and use a purchase order to create a warehouse shipment order.

Most customers just don’t think about order processing when they’re making a purchase. Some don’t really understand the concept because they’re treating your business like a brick-and-mortar solution where they walk in, ask for what they want, and then you (the business) immediately know and can start on their order.

The behind-the-scenes actions of verifying orders and payment, checking inventory, creating an order for a warehouse, and getting it all in line when your staff is there simply blow by without a thought. You can see this in the wide range of explanations, FAQs, and responses to customer complaints about package deliveries and times. Even Comcast has to explain order processing times on its support pages.

If you’re able to streamline all of those activities, it’s a boost that customers will love, even if they don’t realize it. Processing every part of an order in a single day, or on the same day, allows your team to pick, pack, and send faster. It’ll improve the speed of all orders you receive, not just those that select expedited shipping.

Most of this is done via technology like warehouse management systems, which allow you to better control costs and understand revenue as well as inventory. What you’ll like about using a WMS is that they process orders quickly enough for you to insert them in the workflow where they need. So, if you get two orders — the first at regular shipping and then another an hour later with two-day shipping — the system will automatically move the two-day shipping to the front of the line.

The Customer-Driven Choice

Choosing between these two options requires one more consideration: where are your customers unhappy?

Unhappy customers won’t buy from you again and are likely to leave negative reviews that can impact other sales. When concerns are around your shipping, read them carefully. Ask if you can best respond by processing an order more quickly and reducing long wait times or if they demand immediate satisfaction with the two-day turnaround.

In general, customers are more likely to understand two-day shipping on your website, so if the issue is clarity or complaints around not knowing when goods will arrive, this might be a better course of action. On the other hand, if they don’t like how their order disappears for days or weeks before they get a notice about it being shipped, order processing can be the right solution.

Shoppers on the e-commerce behemoth Amazon will sometimes gripe that their Prime packages still take a week to arrive. Often this is because the seller’s order processing systems and inventory levels have issues. Because customers are paying for two-day shipping, they can feel cheated. It’s a direct sign for where those companies should focus their next warehouse investments.

Both two-day shipping and one-day order processing can improve your operations. When possible do both. When not, pick the one that your customers will understand and appreciate most based on the feedback you already have available.

_________________________________________________________________

Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others. 

Every Loading Dock Should Have a Vehicle Restraint. Here’s Why.

In 2017, there were 270,000 injuries reported in the transportation and warehousing industry. The same industry also saw 819 deaths, a number only surpassed by the construction industry. The number of preventable fatal work injuries in transportation and warehousing grew 5.3% from 2016 to 2017 (1). 

What do these statistics have to do with loading docks? More than 25% of all industrial accidents happen at the loading dock, and for every accident, there are about 600 near misses (2). If your job has anything to do with loading docks, these figures are meant to help you understand how important loading dock safety really is. 

Forklift Fall-Through

One of the most dangerous types of accidents that occur at the loading dock is forklift fall-through. This type of accident happens as a trailer is being loaded or unloaded. Sometimes, the momentum of the forklift transfers to the trailer, causing it to move forward until it separates from the dock leveler. Other times, the truck driver thinks loading or unloading is complete and pulls away from the dock prematurely. When the forklift leaves the trailer, it falls into the gap. The forklift driver often falls out or tries to escape, and the forklift falls on him or her. The average forklift weighs as much as three cars. 

“Forklift fall-through doesn’t happen every day, but when it does, it’s one of the worst types of accidents that happen in a warehouse or distribution center,” says Jeff Schulze, Vice President at loading dock equipment manufacturer Systems, LLC. “Fortunately, when used correctly, vehicle restraints help minimize the chances of a forklift fall-through accident.” 

When a trailer backs up to a loading dock, the most common types of vehicle restraints capture or block the trailer’s Rear Impact Guard (RIG), sometimes called an ICC bar, securing the trailer to the loading dock until the restraint is disengaged.

Wheel Chocks Are Not the Answer

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that companies with warehouses and distribution centers are responsible for the safety of their employees, which obviously includes dock personnel, and requires that all vehicles are, at minimum, restrained by wheel chocks prior to and during loading and unloading. 

If someone believes wheel chocks are an acceptable substitute for vehicle restraints, he or she must ensure that every trailer is properly chocked, which is rare. In one facility, every dock position might have an immaculate set of wheel chocks that are always stored in their cradle, but they’re only immaculate because they aren’t used very often. Dock personnel at another facility might believe truck drivers should chock their own trailers, but all they’re legally required to do is set their brakes. At another facility, perhaps wheel chocks are not even available. They were there at some point in time, but on a frigid winter day they weren’t returned to their cradle and the snowplow picked them up and ripped them off the wall. At yet another facility, some of the chocks have simply broken down from years of use and were never replaced. In each case, the company is not only risking OSHA fines, but also the safety of its dock personnel.

Wheel chocks also must be applied firmly against the closest set of wheels to the dock, or they may not prevent trailer creep. This requires more than just casually tossing the chock near the trailer wheels. A gravelly drive or wet or icy conditions also reduce the effectiveness of wheel chocks. To top it all off, in most cases, trucks can simply pull trailers right over wheel chocks, so they’re generally not very good at preventing early pull-away. 

Communication is Key

Securing a trailer to the loading dock is only part of the reason vehicle restraints are preferred over wheel chocks. Communication between dock personnel and truck drivers is essential for maintaining safety in the loading dock, and wheel chocks do nothing in this area. Vehicle restraints often include light communication systems that know when the trailer is restrained and use interior and exterior lights to communicate this to the truck driver and dock personnel so loading or unloading can safely begin. 

Safety is an Investment

Anyone who thinks vehicle restraints are too expensive should consider that loading dock accidents cost companies an estimated $675 million every year,(3) and the average cost of a worker injury accident is about $189,000 (4). A better way to spend $189,000 is to install automatic vehicle restraints and greatly reduce the chances of a forklift fall-through accident in the first place. 

There is also a possibility that installing restraints at your loading docks may lower your insurance rates. “When you install restraints, you’re acting to not only reduce the chances of employee injury accidents, but also damage to equipment, vehicles, and cargo from accidents,” says Schulze. “It’s definitely worth a call to your insurance provider.”

A Chance Not Worth Taking

It’s been said that forklift fall-through accidents are a one-in-a-million incident. That might not be far from the truth. If a facility has 20 dock positions and each sees 10 trailers per day, and each of those trailers sees 40 forklift entries and exits during loading or unloading, it only takes 25 weeks for this facility to have a million opportunities for a forklift fall-through. Suddenly one-in-a-million feels much too close for comfort.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

The time to put on your seat belt is not after you’ve been in a car accident. It’s a bit late to install smoke detectors after your home has burned to the ground. If you drive a forklift to load or unload trailers and wheel chocks are all you’ve got, ask your supervisor about vehicle restraints. If you’re a warehouse manager or safety officer, don’t wait until someone gets hurt to put vehicle restraints in the budget. When you install vehicle restraints in your loading docks, rest easy knowing you’ve done the best thing you can do to help minimize the risk of forklift fall-through accidents. 

 

Jeremy Artz is the Product Manager for loading dock equipment manufacturer Systems, LLC. He has 20 years of marketing and product management experience in various industries from manufacturing to financial. Jeremy specializes in connecting people and products by focusing on how those products can benefit businesses and improve lives.

 

___________________________________________________________________________

1 National Safety Council Injury Facts https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/work-overview/work-safety-introduction/ 

2 Industrial Safety & Hygiene News https://www.ishn.com/articles/107356-slow-down-watch-out-know-the-facts-about-loading-dock-hazards 

3 Material Handling & Logistics https://www.mhlnews.com/warehousing/safety-and-security-loading-dock-know-your-risks-and-take-control 

4 National Safety Council: $39,000 medical cost https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/costs/work-injury-costs + estimated $150,000 property damage ($75,000 forklift + $75,000 building repair cost)

tariffs

TARIFFS: NAVIGATING THE LATEST TARIFFS ON CHINESE GOODS

Despite recent plans to revive moribund negotiations, the prospects for a near term solution to the U.S.- China trade conflict are very much in doubt. The United States has expanded the tariffs already in place to cover nearly all imports from China, and in response China has hit back with tariffs of its own where it may hurt U.S. exports the most, mainly in swing-state industries such as farming and automobile production. 

The stock markets and economic growth in each country have increasingly shown signs of strain from the trade war and a cease-fire could provide a welcome respite. Although the Trump administration has agreed to renew trade negotiations in early October, it would be irresponsible to expect these talks to arrive at a meaningful resolution based on how entrenched each side has become. Leaving fate in the hands of the negotiators is risky business since prior negotiations have stalled or led to further escalations. So what can companies do to protect their interests and to mitigate the impact of the tariffs? 

Many companies find they cannot quickly change their supply chains or stop doing business with China. This is because U.S. importers and producers are dependent on Chinese parts makers. Some of these parts may not be available in the United States or third countries. Moving production to the United States could itself take years. But in the short term, companies can take certain steps to mitigate the impact of the tariffs. 

First, companies should consider seeking official exclusions from the tariffs with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Since importers are responsible for paying the tariff amounts, it is crucial that they are well informed about the exclusion process and consider filing requests as soon as possible since deadlines are looming. 

Tariffs on imports from China have been divided into four separate Lists; goods on Lists 1 and 2 encompass roughly $50 billion of imports from China and their exclusion process has closed. Lists 3 and 4 cover the remaining $500 billion of imports and are entering their final phase. 

List 3 goods have been subject to a 25 percent tariff since May 2019, but the rate is set to increase to 30 percent on October 15, 2019 (originally the increase was set for October 1, but President Trump has extended it by two weeks as a gesture of “good will” towards China). The deadline for requesting List 3 exclusions is September 30. 

List 4 goods, or all goods not presently covered by Lists 1-3, are subject to a 15 percent tariff effective September 1 (List 4A), or December 15 (List 4B). The exclusion process for List 4 has yet to be announced, but is likely to resemble that which applied to the previous Lists. 

What makes an exclusion request successful? This has been like reading tea leaves, although certain patterns have emerged. Namely, successful applications are extremely detailed and provide adequate information for USTR staff on which to base their opinion. Products not manufactured in the United States, products for which the manufacturer has a U.S. or foreign patent, or products which are difficult to manufacture in the United States due to high costs or environmental concerns are examples of those for which the USTR has approved exclusions. 

Other factors which have shown to affect exclusions include: potential U.S. jobs lost; financial impact on an industry sector; store of facility closings; customer demographics; ability of the customers to accept some of the tariff costs; geographic location; whether the products are included in the “Made in China 2025” policies; capacity of U.S. manufacturers to produce the quantities and quality required for the product; impact on swing states in the next presidential election; or effective public relations. 

However, an exclusion request can take time to submit, and often much longer for the USTR to reach a determination. Exclusions have also been rare. 

For those looking for another option, a change in the product’s customs classification may provide a viable option. U.S. Customs and Border Protection can only levy tariffs on the condition of goods as imported. When goods are imported, they are assigned a specific classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) subheading. Each subheading for Chinese imports is assigned a specific tariff rate depending on where it falls on Lists 1-4. U.S. companies can work with their Chinese suppliers to determine whether certain products could be shipped in separate parts, finished or unfinished, or in embellished forms so that they legally fall under an HTS subheading assigned to a lower tariff rate. 

For some U.S. companies, passing on of the tariff cost to their consumers may be preferable. But for many, this is not a competitive solution. Some customers simply will not tolerate the increased pricing and demand for the products would correspondingly decline. 

While it is not always a quick solution, U.S. companies concerned about the duration of the current trade war may also consider diversifying their sourcing away from China altogether by shifting some or all manufacturing to the United States, or to a third country. A product with a non-China country of origin would not be subject to the current tariffs. However, country of origin rules are not harmonized internationally and different rules may apply under free trade agreements, or the substantial transformation test. Therefore, it is important for importers to understand the applicable rules and carefully verify the country of origin when considering this option. 

Finally, another approach would be to lower the dutiable value of the product upon importation to the United States through the so-called “first sale” valuation. In this scenario, U.S. importers pay duty on the price that a trading company pays the manufacturer instead of the higher price the importer pays the trading company. While the tariffs would still apply in this case, their impact would be less severe because the dutiable value would be significantly lower. 

_____________________________________________________________________

Mark Ludwikowski is the leader and Courtney Taylor is an Associate of the International Trade practice of Clark Hill, PLC. They are resident in the firm’s Washington D.C. office and can be reached at 202-772-0909; mludwikowski@ClarkHill.com and cgtaylor@ClarkHill.com

milk

Global Whole Fresh Milk Market 2019 – Output is Driven by Increasing Demand in India, Turkey, the EU, and the U.S.

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Whole Fresh Milk – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The global whole fresh milk market is estimated at $798.4B in 2018, an increase of 1.7% from 2017. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). The market value increased at an average annual rate of +2.5% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being observed throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2010 with an increase of 8.8% year-to-year. Over the period under review, the global whole fresh milk market attained its maximum level in 2018 and is expected to retain its growth in the near future.

Consumption By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of whole fresh milk consumption in 2018 were India (185M tonnes), the U.S. (99M tonnes) and Pakistan (46M tonnes), with a combined 39% share of global consumption. These countries were followed by Brazil, China, Germany, Russia, France, New Zealand, Turkey, the Netherlands and the UK, which together accounted for a further 28%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of whole fresh milk consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Turkey, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest whole fresh milk markets worldwide were India ($140.3B), the U.S. ($87.4B) and Brazil ($67.7B), together accounting for 37% of the global market. These countries were followed by Pakistan, New Zealand, China, Russia, Germany, Turkey, France, the Netherlands and the UK, which together accounted for a further 27%.

In 2018, the highest levels of whole fresh milk per capita consumption was registered in New Zealand (4,626 kg per person), followed by the Netherlands (877 kg per person), Germany (417 kg per person) and France (384 kg per person), while the world average per capita consumption of whole fresh milk was estimated at 110 kg per person.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual rate of growth in terms of the whole fresh milk per capita consumption in New Zealand totaled +2.1%. The remaining consuming countries recorded the following average annual rates of per capita consumption growth: the Netherlands (+2.4% per year) and Germany (+1.8% per year).

Market Forecast 2019-2025

Driven by increasing demand for whole fresh milk worldwide, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next seven years. Market performance is forecast to retain its current trend pattern, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +1.6% for the seven-year period from 2018 to 2025, which is projected to bring the market volume to 946M tonnes by the end of 2025.

Production 2007-2018

In 2018, approx. 846M tonnes of whole fresh milk were produced worldwide; increasing by 2.2% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.9% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations being observed throughout the analyzed period. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2014 with an increase of 3.4% y-o-y. The global whole fresh milk production peaked in 2018 and is expected to retain its growth in the near future. The general positive trend in terms of whole fresh milk output was largely conditioned by a modest increase of the number of producing animals and a relatively flat trend pattern in yield figures.

In value terms, whole fresh milk production amounted to $780.5B in 2018 estimated in export prices. The total output value increased at an average annual rate of +2.5% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review.

Production By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of whole fresh milk production in 2018 were India (185M tonnes), the U.S. (99M tonnes) and Pakistan (46M tonnes), with a combined 39% share of global production. Brazil, China, Germany, Russia, France, New Zealand, Turkey, the UK and the Netherlands lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 27%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of whole fresh milk production, amongst the main producing countries, was attained by Turkey, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Producing Animals 2007-2018

In 2018, the global number of animals for whole fresh milk output amounted to 821M heads, rising by 1.7% against the previous year. This number increased at an average annual rate of +1.4% over the period from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations throughout the analyzed period. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2009 when the number of producing animals increased by 3.3% y-o-y. The global number of animals for whole fresh milk production peaked in 2018 and is likely to continue its growth in the near future.

Yield 2007-2018

In 2018, the global average yield for whole fresh milk output stood at 1 tonne per head, remaining stable against the previous year. In general, the whole fresh milk yield continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2014 with an increase of 2.7% y-o-y. The global whole fresh milk yield peaked in 2018 and is expected to retain its growth in the immediate term.

Exports 2007-2018

Global exports amounted to 10M tonnes in 2018, reducing by -11.5% against the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.4% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2008 when exports increased by 13% against the previous year. Over the period under review, global whole fresh milk exports reached their maximum at 11M tonnes in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

In value terms, whole fresh milk exports stood at $6.9B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total export value increased at an average annual rate of +2.0% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2011 when exports increased by 26% y-o-y. Over the period under review, global whole fresh milk exports attained their peak figure at $8.6B in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2018, exports failed to regain their momentum.

Exports by Country

In 2018, Germany (1.4M tonnes), followed by the Czech Republic (855K tonnes), the UK (822K tonnes), Belgium (746K tonnes), the Netherlands (741K tonnes), France (698K tonnes), Poland (606K tonnes) and Austria (582K tonnes) were the major exporters of whole fresh milk, together achieving 65% of total exports. The following exporters – Latvia (340K tonnes), Hungary (316K tonnes), Slovenia (284K tonnes) and Luxembourg (253K tonnes) – each recorded a 12% share of total exports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by Poland, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest whole fresh milk markets worldwide were Germany ($976M), the Netherlands ($715M) and Belgium ($664M), together comprising 34% of global exports. These countries were followed by France, Poland, the UK, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Latvia, Luxembourg and Slovenia, which together accounted for a further 37%.

Among the main exporting countries, Poland recorded the highest growth rate of exports, over the last eleven-year period, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

The average whole fresh milk export price stood at $696 per tonne in 2018, approximately reflecting the previous year. In general, the whole fresh milk export price, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2013 an increase of 14% year-to-year. In that year, the average export prices for whole fresh milk reached their peak level of $811 per tonne. From 2014 to 2018, the growth in terms of the average export prices for whole fresh milk remained at a somewhat lower figure.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was the Netherlands ($965 per tonne), while Latvia ($377 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Belgium, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports 2007-2018

In 2018, approx. 11M tonnes of whole fresh milk were imported worldwide; falling by -5.3% against the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.5% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2008 with an increase of 14% year-to-year. Over the period under review, global whole fresh milk imports attained their peak figure at 12M tonnes in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

In value terms, whole fresh milk imports stood at $8.2B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total import value increased at an average annual rate of +3.5% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2017 with an increase of 27% year-to-year. The global imports peaked at $8.6B in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2018, imports stood at a somewhat lower figure.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Germany (2.5M tonnes), distantly followed by Italy (1.2M tonnes), Belgium (914K tonnes), the Netherlands (803K tonnes), Ireland (764K tonnes) and China (580K tonnes) were the largest importers of whole fresh milk, together making up 61% of total imports. Lithuania (480K tonnes), France (363K tonnes), Russia (238K tonnes), Croatia (206K tonnes), Poland (187K tonnes) and Romania (184K tonnes) occupied a minor share of total imports.

From 2007 to 2018, average annual rates of growth with regard to whole fresh milk imports into Germany stood at +5.7%. At the same time, China (+57.8%), Croatia (+21.9%), Poland (+13.7%), Romania (+13.1%), Lithuania (+11.4%), Ireland (+10.6%), Russia (+6.5%), the Netherlands (+6.1%) and Belgium (+1.9%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, China emerged as the fastest-growing importer in the world, with a CAGR of +57.8% from 2007-2018.

By contrast, France (-1.5%) and Italy (-3.1%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period. From 2007 to 2018, the share of Germany, China, Ireland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Croatia and Belgium increased by +10%, +5.2%, +4.6%, +3.5%, +3%, +1.6% and +1.5% percentage points, while Italy (-4.4 p.p.) saw their share reduced. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

In value terms, Germany ($1.5B), China ($747M) and Italy ($733M) appeared to be the countries with the highest levels of imports in 2018, together comprising 36% of global imports.

In terms of the main importing countries, China (+54.0% per year) recorded the highest growth rate of imports, over the last eleven years, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average whole fresh milk import price amounted to $735 per tonne, picking up by 4.7% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the whole fresh milk import price, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2017 when the average import price increased by 16% year-to-year. The global import price peaked at $802 per tonne in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, import prices remained at a lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was France ($1,584 per tonne), while Lithuania ($383 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by France, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

business

How Small Steps Can Drive Big Results For Your Business

In business, it’s the major leaps that people notice and remember.

Apple introduced the iPhone and the methods in which we communicate and gather information were changed forever. LEGO took some audacious steps over the last couple of decades and expanded its toy franchise into video games, TV and movies.

Big steps. Big results.

But not every move you make with your business or in your personal life needs to be of earth-shattering significance, says Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), founder and CEO of PFSbrands and author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success.

Sometimes, it’s the small steps that eventually lead to big rewards.

“One example with my own company is that there was a time when I didn’t believe in meetings,” Burcham says. “I thought they were a waste of time, probably because most of the meetings I had been in had indeed been a waste.”

But as his business grew, Burcham realized meetings are a necessity for communicating within a large organization. So, PFSbrands took the “small step” of instituting regularly scheduled meetings, which he says have been critical to accomplishing personal, departmental, and company-wide goals.

Burcham offers a few more examples of small steps that can pay big dividends for you and your business:

Make a habit of setting goals. “It may seem like a basic thing, but setting goals is crucial to success both personally and professionally,” Burcham says. “Everyone in your company should be setting goals, and regularly reviewing those goals and checking their progress.” Sounds easy enough, but this is one small step that many people don’t take. “That’s why just the act of setting goals already gives you a competitive advantage,” he says.

Write down those goals. Setting goals is a good first step, but don’t just memorize them, Burcham says. Write them down because studies have shown that people who do that are more likely to achieve what they are after than people without written goals.

Build an accountability system. One of the best ways to make sure you follow through on your goals is to create a network of people who will hold you accountable, Burcham says. If no one knows you set a goal, it’s easy to let it slide. But if there are people who know about your goal, and better yet are depending on you to accomplish it, then you are more likely to follow through. In a business, it’s good for everyone to know everyone else’s goals and every department’s goals. That way, Burcham says, you can all hold each other accountable.

Stop trying to do everything. Burcham suggests asking yourself what duties you can pass on to others because those activities are not a productive use of time and energy for you or for the company. “I’ve often made the mistake of hanging onto responsibilities far longer than necessary; everything from accounting, to email management, to sales management,” he says.  As a company grows, Burcham says, that small step of finding things you can stop doing will be crucial to success.

“While each of these individually may be a small step, they are all important for personal growth and your business’ success,” Burcham says. “If you don’t set goals, write them down, and work to improve, you’ll likely be the exact same person 12 months from now. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. Being who you are is okay, but the question is: Are you content with being the same? Or do you want to be better?”

_______________________________________________________________

Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, is the founder & CEO of PFSbrands, which he and his wife, Julie, started out of their home in 1998. The company has over 1,500 branded foodservice locations across 40 states and is best known for their Champs Chicken franchise brand which was started in 1999. Prior to starting PFSbrands, Burcham spent five years with a Fortune 100 company, Mid-America Dairymen (now Dairy Farmers of America). He also worked for three years as a Regional Sales Manager for a midwest Chester’s Fried chicken distributor.